The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.” – Socrates




One Comment

  1. The Golden Rule and Universal Intrinsic Dignity

    “The vast majority of world religions emphasize the Silver Rule—“do not do
    unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” This is a doctrine of
    avoiding harm or evil and can be roughly translated as, “do not do a harm to
    others that you do not want done to you.” In modern terms, it may be restated
    as, “avoid unnecessary harm, but if a harm is unavoidable, minimize it.” The Silver
    Rule is mentioned explicitly in the Old Testament two times (Tobit 4:15; Sirach 31:15). This is generally termed “ethical minimalism” because it places the
    emphasis on avoiding harm rather than doing good.

    When Jesus removed the “nots” from the Silver Rule, He converted it from
    ethical minimalism to ethical maximalism. We might rephrase the Golden Rule as
    follows: “Do the good for others that you would want done to you.” The
    emphasis is no longer on merely avoiding harm, but also on doing good (beyond
    the avoidance of harm). Evidently doing the good for others entails avoiding
    harm, but it also entails much more – namely any good that you would want done
    to you. There is really no limit to these goods, and so the Golden Rule might be
    viewed as “open-ended altruism.”

    Jesus’ positive ethical maximalism has its origins in His doctrine on love. He
    asks us to imitate the Father’s love of enemies (Mt. 5:44-48), to forgive everyone
    from the heart (Mt. 6:12), not to judge others negatively (Mt. 7:1-5), to consider
    everyone our neighbor – worthy of compassionate love (like the Good Samaritan
    – Luke 10:25-37).

    When we look at these teachings collectively, we can see Jesus’
    underlying viewpoint that love, mercy, and compassion are higher than justice
    (which is derived from the Silver Rule). Love and mercy (from which the Golden
    Rule is derived) go beyond justice (the Silver Rule), and encourage a positive,
    altruistic, and compassionate social order. This emphasis had a profound effect on
    the development of sociopolitical theory in the West, particularly with respect to
    the development of universal public healthcare and welfare, universal public
    education, and on the development of economic rights and social responsibility.”

    [From The Magis Center Website ~ Robert J. Spitzer S.J., P.h.D. 2015]

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