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Isn't the biblical story of the "Tower of Babel" a cautionary tale about trying to "reach" or "achieve" God?


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Initial post: 26 Feb 2014 19:57:52 GMT
Spin says:
So why do Abrahamic monotheists strive to attain a deity that has previously condemned such striving?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 20:16:12 GMT
How do you mean that the deity has condemned such striving?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 20:18:09 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Feb 2014 20:18:47 GMT
Spin says:
CE; Have you read the story of the "Tower of Babel"? A story in which God punishes mankind for attempting to reach him in word and deed...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 20:21:54 GMT
It isn't in the Koran at all, so I only know about it vaguely. Have you seen the film 'Babel', with Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt? It's rather strange too.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 20:34:29 GMT
Spin says:
CE; No offence, but I suggest you read the bible in order to understand the Qu'ran. One would not expect to understand or appreciate the third instalment of a book or film trilogy without having seen the other two...=)

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 20:47:42 GMT
I have read a lot of the Bible.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 20:52:44 GMT
Spin says:
CE; But you say that you do not know the story of Babel, since it is not in the Qu'ran. What other biblical stories, which had an influence on the development of Islam, are you not familiar with?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 20:58:57 GMT
I am familiar with them, albeit perhaps vaguely. Can't you just tell me what your take is on this, rather than getting to be like all these others who make you Google things all the time?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 21:01:06 GMT
Spin says:
CE; Read the Story of the "Tower of Babel" in the bible and you will grasp my point and the arguments of those better than I who engage in theology and hermeneutics. =)

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 21:01:16 GMT
I'm asking because I am interested.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 21:02:44 GMT
The Koran deals with theology for the non-theologian as far as I am concerned, and curiously there is nothing in it about the Tower of Babel.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 21:08:14 GMT
Spin says:
CE; The Qu'ran is no more than a poetic text based on the beliefs of a rich, and troubled merchant in the desert. Read the history of the book and its author to get an idea of its vagueness and prejudice. Remember "The Satanic verses"? (Not the the Rushdie book, but the actual verses removed by Mohamed, a so-called prophet)

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 04:03:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Feb 2014 04:51:10 GMT
light says:
Hi Spin,

It's not that God condemned striving to get to know him, what he was against was pride, notice what the next few verses say:

Genesis 11:3-4 "They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

Did you notice that they said, Let us make a name for ourselves? Plus I think there is significance in the mention of using brick instead of stone and tar for mortar, but I don't know much about building so I'm not sure what it is, I think it's a mystery ;o)

ok, I looked into the significance of using brick instead of stone and this is what I found:

"The Torah makes note of the fact that the Tower of Babel was built not of stone, but of brick. Why is this significant? The chassidic masters explain that bricks are manmade, but stones are created by G‑d."

The Hebrew translation uses the word, slime, or clay instead of tar, when I searched this I found that bitumen was probably used and this may have been pointed out because this is a very stinky substance and this is what was used to build the Tower of Babel, man made bricks and stinky mortar. Poor materials was used to build the tower and also poor intentions.

Now compare the materials that was used to build the Tower of Babel with the materials that Solomon used to build the Temple:

"The stone of which the Temple was built was dressed at the quarry, so that no work of that kind was necessary within the Temple precincts (I Kings vi. 7). The roof was of cedar, and the whole house was overlaid with gold (I Kings vi. 9, 22), the pillars were made of brass."

No mortar was used to keep the stones together because the stones were fitted perfectly together. (white or reddish marble is mentioned as the stone that was used).

take care light

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 04:58:48 GMT
Spin, I'm not sure you've read the story either. God punishes man for building the Tower as a monument to themselves and not because they were trying to reach him in word or deed.

Posted on 27 Feb 2014 09:01:18 GMT
I think the story is about lots of scattered people being brought together but not able to understand the other's languages. Now we have more contact electronically accents and languages are becoming more homogenised.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 13:34:39 GMT
richard says:
i think this is an example of the early writers of Genesis trying to make sense of why various people had their own language. if they were all descended from Adam and Eve then surely they would share a common tongue! what was needed was an account of how people went from a common tongue (which biblically speaking they must have had) to various languages and difficulty understanding each other. the tower of Babel is likely to remember stories from ancient Suma where empire building, attacking and defending must over time have caused a lot of displacement of peoples. it's quite likely that some refugees moved into the Canaanite area and took these stories/memories with them. the story is more about people with a common tongue being scattered by god and loosing that common tongue and ability to understand each other. if i remember correctly they were being punished for trying to build the tower up towards heaven to be nearer god(s). the tower might refer to the ziggurats they built which i think were to worship upon.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 17:55:07 GMT
Spin says:
WD; Mankind built a Tower that got too close to God. You can interpret this as meaning man's thoughts, words and deeds, the construction of physical and intellectual "monuments" was man's attempt to either attain deity or become, intentionally or unintentionally, a god himself. Hence the curse of a multi-cultural and multi-linguistic world. If one man cannot speak to or understand another, deity cannot be attained in either sense. Only God is "One", mankind can never be "one" again...

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 18:24:34 GMT
Spin says:
Light: The story is derived from a culture that used clay tablets as a means of recording writing; cuneiform writing. To build a tower of clay bricks could refer to building libraries of knowledge...

Posted on 27 Feb 2014 20:29:49 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Feb 2014 11:14:05 GMT
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In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 20:34:02 GMT
Spin says:
CW; "Landing place"? "Launch facilities"? "Spaceports"? No offence, but what the hell are you talking about?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 20:37:30 GMT
Anita says:
It seems he's back to "aliens created us", if you are really interested

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 20:45:50 GMT
Spin says:
Anita; I have no objection to arguments claiming that life on Earth may be the result of "Alien" life, however defined or conceived of, but I am baffled as to how such alien life arrived and influenced specific ages in history. It reminds me of the Star Trek episode "Who weeps for Adonais?" in which the Greek pantheon of gods was discovered by the crew of the Enterprise to be aliens who once visited Earth =) As Spock once said "That is illogical, Captain" =)

Posted on 27 Feb 2014 21:10:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Feb 2014 22:01:12 GMT
Spin says:
No doubt life on earth "began" because of an Alien sneezing bacteria over the landscape he was visiting on primordial Earth. =) Or maybe, all seriousness aside, as science now hypothesises, the constituents of life on earth arrived by meteor...If so, how did life get on that meteor? Again, I have no objection to speculations as to how life on earth began, but arguments concerning aliens visiting an already established mankind, and building spaceports or leaving traces of their being, are too bizarre to consider.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 23:36:48 GMT
You can interpret it as that, or you can interpret it that God just thought it was a 'monstrous carbuncle' and did something about it. However interpreting it in wacky ways to fit an agenda doesn't make it a viable proposal. Re-read the story and it tells you what it is about. There is no mystery and therefore no silly interpretations.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2014 00:09:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Feb 2014 00:23:13 GMT
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  18
Total posts:  50
Initial post:  26 Feb 2014
Latest post:  27 Mar 2014

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