How simple is morality? Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Ask that question before every decision and the question of morality becomes quite simple. However, being a moral animal becomes quite difficult. In fact, most likely it’s the other way around, all the philosophies and religions are derived from it.
The Golden Rule, derived from Jesus and pretty much every other religion, is simply treat everyone else as you would want them to treat you. Seems like something to teach our kids when they’re learning to share. In reality, it’s a metaphysical postulate derived from the core beliefs of all the religions as well as the philosophies of Spinoza, Schopenhauer and others.
Pondering over it for a few hours, you come to the question, why should I love my neighbor so much? Is there a logical reasoning for this or is it just something that God said, so we do it? I think Hinduism and Buddhism have more of a clue as to why this rule is logical.
The application of the rule however is also something to ponder over. How exactly could we follow the literal interpretation of this rule? Imagine having to care for someone else to the extent in which we care for ourselves or our children. Would we ever sacrifice our child for someone else? The answer should be “Yes” according to the rule. I think this is the point that God was trying to make to Abraham.
I know this is a hard rule to live by, but I strongly believe that we should not kid ourselves when we violate it. We should recognize that we are violating it and then violate it knowingly if we choose. Only then can we have a full understanding of our actions and their implications.
The worst form of hypocrisy is when we violate our beliefs and ethics and then justify it by pleading ignorance. It is almost a delusional hypocrisy of which most people are guilty.
I’m not trying to say that we should feel regret every day of our lives but just understand that we still have room a lot of for improvement. By constantly recognizing the situations in which we can apply the rule, we will slowly find that we actually are capable of following it more and more consistently.