"Good Samaritan"

In the United States the use of the term “Good Samaritan” (someone who helps a needy stranger) is very common.

Wondering if this is true in the “Christian” countries in Europe. What about Australia/ NZ and Canada?

It’s used commonly in the UK. It’s from the Bible, obviously, so I imagine it’s pretty common in a lot of places.

According to Wikipedia, it seems pretty widespread. Going back as far as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, etc. who used the phrase, and it was apparently popular in medieval art.

I’m fairly sure its universal in all Christian cultures, English speaking or otherwise.

Few people understand the full implications of the term of course. The Samaritans were a sect mainstream Judaism considered heretical, and so there was much hostility between the two religions. A modern analogy to the Samaritan in the parable might be a Muslim.

There are Good Samaritan laws throughout Europe and countries whose legal system is based on English Common Law, including Canada and Australia, so yes the term is widely used.

Or if you’re a Catholic, a Protestant (or vice versa). Judaism and Samaritanism weren’t all that different as religions go, and each considered the themselves to be the “true” Judaism and the other the “corrupted” version.

It’s a perfectly common term in Canada as well.

When you think about it, the expression could be offensive to Samaritans.

Obligatory Mitchell and Webb sketch.

In most countries in Europe, Christianity was the main religion for centuries. This meant that many expressions from the Bible entered the popular speech, esp. after translations were done into the local language. Martin Luther’s Bible paved the way to establishing Mid-Germanys dialect as High German, in the middle between Bavarian and Platt. King James version also introduced dozens of metaphors and sayings into English.

The old rule if you encounter a phrase or metaphor and want to know where it comes from is

in English, either the Bible or Shakespeare
in German, either the Bible or Goethe.

BTW, just because these laws are called Good Samaritan laws in English doesn’t mean we call them that in our language, too. In Germany, there is no concept of being required to help, because that’s understood; the law insures people who help others for damage they incur during that; and a second law punishes people for failing to help (unterlassene Hilfeleistung).

But one of the three aid organisations (besides the Big one, the Red Cross) is the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (Workers Samaritan Group) - which uses the biblical reference despite being a “socialist” or at least non-religious group when founded. The two sister groups are both offshots from the Order of Maltese knights: the Malteser (catholic-oriented) and Johanniter (protestant). In practise, it hardly matters because they work well together without obvious rivalry and care equally well for the elderly, sick, injured and handicapped.

It is very common in France.

It is widely used in Australia.