The Golden Rule Poll

I'm experimenting with the Blog Flux poll tool. It is really nifty and wickedly easy. So, here's a poll. I'm interested, for reasons to be revealed after the poll is over, on which formulation of the Golden Rule you prefer. Choice A is the positive formulation. Choice B is the negative formulation. Both are common across all world religions.

So, if you would like, cast your vote. Then, if you'd like, leave a comment as to WHY you prefer one formulation over the other. Vote before reading the comments so you won't be swayed by the thoughts of others.

On Wednesday I'll post about why I think this poll is ethically interesting.

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13 thoughts on “The Golden Rule Poll”

  1. I like the negative formulation because the positive formulation can lead to some very weird conclusions: something along the lines of "well . . . since I like pain I should inflict pain on others because that's what I want them to do to me." The negative, while not as assertive as the positive, makes it easier to avoid the (admitidly extreme) situation above.

    Blessings & Peace,

  2. Really, both formulations allow for twisted results; to make the negative work, just add another negative: "because I don't like it when people don't inflict pain on me, I should not refrain from inflicting pain on other people".

    I like the positive because it more clearly calls for ... gr ... altruism.

  3. I agree with the positive, because it is active. Our society tends to be more passive, though -- so I'd say the second is more common.

  4. Until midlife I operated from the "Thou shalt not". Now in my 70's I can through life experiences, searching and wholly the power of God, I am becoming more heartled to seek holiness. This feeds into my relationship with myself and others.

  5. I voted for the positive formulation, but as I thought about it, my actual behavior over the years has reflected the negative formulation. Interesting.

  6. I prefer the positive formulation. Looking back on my church upbringing, it seems to me that being a "faithful follower of Christ" was tantamount to obstaining from various things. Christ's call is a call to action. Refraining from hurting other people in various ways, though good, does not encompass all that is entailed in living as Christ.

  7. I think the positive formulation is more complete; the negative formulation is implicit within it and it is asking for behavior beyond the "minimum" of the negative formulation.

  8. I prefer the first formulation because it is active rather than passive. When I read the second formulation I immediately thought of the sin of omission.

  9. The Old Law says Do not harm, Jesus comes along and says, Do good, I suppose it's easier to not harm someone then to go out of your way and do good to them. But just because you do doesn't mean you will be recompensated. I really don't know, but I voted for the positive.

  10. I chose negative because this post made me realize that is the way I have interpreted the positive Biblical rule all my life.

    But I think I actually like the positive better, so perhaps I should have voted for that. The positive mind set makes us go out of our way to do something radically kind for our neighbors. Interesting topic, Richard, and thanks for always replying to everyone's posts. That takes a lot of time...

  11. I voted positve but am not sure that this is a closed set or a dichotomous variable....I could see these two options as a bit orthogonal, with most people "doing wanted things and not doing unwanted things" (traditionalist), "not doing wanted things and not doing unwanted things" (disengaged), "doing wanted things and doing unwanted things" (aloof; probably where I find myself most of the times), and not doing wanted things and doing unwanted things (mean). Just a thought

  12. I voted for the negative formulation because I think as much harm is done by people with good intentions as those with bad intentions. In the formulation of rules it is wiser and safer to stick to limiting harm.

    Now, when it comes to wise advice it is appropriate to go further and suggest specific forms and ways to do good, but in those instances you will be very specific.

    Rules = limited and circumspect
    Advice = varied and specific

  13. I voted for the positive formulation because I want to be treated according to my own needs, desires, preferences, etc. Thus, treating others like I want to be treated means giving others what THEY want or need, not what I want. Example: On a friend's birthday, I give them what they want, not what I want, because that's the way I want to be treated. Abstractly, I want to be treated with kindness and compassion and not as an object, so I try to treat others the same way. Sally

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