13.8: Discuss: Truth Table Practice

You will need to become familiar with creating a Truth Table in Blackboard. You may be asked to create a Truth Table for some of your exam questions. See Creating a Truth Table for instructions.

Create a new thread in the Truth Table Practice forum in the Discussion Board to submit your assignment.

This assignment is required and worth up to 10 points.

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  • Mathematics for the Liberal Arts I.

    In SL, capital letters are used to represent basic sentences. Considered only as a symbol of SL, the letter A could mean any sentence. So when translating from English into SL, it is important to provide a symbolization key. The key provides an English language sentence for each sentence letter used in the symbolization.

    For example, consider this argument:

    There is an apple on the desk.

    If there is an apple on the desk, then Jenny made it to class.

    This is obviously a valid argument in English. In symbolizing it, we want to preserve the structure of the argument that makes it valid. What happens if we replace each sentence with a letter? Our symbolization key would look like this:

    A: There is an apple on the desk.

    B: If there is an apple on the desk, then Jenny made it to class.

    C: Jenny made it to class.

    We would then symbolize the argument in this way:

    There is no necessary connection between some sentence A, which could be any sentence, and some other sentences B and C, which could be any sentences. The structure of the argument has been completely lost in this translation.

    The important thing about the argument is that the second premise is not merely any sentence, logically divorced from the other sentences in the argument. The second premise contains the first premise and the conclusion as parts. Our symbolization key for the argument only needs to include meanings for A and C, and we can build the second premise from those pieces. So we symbolize the argument this way:

    This preserves the structure of the argument that makes it valid, but it still makes use of the English expression ‘If. . . then. . ..’ Although we ultimately want to replace all of the English expressions with logical notation, this is a good start.

    The sentences that can be symbolized with sentence letters are called atomic sentences, because they are the basic building blocks out of which more complex sentences can be built. Whatever logical structure a sentence might have is lost when it is translated as an atomic sentence. From the point of view of SL, the sentence is just a letter. It can be used to build more complex sentences, but it cannot be taken apart.

    There are only twenty-six letters of the alphabet, but there is no logical limit to the number of atomic sentences. We can use the same letter to symbolize different atomic sentences by adding a subscript, a small number written after the letter. We could have a symbolization key that looks like this:

    Keep in mind that each of these is a different sentence letter. When there are subscripts in the symbolization key, it is important to keep track of them.


    The English word truth is from Old English tríewþ, tréowþ, trýwþ, Middle English trewþe, cognate to Old High German triuwida, Old Norse tryggð. Like troth, it is a -th nominalisation of the adjective true (Old English tréowe).

    The English word true is from Old English (West Saxon) (ge)tríewe, tréowe, cognate to Old Saxon (gi)trûui, Old High German (ga)triuwu (Modern German treu "faithful"), Old Norse tryggr, Gothic triggws, ΐ] all from a Proto-Germanic *trewwj- "having good faith". Old Norse trú , "faith, word of honour religious faith, belief" Α] (archaic English troth "loyalty, honesty, good faith", compare Ásatrú ).

    Thus, 'truth' involves both the quality of "faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, sincerity, veracity", Β] and that of "agreement with fact or reality", in Anglo-Saxon expressed by sōþ.

    All Germanic languages besides English have introduced a terminological distinction between truth "fidelity" and truth "factuality". To express "factuality", North Germanic opted for nouns derived from sanna "to assert, affirm", while continental West Germanic (German and Dutch) opted for continuations of wâra "faith, trust, pact" (cognate to Slavic věra "(religious) faith", but influenced by Latin verus). Romance languages use terms following the Latin veritas, while the Greek aletheia and Slavic pravda have separate etymological origins.


    The English word truth is from Old English tríewþ, tréowþ, trýwþ, Middle English trewþe, cognate to Old High German triuwida, Old Norse tryggð. Like troth, it is a -th nominalisation of the adjective true (Old English tréowe).

    The English word true is from Old English (West Saxon) (ge)tríewe, tréowe, cognate to Old Saxon (gi)trûui, Old High German (ga)triuwu (Modern German treu "faithful"), Old Norse tryggr, Gothic triggws, [ 2 ] all from a Proto-Germanic *trewwj- "having good faith". Old Norse trú , "faith, word of honour religious faith, belief" [ 3 ] (archaic English troth "loyalty, honesty, good faith", compare Ásatrú ).

    Thus, 'truth' involves both the quality of "faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, sincerity, veracity", [ 4 ] and that of "agreement with fact or reality", in Anglo-Saxon expressed by sōþ (Modern English sooth).

    All Germanic languages besides English have introduced a terminological distinction between truth "fidelity" and truth "factuality". To express "factuality", North Germanic opted for nouns derived from sanna "to assert, affirm", while continental West Germanic (German and Dutch) opted for continuations of wâra "faith, trust, pact" (cognate to Slavic věra "(religious) faith", but influenced by Latin verus). Romance languages use terms following the Latin veritas, while the Greek aletheia, Russian pravda and Serbian istina have separate etymological origins.

    Formal theories

    Truth in logic

    Logic is concerned with the patterns in reason that can help tell us if a proposition is true or not. However, logic does not deal with truth in the absolute sense, as for instance a metaphysician does. Logicians use formal languages to express the truths which they are concerned with, and as such there is only truth under some interpretation or truth within some logical system.

    A logical truth (also called an analytic truth or a necessary truth) is a statement which is true in all possible worlds [43] or under all possible interpretations, as contrasted to a fact (also called a synthetic claim or a contingency) which is only true in this world as it has historically unfolded. A proposition such as “If p and q, then p.” is considered to be logical truth because it is true because of the meaning of the symbols and words in it and not because of any facts of any particular world. They are such that they could not be untrue.

    Truth in mathematics

    There are two main approaches to truth in mathematics. They are the model theory of truth and the proof theory of truth [citation needed] .

    Historically, with the nineteenth century development of Boolean algebra mathematical models of logic began to treat “truth”, also represented as “T” or 𔄙”, as an arbitrary constant. “Falsity” is also an arbitrary constant, which can be represented as “F” or 𔄘”. In propositional logic, these symbols can be manipulated according to a set of axioms and rules of inference, often given in the form of truth tables.

