Is the Golden Rule Really Golden?
The main cornerpoint of Christian ethics is the golden rule: "treat others the way you would like to be treated." The problem is, this rule is not as golden as it appears at the first glance.
Different people are different, and they want to be treated in different ways. If I treat the next person the way that I want to be treated, then I am projecting myself and my needs upon the next person without honoring who they are themselves. And that can lead to an array of problems.
Say, for example, that I were a sexual masochist and wanted to be whipped. Would that justify me in whipping the next person? Or if I hated myself and wanted myself to suffer. Would that justify me making others suffer as well? Or if I had a death wish and wanted to be killed - would that justify me killing the next person?
This is the problem with the golden rule: It does not recognize human distinctness. Not everyone is the same, and not everyone wants to be treated the same way. And I honor the next person far more by recognizing their needs and their self and treating them the way that they want to be treated, instead of treating them as though they were me.
In other words: Don't treat the next person the way that you want to be treated; treat the next person the way that the next person wants to be treated. And in this way honor what they are and create interactions that are much more rich, much more informed and much more fulfilling for all parties.