24 / Future Of Religion
From the Jus Talionis to the Golden Rule

23 – 28 April 2007   print this page

Course directors:

Mislav Kukoč, University of Split, Croatia
Denis R.Janz, Loyola University, New Orleans, United States
Gottfried Küenzlen, University of Bundeswehr München, Germany
Dinka Marinović-Jerolimov, Institute for Social Research, Zagreb, Croatia
Michael R.Ott, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, United States
Rudolf J. Siebert, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, United States

Course description:

Our discourse will be concerned with the possible transition from the Jus Talionis - Eye for eye and tooth for tooth, freeman for freeman and slave for slave - to the Golden Rule -So always treat others as you would like them to treat you:that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets - in personal and collective, national and international relations and behavior. Daily the Jus talionis has been practiced in the most cruel way in recent years on both sides in Palestine,in the Lebanon,in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in the Sudan, and elsewhere. Friedrich Nietzsche once hoped, that human kind would be redeemed some day from revenge and retalation, But the spell and the ban of the Lex Talionis over individuals, groups, and nations continues unbroken. Crime is committed against crime without the order of morality and law being restored. To the contrary, as crime is committed against crime, criminality is only multiplied and escalated. In our discourse we want to explore the possible biological, psychological, economic, sociolpgical, anthropological, theolopgical causes for the always new application of the most primitive, and archaic, and mythological Jus Talionis into a bad infinity without end. Why has the Christian attempt to abolish the Lex Talionis through the fourth commandment of the so called Sermon on the Mount not worked universally so far? Why were the Hindu Mahatma Ghandi and his followers able to break the ban of the Lex Talionis, and instead to practice the Golden Rule successfully, while so many members of the Abrahamic religions have such a hard time to realize it ? Of course, if the Golden Rule is not practiced, the praxis of the Lex Talionis is the unavoidable and necessary consequence in private and collective life. All living world religions share the Golden Rule. It has also been inverted, translated,sublated,rationaoized and secularized in modern, post-modern, and post-metaphysical philosophical and social-scientific discourse into the principle of the categorical imperative -Act in such a way, that the maxime of your will can at any time also be valid as principle of a universal legislation, or Act in such a way, that you use the humanity in your own person as well as in the person of every other human being always also as purpose, never merely as means - and into the apriori of the unlimited communication community - Your action is ethically valid, when it finds the consensus of the universal communication community, particularly of the possible victims. The Golden Rule in its religious and secular forms is not only a hypothetical, conditional, but a categorical, apodictic, unconditonal norm. and it is practicable and doable in modern and post-modern highly complex situations, in which individuals and groups have to act communicatively and instrumentally only too often. The Golden Rule could very well become the foundation of a global ethos, which could inform the actions of teachers, economists, businemen, politicians, generals, as well as of the masses of the people in such a way, that the application of the Lex Talionis would become for them more and more implausible and unacceptable. It is the purpose of our discourse to contribute to such enlightenment and emancipation as reconciliation.

Course lecturers:

Paul Viminity, University of Lethbridge, Canada
Vedrana Spajic Vrka, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Siniša Zrinščak, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Reimon Bachika, Buddhist University Kyoto, N/A
Goran Goldberger, Institute for Social Research, Zagreb, Croatia
Ankica Marinovic Bobinac, Institute for Social Research, Zagreb, Croatia
Kjartan Selnes, Human-Etisk Farbunol,Oslo,Norway, Norway