What Makes the ‘Golden Rule’ Christian?
If so, what makes the Golden Rule ‘Christian’? Or, is there really anything ‘Christian’ about it?
Consider what Dale Carnegie, in his extremely popular How to Win Friends and Influence People, wrote:
“Philosophers have been speculating on the rules of human relationships for thousands of years, and out of all that speculation, there has evolved only one important precept. It is not new. It is as old as history. Zoroaster taught it to his followers in Persia twenty-five hundred years ago. Confucius preached it in China twenty-four centuries ago. Lao-tse, the founder of Taoism, taught it to his disciples in the Valley of the Han. Buddha preached it on the bank of the Holy Ganges five hundred years before Christ. The sacred books of Hinduism taught it a thousand years before that. Jesus taught it among the stony hills of Judea nineteen centuries ago. Jesus summed it up in one thought—probably the most important rule in the world: ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’ You want the approval of those with whom you come in contact. You want recognition of your true worth. You want a feeling that you are important in your little world. You don’t want to listen to cheap, insincere flattery, but you do crave sincere appreciation. You want your friends and associates to be, as Charles Schwab put it, ‘hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise.’ All of us want that. So let’s obey the Golden Rule, and give unto others what we would have others give unto us. How? When? Where? The answer is: All the time, everywhere.”
Honestly, I don’t like reading that. It makes me mad. It confuses me. If Zoroaster and Confucius and Lao-tse and Buddha and Muhammed also said what Jesus said in Matthew 7:12, why shouldn’t I also take heed to what these other guys said about other things? What makes Jesus’ statement about how we treat others better than the others? No doubt the ‘rule’ is a tremendous ‘rule’ to live by for any human. But what makes it Christian?
Consider the source.
Of the six men Carnegie mentions, only One actually gave His life to demonstrate what He meant. Only One actually valued others to the extent that He did for them what they simply could not do for themselves.
All six were men like us. Only One, however, was a man and God. It was that God-man who not only issued the Golden Rule, but did it so we could live and know what obedience to it looks like.
Consider the source. Talk is cheap. The Christian God, instead, demonstrates His love.