    In addition, from at least the time of Hilbert’s program at the turn of the twentieth century to the proof of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and the development of the Church-Turing thesis in the early part of that century, true statements in mathematics were generally assumed to be those statements which are provable in a formal axiomatic system. [citation needed]

    The works of Kurt Gödel, Alan Turing, and others shook this assumption, with the development of statements that are true but cannot be proven within the system. [44] Two examples of the latter can be found in Hilbert’s problems. Work on Hilbert’s 10th problem led in the late twentieth century to the construction of specific Diophantine equations for which it is undecidable whether they have a solution, [45] or even if they do, whether they have a finite or infinite number of solutions. More fundamentally, Hilbert’s first problem was on the continuum hypothesis. [46] Gödel and Paul Cohen showed that this hypothesis cannot be proved or disproved using the standard axioms of set theory. [47] In the view of some, then, it is equally reasonable to take either the continuum hypothesis or its negation as a new axiom.

    Semantic theory of truth

    The semantic theory of truth has as its general case for a given language:

    ‘P’ is true if and only if P

    where ‘P’ is a reference to the sentence (the sentence’s name), and P is just the sentence itself.

    Logician and philosopher Alfred Tarski developed the theory for formal languages (such as formal logic). Here he restricted it in this way: no language could contain its own truth predicate, that is, the expression is true could only apply to sentences in some other language. The latter he called an object language, the language being talked about. (It may, in turn, have a truth predicate that can be applied to sentences in still another language.) The reason for his restriction was that languages that contain their own truth predicate will contain paradoxical sentences such as, “This sentence is not true”. As a result Tarski held that the semantic theory could not be applied to any natural language, such as English, because they contain their own truth predicates. Donald Davidson used it as the foundation of his truth-conditional semantics and linked it to radical interpretation in a form of coherentism.

    Bertrand Russell is credited with noticing the existence of such paradoxes even in the best symbolic formalizations of mathematics in his day, in particular the paradox that came to be named after him, Russell’s paradox. Russell and Whitehead attempted to solve these problems in Principia Mathematica by putting statements into a hierarchy of types, wherein a statement cannot refer to itself, but only to statements lower in the hierarchy. This in turn led to new orders of difficulty regarding the precise natures of types and the structures of conceptually possible type systems that have yet to be resolved to this day.

    Kripke’s theory of truth

    Saul Kripke contends that a natural language can in fact contain its own truth predicate without giving rise to contradiction. He showed how to construct one as follows:

    • Begin with a subset of sentences of a natural language that contains no occurrences of the expression “is true” (or “is false”). So The barn is big is included in the subset, but not ” The barn is big is true”, nor problematic sentences such as “This sentence is false”.
    • Define truth just for the sentences in that subset.
    • Then extend the definition of truth to include sentences that predicate truth or falsity of one of the original subset of sentences. So “The barn is big is true” is now included, but not either “This sentence is false” nor “‘The barn is big is true’ is true”.
    • Next, define truth for all sentences that predicate truth or falsity of a member of the second set. Imagine this process repeated infinitely, so that truth is defined for The barn is big then for “The barn is big is true” then for “‘The barn is big is true’ is true”, and so on.

    Notice that truth never gets defined for sentences like This sentence is false, since it was not in the original subset and does not predicate truth of any sentence in the original or any subsequent set. In Kripke’s terms, these are “ungrounded.” Since these sentences are never assigned either truth or falsehood even if the process is carried out infinitely, Kripke’s theory implies that some sentences are neither true nor false. This contradicts the Principle of bivalence: every sentence must be either true or false. Since this principle is a key premise in deriving the Liar paradox, the paradox is dissolved. [48]

    However, it has been shown by Gödel that self-reference cannot be avoided naively, since propositions about seemingly unrelated objects can have an informal self-referential meaning in Gödel’s work, these objects are integer numbers, and they have an informal meaning regarding propositions. In fact, this idea – manifested by the diagonal lemma – is the basis for Tarski’s theorem that truth cannot be consistently defined.

    It has thus been claimed [49] that Kripke’s system indeed leads to contradiction: while its truth predicate is only partial, it does give truth value (true/false) to propositions such as the one built in Tarski’s proof, and is therefore inconsistent. While there is still a debate on whether Tarski’s proof can be implemented to every similar partial truth system, none have been shown to be consistent by acceptable methods used in mathematical logic.

    4. Create a storyboard.

    Learn about how you can sometimes be nervous about telling the truth, but that the effort is always worth it.

    Draw four boxes on a piece of paper. In the first one, draw a child breaking something and feeling nervous about what would happen. In the second, draw how the child told the truth about what happened. In the third, draw how the parent reacted. In the fourth, draw how the parent helped the child fix what they broke. Tell the story to your child or ask them to tell the story using the pictures. Discuss how it can be hard to tell the truth, but that being truthful is always best. Explain that parents may be sad or disappointed by something that happened, but that they always want their children to tell the truth. A parent will do their best to help the child through a situation, and will be very proud when the child tells the truth even when it was hard.

    Will guiding your child through these activities mean they tell the truth every time? Probably not – childhood is all about learning, after all. But you as a parent will have a wider framework for discussing truthfulness with your kids if they have many experiences to think about what it means as a character trait… as opposed to thinking they should tell the truth simply because mom or dad told them to. Most importantly, “truthfulness” can seem like a fun thing – a useful thing, instead of something that they got in trouble for not practicing.

    The more children understand about positive character traits, the better the decisions they will be able to make for themselves.

    If you liked these activities, you may like to check out my ebook Playing with Purpose: Character Building Made Fun with over 100 activities to teach children about positive character traits. Find out more on this page.


