Which Rule is More Golden?

1) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

2) Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.

Or are they both more or less the same?

6 Replies to “Which Rule is More Golden?”

  1. Semantically, I think they are identical. It’s like that “half glass full” optimism bullcrap. Quantitatively/mathematically, a glass half empty and a glass half full are always the equivalent of each other in both volume present and volume absent. Since I’m left-brained, I don’t really give a crap if people say “glass half empty” because to me it’s the same as half full.

    But emotionally, I’d take the second one.

  2. Of course the big problem with #1 is that it is imposing a tyrranny of our wants onto an other assuming they want what we want. Given the state of the world through most history until recently though, that’s still a big step up from how most people acted. So I don’t want to criticize the golden rule. But if I like broccoli and give it to everyone because I like it clearly I’m not acting in a Christ-like way. Some people might hate broccoli.

  3. Clark, the silent “given” of the golden rule is that one loves oneself and treats oneself above all others. I think you’re reading into it too far – if you back up a bit and consider broccoli an enjoyable food, then giving someone else enjoyable food as you like to give yourself enjoyable food is probably the more accurate scope of the rule.

    What’s very curious, is that most Christians today assume this [love of the self] to be a bad thing. I don’t interpret the golden rule like that at all. Self-love, and, by extension, self worth, are virtues IMO. And yes, I read Fountainhead in the 8th grade.

  4. You’re not helping yourself by mentioning Ayn Rand… (grin)

    I agree with the point you raise about the Golden Rule. Getting philosophical, it’s like the attempted difference between act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism. (The particular vs. the general) The problem is that I’m not sure that works. But I’ll not threadjack and turn this into a philosophical discussion. I’ll just say that it’s unclear from the rule where to draw the line. That is how general vs. how particular is one to be?

  5. I would imagine that both are the same. If I do not what I don’t want done to me, then I am avoiding an action that I dislike receiving, and I’d others to avoid that action too. That avoidance IS an action. 😉

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