There is a commonality to all of humanity. Sometimes it is apparent, sometimes, we have to break down prejudices in order to see them. In many religions – many old religions – we find a commonality which we can take, we can grasp, and we can build upon.
Do to others as you would like them to do to you. (Jesus Christ, Luke 6:31 NLT)
And what you hate, do not do to any one. (Tob 4:15 RSV)
The king received the answer with great delight and looking at another said: “What is the teaching of wisdom?” And the other replied: “As you wish that no evil should befall you, but to be a partaker of all good things, so you should act on the same principle towards your subjects and offenders, and you should mildly admonish the noble and good. For God draws all men to himself by his kindness.” (Aristeas 1:207 )
The way of life, then, is this: First, thou shalt love God who made thee; second, thy neighbor as thyself; and all things whatsoever thou wouldst should not occur to thee, thou also to another do not do.
What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else.” (Hillel, b. Sabb. 31a)
I have no doubts as to the exclusionary role of Christ and hold solely to the Christian religion as the one true faith of the One True God; however, in other religions, we find that the so-called Golden Rule has itself been replicated and is among the roots of many other religions. N.T. Wright would remark that Christ (and thus Christianity) is the reality of the pagan’s parody, and I could agree to that in some way.
We look at Judaism and Christianity and note the rules of love as similar, as it should be, but in other religions, we find the same thought issued as well:
Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. – The Buddha, Udana-Varga 5.18
One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct….loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. Confucius, Analects 15.23
This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. – Hinduism, Mahabharata 5:1517
One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated. Jainism, Mahavira, Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss. Lao Tzu, T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien, 213-218
Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself. – Zoroastrianism, Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29
Some part of me can see that our Creator did not completely leave us free of morality after the Fall, but within us we carry a common morality that is against our fallen nature. We have a compass which does point due north, I believe, and that this morality and inclusive nature of humanity and humanity’s seeking of God breaks forth at this point. How then, can people sit and say that this is evolution (non-theistic), or that there is, indeed, no God? We have a commonality across the millenia, cultures, and religions, which speaks of standing against our nature to treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated.
This is not to say that all religions are equal, or that all are a path – hardly. Instead, just a thought that cross my mind while reading something else.