    The term "Golden Rule", or "Golden law", began to be used widely in the early 17th century in Britain by Anglican theologians and preachers [7] the earliest known usage is that of Anglicans Charles Gibbon and Thomas Jackson in 1604. [1] [8]

    Ancient Egypt Edit

    Possibly the earliest affirmation of the maxim of reciprocity, reflecting the ancient Egyptian goddess Ma'at, appears in the story of "The Eloquent Peasant", which dates to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do." [9] [10] This proverb embodies the do ut des principle. [11] A Late Period (c. 664–323 BCE) papyrus contains an early negative affirmation of the Golden Rule: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another." [12]

    Ancient India Edit

    Sanskrit tradition Edit

    In Mahābhārata, the ancient epic of India, there is a discourse in which sage Brihaspati tells the king Yudhishthira the following about dharma, a philosophical understanding of values and actions that lend good order to life:

    One should never do something to others that one would regard as an injury to one's own self. In brief, this is dharma. Anything else is succumbing to desire.

    The Mahābhārata is usually dated to the period between 400 BCE and 400 CE. [13] [14]

    Tamil tradition Edit

    In Chapter 32 in the Book of Virtue of the Tirukkuṛaḷ (c. 1st century BCE to 5th century CE), Valluvar says:

    Do not do to others what you know has hurt yourself.

    Why does one hurt others knowing what it is to be hurt?

    Furthermore, in verse 312, Valluvar says that it is the determination or code of the spotless (virtuous) not to do evil, even in return, to those who have cherished enmity and done them evil. According to him, the proper punishment to those who have done evil is to put them to shame by showing them kindness, in return and to forget both the evil and the good done on both sides (verse 314). [16]

    Ancient Greece Edit

    The Golden Rule in its prohibitive (negative) form was a common principle in ancient Greek philosophy. Examples of the general concept include:

    • "Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing." – Thales[17] (c. 624–c. 546 BCE)
    • "What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either. " – Sextus the Pythagorean. [18] The oldest extant reference to Sextus is by Origen in the third century of the common era. [19]
    • "Do not do to others that which angers you when they do it to you." – Isocrates[20] (436–338 BCE)

    Ancient Persia Edit

    The Pahlavi Texts of Zoroastrianism (c. 300 BCE–1000 CE) were an early source for the Golden Rule: "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself." Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5, and "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others." Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29 [21]

    Ancient Rome Edit

    Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BCE–65 CE), a practitioner of Stoicism (c. 300 BCE–200 CE) expressed the Golden Rule in his essay regarding the treatment of slaves: "Treat your inferior as you would wish your superior to treat you." [22]

    According to Simon Blackburn, the Golden Rule "can be found in some form in almost every ethical tradition". [23]

    Abrahamic religions Edit

    Judaism Edit

    A rule of altruistic reciprocity for fellow tribe members was stated positively in a well-known Torah verse (Hebrew: ואהבת לרעך כמוך ‎):

    You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the L ORD .

    Hillel the Elder (c. 110 BCE – 10 CE), [25] used this verse as a most important message of the Torah for his teachings. Once, he was challenged by a gentile who asked to be converted under the condition that the Torah be explained to him while he stood on one foot. Hillel accepted him as a candidate for conversion to Judaism but, drawing on Leviticus 19:18, briefed the man:

    What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah the rest is the explanation go and learn.

    Hillel recognized brotherly love as the fundamental principle of Jewish ethics. Rabbi Akiva agreed, while Simeon ben Azzai suggested that the principle of love must have its foundation in Genesis chapter 1, which teaches that all men are the offspring of Adam, who was made in the image of God. [27] [28] According to Jewish rabbinic literature, the first man Adam represents the unity of mankind. This is echoed in the modern preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [29] [30] And it is also taught, that Adam is last in order according to the evolutionary character of God's creation: [28]

    Why was only a single specimen of man created first? To teach us that he who destroys a single soul destroys a whole world and that he who saves a single soul saves a whole world furthermore, so no race or class may claim a nobler ancestry, saying, 'Our father was born first' and, finally, to give testimony to the greatness of the Lord, who caused the wonderful diversity of mankind to emanate from one type. And why was Adam created last of all beings? To teach him humility for if he be overbearing, let him remember that the little fly preceded him in the order of creation. [28]

    The Jewish Publication Society's edition of Leviticus states:

    Thou shalt not hate thy brother, in thy heart thou shalt surely rebuke thy neighbour, and not bear sin because of him. 18 Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the L ORD . [31]

    This Torah verse represents one of several versions of the Golden Rule, which itself appears in various forms, positive and negative. It is the earliest written version of that concept in a positive form. [32]

    At the turn of the eras, the Jewish rabbis were discussing the scope of the meaning of Leviticus 19:18 and 19:34 extensively:

    The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the L ORD am your God.

    Commentators summed up foreigners (= Samaritans), proselytes (= 'strangers who resides with you') [34] or Jews. [35] to the scope of the meaning.

    On the verse, "Love your fellow as yourself", the classic commentator Rashi quotes from Torat Kohanim, an early Midrashic text regarding the famous dictum of Rabbi Akiva: "Love your fellow as yourself – Rabbi Akiva says this is a great principle of the Torah." [36]

    Israel's postal service quoted from the previous Leviticus verse when it commemorated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on a 1958 postage stamp. [37]

    Christianity Edit

    The "Golden Rule" was quoted by Jesus of Nazareth [38] during his Sermon on the Mount and described by him as the second great commandment. The common English phrasing is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". A similar form of the phrase appeared in a Catholic catechism around 1567 (certainly in the reprint of 1583). [39] Various applications of the Golden Rule are stated positively numerous times in the Old Testament: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." [40] . See also Great Commandment) and Leviticus 19:34: "But treat them just as you treat your own citizens. Love foreigners as you love yourselves, because you were foreigners one time in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.". [41]

    The Old Testament Deuterocanonical books of Tobit and Sirach, accepted as part of the Scriptural canon by Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the Non-Chalcedonian Churches, express a negative form of the golden rule:

    "Do to no one what you yourself dislike."

    "Recognize that your neighbor feels as you do, and keep in mind your own dislikes."

    Two passages in the New Testament quote Jesus of Nazareth espousing the positive form of the Golden rule:

    Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.

    And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

    A similar passage, a parallel to the Great Commandment, is Luke 10:25. [43]

    Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

    He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"

    He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself."

    He said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live."

