Dance of the Hebrew Letters (Meru video, 1992) is also being released on DVD, combined with FIRST LIGHT, a newly-compiled
half-hour introductory video sampler. FIRST
LIGHT is an easy-to-follow tour of our primary findings -- a
good way to introduce our Project to friends and colleagues. Watch for
release date and price in our next eTORUS.
ESSAY BY STAN
The Golden Rule underlies of all our spiritual and philosophical
traditions -- and is a guiding principle for our work.
The essay below was written in January 2006 -- before the recent Moslem
CHURCH AND STATE: THE GOLDEN SOLUTION
(c)2006 Stan Tenen
In Judaism, it is said that all of Torah is summarized by "Torah on one
foot" -- the Golden Rule -- "Don't do to others what is hateful to you.
The rest is commentary; go and study." This Golden Rule stated "in the
negative" is required to stop violence, vengeance, and chains of abuse
dead in their tracks.
In Christianity, the Golden Rule is also supreme: "Do unto others as
you would have them do unto you."
The Golden Rule is central to every spiritual tradition.
The Golden Rule is also central to the "theory of mind" that makes us
human. (This "objective" rational validation has been discussed by
arch-skeptic, scholar, and scientist, Michael Shermer, in his columns
in Scientific American, and in interviews and discussions on PBS.)
The public idiom also includes the centrality of the Golden Rule,
because everyone -- everyone indeed -- knows that "What goes around
comes around." (Except, it seems sometimes, overly fervent
Religious people bemoan the secularization and bowdlerization of our
society, and long for the teaching of their tradition's spiritual rules
so as to bring a semblance of peace and sanity that is lacking in the
exploitive, commercial (read "ungodly") world.
Secularists and people who believe that religion is best served when
it's kept completely separate from the state, also bemoan what's
happening to our society. However, they refuse to impose one group's
religious beliefs on another in response, because they know that this
would be counterproductive, and lead only to more strife.
The fact is that fervent advocates of their own faith (or politics) are
not following the Golden Rule, because they certainly would not want
themselves or their children to be subject to such advocacy in turn. In
other words, fervent proselytization rejects the understanding that
it's a law of nature that "what goes around comes around". The Golden
Rule tells us that those selling one faith will find themselves and
their children sold another.
Proselytization of the Golden Rule
itself -- the root principle of all our faiths and sciences -- leads to respect for each and every one of
us, and for each and every faith and tradition.
The world has never been, and certainly is not now, a monoculture.
---Except in one regard:
We all believe -- religious people and secular people alike, scientists
and scholars alike, capitalists and socialists alike -- the Golden Rule.
This is because, while it is our religious traditions who have most
voiced this teaching, its original source is in all of us. All but the
most unintelligent primate knows that others have feelings, and deserve
the same respect and treatment that they wish for themselves.
So, here's my proposal. Public schools (such as those in the US, where
this is a current issue) should not teach the particular principles of
Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism (other than to mature
students in comparative religion classes).
Instead, they should teach the root principle underlying all of these
traditions, and the traditions of skepticism, science, and scholarship
as well. We don't teach the Ten Commandments; we teach that people who
believe in the Ten Commandments should be respected by people who do
not, and vice-versa -- because this is the Golden Rule.
As a side-benefit, as it turns out, the Ten Commandments and the great
principles of the other faiths of the world can be logically derived
from the Golden Rule.
It's not the gilded, greed-driven "invisible hand" of Adam Smith that
guides the affairs of mice and men, but rather, the Golden Rule from
the Hand of God and the mind of man coequally, that is the natural
"temple" of intelligent and caring people. This, we can teach ourselves
and our children.
This is the idea that changed the world: "I speak for myself by what I
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