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Did Jesus Plagiarize the Golden Rule?

Everyone knows Jesus’ teaching, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” This teaching is so famous that it has its own title – the Golden Rule.

While is is widely acknowledge that Jesus taught it, some believe that this is not unique to him. In fact, critics claim that Jesus actually plagiarized the Golden Rule from those who taught before him. They point out that other religious teachers and philosophers had been teaching the rule to their students long before Jesus ever delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount.

One such critic, the popular blogger Friendly Atheist, posted a cartoon poking fun at the fact that Jesus did not come up with the Golden Rule. Rather, it was around long before Jesus (although the cartoon mistakenly references the Hadiths, which came hundreds of years after Jesus.)

The conclusion? Jesus plagiarized from other religious teachers and did not do unto others has he would not have done unto himself.

But therein lies the key to whether or not Jesus actually plagiarized. Do not against do. Negative versus positive.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.


All Urantia Book readers will appreciate this article. I sure do...

Using the term "plagiarism" is so unnecessary and really inflammatory against Jesus. Any teacher worth his/her salt will take the best from any source of truth and package it for new hearers. Jesus was the pioneer in this regard.

Jesus never claimed to have coined either the teaching, or the name of this teaching that has become to be known as the Golden Rule. He did, however, improve it and made it eminently accessible and useful to a whole new generation of believers by - as the article suggests - turning it on its head and changing it from a "thou shalt not" to a suggestion of a positive action. Jesus did this not only with the golden rule, but also with Scripture, where he gleaned only the most positive messages, those messages that were most consistent with the teachings of his mission and the truths of God. He advised his followers to do likewise...

One of the first Urantia Book references to the Golden Rule is the following

70:1.2 War is an animalistic reaction to misunderstandings and irritations; peace attends upon the civilized solution of all such problems and difficulties. The Sangik races, together with the later deteriorated Adamites and Nodites, were all belligerent. The Andonites were early taught the golden rule, and, even today, their Eskimo descendants live very much by that code; custom is strong among them, and they are fairly free from violent antagonisms.

So, we can see that this golden rule has been taught in one form or another for generations before Jesus appeared on earth. Here on TruthBook, we have a page dedicated to the many different permutations of this age-old rule. Please see it HERE

It is such a beautiful and sensible and inspiring teaching, it is no wonder that Jesus adapted it for his mission. Putting a positive spin on traditional-type teachings like this was Jesus' specialty.

And of course, the best of this teaching was when he translated and transposed the idea of "doing unto others" into this beautiful statement.

"The spiritual level. And then last, but greatest of all, we attain the level of spirit insight and spiritual interpretation which impels us to recognize in this rule of life the divine command to treat all men as we conceive God would treat them. That is the universe ideal of human relationships. And this is your attitude toward all such problems when your supreme desire is ever to do the Father’s will. I would, therefore, that you should do to all men that which you know I would do to them in like circumstances.”

Jesus called this the "Rule of Living."

Read more about The Rule of Living HERE

No matter what, Jesus' teachings always accentuated the positive approach to life, to conflict, to evil, and to any problem:

159:5.11 ...Jesus abhorred the idea either of retaliation or of becoming just a passive sufferer or victim of injustice. On this occasion he taught them the three ways of contending with, and resisting, evil:

1. To return evil for evil—the positive but unrighteous method.

2. To suffer evil without complaint and without resistance—the purely negative method.

3. To return good for evil, to assert the will so as to become master of the situation, to overcome evil with good—the positive and righteous method.

One of the apostles once asked: “Master, what should I do if a stranger forced me to carry his pack for a mile?” Jesus answered: “Do not sit down and sigh for relief while you berate the stranger under your breath. Righteousness comes not from such passive attitudes. If you can think of nothing more effectively positive to do, you can at least carry the pack a second mile. That will of a certainty challenge the unrighteous and ungodly stranger.”

The Jews had heard of a God who would forgive repentant sinners and try to forget their misdeeds, but not until Jesus came, did men hear about a God who went in search of lost sheep, who took the initiative in looking for sinners, and who rejoiced when he found them willing to return to the Father’s house. This positive note in religion Jesus extended even to his prayers. And he converted the negative golden rule into a positive admonition of human fairness.

Read about The Positive Nature of Jesus' Religion HERE

I just hope I see the day when the world becomes familiar with The Urantia Book and its amazing restatement of the teachings of Jesus. It really IS what the world needs now...

Link to External Source Article

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