[This was written several weeks ago. It took some time to get it to this venue.]
It’s been proclaimed that money is the only universally shared human belief (I heard that in a TED talk… It was mind blowing). Think about it. Money, itself, has no literal value. It cannot feed people nor clothe them… We can’t use physical pieces of money for shelter or procreation. In America, our money is not even gold-backed. The money we hold merely has a theoretical value. Money only has value because we human beings believe it has value. We believe, universally, that pieces of paper or bits of metal or figures in a computer file are fair exchanges for the necessities of life.
Looking in from outside of our human condition, that seems a bit weird. Weirdness doesn’t make it any less true,though. We all believe in money. And while we all believe in other things, too, only money is the one shared belief.
Until we think about the morning of Sunday, June 12, 2016 and other mornings when we’ve awoken to similar news: many human beings killed without provocation or reason by an armed assailant.
In response to that news, we are unified again. Unified in that feeling that stirs our hearts. We wish this didn’t happen. We feel sadness alongside those directly affected. We understand this was wrong. We long for a world where this kind of thing doesn’t happen.
We believe this shouldn’t happen.
Now some may point to belief in religion as the cause of Sunday morning’s shooting. The shooter seemed motivated by religion: it was what he believed that caused him to take the lives of 50 people. Those like him will stand far off and suggest that it was the depravity of American society that caused the violence. Others of us believe it was the depravity of religious fanaticalism that inspired the violence.
All, however, believe such things should not happen in the world.
NT Wright suggests that this shared feeling that we all have–this feeling that the world is not as it should be–points to God.
Some ascribe belief in a supernatural being. Others don’t. But all of humanity subscribes to a belief in organizing principles. We believe that something gives order to our existence. Our organizing principles are god. And no matter our organizing principles, we can agree on this:
The mass murder committed on June 12, 2016, in Orlando should not have happened. We can do better. The world is not as it should be.
I ascribe to an organizing principle that love makes the world closer to what it should be. No matter our belief about God or our belief about morality or our belief about money… Can we begin with a shared human belief that love makes the world better?