    The passage in the book of Luke then continues with Jesus answering the question, "Who is my neighbor?", by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, which John Wesley interprets as meaning that "your neighbor" is anyone in need. [44]

    Jesus' teaching goes beyond the negative formulation of not doing what one would not like done to themselves, to the positive formulation of actively doing good to another that, if the situations were reversed, one would desire that the other would do for them. This formulation, as indicated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, emphasizes the needs for positive action that brings benefit to another, not simply restraining oneself from negative activities that hurt another. [45]

    In one passage of the New Testament, Paul the Apostle refers to the golden rule:

    For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    St. Paul also comments on the golden rule in the book of Romans:

    "The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,’ 'You shall not murder,’ 'You shall not steal,’ 'You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” [47]

    Islam Edit

    The Arabian peninsula was known to not practice the golden rule prior to the advent of Islam. According to Th. Emil Homerin: "Pre-Islamic Arabs regarded the survival of the tribe, as most essential and to be ensured by the ancient rite of blood vengeance." [48] Homerin goes on to say:

    Similar examples of the golden rule are found in the hadith of the prophet Muhammad. The hadith recount what the prophet is believed to have said and done, and traditionally Muslims regard the hadith as second to only the Qur'an as a guide to correct belief and action. [49]

    From the hadith, the collected oral and written accounts of Muhammad and his teachings during his lifetime:

    A Bedouin came to the prophet, grabbed the stirrup of his camel and said: O the messenger of God! Teach me something to go to heaven with it. Prophet said: "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. Now let the stirrup go!" [This maxim is enough for you go and act in accordance with it!]"

    None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.

    Seek for mankind that of which you are desirous for yourself, that you may be a believer.

    That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind. [51]

    The most righteous person is the one who consents for other people what he consents for himself, and who dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself. [51]

    Ali ibn Abi Talib (4th Caliph in Sunni Islam, and first Imam in Shia Islam) says:

    O' my child, make yourself the measure (for dealings) between you and others. Thus, you should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself. Do not oppress as you do not like to be oppressed. Do good to others as you would like good to be done to you. Regard bad for yourself whatever you regard bad for others. Accept that (treatment) from others which you would like others to accept from you. Do not say to others what you do not like to be said to you.

    Baháʼí Faith Edit

    The writings of the Baháʼí Faith encourage everyone to treat others as they would treat themselves and even prefer others over oneself:

    O SON OF MAN! Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is My face be then abashed before Me.

    Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.

    And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself.

    Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not.

    Indian religions Edit

    Hinduism Edit

    One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires.

    By making dharma your main focus, treat others as you treat yourself [62]

    श्रूयतां धर्मसर्वस्वं श्रुत्वा चाप्यवधार्यताम्।
    आत्मनः प्रतिकूलानि परेषां न समाचरेत्।।

    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.

    Buddhism Edit

    Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, c. 623–543 BCE) [63] [64] made this principle one of the cornerstones of his ethics in the 6th century BCE. It occurs in many places and in many forms throughout the Tripitaka.

    Comparing oneself to others in such terms as "Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I," he should neither kill nor cause others to kill.

    One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter.

    Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

    Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill. [65]

    Jainism Edit

    The Golden Rule is paramount in the Jainist philosophy and can be seen in the doctrines of Ahimsa and Karma. As part of the prohibition of causing any living beings to suffer, Jainism forbids inflicting upon others what is harmful to oneself.

    The following lines from the Acaranga Sutra sums up the philosophy of Jainism:

    Nothing which breathes, which exists, which lives, or which has essence or potential of life, should be destroyed or ruled over, or subjugated, or harmed, or denied of its essence or potential. In support of this Truth, I ask you a question – "Is sorrow or pain desirable to you ?" If you say "yes it is", it would be a lie. If you say, "No, It is not" you will be expressing the truth. Just as sorrow or pain is not desirable to you, so it is to all which breathe, exist, live or have any essence of life. To you and all, it is undesirable, and painful, and repugnant. [66]

    A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.

    In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.

    Sikhism Edit

    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.

    Chinese religions Edit

    Confucianism Edit

    The same idea is also presented in V.12 and VI.30 of the Analects (c. 500 BCE), which can be found in the online Chinese Text Project. The phraseology differs from the Christian version of the Golden Rule. It does not presume to do anything unto others, but merely to avoid doing what would be harmful. It does not preclude doing good deeds and taking moral positions.

    Taoism Edit

    The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful.

    Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.

    Mohism Edit

    If people regarded other people’s states in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own state to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself. If people regarded other people’s cities in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own city to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself. If people regarded other people’s families in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own family to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself. And so if states and cities do not attack one another and families do not wreak havoc upon and steal from one another, would this be a harm to the world or a benefit? Of course one must say it is a benefit to the world.

    Mozi regarded the golden rule as a corollary to the cardinal virtue of impartiality, and encouraged egalitarianism and selflessness in relationships.

    Iranian religions Edit

    Zoroastrianism Edit

    Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself.

    New religious movements Edit

    Wicca Edit

    Here ye these words and heed them well, the words of Dea, thy Mother Goddess, "I command thee thus, O children of the Earth, that that which ye deem harmful unto thyself, the very same shall ye be forbidden from doing unto another, for violence and hatred give rise to the same. My command is thus, that ye shall return all violence and hatred with peacefulness and love, for my Law is love unto all things. Only through love shall ye have peace yea and verily, only peace and love will cure the world, and subdue all evil."

    Scientology Edit

    The Way to Happiness expresses the Golden Rule both in its negative/prohibitive form and in its positive form. The negative/prohibitive form is expressed in Precept 19 as:

    19. Try not to do things to others that you would not like them to do to you.

    The positive form is expressed in Precept 20 as:

    20. Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.

    Traditional African religions Edit

    Yoruba Edit

    One who is going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.

    Odinani Edit

    Egbe bere, ugo bere. (Let the eagle perch, let the hawk perch.)

    Nke si ibe ya ebene gosi ya ebe o ga-ebe. (Whoever says the other shall not perch, may they show the other where to perch.)

    Global ethic Edit

    The "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic" [73] from the Parliament of the World’s Religions [74] [75] (1993) proclaimed the Golden Rule ("We must treat others as we wish others to treat us") as the common principle for many religions. [3] The Initial Declaration was signed by 143 leaders from all of the world's major faiths, including Baháʼí Faith, Brahmanism, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Interfaith, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American, Neo-Pagan, Sikhism, Taoism, Theosophist, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian. [3] [76] In the folklore of several cultures the Golden Rule is depicted by the allegory of the long spoons.

