In many places on this site, the word “Love” is capitalized to differentiate what is advocated here from the sometimes superficial love we express for consumer goods, media idols, or some flavor or fad. This is unconditional* agapic Love. While still elusive, and definitely difficult to live, there are many common views about what this Love entails and demands.
This Love opens the Muslim A Common Word letter:
The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity.
Jesus stated this Love as the Greatest or First Commandment:
Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – NRSV
Jesus often quoted the Torah:
4Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might... Deuteronomy 6:4-5 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18
Thich Nhat Hahn teaches this Love. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached this Love. The civil rights movement he led is a lived demonstration of this Love. The Prophet Muhammad said “You will not enter paradise until you have faith,
and you will not complete your faith until you love one another.”
This Love does not mean that we allow any sort of behavior. It does not make “them” okay. It allows us to engage in opposition to ideas from a place of Love. This is NOT “Love the sinner, hate the sin”!!! This Love calls US to task for our own narrow vision. It opens our eyes and ears and hearts to the possibilities of understanding. It also gives us a chance to reduce the hate in this world, starting with ourselves.
We must call on this Love in this time of fears. When we Love those with whom we disagree, there is a chance to see and understand their fears. If we understand their fears, perhaps, with Love, we can begin to address those fears. Together.