HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

THE GOLDEN RULE EXPOSED
 
The Golden Rule wants us to treat others as we would like them to treat us. 

 

IT IS NOT JESUS' TEACHING - HE STOLE IT
 
The much loved and well-known golden rule was given by Jesus. The Golden Rule has been stolen by Christ and the Church from unbelievers.

 

People say, “I would not like to steal or insult another person for I would not like them to insult me.” This is a paraphrase of the well-loved Golden Rule.  People naturally think that so you don't need sages to teach it.

 

“Always treat others as you would like them to treat you”, was not original to Christ but was taught by Zoroaster and by Lao Tzu. But it does not follow that Christ meant what they meant.  Though not original to him nearly all Christians are aware of it and adore it as a marvellous moral insight.  Jesus however gave it a new twist.

 

THE JESUS VERSION IS ALL ABOUT GOD
 
The golden rule says nothing about love. It speaks of how to act. It is at most, purely tactical. It is about getting others to like you. It is therefore not about love. Jesus was all about God and his statements must be interpreted within that dimension. For Jesus you treat others well solely because God asks it.

 

Jesus gave a command in John 13 which runs "love others as I have loved you and given all for you."  This is far beyond merely treating others the way you want to be treated.  It is about seeking nothing at all in return for your love.  The Golden Rule is superseded by this command.  The Golden Rule is the command everybody seems to like for it appeals to the baser part of human nature.  It waters down the demands of morality.

 

Though it is true other religions teach the golden rule, as Christians hold all authority must come from God, Christians are to follow the rule because God says so. It is about the motivation to obey God.  The golden rule then for Christians is, treat others how you would like them to treat you while they treat you as God wants you to be treated.  The rule then is not the same for Christians as it is for Buddhists who do not believe in God.  The Buddhists do not command it but for Christians God commands it.

 

The Golden Rule as popularly understood is foundationally atheistic. If God is all-good then God should come first just like Jesus commanded when he said we must love God with all our hearts and faculties. Therefore all your actions should be motivated towards God and nobody else. In that light, to refuse to hurt others because you don’t like to be hurt is heretical and sinful. You should do it not because of your likes but because of what God likes. You cannot treat God as you would like to be treated if you were God for you don’t know what that is like and God has no needs but is perfectly happy for being almighty he needs nothing. The Golden Rule becomes vulgar when you think that if you die for other people you should like them to die for you!

 

THE RULE IN THE LIGHT OF ALTRUISM AND EGOISM


"Always treat others as you would like them to treat you" means treat them first. Therefore it means your happiness is my responsibility and mine yours. But no mature person sees that as any way sensible. And it is made even more ridiculous for it says always treat not often treat.

Humanists have the golden rule too. On the human and non-religious level, the golden rule fits only one attitude that you or I could have and that is egoism. Egoism is doing good for others without doing it to get money or praise or any other benefit off them but is doing it to get something out of the fact that virtue is indeed its own reward. Egotism would be doing good or evil to get money or whatever out of them. Yet these lying sages despised egoism. But the fact remains that the alternative to both, altruism, doing good for others and getting literally nothing out of it and because you literally refuse to get anything out of it is unnatural and impossible.

The rule in all its forms and interpretations says that I have the right to say that something is bad because I feel that it is wrong. It is not morality it advocates but bigotry and prejudice. It gives me the right to impose my so-called morality on others because I have to treat them as I would like to be treated. I don’t know how they would want to be treated. So I have to assume that they are like me.

The Golden Rule ends up telling the egoist to treat others as an egoist likes to be treated or a Utilitarian or whatever. It does not help as much as it seems. It feels good thinking it is true until you realise you cannot think it is true.
 
What if you are a masochist?

 

THE GROUNDING IS RELIGIOUS HATRED

To change the Golden Rule to, “Always treat others as you would like them to treat you if you and they know what right and wrong are”, makes it worse instead of better though it looks like an improvement. It then becomes elitist and sectarian and divisive and we all know what religions with their different morals have done since the dawn of time to tear society and families apart with their disagreements. Some say that Jesus and the others meant this interpretation of the rule. But Jesus was speaking to ordinary people not theologians so they would have taken him to mean what I said he meant. Anyway, this modified version can only be practiced among people who agree on morality as they see it. The result of the ethic would be ghettos and sectarianism.

 

Jesus said the Rule fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. But the Law and the Prophets were cruel. He advocated masochism and sadism. You were expected if you were a homosexual man to like stoning homosexuals to death and to want that for yourself if you practiced. For Jesus, you are only to like what God tells you to like. If that means letting yourself be stoned for burning incense to a false God then so be it!
 
