Silver Rule and Golden Rule

The principle of the iron rule is mentioned in the book of Habakkuk. God had promised that He would resurrect the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to punish the southern kingdom of Judah for its grave sins. This pagan force was an appropriate tool in Jehovah`s providential arsenal for accomplishing this mission, for his disposition was, “My God is my power” (Habakkuk 1:11). It is a glaring mistake to idolize one`s physical abilities! Finally, we must not forget to mention that the Golden Rule is very special in that it is consistent with the other components of Christ`s teaching as revealed in the Gospels (for example, Matthew 22:37-40). Moreover, the personal character of Jesus himself was (and remains) a living commentary on the rule in action. When the man lay wounded and unable to help himself, a Jewish priest passed by, and later a Levite (the one who served priests during temple ceremonies). The two, probably horrified by the bloody scene, crossed the opposite side of the street and accelerated their steps. Their respective thoughts were undoubtedly “This tragedy was not my fault. It`s none of my business, etc.” They did not kick oppressed Jews; They did not pierce his pockets. They just kept going. They were men with the silver rule.

For example, Isocrates and Epictetus taught the rule of money among the Greeks. The latter condemned slavery on the grounds that one should not do to others what provokes anger in itself. William Barclay, the famous scholar who had been associated with the University of Glasgow for so long, recorded a number of these cases in his commentary The Gospel of Matthew (1958, 276-281). We have described in detail the list of rationalizations above because they are a great example of the logic of the silver rule! Some, such as Dan Barker (a former Pentecostal preacher who converted to atheism), have suggested that the Golden Rule should be called “bronze” because it is far inferior to the Silver Rule. Barker argued that if one were a masochist, the Golden Rule would justify beating someone else (1992, 347-348). His argument assumes that it is rational to be a masochist! Taleb recognizes several advantages of using the silver ruler over its golden counterpart. First, the money rule requires that the “skin in the game” (personal risk) be subject to uncertainty, because you can only expose others to the risk of taking you. If you apply the rule of money and you are wrong, you still have not hurt others. In other words, it is more resistant to errors.

The rule is not arbitrary, without rational support, as in radical humanism; in the Spirit of Jesus lies his justification (“for”) in its connection with the revealed truth recorded in The Law and the Prophets (1984, 188). Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his book Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life, argues for a different kind of rule – what he calls the money rule. Famous thinkers and critics such as the writer George Bernard Shaw have publicly criticized the rules of gold and silver for their oversimplified nature and somewhat problematic implications. Critics are dissatisfied with the second part of the rules on gold and silver, which seem to assume that everyone can know exactly how others are treated and how they are not. As Shaw says in Man and Superman: A Comedy and a Philosophy, “Don`t treat others like you would, they would you. Their tastes may not be the same. Confucius was a man born around 550 BC. J.-C. who cared more about this present life, history and government than about the gods and the afterlife (Corduan, 2012; Morgan, 2012). Confucius, through his teachings, wanted people to return to the era of the golden age that took place long ago under the original ideal mythical emperors (Corduan, 2012).

Others, not so much of the marginal element, suggested that the golden rule could at least be improved: “Treat others as they want you to do to them.” However, such a view is fatally wrong, and even someone as ethically confused as Joseph Fletcher (the famous situational ethicist) has acknowledged (1962, 117). The weak may want you to provide them with drugs or treat them for illegal sex, etc., but such a reaction would not be the right thing to do. When I think reasonably, I don`t want others to take up my ignorance and weakness. Finally, a Samaritan (usually a devoted anti-Semite – see John 4:9) passed. He saw another human being in need and was moved by compassion. He treated the wounded man`s wounds, put him on his own donkey and took him to a nearby inn, where, surprisingly, he paid for his accommodation for more than three weeks (Jeremiah 1972, 205) – and promised even more! The Samaritan code of ethics said: “Without God`s grace, I could wring my side of the road in agony. What would I want on my behalf if our respective circumstances were reversed? It wasn`t long before he found the answer, for his compassionate heart was bathed in the golden glow of divine love. Even some enemies of Christianity have paid tribute to the value of the Golden Rule.

John Stuart Mill wrote: “To do what one would do, and to love one`s neighbor as oneself, represents the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.” Thomas Paine declared: “The duty of man. is clear and simple and has only two points: his duty to God, which every man must feel, and to his neighbor to do what he wants to do” (quoted in Mead 1965, 192, 193). The silver rule is a variant and a bit of a reversal of the golden rule. The Silver Rule says, “Don`t treat others like you don`t want them to do to you. The rule of money has its own flaws, as it only requires that an individual does no harm to others, and does not ask that person to behave positively. In his discourse on the three precepts of human behavior, T.B. Larimore noted that Christ`s parable of the Good Samaritan vividly illustrates each of these philosophies of life (Luke 10:30ff). Christianity has a rule known as the Golden Rule. He communicates what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Whatever you want others to do unto you, for it is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

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