Tower of Babel

The story of the Tower of Babel, found in Genesis 11:1-9, is used by literal Bible readers to explain how we have different languages. It’s used to explain, today, why we all speak differently.

But is this really the point?

The end of the section, v 11:9b. says, “From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth”. Was this literal? Did God magically lift people and separate them to different places and continents? It would explain why there are people everywhere. But…really?

I read something very interesting on the Tower of Babel, that theorized: what if, rather than one specific project, this was a worldwide collaboration to build Pyramids - literally towers to the gods? And that, instead of instantly, the project failed because language naturally morphs and changes and by the time of completion, no one could understand each other?

Now, who the fuck knows, but it is a very intersesting theory. A theory overlooked by Christians that see it all as literal, unopen to debate and discussion. Which is a further problem at Sodom and Gomorrah.

Sodom and Gomorrah

So the destruction of these cities is used by Right-wing-Christians as the basis for why homosexuality is wrong. Because men in this story wanted other men for sex, God destroyed the city.

But I highly doubt that was the point.

Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned a few chapters earlier in Genesis 14: 8. Apparently, some kings had raided the cities and took Lot and all his possessions. And in the chapter before the destruction we read about in Genesis 19, God questions hiding “his” actions from Abraham (18:17); this comes before saying the “outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not I will know” (18:20-21).

A few thoughts:

  • this is the type of shit that fucks up Christianity, with all these anal retentive types being VERY anti-homosexuality because of Genesis 19, forgetting that,

  • in the same Chapter, Lot offered his daughters to all the men in Sodom and Gomorrah, saying they can do whatever they like with the girls; this apparently is fine. Or that,

  • God’s response to an outcry is to kill everyone there? Or that,

  • God saved Lot, but turned his wife into a pillar of Salt for looking back at her home?

Basically, none of it makes any sense, but certainly shouldn’t be used as the basis for morality in the 21st Century.

The story is strange. Very strange. And we’re left to struggle to understand it. A lot of people have tried. Don’t believe me, read some of this: bible hub commentary.

Or, we can just agree that the story is strange. We can place it in the context of days of old and assume it has a different moral. The people were fine with slaves, engaged in a bunch of wars, and this is an ancient text.