Jesus said it was the summary of the law of God (given in the first five books of the Bible) and the prophets as well. Its absurdity is obvious for some people like to be trampled on. It is too vague. Some say that the Golden Rule makes sense for if you hate something and you embody it you will hate yourself and draw hatred from others on yourself. That is totally wrong as the following example shows. A man can hate his wife cheating on him but have no problem with cheating on her. The Golden Rule fails to ban anything so it is no good. Again the Christians will object that the rule is not about rules but about us whatever we do and whatever mistakes we make retaining a concern for others in our hearts. What it really wants us to do is to force others to do what we like. Concern alone is useless. It is better to do loads of good just because you want to score Brownie points than to do less thanks to concern. The notion that concern is the thrust of the rule makes the rule contradict itself for it pretends to be a moral rule and fails. The same failure exists with love your neighbour as yourself.

 

If Jesus had said, “Always treat others according to the way you believe others should treat you”, it would have been better. It still wouldn't be perfect because you would want to be euthanased if you went completely mad. But Jesus would forbid this.
 
Jesus was speaking to Jews. They were told to love and adore the Law of God so they were to want to be stoned to death if they sinned in adultery or homosexuality etc. Many hate to admit that Jesus could have implied such a thing by the commandment.
 
Some Christians argue that Jesus did mean that. But would Jesus have meant to say that you should get others executed for crimes against the Law for you believe that you should be killing by stoning if you commit such crimes? He certainly could have. The thought that he did not when he included a murderous zealot, Simon, among his apostles is inconclusive as evidence against this because Jesus could be a hypocrite. Others point out that he did not call for the legal murder of the Jews whose scheming put him on the cross. But it wasn't really illegal for Jesus did deserve to die according to the Law for blaspheming if he was not the Messiah he claimed to be.
 
Jesus would have meant the rule to be, like to be treated as the Law wants you to be and treat others the same. This sanctions murder.


Jesus said that we must always treat others as we would like them to treat us and that this fulfils and sums up the Law and the Prophets. Jesus made it a law for us. This was vindictive for law threatens. Law says you deserve to be punished and must be punished if you disobey. If Jesus had made it just good advice, it would have been more helpful. No he had to sour it with religious nastiness.

Jesus is implying that we would like to obey the Law. He knowingly lied for the Hebrews did not cherish the Law and God whined time and time again that they did not want to keep it. Yet he says here they like the Law. And who could blame the Hebrews for disliking or even despising it when it commanded murder and mutilation and forbade freedom of thought? The last thing on the mind of the Law was Jesus’ golden rule.

In actual fact, the golden rule should be called the bloody rule because it is dangerous.

 

THE RULE IS NOT A RULE FOR IT IS IMPRACTICAL

 
Different people like or approve of different things. The absurdity of the Golden Rule is obvious for some people like to be trampled on. It is too vague.
 
Some souls like being doormats and others do not. Jesus was declaring on his divine authority that everybody was really the same – he was proposing a vicious new religious doctrine that denies what is in front of you like all the others do. This was necessary for his rigid moral system that forbade anything that reeked of sexual desire outside of marriage, that commanded the treating of people who did wrong and were a bit stubborn as pariahs, that commanded too generous forgiving and so on. If you admit that people are different then you have less room for a fixed morality. For example, breaking confidentiality for a greater good would be permitted if the victim hardly cares. If it would hurt the person a lot then keep it would be the greater good.

The rule implies that you have to treat yourself as you would like others to treat you. It allows you to be wanted to be treated well. Thus, it wholly contradicts Jesus’ teaching that we must love God alone. Jesus did not advocate that Christian interpretation of his rule.

If you are special then you have to get special treatment from others because they would like you to treat them as special if they were. The crowd was encouraged to think of Jesus as someone superior to themselves.

Jesus was hinting that he wanted to be their cult-leader.

 

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF
 
It is said by the Churches that the Golden Rule is a paraphrase of love your neighbour as yourself.  Considering how Jesus made it central that is correct.  He said that the command to love God absolutely and your neighbour not absolutely but because God says so and the command to treat others as you would be treated are all the sum of the law and the prophets.  So the Golden Rule and love your neighbour as yourself are identical.  They are about action towards others in the name of the love of God.

 

The Golden Rule is as much of a failure as is the command to love your neighbour as yourself. The two commandments are believed to be different ways of saying the same thing. So they are really the one commandment. Love your neighbour as yourself does no good at all. Jesus made it the second greatest commandment. But it is not. The view that certain things are wrong under all circumstances is the ethical theory of absolutism. Absolutism ignores the consequences of doing or not doing something. Consequentalism is the theory that even murder, though bad, is right under certain circumstances and it all depends on the intended results. You can't mix absolutism and consequentialism together they are oil and water. If any harmful actions are right because of the intended consequences then there is no room for saying things like abortion is always morally wrong etc. Catholicism has a lot of absolutism in its theology. Divorce is never right. Contraception is wrong even when it protects from AIDS. Disbelieving in what God has supposedly told the Church is always wrong too.
 
So Jesus' commandment was useless for it didn't tell us how to love. What is the use of love if you should let people divorce and don't know this and think divorce is always wrong?
 
Jesus then should have declared either absolutism or consequentalism to be true.
 
The only reason he gave love your neighbour as yourself such a high status was because God commanded it. So we are to keep the rule because God commanded it. Jesus didn't care if it was right or wrong or dangerous or whatever. Pleasing religion was all that mattered.
 
