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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Tower of Babel

Leaving aside literalism, which I fully respect exists, what do people make of this story?

I reflect it is written by a culture that had left Egypt with a hierarchical society based with a peak of a man God. Egyptian socieity was in this way an example of human spirtual hubris, the the peak being God rather than a servant of God.

The foolishness of such things would be writ large by the different societies holding different moralities and different moral hierarchies.

But, I struggle with it.

Any wisdom?

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 04:21 PM
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Re: Tower of Babel

I'm probably too literal. Babel was way before Egypt.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Tower of Babel

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I'm probably too literal. Babel was way before Egypt.
Indeed, but I meant when the story was written.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 06:45 AM
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Re: Tower of Babel

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Leaving aside literalism, which I fully respect exists, what do people make of this story?

I reflect it is written by a culture that had left Egypt with a hierarchical society based with a peak of a man God. Egyptian socieity was in this way an example of human spirtual hubris, the the peak being God rather than a servant of God.

The foolishness of such things would be writ large by the different societies holding different moralities and different moral hierarchies.

But, I struggle with it.

Any wisdom?
For them, the peak was in His return to rule them and establish His kingdom on earth. He hasn't done that, yet.

When you consider the explosion of knowledge that we have today and consider how much more quickly we would be advancing if we had everyone on the same page without the issues of political influence and exchange of money, goods or services that need negotiated between folks of differing cultures and languages, we would likely be too far beyond the average human's understanding. This creates issues with liberty and allows for civil impact that tears nations asunder. When folks are forced to slow down, these changes do not come as fast and society has an opportunity to consider the consequences and ramifications of greater knowledge and technology.

In a capitalist country, supply and demand are most important. Greed is festering and promoted through marketing. An artificial need is created.

I'm not so sure there is a connection with Egypt. Seems like this is universal to humanities frailty and failings.

"I'm significant!! Screamed the dust speck." - Bill Watterson
"Youth is wasted on the young". - George Bernard Shaw

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 11:08 PM
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Re: Tower of Babel

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....what do people make of this story?
Well, this people sees this account as an act of rebellion against God.

After the flood, God told Noah and his descendants to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. They thought, nah, we'll stay right here, and not only that, since we're united we might just build a tower and gain heaven and dethrone God.

Dr. Michael Heiser has some good stuff on this subject.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 11:03 AM
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Re: Tower of Babel

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Indeed, but I meant when the story was written.
The last I heard, there is scant evidence that the Jews were ever held in bondage in Egypt.

Other than that, what is the likelihood that all people's on the entire surface of the earth ever actually spoke one language - unless you want to consider whatever communication we managed as a spoken tongue before we dispersed out of Africa some 2 million years ago.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Tower of Babel

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The last I heard, there is scant evidence that the Jews were ever held in bondage in Egypt.

Other than that, what is the likelihood that all people's on the entire surface of the earth ever actually spoke one language - unless you want to consider whatever communication we managed as a spoken tongue before we dispersed out of Africa some 2 million years ago.
I am assuming there is an important true message behind the story, so that it would last for thousands of years. An untrue guess would not work, and I have not considered it as literal truth in the physical historical sense.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 11:54 AM
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Re: Tower of Babel

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I am assuming there is an important true message behind the story, so that it would last for thousands of years. An untrue guess would not work, and I have not considered it as literal truth in the physical historical sense.
My read on it has always been as an explanation for the variety of language on the planet. If you hew to a philosophy that has an original man and an original woman in the not-so-distant past, then you have to explain why not everyone uses the same language - or at least, something remotely recognizable from a common ancestor.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tower of Babel

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My read on it has always been as an explanation for the variety of language on the planet. If you hew to a philosophy that has an original man and an original woman in the not-so-distant past, then you have to explain why not everyone uses the same language - or at least, something remotely recognizable from a common ancestor.
I am familiar with that, which works as a Just So story. But, these stories have to work on many levels. The story of Abraham was presented to me with the moral "don't sacrifice your children", which has generally been a bot taboo anyway. Now I understand it as the call to human maturity and beyond that to spritual maturity (hence the three day walk in the desert).

