Should Christians follow the ‘Platinum rule’?

Question 189, from Ben, United Kingdom

I have come across an interesting concept called the ‘Platinum rule’ which states “Treat others the way they want to be treated”. Advocates of it have said that the Golden rule presumes that all people are alike. However I can see that the “Platinum rule” allows for too much permissiveness and acceptance of some-things that ought not be accepted. I am curious as to a theological analysis of the “Platinum rule”, and its contrast to the Golden rule.

The ‘Golden rule’ can be found in Matthew chapter 7, verse 12 and Luke chapter 6, verse 31, and is often referred to using the more traditional form  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. It isn’t an exclusively Christian idea and can be found in almost every significant religious and philosophical system, including implicitly in the Jewish Torah.

The ‘Platinum rule’ was coined in the 1970s by customer service experts, and refers to finding out how customers would like to be treated. Its transition into ethical decision-making would be interesting, however it presupposes that people actually know how they want to be treated and that it is possible to treat them that way. (more…)

Jesus’ teaching on divorce and separation

Question 188, from Nigel, United Kingdom

How would Jesus pastorally support someone going through a marital separation or divorce?

This is a difficult question because Jesus seems to respond differently on the issue of divorce depending on the circumstances.

For example, in an encounter with the religious leaders, he is quite outspoken on the issue of divorce.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’

‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ (more…)