To look at the different ways religions talk about the Golden Rule. To notice how they are similar or different. To have students identify particular passages which resonate for them.
You will need examples of different "golden rule sayings" from different religions. Some are provided below.
There are three ways to do this lesson-in a large group, small group, or as homework. In class, have students look at the different examples of the Golden Rule in different religions. Talk about what they mean. Discuss similarities and differences, and then have students discuss which ones resonate with their own feelings about the golden rule. Depending on your group, a comparison done in class can serve as great instructions for a homework assignment of the same nature.
The Golden Rule
The "Golden Rule" exists in almost all religions and spiritual traditions in some form or another. Religions attempt to supply a guide for human behavior, knowing that humans aren't perfect and are apt to act in unkind, ignorant or evil ways sometimes.
Read each "Golden Rule" below and compare and contrast the wording. How similar is the advice? What is different? Which version(s) "speak" in a compelling way to you? Why?
- From Confucianism
- Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.
- From Islam
- None of you is a believer until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.
- From Buddhism
- Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
- From Hinduism
- This is the sum of all duty: do nothing to others which, if it were done to you, would cause you pain.
- From Judaism
- What is hateful to you, do not do to others.
- From Christianity
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- From Taoism
- Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.
- From Zoroastrianism
- That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.
By having a discussion, students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of different passages. They also have an opportunity to share their personal feelings about the Golden Rule, allowing assessment of student engagement with the material. It would also be easy to assign a learning log reflection about this lesson.