For participants to reflect and understand that scriptures from different faiths have the same message.
This is a good exercise when the group is highly diverse and the dynamics tense. This exercise is relevant to put at the beginning of a process rather than at the end. By finding commonalities, you also find the beauty in differences – but you start with commonalities.
Required Material: print the handout with the quotes.
Print quotes below.
Divide the participants into groups of 4-5. Explain to them that they have to guess what religion or religious tradition the various quotations come from.
Facilitator collects the sheets and gives points for correct answers.
Print the quotes (the handout):
Quotations (mainly "reciprocity principle" or "the golden rule"):
“What you do not want others to do for you, you should not do to them”
(Answer: Judaism, Hillel, Talmud, Shabbath 31a)
“None of you are (true) believers before you wish for your brother what you want for yourself”
(Answer: Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, the Hadith according to Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
“All that you would have others do to you, you should do to them”
(Answer: Christianity, Jesus, Matthew 7.12)
”Tse-kung asked, "Is there a word which may serve as a principle for how we live our lives?" Confucius replied: "It's 'shu' - reciprocity. Do not do to others what you do not want for yourself. "
(Answer: Confucianism, Confucius, doctrine of the mean road, 13.3)
“One should not behave towards others in a way that they themselves are experiencing as uncomfortable”
(Answer: Confucianism, Mencius, Mencius VII.A.4)
“For what I think is painful and unpleasant, is also painful and unpleasant for others. How can I inflict such a thing on others?”
(Answer: Buddhism, confessed Samyutta Nikaya 5: 353)
"A man should wander around and treat all living things as he would like to be treated himself.”
(Answer: Jainism, confessed Sutrakritanga Sutra 01/11/33)
“This is the sum of obligations: do not do to others as that will cause injury to yourself”
(Answer: Hinduism, confessed Mahabharata 5: 1517)
“Do not do other things that you will experience as hurtful to yourself.”
(Answer: Buddhism, Buddha, Udarna-Varga 5:18)
“As long as I am sane, I should do to others as I would have others do me.”
(Answer: Plato, The State)
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are granted with common sense and a conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
(Answer: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the Third United Nations General Assembly, 10.12.1948, Article 1)
“I am not a stranger to anyone. And no one is a stranger to me. In truth, I am a friend of all.”
(Answer: Sikhism, confessed Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1299)
What kind of faith does not have any compassion? You have to feel compassion for all living creatures on the earth. Compassion is the root of all faith.”
(Answer: Hinduism, Basava, Vachanaas, 247)
Start a dialogue in plenary session and ask the participants the following:
Were you surprised by some of the correct answers?
Why are many of the citations so similar?
Do we have some common experiences of the human condition that are also reflected in our religions and traditions?
Thank everyone for their participation, and summarize what was learned.