The author Bo Yang, who died in exile on Green Island off the coast of Taiwan, once said that the reason Chinese people don’t get along is that God knows there are so many of them if they actually did cooperate, they’d take over the world. And in the Bible, the story of the tower of Babel tells us that mankind endeavored to work together to build a tower that would have reached heaven. God tore it down before we had the chance. His reasoning was similar. He said to Himself, “If men work together, there is nothing they cannot do.”
I believe it is a foregone conclusion that if we all work together, there is indeed nothing we cannot accomplish. The question to me is whether our work will be smiled upon by God. If our goal is to dominate, to subjugate, to control, to thwart, to build with the intention of setting ourselves up as gods, then we will fail. It’s not that God literally gets mad and attacks us for such things. It’s more like there’s just not enough material in the universe to complete that building project. The only material strong enough, dense enough, and plentiful enough is love. If our goal is to help others, to free others, to bring freedom and hope, to encourage and to build with the intention of serving God, then we will succeed. It’s a foregone conclusion.
Now I know many of you don’t believe in God. That’s okay. To be honest, I don’t either. At least not the God you think about when you think of God. I believe in the God that St. Thomas Aquinas believed in when he said after one moment of revelation, “All I have written and done is like nothing in comparison to the glory of God.” I believe in the Sufi God, whose most famous poet Rumi said, “Ironically, though, everyone who comes to know the divine Reality possesses the purest faith—but is labeled an ‘unbeliever’ by the pius.” This happened to Jesus. I happen to believe in Jesus as interpreted by the Catholic church, son of God, son of man, logos, savior. But if you don’t, that’s fine, too.
We can still start building with the material love because it’s accessible to everyone. Belief in God, particularly in the Christian God, can fill one with love. But I’ve also known some Christians who lacked love. So anyway, the point is that if we are to get anywhere and build that tower of Babel, we have to do so in love.
Right, left, really it’s all the same babel without love. So if love is the thing we have in common at our core, we’ll be able to build a “more just and verdant” world. Sans love at the fulcrum, we just go up and down and get seasick.