Posts Tagged ‘The Golden Rule’

religion as cerealI imagine if you’re opposed to “religion” (as I am), then this graphic makes a great deal of sense.

So let’s not talk about “religion”, which is all about following rules, looking good in public and casting sanctimonious judgement on people who might not have it all together. Oh, and forcing people to follow your religion or you’ll kill them and burn down their homes and places of worship.

Let’s talk about faith instead. The briefest and most casual examination might suggest they’re all the same. But I’m going to assume you’re reading this blog because you want to go deeper and get closer to the truth.

No matter what anyone claims, the truth is the world’s faiths are so NOT the same. In fact, after a few commonalities between Judaism, Islam and Christianity, there is very little in common between the world’s faiths.

Wait a second, you say. Don’t all the major faiths believe in what most of us know as the Golden Rule? Yes. But even here there’s a difference. Consider what I found on Wikipedia:

  • Islam – Wish for your brother, what you wish for yourself
  • Buddhism – One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self
  • Hinduism – Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
  • Sikhism – If thou desirest thy Beloved, then hurt thou not anyone’s heart

None of these advance a positive action. The closest is Islam, but it’s not about action, just wishing. Contrast this with Jesus of Nazareth, who many people believe is God’s Son. He tells everyone who will listen to “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. That’s from one of the original source documents of His life and it’s all about action. Not wishing. Not avoiding anything bad. Actually DOING GOOD.

What else is different? According to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website, “Islam teaches that Jesus is not God in flesh–where Christianity does. Some religions teach that we reincarnate, while others do not. Some teach there is a Hell, and others do not.”

Here’s another significant difference: many faiths advance the notion of us reaching up to God, especially by doing good things and avoiding bad things.

Indeed, the reincarnation belief of Buddhism (which includes the scary notion of Karma) and Hinduism suggest your behaviour dictates the form of your reincarnation. Given how horribly imperfect we ALL are, reincarnation strikes me as very, very unpleasant.

Following Jesus is exactly opposite because it claims that God reaches down to us and offers to pull us up to Him. How? Certainly not by doing good and avoiding bad, because we can never do enough and avoid enough to pass God’s inspection.

Instead, God reaches down through Jesus – His life and teachings, His sacrificial death and His resurrection. Like Jesus Himself, that death and resurrection are gifts to anyone willing to accept them. And when we accept them, God sees us like he sees Jesus: perfect in every way.

That strikes me as a pretty good deal because accepting that gift doesn’t just mean I go to Heaven when I die. It means Jesus comes into my life and starts to change me NOW.

Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Hate 3.15As soon as I saw this graphic on an atheist website, I felt sorry for Patricia Ruth Barker. Sorry that she ever thought she had to “hate” anyone before becoming an atheist.

Who taught Patricia this kind of warped thinking? Did she consider murderous terrorist groups and decide this is how “religious” people think? (I follow Jesus of Nazareth, but I’m absolutely not “religious” and this blog reveals why: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-cP.)

Did she interact some religious people who, sadly, DO hate gay people and people of other faiths and figure this is standard thinking for spiritual people?

Since encountering this graphic, I’ve racked my brain to think of all the Jesus followers I’ve met who hate gays or people of other faiths. I can’t come up with a single person. And when I do encounter these misguided people, I’ll remind them of these passages from ancient documents and original-source biographies of Jesus (who many people believe is God’s Son):

  • Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
  • God loved the world so much [and that means EVERY PERSON in it] that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost. but have eternal life.
  • God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Most Jesus followers take these passages seriously. They tell me that Jesus  came for ALL people — gay or straight, Christian or Muslim or Atheist or Buddhist, criminal or Nobel prize winner, male or female, young or old. No exceptions. Ever.

This is one of the reasons I decided in my 40s to follow Jesus and trust in what He’s done for everyone who believes in Him. He died on a Roman cross to make up for ALL the wrong things I’ve done and ALL the right things I’ve failed to do. He made up for all the times when, despite my best efforts, I end up living as if there is no loving creator who wants to be part of my life.

I also follow Jesus because I know that by doing so, I welcome Him into my heart, mind and soul to make me more like Him. That means hating ONLY the wrong things I’ve done and the right things I don’t do.

It also means I believe in what many people call the “Golden Rule”: Do for others what you want them to do for you.

I want atheists and people of other faiths to respect me. So I darn well better respect them. When that exchange takes place, I get to tell them, like I’m telling you now, about my faith in Jesus and how He can change them (and YOU) for the better – for now and for all eternity.

What are your thoughts on this? Post a comment below and let’s have a conversation.

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