    Humanism Edit

    In the view of Greg M. Epstein, a Humanist chaplain at Harvard University, " 'do unto others' . is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely. But not a single one of these versions of the golden rule requires a God". [77] Various sources identify the Golden Rule as a humanist principle: [78] [79]

    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. And although it isn’t possible to know what it really feels like to be a different person or live in different circumstances and have different life experiences, it isn’t difficult for most of us to imagine what would cause us suffering and to try to avoid causing suffering to others. For this reason many people find the Golden Rule’s corollary – "do not treat people in a way you would not wish to be treated yourself" – more pragmatic. [78]

    Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you. [is] (…) the single greatest, simplest, and most important moral axiom humanity has ever invented, one which reappears in the writings of almost every culture and religion throughout history, the one we know as the Golden Rule. Moral directives do not need to be complex or obscure to be worthwhile, and in fact, it is precisely this rule's simplicity which makes it great. It is easy to come up with, easy to understand, and easy to apply, and these three things are the hallmarks of a strong and healthy moral system. The idea behind it is readily graspable: before performing an action which might harm another person, try to imagine yourself in their position, and consider whether you would want to be the recipient of that action. If you would not want to be in such a position, the other person probably would not either, and so you should not do it. It is the basic and fundamental human trait of empathy, the ability to vicariously experience how another is feeling, that makes this possible, and it is the principle of empathy by which we should live our lives.

    Existentialism Edit

    When we say that man chooses for himself, we do mean that every one of us must choose himself but by that we also mean that in choosing for himself he chooses for all men. For in effect, of all the actions a man may take in order to create himself as he wills to be, there is not one which is not creative, at the same time, of an image of man such as he believes he ought to be. To choose between this or that is at the same time to affirm the value of that which is chosen for we are unable ever to choose the worse. What we choose is always the better and nothing can be better for us unless it is better for all.

    Human rights Edit

    According to Marc H. Bornstein, and William E. Paden, the Golden Rule is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights, in which each individual has a right to just treatment, and a reciprocal responsibility to ensure justice for others. [83]

    However Leo Damrosch argued that the notion that the Golden Rule pertains to "rights" per se is a contemporary interpretation and has nothing to do with its origin. The development of human "rights" is a modern political ideal that began as a philosophical concept promulgated through the philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau in 18th century France, among others. His writings influenced Thomas Jefferson, who then incorporated Rousseau's reference to "inalienable rights" into the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. Damrosch argued that to confuse the Golden Rule with human rights is to apply contemporary thinking to ancient concepts. [84]

    There has been research published arguing that some 'sense' of fair play and the Golden Rule may be stated and rooted in terms of neuroscientific and neuroethical principles. [85]

    The Golden Rule can also be explained from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, sociology, human evolution, and economics. Psychologically, it involves a person empathizing with others. Philosophically, it involves a person perceiving their neighbor also as "I" or "self". [86] Sociologically, "love your neighbor as yourself" is applicable between individuals, between groups, and also between individuals and groups. In evolution, "reciprocal altruism" is seen as a distinctive advance in the capacity of human groups to survive and reproduce, as their exceptional brains demanded exceptionally long childhoods and ongoing provision and protection even beyond that of the immediate family. [87] In economics, Richard Swift, referring to ideas from David Graeber, suggests that "without some kind of reciprocity society would no longer be able to exist." [88]

    Study of other primates provides evidence that the Golden Rule exists in other non-human species. [89]

    Philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant [90] and Friedrich Nietzsche, [91] have objected to the rule on a variety of grounds. The most serious among these is its application. How does one know how others want to be treated? The obvious way is to ask them, but this cannot be done if one assumes they have not reached a particular and relevant understanding. One religion that officially rejects the Golden Rule is the Neo-Nazi religion of the "Creativity Movement" founded by Ben Klassen. [92] Followers of the religion believe that the Golden Rule doesn't make sense and is a "completely unworkable principle.". [93]

    Differences in values or interests Edit

    George Bernard Shaw wrote, "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." [94] This suggests that if your values are not shared with others, the way you want to be treated will not be the way they want to be treated. Hence, the Golden Rule of "do unto others" is "dangerous in the wrong hands", [95] according to philosopher Iain King, because "some fanatics have no aversion to death: the Golden Rule might inspire them to kill others in suicide missions." [96]

    Differences in situations Edit

    Immanuel Kant famously criticized the golden rule for not being sensitive to differences of situation, noting that a prisoner duly convicted of a crime could appeal to the golden rule while asking the judge to release him, pointing out that the judge would not want anyone else to send him to prison, so he should not do so to others. [90] Kant's Categorical Imperative, introduced in Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, is often confused with the Golden Rule.

    Responses to criticisms Edit

    Walter Terence Stace, in The Concept of Morals (1937), wrote:

    Mr Bernard Shaw's remark "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may be different" is no doubt a smart saying. But it seems to overlook the fact that "doing as you would be done by" includes taking into account your neighbour's tastes as you would that he should take yours into account. Thus the "golden rule" might still express the essence of a universal morality even if no two men in the world had any needs or tastes in common. [97]

    Marcus George Singer observed that there are two importantly different ways of looking at the golden rule: as requiring (1) that you perform specific actions that you want others to do to you or (2) that you guide your behavior in the same general ways that you want others to. [98] Counter-examples to the golden rule typically are more forceful against the first than the second.

