Attacks on Christ

Have you ever read or heard someone tell you that there’s nothing new in Christianity, that it contains some of the same truths as other world religions?  For example, one website points out the “universality of the golden rule in the world religions”, and then provides some of the following quotes below (Source:

  • Christianity – “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  (Matthew 7:12)
  • Confucianism – “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself.  Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.”  (Analects 12:2)
  • Hinduism – “This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.”  (Mahabharata 5,1517)
  • Islam – “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”  (Sunnah)
  • Judaism – “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman.  This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.”  (Talmud, Shabbat 3id)
  • Taoism – “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”  (Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien)
  • Zoroastrianism – “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.”  (Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5)

The goal of making these comparisons is to say, “See, Jesus is providing nothing new; other religions said this before Christ.”  It’s true that some of these religions indeed stated what we know as the “Golden Rule” prior to Christ coming to earth (of course, God said the same in the Law). 

Ironically, this fact actually proves the truth of Christianity.  If all of these religions were able to come up independently with basically the same Golden Rule, it begs the question how that’s possible.  Scripture gives us the answer.

In Romans 2:12-16, we read:

For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”

Paul is not saying here that Gentiles obeyed the Law of Moses perfectly.  The point here is that all humanity has the Law written in their hearts.  We all know instinctively what we should do.  Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves sums up the entire Law.

While God put this in writing for Israel, He also put it on everyone’s heart, so all would be without excuse when it comes to the knowledge of sin.  The fact that most world religions have the Golden Rule plainly demonstrates what is stated here in Romans 2. Therefore, this proves the truth of Christianity by confirming what Scripture teaches.

Of course, what these religions do not teach is that if one does not obey the golden rule perfectly (i.e., failing to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength), the wrath of a just God is what awaits all of us.  And, no one - absolutely no one - obeys perfectly. 

There is an exception:  only in Christ do we find the one who obeyed the Law perfectly, who loved God with all of His heart, soul, mind and strength, and who loved His neighbor as He loved Himself.  Other religions may have some truth of what we ought to do, but only Christ provides the solution for what we could not do.

So, when you don’t obey the golden rule, remember that if you are in Christ, He has obeyed it.  And if you are in Christ, then your name is written in the book of life.  Then, we can say with Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord Always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)