Ethic of Reciprocity

gandhi.jpg   Mahatma Gandhi – 1869-1948



  • “What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others.” — Confucius (ca. 551 – 479 B.C.)
  • “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man.” — Hillel (ca. 50 B.C. – A.D. 10)
  • “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” — Muhammad (c. A.D. 571 – 632), Hadith 13 of al-Nawawi‘s Forty Hadith
  • “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the lord.” — Torah Leviticus 19:18
  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” — Jesus (c. 5 B.C. – A.D. 32 ) in the Gospels, Matthew 7:12,  Luke 6:31, Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:39
  • “An’ Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will” – The Wiccan Rede

Almost every religion and culture has its own form of Ethic of Reciprocity, a fundamental moral principle, which is just another way of saying “treat others the way you would like to be treated.” The best known ethic is the Christian version, which says, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “The Golden Rule”.

It’s amazing to me that so many people of varied religions can refer to this concept, but not live their lives according to it. The greatest failure of organized religion is its inability to convince followers that the “Golden Rule” applies to all people, and not just followers of their own particular religion. Religious leaders and followers should be preaching that the ethic of reciprocity applies to people of all religions, all genders, all sexual orientations and all races instead of hiding behind religion to preach hatred, indifference and intolerance.

“Like the bee gathering honey from the different flowers, the wise person accepts the essence of the different scriptures and sees only the good in all religions.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

2 thoughts on “Ethic of Reciprocity

  1. I liked your comments on the Ethic of Reciprocity. I have Google set up to send me alerts when it finds new articles on this topic or the “Golden Rule”.

    It is indeed strange how we can know these things, even state them, and yet, except for a few people, here and there, now and then, we seem to have so much trouble living them.

    I thought that perhaps you would be interested in a little project I have going. It’s called the Golden Rule Radical at

    Please feel free to drop in. There’s also a discussion group that you are most welcome to join.

    Thanks again. Its from posts like yours that we will keep nudging ourselves forward into transformation.

  2. Thanks for the encouraging remarks and comment. This is a subject of great importance to me and it’s good to know others feel the same. I will certainly visit your site and hope other bloggers will do the same. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

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