    In his book on the golden rule, Jeffrey Wattles makes the similar observation that such objections typically arise while applying the golden rule in certain general ways (namely, ignoring differences in taste, in situation, and so forth). But if we apply the golden rule to our own method of using it, asking in effect if we would want other people to apply the golden rule in such ways, the answer would typically be no, since it is quite predictable that others' ignoring of such factors will lead to behavior which we object to. It follows that we should not do so ourselves—according to the golden rule. In this way, the golden rule may be self-correcting. [99] An article by Jouni Reinikainen develops this suggestion in greater detail. [100]

    It is possible, then, that the golden rule can itself guide us in identifying which differences of situation are morally relevant. We would often want other people to ignore any prejudice against our race or nationality when deciding how to act towards us, but would also want them to not ignore our differing preferences in food, desire for aggressiveness, and so on. This principle of "doing unto others, wherever possible, as they would be done by. " has sometimes been termed the platinum rule. [101]

    Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies (1863) includes a character named Mrs Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By (and another, Mrs Be-Done-By-As-You-Did). [102]

    Substance Abuse and Teen Risk-Taking

    Alcohol and substance use create a double risk. Not only are they teen risk behaviors in themselves, they also increase the likelihood that teens will engage in other dangerous activities. The teen brain is already compromised in terms of its executive-functioning ability (the ability to make and carry out rational decisions). Alcohol and drug use further weaken that ability, no matter what age you are.

    Researchers at Rutgers gathered data on 91 young adults between the ages of 18 and 20. They used a visual and task-based test to measure the impact of drinking on executive functioning among students consuming alcohol in real situations. The higher their blood alcohol level, the worse decisions the students made on the test. The study authors concluded that chronic alcohol consumption has a significant impact on the executive functioning processes of the brain among underage drinkers. Consequently, it increases the likelihood that they will make risky choices.

    This is borne out by statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism showing that drinking leads to other health–compromising behaviors, such as tobacco use and drinking and driving.

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    Pre-publication history

    The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here:

    13.8: Discuss: Truth Table Practice

    When Christians are joined together in faith and doctrine, they are able to express their unity by joint prayer and worship, cooperative educational endeavors and shared outreach efforts (Acts 1:14 2:42 Hebrews 10:24-25 Psalm 78:4-7 3 John 5-8).

    When you and I interact with Christians whose faith differs from ours, we follow Scripture’s instructions and do not engage in those previously mentioned activities (Romans 16:17 Titus 3:10 2 John 10-11).

    By not worshiping or praying together with other Christians, you and I are not intending to say that we do not consider such people to be outside the faith. God alone can see what is in the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We readily and happily acknowledge that the kingdom of God is bigger than our synod. Refraining from prayer and worship with people who are not united with us in faith and doctrine is, as our Catechism points out from Scripture, a matter of showing love for the truth of God’s word (2 Corinthians 13:8), love for our own souls (Galatians 5:9) and love for those who are mixing error with truth (James 5:19-20).

    I do not know to which churches your co-workers belong, but I imagine your faith could differ from theirs in such areas as: original sin, infant baptism, the real presence in the Lord’s Supper, the converting work of the Holy Spirit, creation, the end times, and other items. Imagine if you were to pray a prayer that reflected your Spirit-worked conviction in these areas, and your co-workers believed something differently. They might not appreciate your prayer or add their “Amen” to it. That simply illustrates why there needs to be unity among Christians before they pray together.

    Praying with family members involves the same principles and application. Then again, you might be dealing with an exceptional situation in which family members belong to a church outside our fellowship, but they are not supportive of their church’s false teachings. In fact, they recognize the errors of their church and are seeking to point others to the truth of God’s word. In a situation like that, their confession of faith may match your confession of faith, and joint prayer in a private setting would not be a cause of offense to others. Exceptional situations like this are spelled out more fully in a book you might find valuable to read: Church Fellowship: Working Together for the Truth. It is available in hard copy or eBook format.

    Standing up for the truth of God’s word and exercising fellowship principles is not always easy. God give you strength and joy to do that!

    Can a WELS member participate in any part of an LCMS church? Thank you!

    I take it that when you ask about participating in an “LCMS church,” you have in mind a worship service in an LCMS church. Building on that assumption, I can be present at such a worship service, but I will refrain from doing what I do in a worship service in a church of our fellowship: worshiping and communing. Certainly, I will be respectful of those who are worshiping and seek not to be a distraction to them.

    After studying WELS’ worship and fellowship practices, my understanding is that non-WELS members are not allowed to lead the singing, play, or preach in our worship services, marriage ceremonies, etc. Yet our church uses music videos by groups such as Casting Crowns as the “hymns” in our contemporary service. If it is OK for Baptist youth ministers like the Casting Crowns to play and lead the songs in a worship service via video, would it also be OK for a Baptist minister to preach the sermon via video? Neither seems right to me. Using these videos seems inconsistent with our fellowship practices because we are advocating and promoting Christian pop musicians in our worship service when we do not share their beliefs. Shouldn’t we be using the talents and active participation of our own WELS musicians instead of giving the appearance of being in fellowship with heterodox denominations?

    Your understanding of our fellowship practices is accurate. The scenario you described does provide opportunity for confusion and offense. Rather than expressing your concern only to me, it would be good for you to speak to your pastor—to share your concern with him and to hear his explanation of the congregation’s use of these videos.

    Recently I went to a funeral for a family member who, to my knowledge, did not attend church. The service was led by a pastor from hospice and I believe he was non-denominational. A WELS pastor who sat next to me refrained from singing and praying the Lord's Prayer. The hymns were out of our hymnal with no chance of being improper. Why do we refrain from praying and singing with other religions?

    A paragraph from This We Believe answers your question succinctly: “6. We believe that those whose confession of faith reveals that they are united in the doctrines of Scripture will express their fellowship in Christ as occasion permits (Ephesians 4:3). They may express their fellowship by joint worship, by joint proclamation of the gospel, by joining in Holy Communion, by joint prayer, and by joint church work. God directs believers not to practice religious fellowship with those whose confession and actions reveal that they teach, tolerate, support, or defend error (2 John 10,11). When error appears in the church, Christians will try to preserve their fellowship by patiently admonishing the offenders, in the hope that they will turn from their error (2 Timothy 2:25,26 Titus 3:10). But the Lord commands believers not to practice church fellowship with people who persist in teaching or adhering to beliefs that are false (Romans 16:17,18).”

    My son, married, four children and raised WELS has, as it appears, fallen away from regular church attendance, still sending his four children to WELS schools, though he has joined the Free Masons. This cannot be good. I am familiar with the doctrine of fellowship, but am concerned with his spiritual wellbeing. Suggestions or thoughts? Thanks.

