Second Place for the Golden Rule?

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12)

Second Place for the Golden Rule?

Christ’s statement, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12) has been called the Golden Rule because it seems to many to capture beautifully how we should engage with others in a way that can’t be improved on.

But it has been criticised. Some have said we should ditch the Golden Rule and upgrade to the Platinum Rule – “Do to others as they would have you do to them.” Is this an improvement? No, it isn’t.

The Platinum Rule certainly is the best way to behave if you are in sales or you want to get people to like you, but when we are talking about moral issues it is worthless.

The Golden Rule isn’t about making friends or getting followers. It’s about living for the blessing of others. The Golden Rule encourages you to love your neighbour, not pander to them, because  it encourages you to treat them in a way that you honestly believe is for their good, because it is the way you would want to be treated.

The Platinum Rule means you must abandon your moral convictions and do whatever your neighbour wants, even if you think it’s bad for him. That isn’t true love. Yet that is the way many are being pressured to behave – “Celebrate this lifestyle”, “Use these pronouns”, “Affirm these beliefs”, etc., and the Platinum Rule makes people think anyone who doesn’t get in step is being unloving and immoral.

The Golden Rule was spoken to disciples of Christ – those who were being taught His worldview, and were encouraged to seek the greatest good for others – their spiritual and eternal blessing. That means it would be cruel, immoral, unloving to cater to someone’s delusions, affirm what is false or celebrate what is harmful.

The Platinum Rule is only about making people feel good and it has no safeguards – you have to let the drunkard drink, the abuser abuse, the rapist rape, because the Rule is you have to do to others whatever they would have you do to them, including leave them alone while they destroy themselves and others. The Platinum Rule encourages insincerity and hypocrisy. It makes tough love a contradiction. Parents can no longer discipline their children, a friend can no longer challenge a friend’s choices, societies can no longer condemn any behaviour. It makes others Lord over your conscience and behaviour. The Golden Rule still stands supreme. The Platinum Rule is fake – don’t buy it.


Image source: Annie Spratt