THE GOLDEN RULE
My studies indicate that all the major religions and many others support what has been summed up as this 'Golden rule'. One of the modern attempts at a synthesis on this basis is Karen Armstrong with her Charter for Compassion. Sadly I would in the past have felt threatened by such a suggestion. Would not the distinctiveness of the Christian faith be compromised by this recognition that the central command of Jesus is equally owned by Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs and Jews? Perhaps and perhaps not.
Firstly I would consider it a weakness of any philosophy or world view that should feel threatened simply because there is agreement from other quarters. If for this reason only I not only see it as unnecessary to make some sort of defence but also see it as counter-productive. For me this is great news for the advancement of peace in our age and I will work alongside anybody with such an ideal.
Secondly - There is actually a distinctiveness in Jesus declaration of the Golden Rule. It is positive. The others say 'Don't' do to thers etc. However Jesus version is pro-active. It is about what we DO not what we DONT do.
Furthermore, the distinctiveness of Jesus Christ is not only his teaching alone but through His very life and death backing up what he said. The one who taught that we should treat others the way we ourselves should be treated actually lived this out in his death. His cry from the Cross was the ultimate demonstration of the Golden Rule when while hanging on the Cross He cried for His enemies 'Forgive them for they know not what they do'. He walked the talk even unto death. In so doing the incomparable love of God overcame evil not by resistance but by absorption, dissolution, swallowing up death with Death and Rising triumphant on the third day! It was his adherence exclusively to this Golden Rule which led to His death ... His healing on the Sabbath, eating Corn on the Sabbath and fellowshipping with the 'unclean' infuriated the religious leaders whose authority and control was threatened ultimately leading to the Cross. Jesus never wavered, never compromised and suffered willingly the consequences of the Golden Rule.
It is not my business to get any one-upmanship on other faiths. It is all hyperbole unless we put it into practice whether Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or Christian. G.K. Chesterton regarding Christianity said "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."!!