By Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D
“If you seek justice, choose for others what you would choose for yourself.” (Baha’i)
“One should seek for others the happiness one derives for one’s self.” (Buddhism)
“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” (Christianity)
“What you do not want done to yourself, do not unto others.” (Confucianism)
“Do naught to others which if done to thee would cause pain.” (Hinduism)
“No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Islam)
“We should . . . refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves.” (Jainism)
“What is hurtful to yourself, do not do to our fellow man.” (Judaism)
“As thou deemest thyself, so deem others.” (Sikkhism)
“To those who are good to me, I am also good; and to those who are not good to me, I am also good. And thus all get to be good.” (Taoism)
“Do as you would be done by.” (Zoroastrianism)
It is indeed ironic, tragic in fact, the Golden Rule is considered an essential truth of world religions, and yet is abandoned by religions in favor of self-serving social and political goals keeping people apart, separate, and disconnected. As has been said by wise voices: “There is no other.”
Apparently, mere presence of alternative beliefs confronts people and religions with an experienced threat to their beliefs, diminishing the value of their beliefs, because there is alternative.
“How can you say this?” they claim, “when I know fervently in my heart and mind, and, because of everything I have been told, my view is the only right view. “
“Now I must try to inform you of your errors, even if I must use force and violence. It is for your sake I do this, so you may know the truths I know and belief. My God is more powerful than your god.”
There is no easy answer to this paradoxical behavior, rooted as it is in complex historical, cultural, political, and economic reasons. Perhaps, a first step, unlikely to bring immediate results, but gradual success, is for an individual to say:
“Peace begins with me! I will practice non-violence, and offer healing to all in need. I will constantly ask forgiveness for the acts I committed bringing sorrow and grief to others.”
Humility is required! There is healing in apology. Individuals, groups, and nations can forgive, and can apologize, and with these acts find “Truth” in the Golden Rule, and a new sense of identity and purpose in these acts.
As Vaclav Havel noted: “Perhaps it was always there, and our selfishness prevented us from seeing it and knowing it.”
Special appreciation to an old friend, Stephen Blessman, for his knowledge of the Golden Rule in world religions.