Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Sides to the "Golden Rule"

All religious traditions have ethical concerns and many hold to a view of what the Christian understands to be the "Golden Rule". But, how one understands the "Golden Rule" is as various as the people who acknowledge it.

People hold to different values, depending on their cultural contexts and the values that are most important. In cultures where there is no freedom, whether in communist or traditionlist, the cultural climate is determined by government officials, or sacred texts. These culture's do not have "free reign" to understand the "Golden Rule" because what is done is "duty bound" to tradition or governmental authority.

In the West, we hold to individual's freedoms, where the individual can choose his "way of life" depending on the values that are most important. The "Golden Rule" could be a value of two individuals, but look different in how that is applied in one's life. This is because in politically free societies, the individual can choose how to prioritize their values. If a Republican believes in the free market, then he would affirm that value to another and argue for its "value" in regards to others; while a Democrat would argue for the "greater good", more a sense of social responsibility. While one values, individuality, choice in economic decisions, the other values a collective conscience, in regards to those same choices. Which view is more representative of the "Golden Rule"? Freedom or Responsibility? We are free to choose and that is what is great about our nation and culture. The important thing is "are we doing what we would want to be done to us"?

No comments: