Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
"Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You"
The golden rule. The shorter version is what most of us born before the 1980's have heard from our earliest years. I remember it being above the chalk board in my grade school, it was over the inner entrance door to my Junior High School. It was even portrayed in my high school in the early 80's. (we also stood and said the pledge of allegiance every morning)
This was and is an important rule in developing good character among children. I mean, is there really a more profound message that we can teach young minds than to always treat other people how you yourself would like to be treated? It is a message that will help determine who they are as adults.
If you do not like being called names, then don't call other people names. If you do not like being made fun of then do not make fun of other people. If you do not like people getting into your business then stay out of other peoples business.
In other words, do not be a hypocrite.
The list that this very simple rule applies to is all but endless because it relates specifically to our own sense of self accountability. No one is responsible for what we say or do but ourselves and what we say, how we act, is what defines our character. It defines who we are as a person.
If we don't want it done or said to us then do not do or say it to anyone else. Can it get any simpler than that?
I am going to use an example in this writing that I recently had to deal with, and it involves transgenders.
Let me first say that I do not agree with the whole transgender movement. I think it is the exploitation of a mental illness to push an agenda and cause division and hatred among the population. That is how I feel about the movement itself.
I have a different opinion of the people themselves because to a certain extent I recognize that they are being used and exploited by people who have their own reasons for doing so.
On a more personal note, its simply none of my damn business how any of my fellow humans choose to live their lives. Here in America at least they have the same right to do so under the constitution as I have.
"The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." My personal feelings or opinions do not override those rights and there are no "exceptions" in there either. It applies to every citizen of this country as a fundamental right given to us not by the government, but by God. That is why the founders viewed them as natural rights bestowed upon all people by the simple fact that they are alive. Whether they are Americans or not.
"Live and let live" has always been my personal motto and that applies to all aspects of life as long as people show me the same courtesy. Up until recently that was really never a problem. To me it is simply another way of saying the "Golden Rule".
From my own perspective I also see the religious aspect as follows. I am not God, and I will never have the arrogance to put my self in the place of God. If what my fellow humans are doing is a sin against God then it is HIS place to judge them, not mine. I only control and have to answer for one life, and that's my own. Everyone else's is their business.
I will also refer to another verse from Matthew before the one above that I base this personal belief on.
Matthew 7:1-5 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
To me, this verse goes hand and hand with the verse later in Matthew that is the bases for the "Golden Rule". I also see it as another warning against the dangers of hypocrisy.
Mind your own business and treat people like you wish to be treated, and that includes judging other people because how you judge them is going to be how you yourself are judged.
It all comes right back to personal accountability which the way I see it, the bible pushes more than any other concept.
What ever we do has consequences, either good or bad, and it is our own actions or words that determine which it will be.
God gave us free will. He is in this verse also telling us that we are going to pay the consequences for what we do with that free will.
The "Golden Rule" in my opinion was him giving us a path to take so that we can avoid a lot of those negative consequences. Just treat each other with respect and common decency.
Now I know many people will not agree with what I am saying because though I believe in God I am not a religious person. Therefore I do not see things from a religious aspect, I see them from the viewpoint of philosophy. I am a realist, I see things how they are, not how I may wish them to be. I am also a die hard individualist which in many ways puts me at odds with religion itself.
This is because religions are dependent on collectivism which always has the danger of falling into group think. I do not care for collectivism in any form except what is absolutely necessary like the military, because of the dangers of group think. Now, as with everything else I have said here, that is my opinion, so take it for what you will.
There are 5 major religions recognized in todays world; Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I have spent time studying them all at some point in my life as well as many religions that most people have never heard of. I am using Christianity for this piece because I have always identified with the philosophy behind Christianity more than any other religion I have studied.
I was also raised in a Christian church and home so that inevitably had a profound impact on my personal philosophy of life. Who I choose to be as a person. Now before anyone gets to thinking I am being all pious and stuff, I freely admit that I have broken the "Golden Rule" myself many, many times in my life. I used to be a real piece of work in my younger days and I am not proud of a lot of the things I did. No one is perfect but that does mean we can use it as an excuse for bad behavior either. I am accountable for those actions and I can not change what happened. I can however strive to change the behavior by learning from my mistakes. After all, we can only learn from our mistakes after we make them. That is when we make another decision. Change the behavior or continue as we are. That is a personal choice we all have to make many times throughout our lives.
All of these religions have the same thing in common though. They are right and every one else is wrong. That is the collectivism (group think) in action, and it is also a literal impossibility because what we choose to believe as a religion is not based in fact, it is based in a belief that is based on faith that we are right and everyone else is wrong.
I personally chose to take the best philosophical aspect of all of these religions (philosophies) and apply them to my own life and way of thinking. I mean at its core, what is a religion? It is a philosophy that enough people believe in that it has become a recognized religion.
Now the reason I have spent this time talking about religion (which is something I rarely do) is because it is essential to understanding how I see things.
Like the "Golden Rule". It is based off of a bible verse and that is why many people have pushed it out of the mainstream. They don't like it simply because of where it comes from so they want to get rid of it. By doing so they also get rid of the message itself.
So what if it comes from the bible? It is a philosophical rule of how we can treat each other to avoid conflict. We use our own self accountability to get along with each other and 99.9% of the people in this world do so whether they are religious or not. Where it originates from is in the big picture secondary to the wisdom it gives us.
I have said it many times in my ramblings. I care more about the message than who or where it comes from. Far too many of us deny ourselves true wisdom based simply on who said it, or where we read it from. I do not happen to see things that way because wisdom comes from many sources. It is our own hang ups that prevent us from seeing it. We can agree with some of what someone says without agreeing with everything they say. Understanding and exercising that option is our greatest defense against group think.
Now, back to my example and I will close this writing out. It has turned out to be longer than I anticipated.
It really bothers me how I see people calling transgenders (or anyone else for that matter) an IT. Would you like to be dehumanized by being called an IT?
If not, then do not do it to other people, simple. No matter what people choose to do they are and always will be human beings who deserve the basic common decency we ourselves expect from other people. The "Golden Rule' is there for ourselves just as much as it is there for others. The wisdom is two fold.
Not to mention that every tyrant throughout history used the exact same tactic to justify killing people they did not want around anymore. They first dehumanized them. All I am saying here is that dehumanizing anyone is a very dangerous and slippery slope that has resulted in the deaths of millions of people in the past. It is something we must be very careful with.
In the bible we are counseled to hate the sin and love the sinner. Dehumanizing them because of what we see as a sin is not the way to do that IMO. In fact, I see it as the exact opposite of what we are told to do. I do not agree with it because it is a religious teaching, I agree with it because it makes sense.
I truly believe that if more of us follow this very simple yet very important rule, we would not be having a lot of the problems we are having today. We choose who we are and by doing so we define our place within the greater society. Who do you choose to be?
"Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them do Unto You!"
"Hatred forges the path to cruelty. " ~The Ugly Truth Project