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The Golden Rule in Interfaith Relations from Early Modern to Contemporary Times. The Evolution of Arguments for Religious Tolerance

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Abstract

Right from the beginnings of its association with the name «Golden Rule», the moral principle of reciprocity was significantly used in moral arguments dealing with political decisions. Thomas Hobbes, one of the earliest authors using the Golden Rule as a political argument, argued that Christians of his time did not make enough effort to place themselves in the position of a non-Christian person. Early modern theologians remained preoccupied by the confessional rivalries at the core of the theological-political projects of the theocratic-like states. Philosophers like Locke, Leibniz, Clarke, Kant, were fully aware of the unwanted consequences of the application of the Golden Rule principle in regulating social behavior. Kierkegaard represents an early example of the willingness to eliminate the social or political predominance in the application of the Golden Rule. Globalization and multiculturalism, in the 20th and 21st century marked the beginning of a return to a Golden Rule of compassion, as originally stated by the sacred texts of each great monotheism.

Keywords

Golden Rule, compassion, political theory, confessional rivalries, theocracy, interfaith relations

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