Forget the Golden Rule, Says Philosopher A.C. Grayling

Philosopher A. C. Grayling, author of The Good Book: A Humanist Bible, discusses why the biblical Golden Rule isn't necessarily the best model for morality. "Doing unto others" isn't always the best policy, he explains, because people's desires vary and only in accepting these differences can one truly lead "the good life."

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British philosopher and public intellectual AC Grayling is considered the "nice guy" amongst the world's leading "anti-religion" advocates ... less cool and clinical than Richard Dawkins and more polite than Christopher Hitchens. Now, the mild-mannered atheist author has created a secular Bible, distilling the wisdom of the great non-religious traditions as a guide for life.

When it comes to God, Grayling is doggedly opposed. But he doesn't put his book in the same league as Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and Hitchens' "God Is Not Great". It doesn't attack religion and is unfailingly optimistic, for one. But that doesn't mean it won't upset many Christians.

"The Good Book" is a manifesto for rational thought, but mirrors the Bible in both form and language. Grayling explains he has spent several decades on his ambitious project, distilling what he considers "the best that has been thought and said by people who've really experienced life, and thought about it". - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

A.C. Grayling is professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is a fellow of the World Economic Forum and the author of Meditations for the Humanist.

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Comment by Donegal on September 20, 2011 at 12:33pm

I agree with Grayling's modified Golden Rule: "Do unto others as they'd have you do unto them so long as no one is harmed," with harm referring to undesired physical pain which may lead to permanent damage [as opposed to, oh, nipple clamps or the like for masochists, which cause pain but it is 1) not undesired and 2) not causing permanent damage].


Sure, it's more complicated, but isn't that the point in opposing religion as well? That life and people are more complicated than the good/evil, white/black mentality of so many religions?

Comment by Kitty on September 19, 2011 at 1:18pm
You know, this is true, and I'd not thought of it before. But it is rather arrogant to assume others would want the same as I, now, isn't it?



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