First Principles of Religion: Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated (The Golden Rule)

By Islamic Networks Group (ING) Staff.

Golden-rule-posterAll of the previous principles can be summed up in a principle that, though stated in different forms, can be found in all religious (and many non-religious) traditions: the Golden Rule. This principle simply urges people to treat others the way they themselves would like to be treated. As we want others to respect our life and dignity, so we must respect and protect the life and dignity of others; as we want others to respect our freedoms of religion, conscience, thought, and expression, so we must respect and defend these freedoms for others. This ethic of reciprocity, as it is sometimes called, is thus at the very heart of religion. All religions thus sets as a primary aim the excellence of human character, the development of human beings, who from the depth of their selves manifest kindness, compassion, truthfulness, courage, and all the virtues associated with the best of humanity.

A few of the verses in religious texts that speak to the Principle of “treating others as you would like to be treated” include the following:

Islam: “None of you believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” (An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith 13)

Christianity: “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” (Matthew 7:21)

Judaism: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary.” (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)

Buddhism: “Do not hurt others in ways you yourself would find hurtful” (Udanavarga 5:18)

Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty: do nothing to others that would cause you pain if done to you.” (Mahabharata 5:117)