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Mike

Why didn’t I see this before?

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In my list of things that I have begun to question, something earlier in this past week caused me to think about the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. 

Although it is a very recent problem I encountered, I decided to write about it first because it will be short.

The story goes that God saw the people building this city and tower to reach the heavens, so God confused the languages to put a stop to it. He says that if He didn’t there would be nothing the people couldn’t do. He couldn’t have that so He confused the language, made they speak different languages so that they would leave off building this tower and separate themselves.

Now, besides the obvious question- did God not foresee this all?, you have the issues of 'reaching the heavens'.

Did God actually believe they would reach heaven? The story certainly implies that.

I did a little research on oxygen, building heights, etc.

Could they have really reached 'the heavens'? How far away was heaven?

They would have run out of oxygen at about 21,000 feet. Would they have reached heaven before then?

We know now that you can shoot a rocket straight up and unless you hit an asteroid or a planet, it could go indefinitely into the huge expanse of space.

Wouldn’t the creator of all this known this? Just what did He think they could reach?

The tallest building to date in these modern times is the 829.8-metre-tall (2,722 ft) Burj Khalifa in Dubai (of the United Arab Emirates). (Wikipedia) There is talk of taller ones, it is theoretically possible with today's technology to build one about 4,000 feet tall. The issue on these tall buildings is that the base has to be so wide it becomes impractical to go high, real estate prices being what they are.

Was God really afraid they could do anything approaching tall enough to reach heaven?

I think not.

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Totally.  There is a lot that is strange about the Tower of Babel story...

 

Like you pointed out: first, the idea that there is a physical heaven that exists in the atmosphere immediately above the Earth.

 

Then, the idea that God was so insecure that humans would somehow challenge his authority or position.  As though though the perch that he ruled from could be climbed up to by a building that was tall enough.

 

The strangest thing to me, though, is that if the whole reason he changed the languages was to put an end to building High Towers, we have subsequently built much much taller buildings and we've even gone so far as to put a man on the moon.

 

So the story really fails on multiple levels:

- it fails cosmologically

- it fails theologically

- it fails logically

 

( that would make a cute sermon outline!)

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The Hubble and the other exploring space craft have not encountered this heaven yet either.

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The Tower of Babble story in the Bible is simply a myth.  Yes, you and I can ask questions about it, by assuming the story is true and correct in the first place and for the purposes of discourse.  Such questions are based on that assumption/premise and are best directed to those that actually believe that the myth is a true account of what occurred.  Asking those question to those who already believe the story is myth/fiction/nonsense is akin to preaching to the choir.

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@sdelsolray,

yes, but we know believers come here and check things out, it may be of benefit to them.

Also, someone else like yourself could add another angle of thought to it that would also help others,

especially those talking to believers.

Thanks for reading!

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People paint themselves into a corner when they take allegory and myth as historical or factual information. That is the failure of fundamentalism.

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Yes, the story of Babel is a myth as is the entirety of the Bible - save for a few items that may tie in very loosely to some parts of ancient history. 

 

That said, for the sake of those visitors who may be questioning their faith. God purportedly put a stop to those who were trying to reach out to him BUT the Bible indicates that we are to never stop trying to reach out to God/Jesus and to have a relationship with him/them whatever.

 

Chew on that for a day or two. You likely will begin to see other conflicting stories, philosophies, commandments, etc. in scripture.  

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Of course, Christians always spin things and will have an answer, such as "Jehovah knew they couldn't reach actual Heaven, since it's a spiritual place, but he still needed to put them in their place."

 

Still, ol' Yahweh must hate Google Translate!

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Yeah that story. Well, a lot of explanations seems to be about power. People wanted power, or independent power, and Adonai , the God of the Jews, showed them who was the boss and that they should rely solely on him. 

 

To me, the whole narrative of obedience/rebellion seems unfit for a supreme being. Really, the whole point of existence is recognizing who's in charge and obeying? That just seems so psychologically damaged, like a wounded control freak of a person. I would imagine God is a very pleasant being to be around, not a power hungry tyrant. That is also why the whole "servant - master " dynamic seems weird as well. Al these things that have to do with control as the main element in the relationship between man and God, and that love is manifested firstly by unflinching submission from the creature side , and undisputed control and authority from the Creator. This seems strange for me. 

 

The idea that we are unworthy servants seems appaling. The idea that a supreme being creates beings just to be his servants, when he does not need servants , being all powerful and self sufficient seems absurd on top of that.

 

The absurdity that if there is no evil, people do not have free will. Well, we should then allow poisons near little children and just tell them not to drink from them, and if they do, well, that was their choice.

 

The absurdity of the fact that a life without the ability to reject God is not valuable. Such speculation.  That kind of freedom just seems an unnecesary risk and gamble. 

 

If freedom has these kind of consequences when bilions may end up in eternal punishment, why do that? Is that really worth it? I personally would refuse to procreate if I was not sure of the salvation of my offspring. It just seems a complicated game. And again this is about power. God gave man the power to reject Him or accept Him. Man used his power wringly, and did not submit to God's power. Such talk about power, who has the power, who has the biggest power, between the devil and God there si a power struggle. It's more like political intrigue, past and present, than the celestial realms.

