Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This One Is Golden

There are lots of rules. It seems that during every waking moment our lives are directed by some rule. And if someone disagrees with something we do, there is sure to be a rule which should have precluded us from doing it in the first place.

With few exceptions, our laws and religions are based on one thing -

The Golden Rule

Also known as the Ethic of Reciprocity, it asks that all of us be fair and just to everyone else, and that everyone else be fair and just to us.

It can be prescribed as a negative:
"Don't do to others what you don't want done to yourself."
or as a positive:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Sometimes these are differentiated as The Silver Rule and The Golden Rule, respectively. There are philosophical grounds for the difference, but for me it's only a matter of the glass being half empty or half full. I like my glass half full.

This primitive and fundamental rule of humanity has been debated on principle. It is argued that I don't know what you would have done to yourself and you don't know what I would have done to myself. Also, it's argued that just because you like something, it doesn't mean I would like that same something too. But I would argue another way - the "glass half full" way.

It isn't the literal interpretation of this idea, but the spirit or intention of The Golden Rule that matters to humanity. It isn't necessarily the specific things in our lives to do, but the fact that we would consider doing; it's the consideration of others that matters in our lives. This is important - to have CONSIDERATION of others. The things for consideration change with location, culture, age, and many other human factors. But the fact that we have consideration is what we need to hold dear.

Empathy is the essence of The Golden Rule. It begs us to put ourselves in the place of another. It's good to receive the consideration of others, and it's imperative that we likewise do the same. The Golden Rule, when properly applied, perpetuates itself.

It may be true that we Deists don't have scripture or dogma, but I for one would suggest The Golden Rule as paramount in our religious philosophy, immediately following our belief in God.

I would do this in consideration of you.

One Deist Φ


David Keating said...

I have Google set to send me links to Golden Rule articles when they appear online, which is what led me to your blog. Nicely written. I wonder about the word "primitive" - if the Golden Rule was part of our design so to speak, perhaps its a highly evolved ethic that we just haven't grown into yet.

Thanks for a good article
David Keating

Fabio A. Di Fini said...

I've found your blog just looking for Deism websites. It was nice to explore it, because I've learned a little more about some Deist conceptions. Your matter about the Golden Rule sounds very true for me, and I agree with you when you say "It isn’t the literal interpretation of this idea, but the spirit or intention of The Golden Rule that matters to humanity". In my opinion, the The Golden Rule is also a question of "respect to diversity" in whatever level... Here in Brazil, Deism and the notion of respect to plurality are still crawling, but I suppose these ideas will grow very fast in our friendly and open-minded society... Congratulations!

One Deist said...

Thank you, Fabio, for your comments on this post.

Not everyone agrees with me on the importance of The Golden Rule, and this disagreement includes Deists too. But I believe the rudimentary nature of The Golden Rule in the human thought process, and the potential for positive impact on society and interpersonal relationships, trumps all negative arguments. We Americans would say, "You get a lot of bang for the buck." In other words, it provides a huge return on a very small investment.

Deism also gives “respect to diversity” as you say in your comments. We honor those who believe differently then we do, but ask the same in return. As Deists we are free to "fine-tune" our beliefs within broad parameters.

OneDeist Φ