February 10th, 2014 | By admin
By Paul Holland
Currently I am reading another book by Dr. Rodney Stark. He is a sociologist of religion. This book is on comparativereligions, their origin and early history. It is entitledDiscovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief. I have just started his chapter on Christianity so it will be interesting to see what he has to say. I do see where he believes some liberal teachings on the history of the Jewish religion and the scriptures.
But he has just discussed Confucianism. Confucians have “scriptures.” They are called the Analects which are a collection of short sayings by Confucius, compiled by his students. One verse (12:1) of the Analects says: “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself.” This moral “law” has long been called the Silver Rule.
There are three main virtues in Confucianism: jen(translated as love, benevolence, kindness, etc.), li(observance of rituals and duty), and i (what is fitting, right, seemly) (page 267).
Think about that silver law for a moment: “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself.” That is as good as far as it goes. It stops me from murder, rape, stealing, lieing, etc. It keeps me from doing bad or evil, actively to someone else. It is a common attitude/philosophy among Americans. It is a “live and let live” mentality.
But is it the highest, the best rule by which man should live? Does Confucianism have the highest and best moral standard?
Compare that silver rule with the well-known “Golden Rule.” Jesus said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). This is the only place in Scripture where the Golden Rule is thus stated. Think about the higher moral standard that Jesus holds toward us in contrast with the silver rule by Confucius.
Jesus does not just demand that we not do evil toward others. He positively enjoins us to do good to others – whatever we want for them to do to us. Confucius says “Do not steal from a poor person.” Jesus tells us to give food, clothes, water to the poor person. That is a very different standard and level of morality.
Of course the Golden Rule includes the principle of the silver rule. In Ephesians 4:28, Paul writes: “Let the thief no longer steal [The silver rule], but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need [The golden rule].” Confucius did not require that.
Jesus is the supreme teacher with the highest level of moral standards!