[quote="Peter_Plato, post:1, topic:343947"]
I intended to post this in a thread related to opposition to gay marriage being hateful, but that thread was summarily closed. I am hoping that Mr. Turner will continue this discussion.
Mr. Turner made the following observation concerning the Golden Rule and included a number of Biblical quotes to support his contention.
To which I intended to reply:
All your quotes notwithstanding, the golden rule is not to be considered a "moral principle" because it doesn't "underpin" the ethics of Christianity.
Definition of principle:
The fundamental truth of Christianity is not that we should treat others the way we want them to treat us, because, as a fundamental truth, that would be consistent with sadomasochism.
No, the fundamental truth that underpins or forms the foundation of Christianity is that all human beings are valued eternally by the infinite ground of all reality, aka God. Given THAT basic understanding, i.e., that each of us has eternal - and not just consensual or contractual worth - we are obligated to treat others according to our understanding of that worthiness.
Thus the Golden Rule follows from the more foundational ethical belief concerning human value.
From that basic or foundational understanding we can reason to (recall the definition of principle) the moral rule of thumb that we SHOULD treat others as we would want to be treated, GIVEN the manner WE should be treated as creations valued by the ground of all reality.
That is why the Golden Rule is, strictly speaking, a "rule of thumb" and not a moral principle.
Here's the definition from Wikipedia:
Clearly, the Golden Rule is not a foundational principle, as you claim, because it assumes the person citing it is familiar with and agrees to the foundational belief that human beings do have eternal value. It is, as the definition from Wikipedia states, the "easily learned," "easily applied," procedure for "recalling some value" (the eternal worth of others) or "making some determination" (how to treat them.)
It cannot be the "foundational principle" because without the assumption of eternal worth, the Golden Rule can be quite effectively applied by someone who hates everyone, including themselves, to go on a shooting spree. If he wants to be killed, the Golden Rule would seem to encourage him in the direction of killing anyone he encounters.
The Golden Rule is, therefore, not foundational, but rather functions a "rule of thumb" derived by "a chain of reasoning" (as the definition of principle cited above shows) from the more foundational moral premises of Christianity.
That is the way Christ intended it to be understood; that much is clear. It was intended as a quick and dirty means of assessing how to act in a challenging and pressing situation based on the foundational belief that all humans have equal and eternal worth. It was not an explication of the underlying reality that God values every human being eternally, which is the necessary moral principle undergirding the Golden Rule.
I understand what you are saying. That is, without G-d's definition of the eternal, unconditional, and equal worth of every human being, there is no foundation on which to build the Golden Rule, which may thus even be misinterpreted as you point out. At the same time, the foundation alone, while essential, does not suffice. What Hillel the Elder seemingly dismisses as "commentary" to the Torah is also necessary to study and practice, for just as in the construction of an edifice, without building upon the foundation, one has no home in which to live.