It seems to me that Religion, from a practical perspective, is a set of guidelines to live ones life by. (Brand loyalty gives rise to a multitude of flavours; Judaism, Budism, Christianity etc)
I guess I have one of those.
I like to think I have derived them from first principles. “If I was on the receiving end of the action I am taking, what would I think or feel about that action and the person taking it?” Karen Armstrong is doing her best to get us back to those first principles by advocating reviving the golden rule.
Being agnostic there is one overriding rule I feel compelled to live by “Don’t Recruit Followers to My Religion” , or in other words, “Thou shalt not promote one’s Brand”. I have my own reasons for this rule.
- There is Power in Numbers.
- Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
- “He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!” – quote Brian’s Mother, Life of Brian (1979)
Even more compelling a reason is that someone I can assume carries a great degree of credibility, forbid conversion of Jews and Christians (people of the book) to Islam. Who am I to argue with the Prophet Muhammad ? Not until the 10th Century did it become legal to convert Jews and Christians. Obviously 400 years or so is sufficient enough time to corrupt a religion.
Someone else that holds a bit of sway in the Jewish community, Rabbi Hillel, stated that, “The Book” so to speak could be summed up by “The Golden Rule”. This guy died when Jesus was 10. Not sure how well teachings got around in those days, but I can assume that Jesus was pretty taken with the Golden Rule as well.
- Taking the advice of a the pretty switched on historic figures above as, likely to be “good”.
- That my religion (my system by which I make my moral decisions) is based on the golden rule.
- Q.E.D. No Recruiting Rule.
I can show you a man made plan but I can’t show you a miracle.