    I am sorry to hear about your son’s declining church attendance and his affiliation with the Freemasons. You are correct when you say that his membership in that organization cannot be good. There are many elements of Freemasonry that are incompatible with Christianity. Allow me to pass along a previous response to a similar question about Freemasonry. The response may give you some talking points for a conversation you can have with your son.

    “The Masonic Lodge and its affiliates are essentially deistic religious organizations. They strongly maintain that there is a Creator God who rewards good and punishes evil but do not formally acknowledge God as a gracious giver of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ. Nor do they acknowledge the Triune God as the only true God, but allow that most any ‘Supreme Being’ embraced by any Mason may be seen as a legitimate deity. To them salvation is not by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, but based on good works. They also maintain that the supreme deity (‘Architect of the Universe’) may be and is worshiped in many forms and under many names by many religions aside from Christianity. Additionally, the oaths and rituals of the lodge have many features that consistent and conservative Bible students have long found incompatible with Christianity…This negative appraisal of the Masonic Lodge is shared by a number of church bodies, and is not the conclusion of only a few like the WELS.

    “So although the Masons somewhat promote civic righteousness and undertake certain praiseworthy projects in society, we maintain that a Christian would compromise clear Bible teachings by becoming a member of that lodge. We are aware that people have joined such groups for the sake of business connections as well as a sense of social responsibility and say they really don’t care for or think of the religious aspects of the organization. But we maintain that to do so is still a compromise of truth, easily or inevitably causes others to stumble spiritually, and links the person to a false religious group. The Bible often testifies against such an attitude and action.

    “Bottom line: to be a WELS member with the public confession involved with that membership and to be a Mason with that public confession are incompatible. We owe members of masonry a loving and courteous reply that will not compromise truth. Refraining from membership in that network of organizations and providing patient but consistent testimony to the falsehood the Masons embrace or tolerate would be right and fitting.”

    Beyond that information, this link will take you to a short article that contains a side-by-side contrast between lodges and biblical teaching.

    What was not clear to me in the information you supplied was whether or not your son still has membership in one of our congregations. If that is the case, his pastor needs to know about his affiliation with Freemasonry.

    I encourage you to keep sharing biblical truths with your son. Pray—as, no doubt, you are doing—that God will work in his heart through the word to see the truth, confess the truth and live the truth. God bless you all.

    I understand that we are in fellowship with the ELS, but are there any doctrinal differences between the WELS and ELS at all?

    The fact that WELS is in fellowship with ELS means that there is doctrinal agreement between the two synods.

    What you will find with the two synods is differences in practice—particularly in the corporate worship life of the synods’ congregations. There can be more chanting of the liturgy by ELS pastors. In addition, the hymnal of the ELS provides for congregational singing of the Lord’s Prayer and the kneeling of the pastor on a prayer bench. Any other differences might be explained by the historical development of both synods. The historical background of WELS is Germanic, while that of ELS is Norwegian.

    As is the case with other churches in the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, we treasure our fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

    I grew up in a WELS church but now am at a Missouri Synod church. I am told by the church I grew up in that I cannot sing at my mother's funeral. She was a life-long member. What is the thought process here? I am just being told no - that is the way it is.

    May the risen Lord bring you comfort and strength by assuring you that those die in the Lord are forevermore blessed (Revelation 14:13).

    There is, of course, no Bible passage that addresses your question specifically. That is, there is no Bible passage that states specifically who can and who cannot sing at a funeral service. What the Bible does present are broad principles of fellowship that we then need to apply to specific situations like funerals and weddings, and worship services in general.

    The Bible does encourage us to work together with those who have a common faith, and to work together to promote the truth (3 John 8). At the same time God, through the Bible, tells us to separate from and not join in fellowship activities like worship with those who are not one in faith with us (Romans 16:17 Titus 3:10 2 John 10-11).

    In the situation you describe, the difficulty is that you have membership in a congregation of a synod with which WELS is not in fellowship. Your prior membership in a WELS congregation or the family connection to the funeral service does not override biblical fellowship principles.

    When you joined a congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, you became part of a church body that is not in fellowship with WELS. As your synod and WELS are not in fellowship with one another, it is not possible for you to take a leadership role in a worship service in a WELS congregation.

    This is not an indictment of your personal faith. Whenever I answer questions like this, I try to emphasize the difference between visible churches and the invisible church, the Holy Christian Church. WELS and LCMS congregations are visible churches. If an LCMS member is not able to sing a song at a funeral or receive Communion in a WELS congregation, in no way are we saying that the LCMS member is not a Christian, nor are we pretending to read what is in the individual’s heart. We are happy when a person’s sincere confession of Christian faith identifies him/her as a member of the Holy Christian Church, the invisible church. But only God knows who belongs to that Church you and I operate in the realm of visible churches. So, while we may have a common membership in the Holy Christian Church with other Christians, their membership in a visible church outside our fellowship prevents us from doing the things we might like—like singing at a funeral service.

    You may or may not be aware that representatives of WELS and LCMS, along with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, have had informal discussions in the past several years to clarify where there is and is not doctrinal agreement. The report closes with these thoughts: “Perhaps God may guide us to a reestablishment of fellowship at some point in the future, a goal for which we pray and work. But even if we are not able to practice church fellowship, we have found benefit in talking together about church work, in patiently trying to understand the issues better, and in providing a measure of encouragement in our lives of repentance and fidelity to Scripture.” Again, may Jesus, “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), bring you comfort and strength through his gospel.

    My friend invited me to BSF - an international Bible study that is open to all faiths. Questions are answered and shared only referencing the Bible and what the Holy Spirit shows/teaches you. Is it OK to go to this Bible study, since all are God- and Bible- believing women and they support you belonging and being involved in your church? Thanks.

    As is the case with a worship service outside our fellowship, you could attend and observe a Bible study without participating. Your question seems to go beyond that though.

    BSF—Bible Study Fellowship—is an international organization that offers ten courses of study on the Bible. Their four-fold approach is to: “Answer daily lesson questions from Scripture. Discuss your insights in a conversation with members of your discussion group. Listen to teaching that explains what you studied and shared. Gain additional insight by reading lesson notes that further elaborate on the Scripture.”

