On the radio, DJs record and play things from various media outlets for their sign on/sign off routines, usually without telling us where it came from. One DJ in my hometown would play a favorite quote of mine: “Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes.” I have no idea where it came from, but it was the first thing I thought of when I read this:

Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people how to live.

This would be from the great philosopher Jesse “The Body” Ventura. It was quoted in Playboy‘s Novemeber 1999 issue. I’m relaying the quote from here, not from the original source. Just in case my wife reads this, I want that to be perfectly clear!

Anyway, Ventura’s statement pretty much tips the irony meter. I’m glad he lives by the Golden Rule, but the Golden Rule’s source is religious. The most common phrasing of the rule comes from the King James Version of the Bible (Mt 7:12)! It may not have originated with Jesus, but Jesus did make it famous.

Way to not let religion guide your life!

About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on March 23, 2010, in Humor and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Rational Thought

    An early example of the Golden Rule that reflects the Ancient Egyptian concept of Maat appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant which is dated to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040 – 1650 BCE): “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do”. An example from a Late Period (c. 1080 – 332 BCE) papyrus: “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another”.

    The “Golden Rule” did not originate in Christianity, Judaism or Islam.

    • I acknowledged that the Golden Rule didn’t originate with Christianity, but stated it had a religious origin. I specifically said that Jesus did not originate the Golden Rule.

      Despite making certain I said that the Golden Rule didn’t originate with Christianity, I knew that someone would make a comment like this. Congratulations on making my prediction come true! No prize, but if you want to, you can reach around and give yourself a pat on the back from me.

      • Rational Thought

        You are correct. It did not originate in the NT.
        Jesus probably picked up that rule from another culture during his 20 year absence from around age 12 to around 32.

      • Influence of other cultures can be found all throughout the Bible. The Levitical codes for priestly behavior, for example, ring similar to other codes in place around the same time and sometimes even earlier.

        My question for you is this: Does borrowing philosophies from other cultures somehow mean that the Bible is not divinely inspired? Or, in order to be divinely inspired, would the entire thing have to be completely and totally original?

  2. Simply because the concept of the “golden rule” can be found in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s necessarily religious. Other literary sources originated ideas that are pretty prevalent in today’s thought. How many thought-provoking ideas about morality and the human condition are found in Shakespeare’s works? it’s really the same thing.

  3. Does borrowing philosophies from other cultures somehow mean that the Bible is not divinely inspired?

    Borrowing doesn’t “prove” that the Bible isn’t divinely inspired, but it provides a solid ground (among many) for questioning that belief. Such borrowing is strong evidence that the Bible is, like the texts from which it borrows, a collection of human ideas. Why should one regard the Bible any differently than one regards all those other texts from which the Bible borrowed? There is no more evidence for the alleged “divine inspiration” of the Bible than there is for the notion that Allah directly quoted every word of the Quran to Mohammed.

    • Borrowing doesn’t “prove” that the Bible isn’t divinely inspired, but it provides a solid ground (among many) for questioning that belief.

      No it doesn’t. Not if you read Jeremiah 31:33. If God is putting his law within our hearts, then it stands to reason that we can actually get objective morality right, and even *gasp* be good without God. Only the fundamentalist crazies try to argue otherwise. Even my own belief in total depravity in the Calvinist sense doesn’t preclude us humans getting moral precepts right. Other writings having those same precepts included is evidence that these moral precepts are absolute and divinely inspired. That they are included in the Bible is further evidence of their divine origin.

      As to why one should regard the Bible differently, I could point to fulfilled prophecy, but you’re very unlikely to believe that.

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