The Rede vs The Golden Rule

Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today, I want to talk about one moral difference between the Wiccan and Christian faith that resulted in my converting. There are many other reasons that I made the change from Christianity to Wicca, but I want to focus on just this one part today.

These two phrases are the foundation for the moral guidelines for how to interact with others for the two different faiths. The first being from the Wiccan faith and the second being from the Christian faith.

An ye harm none, do what ye will.

-Wiccan Rede

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

-Luke 6:31

I recently engaged in intellectual discourse with a Christian who claimed that at the heart our religions were founded upon the same morals. Needless to say, I had to disagree with that. They cited these two phrases as evidence that our religions gave identical guidance for interactions with others. Again, I had to disagree. And now, I have to share my thoughts as a post!

On the surface, both of these statements seem to be offering the same advice. But this is not the case. There are some very important differences between these statements that I think also highlight some of the important differences between the religious viewpoints.

The golden rule, or the quote cited above from Luke, advises people to treat others in an egocentric manner. This puts the Christian view at the center and makes it the proper and correct manner for behavior. If others dislike being treated in this manner, the golden rule will find no fault with the Christian for they acted as they were morally guided to. This means that the Christian is not only allowed, but is encouraged to project their moral value set onto others. If those interacting with the Christian dislike the manner in which the Christian has behaved, the fault lies on the other for failing to adhere to proper standards.

The Wiccan Rede takes a different approach. Causing no harm is the first concern and is the responsibility of the Wiccan. The Rede gives the Wiccan the moral responsibility to treat others in the manner they wish to be treated rather then in the manner the Wiccan believes a person should be treated. The other person is put at the center rather then the Wiccan. This means that if someone is upset with the manner in which a Wiccan has treated them, it becomes the Wiccan’s moral responsibility to make amends.

Let’s look at an example of how this moral guidance works in practice. There is a person who is born with the biological sex female but they identify male. They are more comfortable being called he.

Due to their religious beliefs, this makes the Christian uncomfortable and they prefer to call this person she. The golden rule advises them to treat others as they would want to be treated so they call this person she. This makes the other person feel angry and invalidated. Reflecting on their moral code, the Christian concludes they have done none wrong. Because they haven’t done anything wrong it must be this other person who is wrong.

The beliefs of the Wiccan are not relevant in this situation by the standards of the Rede. This means that regardless of how they feel about the use of pronouns, they will strive to cause no harm. Thus they will call this other person “he.” There will be no conflict between the Wiccan and the other person as the Rede has guided them to treat others in the manner that will cause no harm.

This example demonstrates the important difference between these two phrases. The golden rule is focused upon centering the Christian and their values while the Wiccan Rede is focused upon centering the wellbeing of all people. The Rede acknowledges that we will interact with others that are different then ourselves and it gives us moral guidance to protect and embrace that difference. The Christian’s gold rule does not acknowledge that others can or should be different and this is because it is part of a faith that demands uniformity of behavior.

This is just one of the many reasons that I chose to leave the Christian faith in favor of Wicca. This isn’t to say that there are not individuals who believe in this faith who are capable of embracing the differences of others. But it is written within the doctrine of the faith that differences are not desired. Sometimes it is subtle, like it is here in the golden rule. But it is there. And I cannot follow a faith that emphasizes themselves as the center before everyone else.

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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