B: Another purpose of God’s commandments is that we become as “one,” i.e., unified as a people in purpose. Again, the second great commandment has to do with loving one another, and how could we possibly fulfill that if we refuse to be unified? Isn’t a married couple more unified the more they love each other?
A: What purpose would unify people? I suppose just about any would do, but the trick is convincing people of it.
B: I have my doubts, to be honest, that people could permanently unify for literally “any” purpose. For instance, you might get a gang of thieves together to commit a crime, but how long could you keep them together? You’ve heard of the saying “no honor among thieves,” hain’tcha? Entire nations, it seems, may be able to unify for a patriotic cause, such as a war, but to what degree are they truly unified? And when the war, or whatever the cause is, ends, do they continue to be unified? A perfect unity would be more permanent, one would think.
But to answer your original question, that is, for what purpose would people be unified, we look at the first great commandment, loving God. Ultimately, if all people truly loved God and each other, they would be permanently united for a genuine cause.
A: Ha! Good luck with that. People can’t even agree with each other concerning beliefs about God, let alone love Him.
B: Lemme say something about people agreeing with each other, in general. It’s my own conviction that no two people in this world, however much they seem alike or love each other, completely agree on every single issue. So disagreement will never be eliminated altogether, or at least until everybody learns how to obey commandments #1 and #2 perfectly. In the meantime, discord survives, and perhaps even thrives.
Have you ever heard somebody say, “I never learned anything from someone I agreed with?” Usually it’s said in the context of justifying disagreement. It almost suggests that we should be seeking to disagree with another, since otherwise we supposedly don’t learn anything. The reality is, of course, that everybody disagrees with each other to some extent, as I was just saying, so the statement is actually vacuously true in a general sense. But when we learn something from somebody else, it isn’t the mere existence of any disagreement that enlightens us, but instead the presentation of some new idea we hadn’t yet or recently considered. It may be embedded within an argument a rival gives, or a different perspective that he has, or a concept entirely foreign to us, which may alter, or entirely contradict, our own opinions or pre-established ideas on the matter, if we even have any.
If, however, it would not be possible for us to learn anything except through disagreement, then if we ever wanted enlightenment, we would have to go around constantly picking fights just to find it. And if everybody approached it in this way, we would soon find ourselves warring against every other person in the world. How could we ever have any unity?
On the contrary, God would have us be united in love for each other and for Him, and yet we would still be able to learn everything that He could ever teach us, which itself would be every piece of knowledge that exists. Folks, we stand strongest when we are united. United we stand.
A: What, you would have us all think alike?
B: OK, first of all, our thinking is based on our own perceptions of truth. Since nobody (except God) knows all truth, everybody could stand to learn something new. It could be that another person knows, or has an idea, about some truth that you are unaware of, and therefore constitutes a person from whom you could learn something. If we are interested in learning more and more truth – which could potentially benefit us, since it would help us understand what God already knows, therefore helping us understand Him better, how He’s so happy, and thus how we ourselves can be happier – then we should embrace all truth, regardless of where we hear it, and not squelch it at all. It would make no sense, therefore, to stubbornly hold on to some concept whose truth we don’t know, and insist that others should hold that view as well, even and especially to the point of coercion. In this way, I say, no, we should not all think alike, since we don’t all think alike – none of us knows all truth.
But let me qualify that just a bit: if it is possible to know all truth – as God does – then if we all know all truth, then we will all “think” alike. More precisely, we’ll all “know alike,” since we’ll all know all things. And in that case we could all be as happy as God is, if we choose to be, since then we would know the happiness God knows. That would be perfect unity, and seems to me to be the best goal we could possibly strive for. To reach that goal we would have to eliminate whatever proposals of truth we encounter along the way that we find to be false; by “eliminate” I mean to simply not agree with it, both in our thoughts and actions, and to encourage others (in the loving way that God does, of course, as with everything, and never by force) to do the same. So, in conclusion: we don’t all think alike, but we should try to reach the point where we all know alike, learning along the way from God and each other, and when we reach that point, we will have perfect harmony, unity, etc. – call it what you will.
B: Who’s doing the brainwashing? God? What does “brainwashed” mean, anyway? It seems like another term for “blind faith,” which we talked about before. If God could brainwash us, He would never do it against our will, so we would have to voluntarily give in to any brainwashing He would do. Nobody should ever be forced to be unified with others, or to do just about anything, for that matter. We can always choose whether or not we want to be brainwashed by others, unless they take that choice away, as perhaps some horrible regimes have done in the past, such as in Nazi Germany between the World Wars.
Recall, for example, how the citizens of the U.S. largely came together after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. We thus see that an act of terror, or any act of force, may not necessarily do anything to disband people; on the contrary, it may make them more unified than before. But how’s their unity now? Now that the threat of terrorism is not so present, they don’t use it as an excuse to be unified. So perhaps they are less unified than they were then. If there is anything that will eventually break up their unity, it will be their own discord, coming from within. As long as their contempt for each other grows, they may find that they would rather be separate than united; thus, the culprit behind any eventual split they may endure will be internal hatred, not external.
A: Huh. Well, anyway, the degree of unity you were calling for before is just plain unrealistic.
B: For us in this life, perhaps so. But what about those who inherit the world from us? Furthermore, you’ll also recall that there’s another life after this one. We may have a good amount of time to improve our unity then; we may be able to complete what we started in the way of unity – and everything else – that we left unfinished on Earth. Just don’t say that you’ll wait until then to get started. Remember that anything God commands us to do is for our happiness – why wait to get started on happiness?