    It is with those last two points where the organization is able to inject its statement of faith into the lessons. Their statement of faith embraces millennialism. It does not mention baptism. It views the Lord’s Supper only as a memorial meal. There appears to be decision theology.

    The confession of faith of this organization differs from biblical teaching. In Christian love—love for the truth of God’s word, love for your own soul and love for the souls of others—you would do well to follow the scriptural injunction: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17).

    I encourage you to study the Bible with those who are united with you in faith. The Bible study you mentioned can easily be a forum where people agree to disagree on doctrinal matters. When you study the Bible with others who are united with you in faith, then what the apostle instructed can take place: “…encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

    Hello. I have grown up in the WELS and belong to a WELS church now. I believe that the WELS best teaches the doctrinal truths of the Bible and I have no intention of ever switching. Since I grew up WELS, it was instilled in me that we are not in fellowship with outside affiliations and if books/devotions didn't come from The Northwestern Publishing House they were not approved by the WELS. I know about fellowship and not praying with other affiliations that are not in fellowship with the WELS. I am starting to discover more Christian groups and people like If:Gathering, Deeply Rooted Magazine, Jen Hatmaker, Laura Casey, and I'll throw in K-Love. And I am torn on what should be my involvement with them. I know that it is not wrong to listen to them or participate in conversation with them. But is it wrong to apply what they are saying, about subjects like letting your light shine, being evangelists, and being strong Christian women? I know that I still need to evaluate everything they are saying against the truth of the Bible, but am I okay to still take away positive messages from them that I can apply to my life? I found these organizations because I was craving more Christian content in my life but I am not sure where the line is. I know that I should not participate in prayer with them but what about singing along to their songs, and applying their messages, take- aways to my life? Do I just need to keep a watchful eye out for mis-teachings and am I still okay to use their messages?

    You will find materials, including devotional resources, at Northwestern Publishing House that originate from “outside affiliations” and other publishers. Those resources though are reviewed for their doctrinal content before being offered for sale.

    Beyond that, I think you answered your own questions. You recognize that you need to “evaluate everything they are saying against the truth of the Bible.” You understand the need “to keep a watchful eye out” for wrong teachings. As you encounter and receive encouragement and positive messages, you will want to continue to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1), avoiding that which is contrary to the Bible’s teachings (Romans 16:17) and not supporting such organizations (2 John 10-11).

    Finally, here is where you can find WELS devotions for women and information on WELS Women’s Ministry. God bless your walk of faith.

    What can you tell me about the Red Letter Christians?

    On its web site the organization describes itself as espousing “an evangelical theology.” “Evangelical” is a broad term that individuals and churches use to mean different things. It often designates a theology that professes a set of doctrines, including decision theology and a rejection of the sacraments as means of grace, but then “agrees to disagree” in other matters of Scripture.

    The goal of Red Letter Christians is: “To take Jesus seriously by endeavoring to live out His radical, counter-cultural teachings as set forth in Scripture, and especially embracing the lifestyle prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount.”

    While that sounds laudable, the result is a liberal theology that addresses social issues in ways that depart from Scripture. The organization would do well to apply the red letter words of Jesus in the sermon on the mount in a manner consistent with the rest of Scripture and then put greater emphasis on other red letter words of Jesus—words that speak of the enslaving nature of sin (John 8:24) and words that speak of full and free forgiveness through him (Luke 7:48).

    Our daughter has left the church to practice various forms of paganism. She is getting married this fall and wants us to attend. I told her we could attend and acknowledge that she and her new husband love each other. She wants us to participate in a "blessings" ritual. Each person is invited to give the couple some sort of blessing. I asked if we could offer God's blessing and she agreed. Now I have no idea how to ask God to bless this sort of thing. Are we even right to attend? I am heartbroken over the whole thing

    I am saddened to hear about your daughter’s departure from your church. God willing, through your Christian witness she can be reminded of biblical truths and then embrace them again and profess them through membership in a church like ours that proclaims Jesus Christ as Savior.

    Can you attend the blessings ritual? It seems like you answered your own question. You can attend and support your daughter, unless your conscience is telling you that you would be doing wrong. Scripture warns us about acting in doubt and against our conscience (Romans 14:23).

    If you attend the blessings ritual, can you participate? God tells us in his word not to participate in events like that (Romans 16:17 2 Corinthians 6:14-16). You could explain to your daughter that you will be happy to ask God, in prayer, to bless her marriage, but not in the setting of a blessings ritual of paganism. You could ask her to respect your wishes.

    You are in a challenging situation. What can help direct your actions is trying to determine how you can most lovingly and most clearly testify to others about the truths of Scripture: that Jesus Christ is Savior and there is no salvation outside him (John 14:6) that God’s word is true (John 17:17) and, that followers of Jesus hold to all of his teachings (John 8:31). I would have to ask myself if taking part in a ritual blessing with pagans (as I understand it from your question) would be a clear testimony to the truths of God’s word, or would such action be misunderstood to mean that everyone participating in the ritual blessing is imparting legitimate truth of some kind? I would not want to be sending that message.

    You may wish to consult your pastor about this. I will pray for God’s blessings on you and your family.

    I ring handbells for a secular community choir and have recently faced difficulties with church fellowship. Many of the ringers are from non-WELS congregations and when their church choir needs a substitute, they often ask us for assistance. Am I correct in saying that acting as a substitute ringer for worship (or performing as part of a small ensemble) at a non-WELS congregation would go against fellowship principles in this case? What about substituting for rehearsals but not worship? And finally, what about playing for a non-WELS wedding at the request of a friend? I suspect that the answer for most, if not all, is that it does indeed go against our fellowship principles, but it would help set my heart at ease to be sure of my doctrinal grounds for refusing to participate.

    You have a correct understanding of biblical fellowship principles. It is one thing to participate in a musical group (of singers or instrumentalists) in performance or concert settings and quite another matter for a group to pool their talents in worship service settings. In the latter, doctrinal agreement among the participants is necessary (Romans 16:17 2 John 10, 11).

    When you are not able to participate with other musicians in worship service settings, you have an opportunity to explain biblical fellowship principles to others. God bless the testimony you give with your words and actions!