The story of the Tower of Babel is another incredibly short one. It is only 9 lines long, so I will go over it in its entirety.

The story of the fall of the tower of Babel is meant to explain why there are different languages in the world. After all, since we are all descended from Noah after the flood we should all be speaking the same language. So what happened?

Well, according to the Bible, God happened. He didn’t like the idea of a humanity that spoke one language and could work together to build great things. So he destroyed their tower, confused their speech, and scattered them across the earth.

This story is a prime example of God keeping humans down. But I am getting ahead of myself.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the story of The Tower Of Babel.

Genesis 11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

This is of course not true. The world never spoke one language, certainly not around 2200 BC when this story is meant to take place. (Remember this a newly post-flood world, so according to the Bible everyone is related to Noah and speaks the language of Noah, which I suppose is Hebrew.)

Historically we know there were many different cultures across the world around 2200 BC. I will not waste too much time pointing out things like the fact that when the Tower of Babel was supposedly built the Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh had already been written in Sumerian, or that the Great Pyramid was already hundreds of years old and the Egyptians were in their 6th dynasty.

But you don’t need history or “facts” to tell you that people never spoke just one language. All you need is the Bible. In true Biblical fashion it contradicts itself. In the previous chapter it mentions three times that there are different languages spoken in different nations before the Tower of Babel was even built. Genesis 10:5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue after their families, in their nations. Genesis 10:20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues in their countries, and their nations. And just 2 lines before the line where the Bible says that all men spoke the same language is this line, Genesis 10:31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues in their land, after their nations.

So again, according to the previous chapter in the Bible the first line of this story is not true. But for the sake of deconstructing this destructive narrative lets pretend that it is true. Lets assume that a couple hundred years after the great flood wiped out all of human civilization everyone on the planet spoke the same language. Now what?

Genesis 11:2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

Ok, so the people journeyed from the east and found a place to live.

Genesis 11:3 And they said one to another, “Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar”.

Rather than simply stacking stones to build structures the people have discovered how to bake bricks, and they used slime (or tar) for mortar. Here we see mention of the fact that humanity’s building capabilities had evolved. They were using some form of science to build things faster, stronger, and better. So far so good. Then what?

Genesis 11:4 And they said, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

And now we see this group of united humans has decided to take their knowledge and build a city. They even challenge themselves to build a tower that might “reach unto heaven”. They say they want to make a name for themselves. They want to leave a legacy. And not only that they want to build this tower not for the purposes of dethroning God as we are led to believe, rather they wanted to build a city with a tower so they wouldn’t be “scattered abroad upon the face of the earth”. (Remember that phrase for later) These people set forth to use their (God given?) abilities to build a spectacular feat of engineering for the purposes of engendering civic pride, and further uniting an already united humanity. Sounds good to me.

Genesis 11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

Oh shit. Here it comes…

Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”

I can see the builders of the tower saying, “Oh hey, thanks God! Thank you for noticing that we are “one”. We really are you know? It wasn’t easy, but we found a way to unify, and it feels really good to have you recognize our integrity as a people. We are really excited to build this city, and we are really looking forward to building this tower. It will really challenge us. It will put our skills to the test and further bond us as a people. But of course you knew that. And I guess we never really thought about it to that extent but now that you mention it, you’re right we can do anything we put our minds to. It is so inspiring to have you tell us that in your opinion we will not be restrained from anything we can imagine. And I gotta say, it feels great to hear all this from you God. We were kind of afraid you might be upset for some reason. I mean, after all you are the same God that killed everyone (and everything) on the planet a couple hundred years ago because you were displeased with them. We are so relieved that you like us. What’s that? You have more to say? Oh…OK…”

Genesis 11:7 “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

Alright, lets get the big one out of the way first. Who the fuck is God talking to?! Yet again he refers to an “us”. In the creation story he said, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness”. Then in the story of Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit he said “Behold the man is become one of US.” And now, we have him saying to someone “Let US go down there and confound their speech”. Yahweh is the king of contradiction. He says time and time again that there is only one God, but he is always speaking off camera to another God. It’s insane.

And now lets talk about the really big one. The fact that in this line of the Bible God conspires (with someone else) to come to Earth and confound peoples language so they cannot understand each other. How fucked up is that?

Think about that for a second. Humanity was united and doing good things. It does not say in this story that they were building the tower as a big middle finger to God. It does not say that they were building the world’s tallest brothel. They were simply building the biggest thing they could think of in order to create a monument that would attest to their culture, and make a name for themselves. BUT God sees that as a threat. Bigtime. God gets so scared that he immediately enlists the help of someone else in order to put an end to humanity’s progress. (He couldn’t do it alone, from heaven? He had to get help and do it in person?) This group of people, (his people) were united and capable of doing anything they were inspired to do, and quite simply God decides that he ain’t havin’ that shit. So he comes down to earth to make a mess.

Genesis 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

The “LORD” confuses everyone’s language and they have to stop building not just the tower, but the city itself. And notice that he doesn’t mess things up by destroying the tower. That is what you would expect from Yahweh. Fire and brimstone from the sky. Maybe a lightning bolt or an earthquake that destroys the tower. But this time God doesn’t destroy anything in the physical world. This time God destroys something in humanity’s mind. God destroys their language. Having a common language, and the ability to clearly understand, and be clearly understood, that was the real threat to God’s “heaven”.

This is perhaps the worst example of divide and conquer in history. God makes it so that people cannot understand one another. It would be real hard to continue building the tallest tower in the world when you show up to work one day and all of the sudden you are speaking Slovakian and your coworker is speaking Swahili.

But of course the tower was the symbolic manifestation of the culture’s unity, so no tower also means no community. It was the power of the human mind that was capable of uniting in community and bringing its dreams to life, that is what God wanted to destroy, not the tower itself.

There is only one more line in this 9-line story.

Genesis 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

He brought chaos and uncertainty to humanity. He divided not just our bodies but also our minds.

And then, to add insult to injury, he scatters the people all across the face of the earth. Here we see the tower builders’ greatest nightmare come true. They wanted to get together and build something great that would bring them closer as a people so they wouldn’t be scattered all over the globe. So what does God do? Divide them on the deepest level, and scatter them across the globe. Thanks dick!

There is no mention in this story that the tower builders were arrogantly trying to dethrone God with their tower. The story does not say that the people were wicked like in Sodom and Gomorrah. So why stop the tower from being built? Did God really think that if they built a tower tall enough it would reach heaven? Is God that stupid? No, heaven was in no danger of being scraped by this ancient skyscraper. And God knew that. So then what was the problem?

The problem was that we were a threat to God. Or more to the point, God thought we were a threat to God. And God just couldn’t have that. So he scrambled our tongues, and we have been misunderstanding each other ever since.

By his own admission God is the author of confusion. And not only that but by confounding humanities language God ensured the fact that his very own word of God (aka the Bible) would be mistranslated and misinterpreted from that day forward. If God really wanted us to know his word then why did he confound our language.

God didn’t want us to live forever by eating from the Tree of Life, and he clearly didn’t want us to communicate clearly with one another, so he shattered humanity’s collective consciousness into thousands of pieces. God is beginning to sound more and more like the devil to me (not that I believe in him either).

Over thousands of years this story has been translated thousands of times, thanks entirely to the events in this story. This story is so short you could write it twice on a cocktail napkin, but the true lesson here cannot be understated. (Perhaps that is why I have written 1,879 words about a story that only consists of 235)

In this simple story we see the world that God truly wants for us. The existence Yahweh conspires to damn humanity to is one of confused hamstrung subservience. The God of the Bible does not love us. He fucking fears us.