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The story shows that Yahweh, like most of the ancient gods, was not very kind or good or secure. He could be ousted from his position by competing gods, like the Titans that lost their place when the Olympians took over (Zeus replacing Chronos). This is why Genesis has Yahweh saying about Adam and Eve "Let us make man in our image" and later "They have become like one of us". Yahweh was originally one of the pantheon of Middle Eastern gods and later was promoted as the top one, and then the only true one. 

 

And the story isn't just about people cooperating and really getting stuff done, the name Babel (Bab-El) is "gate to god" so they were trying to make a stairway to heaven. The concept of up and down are primitive, such as when Jesus (and Mohammed) ascended "up" into the clouds and apparently into Heaven. This shows that the primitive mindset regarding cosmology was still strong 2000 years ago (and most believers never think to question these tales). Mostly it seems like a fable about why there are so many languages, much like "why the snake crawls on his belly and flits his tongue", and "why is life so difficult, and is there anyone to appeal to for an edge on survival".

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2 hours ago, Fuego said:

The concept of up and down are primitive, such as when Jesus (and Mohammed) ascended "up" into the clouds and apparently into Heaven.

 

This and other concepts of Christianity ,and most religions for that matter, are what first peaked my curiosity while still in grade school. 

 

"Dad, why don't airplanes bump into heaven when they fly?"

"Well....because heaven is much higher than those planes."

"How high?"

"Eat your pancakes!"

 

This lead to a conviction that all scripture is myered in ancient mythology. Recent religions that have popped up and fizzled (like those jackasses in San Diego that commited suicide because the alien spacecraft was overhead waiting for them) are myered in more recent, but equally missguided, mythology. 

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All good comments and insights!

The Christian god is a creator alright - he created all his own problems.

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5 hours ago, Mike said:

The Christian god is a creator alright - he created all his own problems.

... allegedly. ;)

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On 4/10/2019 at 1:48 PM, Mike said:

All good comments and insights!

The Christian god is a creator alright - he created all his own problems.

When I read the story back in the day... when I was all by myself, I remember thinking that god himself was the tyrant who separated all the peoples on the earth and that's why we have never had peace on earth. But at church, it was preached that it was about the people and their rebellion.....🙄

 

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On 4/10/2019 at 8:08 AM, Fuego said:

This is why Genesis has Yahweh saying about Adam and Eve "Let us make man in our image"

 

I thought it was El Elyon saying that, and that he was saying it to Yahweh and his brothers, all of whom were El Elyon’s Sons.

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12 hours ago, Lerk said:

 

I thought it was El Elyon saying that, and that he was saying it to Yahweh and his brothers, all of whom were El Elyon’s Sons.

Kinda my point. He was one among many originally, but then was promoted as the one and only. El Elyon is a title, god most high. I guess the LDS church might be down with plural gods, but Judaism wasn't, especially after they were sacked by Babylon. But all the evidence points to Yahweh being one among others originally.

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     Heaven was a lot lower in those days.

 

          mwc

 

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On 4/7/2019 at 8:22 PM, Mike said:

I did a little research on oxygen, building heights, etc.

Could they have really reached 'the heavens'? How far away was heaven?

They would have run out of oxygen at about 21,000 feet.

  • 8 Bar-tailed Godwit – 20000 feet.
  • 7 Mallard – 21000 feet.
  • 6 Bearded Vulture – 24000 feet.
  • 5 Alpine Chough – 26500 feet.
  • 4 Whooper Swan – 27000 feet.
  • 3 Bar-headed Goose – 29000 feet.
  • 2 Common Crane – 33000 feet.
  • 1 Ruppell's Griffon Vulture – 37000 feet

Source

If it's Wikipedia it might be true...  :3:

 

The absence of oxygen doesn't seem to effect this dude.  (Peak of Mt. Everest 29,000+ feet)  But your right in the sense that thinner air density makes replenishing one's oxygen extremely more difficult.

Related image

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13 hours ago, Fuego said:

Kinda my point. He was one among many originally, but then was promoted as the one and only. El Elyon is a title, god most high. I guess the LDS church might be down with plural gods, but Judaism wasn't, especially after they were sacked by Babylon. But all the evidence points to Yahweh being one among others originally.

Check out the link that I posted under - Semitic god from an eastern perspective - in the 'Ex-christian spirituality' section of the forums.

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On 4/14/2019 at 1:49 PM, Karna said:

Check out the link that I posted under - Semitic god from an eastern perspective - in the 'Ex-christian spirituality' section of the forums.

I found another interesting blog that made for a good read.

 

http://robertmascharan.blogspot.com/2012/02/yhwh-decoding-his-origins-shocking.html

 

I am not a christian...so I am not well versed with the Semitic mythology. But all you ex-bible-folks out there might find it fun to read.

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Oh yeah, I thought that the "Tower of Babel" story was pretty fishy, even when I was a wee lad. Oddly entertaining as a "just-so" story about the origins of language, but it exposes the so-called "lord of creation" as a paranoid, petty little twit, doesn't it?

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