We would worry, as would the psychiatric world, if the commandment said, "Love your neighbour more than yourself." But Jesus said that the first greatest commandment was to love and serve God totally and without any reservations. So God comes first. This makes "Love your neighbour as yourself" as bad as "Love your neighbour more than yourself." In principle, they are the same: they both require you to devalue yourself.
 
Jesus said the Golden Rule was the summary of the law and the prophets. He said that about love your neighbour as yourself as well.

 

DARWINISM
 
Fundamentalist Christians hope that Darwinism isn't true. Even if Darwinism is not true we still live by its rule, survival of the fittest. Do you like it when somebody works harder for an exam than you? Do you like it when they get higher grades than you? Even if you are happy for them there will be a part of you that wishes that you were the one that came out on top. You just can't keep the Golden Rule.  People like to say that the golden rule preaches adaptability.  Darwin is said to have written, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." He didn't write it.  But by survival of the fittest he did indeed mean the most adaptable but to be adaptable you have to be smart in the right way and also strong.  So being strong and intelligent are made more important not less.  

 

IN-DEPTH CRITICISM
 
To treat others as you would like them to treat you is based on the idea that if you don’t do this they will do bad to you. It is based on the fear of retaliation. The ethic will only lead to resentment as all “moralities” based on fear do (page 36, What Do Existentialists Believe?).
 
Some say that the Golden Rule makes sense for if you hate something evil and you embody it you will hate yourself and draw hatred from others on yourself. That is total rubbish as the following example shows. A man can hate his wife cheating on him but have no problem with cheating on her. The Golden Rule fails to ban anything so it is no good. Again the Christians will object that the rule is not about rules but about us whatever we do and whatever mistakes we make retaining a concern for others in our hearts. What it really wants us to do is to force others to do what we like. Concern alone is useless. It is better to do loads of good just because you want to score Brownie points than to do less thanks to concern. So the concern interpretation makes it contradict itself for it pretends to be a moral rule and fails. The same failure exists with love your neighbour as yourself.
 
Suppose you should treat others as you would like to be treated. Men and women are different. So it follows that the rule will work better between man and man for men know each other better than women can know men. And so with women. It implies the sexes should be segregated.
 

 

 
If somebody does wrong against you, you may accept it and not be hurt by it. Also, the hurt may not appear until the consequences manifest themselves. So to work out the principle you have to ask what the possible results of an action will be and how it will hurt people. The Golden Rule is therefore consequentalist. It does not fit the insane absolutist teaching of Jesus.
 
To treat others as you would like to be treated presumes that you are a better judge than anybody else about what people should like. Its arrogance and pride and selfishness.

 

Nobody says the golden rule is useful all the time but that it is useful enough. That is only a question statistics can answer.  It is possible the rule does more harm than good overall.  The fact that many people hurt each other with bad and good intentions and you cannot see which means you should not boast how good the golden rule is.

It contradicts itself which means any use you get out of it is down to luck. For example, if everybody refused to let others help them so that they could help others then it will not work. The rule is about altruism and yet it is not. So it has no inherent usefulness.

A criminal can say a judge cannot have him jailed for the judge would not like to be jailed. People answer that the judge would be okay with being jailed if he were a criminal and caught. So the rule in this case is “Do not send a person to jail for you would not will to be sent unless you commit a crime.” But considering that people are so corrupt and they cherry-pick what crimes to care about how could anybody will them to send them to jail?  And who says the judge has to agree with jailing?

The inverted Golden Rule goes that you must never treat another in a way you would not let them treat you. But it backfires. It would follow that if John wants your wife you should let him take her.  To say, "Always treat others as you would like them to treat you", is the same as saying, "Never treat others as you would not like them to treat you."

 

IN DEFENCE

John Maxwell in his Ethics 101 says these are the reasons for embracing the Golden Rule.

First, most people accept it.


Two, it is very clear and understandable.

Three, everybody is a winner with it.

Four it helps simplify moral decisions by giving you direction in difficult moral situations.

Five it is obviously something that should be accepted as valid and to be put into practice.

Most people pay lip-service to it most of the time so that is hardly acceptance.  And it is immoral to argue that a rule is right or moral for most accept it.  And it is far from clear or understandable or even useful.  Nobody is really a winner with it for it requires you put yourself in the place of another but you cannot really do that but guess.  It makes moral problems worse for you know you need some lessons the hard way and that means you can use revenge and hate to teach others the hard way too.  Making the rule out to be obvious when it is not is just leading people down a dangerous moral path.

Some say the rule is just telling us what morality is about and is not meant to be that practical but is something you can wish was practical.  Then it is not a rule but Jesus then did wrong by making it one.   The rule is another reflection of Christianity's passive aggressive hypocrisy.

FINALLY


The Golden Rule which wants us to treat others as we would like them to treat us is a failure. Bringing God into it makes it an even bigger failure.  The rule exposes the true dark nature of Jesus and Christianity.
 
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