Right and wrongRight and wrong

I have a friend who's company I cherish. He has been a source of inspiration, calmness, equinamity in times of challenge, and just all-around good dude. He also professes to faith of a Christian bent. A recent conversation we had touched on (by "touched on" I mean we spent well over an hour on - and will likely spend considerably more time in the future) the Golden Rule.

I've found a couple of articles which delve into the etymology of the Golden Rule:

I like "ethic of reciprocity" (ER) as it is more specific and indicates more clearly what it is. So, "ER" it is from here-on. Also, when I say "we", "us", "our", etc., I mean human beings in general.

I contend that ER is generally applicable to all life; any species that doesn't adhere to it, dies. There are even species which develop ER-like mechanisms to enhance life with other species. (I'm not going to get into this inter-species ER; look it up - any discussion of mutualism (and) biology will do.)

There are discussions on the difficulties of applying ER to some (a lot?) of human situations. I disagree - though perhaps that's because I believe those discussions miss the fundamental thrust of ER. Without respect and adherence to the needs of others, we cannot survive.

Primary to that adherence is the recognition of the human condition, and the knowledge that the condition of other humans is unlikely to reflect ours; we allow for variances of others as they allow for ours. My "belief in something" is irrelevant to the well-being of your "belief in something". "Belief" is a thought process, nothing more, yet human beings (and only human beings) continue to allow differences of thought processes to rip us apart. My belief in the Tooth Fairy is no more or less valid than your belief in Baal. Yet we allow the differences in what we each personally think to ridicule, subjugate, judge and/or kill each other.

We are currently (have been for maybe 6000 years) in the situation where ER is not always applicable; this is a deviation from humanness that has plagued (nearly) all humans - and has a direct impact on other life - since the invention of "right and wrong", and the judgement that is required to maintain such a distinction. After studying this for a bit, it now seems somewhat baffling to me that we - I mean you and me - allow ourselves to judge others, and, perhaps more impactfully, judge ourselves. This process of judging is nothing more than applying learned (not innate) standards against ourselves and others. There are certainly objective criteria which can be applied to most actions, but there are a very large set of non-objective criteria which have no consequence except to elevate or denigrate those who apply a different set of standards to those actions. And we have built - and continue to build - entire cultures around exactly those non-objective, learned criteria/standards. The ideas of right and wrong themselves are used as the foundation for furthering the goals of those who have specific ideas of right and wrong.

[...to be continued...]