Comparing Primary Teachings



One should take care when basing your world views on mere memes, no doubt created by someone with very little knowledge (if any) of all the religions represented above.  However, before I pick apart this meme that was probably made with good intentions in mind, I will acknowledge the common ground mentioned.

The Golden Rule as mentioned and cited in the image at a glance appears to be reflected in these other major religions.  Let me say that it is an extremely noble effort to treat others well, and to find the common ground which we can all agree in at least some part.  I have no issue with all of mankind getting along in spite of our many differences.  To strive to treat others the way you would like to be treated is an admirable pursuit, no matter what creed you follow.  If you  aspire to this, then I salute you.

That being said, we must get to the real issue at hand here.  The problem with this meme is that it claims that the Golden Rule is the primary teaching of Christianity.  That is simply a false statement.  While it is an important Christian teaching, it is not the primary one.  And if you have been taught that this is the primary teaching of Christ, then you have been misled.  If you are being taught this, then I urge you to seek a new teacher.  I urge you to read the Bible for yourself, and you will see that this is not the case.

The image cites Matthew 7:12.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

This is only a small part of the often misquoted Matthew chapter 7.  This whole excerpt is about judgement, and how to go about it with a Biblical mindset.  But this is not the primary teaching for Christians.

So what is the primary teaching?  If you read the Bible in earnest, the most important parts do not involve how we treat others.  The most important parts are in fact dealing with our relationship with God.  Allow me to cite the words of Jesus:

Mark 12:28-30   –   And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.     (Emphasis added)

Immediately following this, Jesus says that the Golden Rule is secondary to this most important teaching.

Mark 12:31   –   The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

So you see, while the Golden Rule is quite important and shouldn’t be ignored, it is not the primary teaching for Christians.  The primary teaching is to love the Lord your God.

So what does this mean?  It means that this immediately sets Christianity apart from these other religions.  Why?  Because Christians are told to love God.  Christians are also taught that Jesus Christ Himself is God in the flesh.  This is what sets Christianity apart.  Because we are forced to look at what the other religions say about God, and about Jesus Christ.  No other religion acknowledges the deity of Jesus Christ.  And only Christianity says that  Jesus Christ is the only Way, and the only Truth.

So while a lot of religions may in fact contain partial truths, when it comes to the ultimate truth, only the full and complete Truth matters.  Before you ask me who I am to judge, I will say that I did not judge.  God already has, and I am merely relaying the information presented to us in the Holy Bible.  And regarding the Golden Rule, I if there was an ultimate Truth that affected my eternity, I would want someone to inform me.  If they truly believed that I was bound for hell, I would want them to warn me with a caring heart.  So by pointing out this error, I am treating others the way I would want to be treated.

In regards to the image above, if it is wrong about the primary teaching of Christianity, then what else does it have wrong?  No matter the common ground and partial truth that is listed above, are these in fact the primary teachings and pursuits of these other religions?  Where there is commonality, one should take note.  However, where they differ, they differ drastically.

Therefore I urge you to seek not partial truths, but to seek the whole truth.