Golden Rule Quiz: Three questions from Phoenix teacher Albert Celoza
Special to The Republic
Jesus Christ invented the Golden Rule. True or false? The Golden Rule in its original formulation states: He who has the gold, rules. True or false? The Arizona State Legislature encouraged people of the state to live the Golden Rule and ‘treat others the way they would like to be treated’. True or false?
False. Jesus did not invent the Golden Rule.
The precept popularly known as the Golden Rule is from the first gospel of the New Testament. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. Jesus however did not say this is the Golden Rule. The term began to be used widely in the 1600s when Anglican clergymen Charles Gibbon and Thomas Jackson gave the passage that nickname. Evidently however the Golden Rule as a Christian teaching has been known and most influential.
Note that the idea preceded Jesus by hundreds of years. Confucius said: Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. At first you might think that these two sayings are the same. There is a subtle difference between them. Confucius’ version essentially tells us to refrain from certain actions while Jesus’ version enjoins us to engage in certain actions.
Confucius does not assume that you know what is good for others, but you know very well what you do not wish done to you.
He says in Analects 5.12: ‘What I do not wish others to do unto me, I also wish not to do unto others.’
In Analects 12.2, ‘When in public, comport yourself as if you were receiving an important guest; in your management of the people, behave as if you were overseeing a great sacrifice. Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. In this way, you will encounter no resentment in your public or private life (in your state or in your family).
Question Number 2 – I heard the interpretation most recently from a politician in Arizona, ‘he who has the gold rules.’ It might be true that the rich become the powerful. This is not an ethical rule of behavior, however.
Question Number 3. This is the only question answerable by True.
The Arizona State Legislature voted to encourage people of the state to live the Golden Rule and ‘treat others the way they would like to be treated.’ In fact, Arizona has a Golden Rule license plate that says, ‘Live the Golden Rule.’
Access this website https://azdot.gov/content/golden-rule and be a moving billboard that promotes ‘kind,’ ‘civil,’ ’empathic’ and ‘respectful’ behavior.
The Golden Rule is included in the scriptures of most Faith Traditions and on the Arizona Interfaith website, we compiled a list of them. See https://interfaithmovement.com/movement/golden-rule-texts-by-many-faiths/.
It’s our hope this quiz prompted a Golden Rule Moment deep inside. Also, in whatever formulation the Golden Rule resonates with you, may it prompt the wisdom of thinking of others before acting.
Albert Celoza, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Arizona Interfaith Movement.
Arizona has a Golden Rule license plate that says, ‘Live the Golden Rule.’ Arizona Department of Transportation