Jul 3, 2011

62 Did Christianity invent compassion

Believer says: Jesus invented and taught compassion. 

Matthew So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

But skeptic says: I doubt whether it’s really the case that Christianity invented compassion. Here are several instances of non-Christian documentation about being nice: 

Seneca: "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors." Epistle 47:11 (Rome, mid-1st century AD) 

Confucianism: "Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state." (China, Analects Bk.12, Ch.2, 3rd century BC) 

Plato: "May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me." Laws Bk.11.254 (Greece, 4th century BC) 

Egyptian papyrus: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another." (Egypt, 4th century BC) 

Isocrates: "Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others." (Greece, "Nicocles" 6, 4th century BC) 

Leviticus 19:18 Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you love yourself. (Israel, 6th century BC) 

Tao Te Ching: “To those who are good to me, I am good; to those who are not good to me, I am also good. Thus all get to be good. To those who are sincere with me, I am sincere; to those who are not sincere with me, I am also sincere. Thus all get to be sincere. . . . The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful.” (China, Chapter 49, 3rd century BC) 

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