Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)


What are the shared values that might bring communities together and generate peace? Jesus taught that “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19, 22:39). This is one way to express the Golden Rule, which in various expressions is seen in virtually every religion and secular ethic. I think Jesus’ expression of the Golden Rule is an effective one.
For one thing, the “love” that we have for ourselves includes concern and respect. It should not be confused with feelings of affection that constitute the love we might have for a partner. This is helpful, because we might be concerned about the well-being of our neighbor, but it is often difficult to feel affection for people who are strangers or, especially, people we dislike.
Second, the principle of loving our neighbor as ourselves presumes that we are all equally important. It is natural to regard our own lives as far more important than the lives of others. However, to an outside observer (and this would evidently include God) we are equally valuable.
How do we apply this principle of loving our neighbor in everyday life? Next essay, I will consider the question: Who is our neighbor? Then, I discuss how compassion and mercy are two rather universal sentiments that can help direct our actions. 

Go on to: Who Is Our Neighbor?
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