The Good Samaritan: The Agreeable Peer
“And in the case of superior things like stars, we discover a kind of unity in separation. The higher we rise on the scale of being, the easier it is to discern a connection even among things separated by vast distances.”[i]
The unique fictional parable of The Good Samaritan stands as the most fundamental and universally accepted ethical law among all the major religions that stand today. The parable solidly stands as a shining pillar and example of the moral and ethical conduct that is somehow inherently embedded into the core fibers of each human being. Its intended meaning is both wide and diverse. However, the core significance is evidently discernible among the major religions today. Can a western or eastern religion be found that do not require its adherence to the creed of compassion and serving others? The central focus religions encounter in this parable enlightens the essential core of humanity's direct relationship with others; compassion for interfaith relationships.
The Good Samaritan is important because it results in a set of unanimous and therapeutic guidelines that would ensure and safeguard the furthering need of tolerance we all need in this confused world. Regardless of what religious denomination or non-denomination this particular parable is logically coherent to fit all people despite race, color, or belief. In my research, I have found that the people of this world judge (even unknowingly judge) a person, community, state, country, nation and the world by the standards Jesus set forth in the Good Samaritan. Though we be separated geographically by water and land, by varying sects of established beliefs, cultural divergences of race and even separated by time, there is one thing that stands solid; compassion, service and love. Another remarkable fact that I have learned is that when a person is filled with compassion and love, one forgets all other barriers that had so previously hindered and impeded their view of that person in need. Therefore, I declare that each person can find within this parable a dynamic set of social processes that are all inherently good in all coherent human beings.
Literally all of the major religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism categorize compassion and service to others as the most eminent and influential method of approaching their religious beliefs. Whether it’s the parable of the good Samaritan in Christianity or Atheism, Islam's parable of the Hungry Dog, Judaism’s 13 attributes of compassion, Hinduism's parable of the 2 kings, or the Buddha’s Noble Eight Fold Path, compassion and concern for others is observed and regarded as a critical necessity that has the potential and capability to revolutionize humankind.
My intended reason for focusing on this particular parable is to demonstrate through words how other religions apply it into their beliefs and traditions. In doing so we may, I hope, realize that we are not so different after all and that religions from all over the world can all in unison agree that the good Samaritan is the most important action one can take to unify others to lead what philosophers have called, "the good life."
I hope that this poem will help with the erosion of intolerance and can help enhance, blend and balance the scale that is so outweighed by racism, prejudice and the narrow mindedness of men. Happily, I have discovered that over 30 years ago there was a corpus attempt to amass and unify a people of different nations in lieu of the Good Samaritan. In 1993, the Parliament of the World's Religions established a proclamation to the world. In this document was the signing of over 140 diversely esteemed and admired religious leaders from all over the world. The signing was a unanimous agreement, which declared the importance of the golden rule. "We must treat others as we wish others to treat us." This to them was viewed as the most mutually shared and universal principle of all religions (i.e. The Good Samaritan.) The signers of that document were from various religious backgrounds from Native American, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrian."[ii] Serving others and acquiring compassion are at the root of the famous golden rule. The Dhali Lama has so wisely stated in the past, "whether one believes in a religion or not...there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion."[iii] The beginning roots of this moral and honorable procedure of helping others encompass the whole realm of philosophical and religious traditions. Philosopher and Theologian John Hicks once said, "…occasionally attending worship in mosque and synagogue, temple and gurdwara, it was evident that essentially the same kind of thing is taking place in them as in a Christian church--namely, human beings opening their minds to a higher divine Reality, known as personal and good and as demanding righteousness and love between man and man."
In conclusion, I hope that you will find comfort in knowing that religions are not so different after all. We all have the same inherent need and the same inherent desire to feel love and to experience compassion from others. It is something we all crave, yearn and long for as if it is a prescription drug to heal the broken soul. I hope that you enjoy the parable of the Good Samaritan and the poem I worked so hard to produce over this previous semester at the Utah Valley University. This poem may also be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaYN8CpLers
The parable of Jesus so widely we hear,
The Good Samaritan: The agreeable peer;
For who can deny the common thread,
We so dearly hold in heart and head;
The poor, the needy, the widow and aged,
The common thread upon histories page;
To serve, to love, compassion in need,
From birth to death is each man's creed;
Terrible the person who passes when knows,
The agony of someone whose life wind blows;
For we are not glad when that man denies,
The poor, the needy and fatherless cries;
Though that man has fallen from the grace of our eyes,
Remember this Jesus whose words of advice;
This man has been beaten by sway of mankind,
So be a Samaritan and don't leave him behind.
The Good Samaritan: The Agreeable Peer by Michael A. Hickman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.michaelahickman.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-good-samaritan-agreeable-peer.html.