Your donations enable us to create and share theologically progressive resources that nurture our faith journeys and are used in church communities around the world. If everyone reading this right now gives just $10 we would be able to continue offering these for free.

Following the Golden Rule

Question & Answer

 

Q: By A Reader

It has been suggested that over ten religions have a version of the Golden Rule. For Christians it is the core of faith and transcends tradition, ritual and doctrine. In military conflict one strategy is to divide the opposing force to conquer it bit by bit. Is it possible that evil is using that strategy to keep the Golden Rule faiths separated?

A: By Rev. Aurelia Dávila Pratt

 

Dear Reader,

I grew up in a context where interfaith work was considered radical and borderline dangerous. Yet, it is this exact realization of the Golden Rule’s existence in such a wide variety of faith traditions that compelled me to interfaith work in my community. I have created, participated in and written about interfaith work for several years. The one truth I continue to come back to again and again is we are more alike than we are different.

But, could evil be using a divide and conquer strategy on us? In many regards this could be proven true. Daily, we watch an endless stream of information and news cycles revealing a general lack of compassion for the other. A divisive spirit surely runs rampant through our society as we watch politicians and those in power manipulate our differences for their own benefit.

Yet, it is precisely because of the Golden Rule that I don’t lose hope. The Golden Rule is a universal reminder that we are more alike than we are different. It is true that we often utilize parts of our human nature similarly, including things like fear, suspicion, or anger. However, the same is true for what matters most: our ability to love, extend empathy, practice compassion and peacemaking. These are the kinds of things that hold divine power. They are proof of the Spirit of God living within each of us. The Golden Rule helps us to understand this truth because it helps us find the inherent goodness of each person and therefore, recognize the divine in all people.

So, to answer your question: Evil may try to divide and conquer us all it wants, but it won’t be able to use the Golden Rule to do it. As long as there are faithful people in every tradition speaking the truth of its message (and I believe there are!), there will always be faithful people following these wisdom teachings in their daily lives. When we not only believe, but also practice the message of the Golden Rule, we can and will overpower any force that would attempt to keep us disconnected from the humanity of one another.

Interfaith work is the healing work needed to bridge our various golden rule messages together. It is the perfect antidote to the division threatening to keep us from common understanding. You can read more about my thoughts on the Golden Rule and its relationship to interfaith work here.

~ Rev. Aurelia Dávila Pratt

About the Author
Aurelia Dávila Pratt is the Lead Pastor at Peace of Christ Church and is a licensed Master of Social Work. Her sermons and writings steer the listener toward contemplation while also boldly tackling social issues of the day. She prioritizes the work of Peace, believing it to be both a vertical and horizontal process that is disruptive and uncomfortable, but mystically healing. As a pastor, she promotes safe and creative space for all to participate in this work.

Review & Commentary