The third Sunday of January marks World Religion Day, which this year lands on 21st January. The idea for it came from the Baha’i faith, which initiated the observance that later spread to be celebrated worldwide.

World Religion Day stems from the Baha’i principles of the oneness of religion and of progressive revelation. The purpose is to promote these principles by highlighting the ideas that the spiritual principles underlying the world's religions are harmonious, and that religions play a role in unifying humanity.

We absolutely agree with the notion of faith bringing harmony into people’s lives and believe this is a marvellous opportunity to celebrate each other’s faiths while recognising the underlying core principles that they share.

So we’d like to take this day as time to reflect on one of the foundations that many faiths and secular beliefs have in common – “Love thy neighbour”, or the “Golden Rule” as it is also known.

Practically every faith that exists in the world today has this Golden Rule in some shape or form as part of their teachings. We chose a few examples from different faiths to highlight this fact.

  • Judaism: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” — Leviticus 19:18
  • Christianity: "Do to others what you want them to do to you." Matthew 7:12
  • Islam: "As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don't do to them.” — Kitab al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 146
  • Baha’i faith: “And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself.” — Bahá'u'lláh
  • Hinduism: “If the entire Dharma can be said in a few words, then it is—that which is unfavorable to us, do not do that to others.” — Padmapuraana, shrushti 19/357–358
  • Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” — Udanavarga 5:18
  • Jainism: “A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.” — Sutrakritanga, 1.11.33
  • Sikhism: “Precious like jewels are the minds of all. To hurt them is not at all good. If thou desirest thy Beloved, then hurt thou not anyone's heart.” — Guru Arjan Dev Ji 259, Guru Granth Sahib
  • Taoism: “Regard your neighbour's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.” — T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien
  • Humanism: “Trying to live according to the Golden Rule means trying to empathise with other people, including those who may be very different from us. Empathy is at the root of kindness, compassion, understanding and respect – qualities that we all appreciate being shown, whoever we are, whatever we think and wherever we come from.” — Maria MacLachlan, Think Humanism

“Love thy neighbour” is such a simple rule, and yet it is also deeply profound and holds whole worlds within it. We'd like to invite everyone reading this post to keep this special guideline in mind for the day and see what it brings to you.

Will it change how you go about your day? Will you start noticing things you haven't before? We'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment on this page if you'd like to share your experience.