Over at National Review Online, Cliff May, who is right 99.9% of the time, makes a rare error. He questions President Obama’s Nobel Prize speech claim that “the one rule that lies at the heart of every major religion is that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” May points to the Sermon on the Mount and to the teachings of the first-century Rabbi Hillel for evidence of the Golden Rule in Christian and Jewish thought. (An even better Jewish cite would have been Leviticus 19:18–“Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself”–since Leviticus is Jewish scripture, and Rabbi Hillel’s kind and wise sayings are not.) May then writes: “I don’t think one finds either sentiment in the Koran and the Hadith. Infidels do not enjoy the same status as the Faithful – not in Allah’s eyes and not in the eyes of Allah’s servants. Not unless and until they convert.”
Let’s look at the record. One can find innumerable historical examples of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others viciously mistreating people who were of different religions. In many cases, the mistreaters could offer some plausible citation to their own religion’s scripture or other teachings. However, if question is: “Does every major world religion contain the Golden Rule?” the answer is “yes.” To wit:
Islam: “Not one of you (truly) believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” An-Nawawī’s Forty Hadith, transl., Ezzeddin Ibrahim & Denys Johnson-Davies (Damascus, Syria: The Holy Koran Publishing House, 3d ed. 1977), Hadith 13, p. 56 (attributed to Mohammed; parenthetical in original).
Mencius said, “Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.” Lao Tzu said, “Regard your neighbor’s gain as […]