As I get older, many of these stories have more meaning. Increasingly, I see the Tower of Babel as a warning against the hubris of worshiping man man hierarchies and societal structures as if they are inherently virtuous.

With all respect, your reading does seem content with the idea that the story is literal and a bit silly. On the other hand, I might be reading too much into it, but words were not cheap to preserve and this could either be a powerful story or a banal and rather verbose one, I lean to the former.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2020, 10:51 AM
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I had to read your post a couple times, because I didn't quite understand what you were getting at. Here is my take:

On a purely historical level, I suppose you could parallel this story with Egyptian beliefs around that time that Pharaohs were gods, not just servants appointed by God. The tower of Babel was also supposedly around the same time as the collapse of the Old Kingdom and the ushering in of the chaos during the 'First Intermediate Period' which possibly led to migrations (there is also some debate as to whether the Nile had dried up considerably during this time). This could also be inferred as God destroying their kingdom for disobediance and the scattering of tribes/nations. But thats unclear since this was thought to have occurred in Babylon (or thereabouts) not Egypt.

On a purely religious and moral level, it is a story of disobediance toward God by man in search of of self glorification. Trying to separate the literal reading from the symbolism is a tricky endeavor but I'm sure there are many opinions.

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2020, 11:38 AM
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Re: Tower of Babel

Is it like SimCity ?
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2020, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tower of Babel

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I had to read your post a couple times, because I didn't quite understand what you were getting at. Here is my take:

On a purely historical level, I suppose you could parallel this story with Egyptian beliefs around that time that Pharaohs were gods, not just servants appointed by God. The tower of Babel was also supposedly around the same time as the collapse of the Old Kingdom and the ushering in of the chaos during the 'First Intermediate Period' which possibly led to migrations (there is also some debate as to whether the Nile had dried up considerably during this time). This could also be inferred as God destroying their kingdom for disobediance and the scattering of tribes/nations. But thats unclear since this was thought to have occurred in Babylon (or thereabouts) not Egypt.

On a purely religious and moral level, it is a story of disobediance toward God by man in search of of self glorification. Trying to separate the literal reading from the symbolism is a tricky endeavor but I'm sure there are many opinions.
I am sure it works wonderfully on many levels. Surely it is more relevant when the story arose rather than at what time it was set? If I write a story set four hundred years ago, it will convey a point from now rather than then? Sorry if I misunderstand.

When we used to speak of nations, it would be almost the same as referring to race and associated with a language. And that makes sense, living in Denmark, I can see that some of the sensibilites can be seen in the languages and are products of those languages too. This is the building block of a human hubris that we all fall for (me certainly). A very human morality is then built into this society.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2020, 09:00 PM
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Re: Tower of Babel

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I'm probably too literal. Babel was way before Egypt.
Upper and Lower Egypt united around 3000 BC with the oldest pyramid being around 2650.

Babylon got started about 2700 and didn't really hit its heyday until around 2000-1800 BC.

Society advances one funeral at a time. -- Max Planck
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tower of Babel

Again, does it matter when it was set, surely the circumstaces of the time when it was written are more important. Setting it in the long distant past is not the important thing.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 07:16 PM
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Re: Tower of Babel

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As I get older, many of these stories have more meaning. Increasingly, I see the Tower of Babel as a warning against the hubris of worshiping man man hierarchies and societal structures as if they are inherently virtuous.
IMO it is a literal account and part of the core message to be gained from it is what you wrote here. Add to that, placing science above God. "Oh, God didn't do that, science did." (When God created and designed all nature, physics, order, etc.) Also add genetically designed children, or aborting children. Just because mankind is beginning to understand how some of the mechanisms God designed work, it doesn't mean that man needs to try to take credit for it, use it to usurp (or deny the existence of) God, or destroy life.
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