One Verse that Defines, then Ends, All Religion

The Beginning and End of Religion and Faith. . .
The Beginning and End of Religion and Faith. . .

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

We know that the person who said this was not a Christian (you know that, right?).  But I’m wondering if even his “followers” missed this one.  I’m serious.

“The Law and the Prophets” means The Scriptures.  Think about how you want others to treat you, and then treat them the same way.  Simple.  What does the outcast heretic infidel teacher teach?  To do this IS the whole scripture.  Sums it all up.  Do this and you’re done!  Practice this and everything else is a fading footnote.  The way you live is superior to any scripture or sacred duty, to any theology or tribe.

This IS faith. . .and faith becomes irrelevant.

Secular interpretation #1:  Let go of the scripture and just live a thoughtful life.

Secular interpretation #2:  Let go of religion and do the right and good thing.

Secular interpretation #3 (especially for those humble believers who proudly make their claim, “I’m not religious, I have faith!”):  Let go of your faith and simply live a loving life.

Is it possible the entire history of the Christian Faith missed this major, central point taught by the “Lord” they claim to follow and serve?

Maybe he said too much in the foggy mountain air that day?  Maybe he whispered this line just to see if anyone was really listening?

By the way, as you may have heard–Moses, Confucius, Buddha and Muhammad said pretty much the same thing.  Their followers may have missed the point too.

So, one verse, one instruction, one wise word, both defines religious faith. . .

and ends it.

I find that delightfully troubling, don’t you?

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2 thoughts on “One Verse that Defines, then Ends, All Religion

  1. The Jewish version of this is that someone wanting to cause trouble for trouble’s sake went to the renowned Rabbi Hillel and asked him to “explain to me the whole Torah for the time I can stand on one foot.” Hillel then recited the Golden Rule and said, “all the rest is commentary; now go and study it.” You seem in your post to be asking, “Why study it?” I guess we slow-witted folks need tons of reinforcement. (Cf: one single Yom Kippur doesn’t seem to do the trick of getting rid of engaging in acts we need to say we are sorry about.)

  2. Thank you for the reminder, Karen (Hillel is quoted on the poster). I remember that from world religion and ethics studies in college and seminary. Stunning isn’t it? Confucius said essentially the same thing in China five centuries earlier.

    I’m not suggesting people don’t study this nearly universal teaching, but more urging that all of us *practice* it without the distractions of texts and theology, since it was apparently so central to major ethical teaching.

    Good be with you!

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