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Topic: Was there a literal Tower of Babel?

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DunkingDan

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Dancing With Devils
« Reply #126 on: September 28, 2020, 12:56:36 PM »
One of the great unresolved questions of recent history is why so many members of the Western left have become so besotted with, and apologetic for, ruthless totalitarian regimes. There have always been Western leftists who have idolised brutal regimes — be it the Soviet Union, communist Cuba or Islamist Iran —and preferred them to their own countries in the free and prosperous West.

Others have documented this phenomenon, such as Paul Hollander in various classic works, including Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China and Cuba, 1928-78 (1981) and Anti-Americanism (1995).

Here, in his recent book United in Hate, Jamie Glazov makes an attempt at exploring and explaining the Left’s love affair with terror and tyranny.

Glazov is very well qualified to do so, and not only because he has a PhD in history, specialising in US and Russian foreign policy. His personal story contributes much to this book. His parents were Soviet dissidents who fought against communist tyranny and oppression.

They managed to escape to the US in 1972. Their initial taste of glorious freedom was soon soured when they learned that there were Western academics and intellectuals who actually hated them and the message they had to share. These Western apologists for Soviet murder and genocide wanted nothing to do with the Glazovs, and sought to denounce and demonise them in the strongest terms.

Back in the Soviet Union they had risked their lives to campaign for the millions who were being tortured and killed in the Gulag slave labour camps and psychiatric hospitals simply because of their political and religious beliefs. Yet in America they were being viciously attacked by an intelligentsia that loathed America while idolising communist barbarism.

It was a shock the young Glazov never really recovered from, and here he seeks to assess and understand this most bizarre feature of Western life. And with the onset of militant Islam, he sees the whole scenario again being played out before his eyes.

The first half of this important book covers the earlier cases of Western fascination with, and blindness to, totalitarian nightmare states. The Soviet Union, Castro’s Cuba and Mao’s China were all objects of wide-eyed leftist veneration and adoration.



Glazov reminds us of the words of the US ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph Davies, uttered during the height of Stalin’s murder of millions. He waxed eloquent in his love of Stalin with these words: Stalin’s “brown eye is exceedingly wise and gentle. A child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him.”

French writer Jean-Paul Sartre could say this about another murderous thug, Fidel Castro: “Castro is at the same time the island, the men, the cattle and the earth. He is the whole island.” And Father Daniel Berrigan, another longstanding apologist for tyrants, could say this of Hanoi’s prime minister Pham Van Dong: he is an individual “in whom complexity dwells: … a face of great intelligence, and yet also of great reserves of compassion …”

Or consider the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, who after capturing power in 1979 managed to carry out 8,000 political executions in the following three years. They made the nation a place of torture, repression and dictatorship. Yet plenty of Western leftists fell at their feet in worship.

German writer Günter Grass, who was shown a “prison” which the Sandinistas wanted political pilgrims to see — not the actual prisons where inmates were beaten, starved, tortured and killed — came back with euphoric exhilaration: “The humane way in which sentences are carried out!”, he gushed, along with other sentimental mush.

Of course, the Soviets had done just the same with the Gulag decades earlier, to fool gullible Westerners who came over for a look. Western left-wingers were just as ignorant and easily deceived in the 1930s or ’50s as they were in the ’80s.

And they still are. The second half of this book looks at Islamic terrorism, and its Western apologists. There are plenty of leftists in the West who are convinced that Islamic terrorism either does not exist, or is all America’s fault.

Again, Glazov offers plenty of examples. The September 11 atrocity provides plenty of quotes. Norman Mailer called the suicide-hijackers “brilliant.” He excused the attack by saying, “Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel which consequently had to be destroyed.”

Susan Sontag assured us that the terrorist attack was the result of “specific American alliances and actions.” Film-maker Oliver Stone affirmed that 9/11 was a “revolt” and said the ensuing Palestinian celebrations were comparable to those seen in the French and Russian revolutions.

Christian leader Tony Campolo could argue that 9/11 was a legitimate response to the medieval Crusades. German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen described the 9/11 attacks as “the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos.” On and on the apologists for terror and tyranny go. And then there is the inherent anti-Semitism in so much of this as well.

For many left-wingers, Israel is always the enemy, and the Muslim and Arab populations can do no wrong. Consider the remarks of Mike Wallace concerning Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the annihilation of Israel: “He’s an impressive fellow this guy. He really is. He’s obviously smart as hell. … You’ll find him an interesting man.”

These leftists offered more support for Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein than they did for George W. Bush. Film-maker Michael Moore denounced the US while extolling the terrorists: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.”

Glazov devotes a chapter to seeking to examine the psychological makeup of these leftists whose romance with tyranny and terror seems so hard to fathom. They are alienated from their own homelands, although seldom realise it. They espouse a secular religion, a secular utopian vision which speaks much of humanity but is happy to see individual humans crushed in the attempt to create their coercive utopia.

The West-hating Left seems to be a permanent feature of modern Western life. Now that the communist revolution has lost its momentum, other causes must be found. The Islamist cause nicely does the trick. The same enemies are there, such as America, freedom and affluence.

As this book reminds us, we really have two enemies to contend with: murderous totalitarian ideologies of every stripe, and their Western leftist support base. It is an insidious alliance of which we all must be aware. This book does a fine job of making that very clear indeed.

HT: FrontPageMag
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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Culture is at Risk of Becoming Anti-Culture without the Church
« Reply #127 on: September 29, 2020, 01:58:06 PM »
Metropolitan Hilarion’s warning deals with what Nietzsche called the “transvaluation of values” — what his dark prophesy warned would happen in the West because “God is Dead,” by which he meant that Western culture was entering into a period where it functioned within the cultural structures shaped by Christianity but without concrete, existential communion with the Savior — the kind of communion that would lead to martyrdom if required. Those structures would weaken as the historical memory of Christianity grew increasingly dim from one generation to the next.
That is the period we are in today, call it secularism, but understand that secularism is just a layover from one city to the next. We have left the City of God (recalling Augustine) for what — Islamic domination? Perhaps. Man cannot live by bread alone, and that includes the secularist as well as the believer.
Met. Hilarion calls for nothing less than the spiritual transformation of culture. His clarity comes from the cleansing of the persecution of the Orthodox Church by Communism, that ghastly and barbaric attempt to build a Tower of Babel on materialist principles — principles in which God, and thus any appeal to transcendent values that shape morality and meaning, were violently expunged. It unleashed a horrible evil, and that experience of suffering contributes today to the clarity of vision and great boldness we see in Met. Hilarion’s call for renewal and accountability.
Compare this to the impoverished thinking on human value coming out of Constantinople that we have been discussing on this blog the last few days. The reason Constantinople’s compromise with the dominant culture concerning abortion is dangerous is this: If the devaluation of the human person is justified by any hierarch, the moral tradition that he represents and that the West so desperately needs for cultural renewal, is presented as a perversion of itself. Abortion is always the way that social engineers begin their retooling of society. Once society accepts the devaluation of unborn life, it is much easier to devalue all other life.
Russia already went through it. We are next. Don’t believe me? Read Solzhenitsyn’s warning years ago.
(Some of you might be interested in an article I wrote several years ago that shares some of the ideas Met. Hilarion spoke about: The Artist as Vandal: Culture and the desecration of religious symbols.)
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[img width=184 height=146.047 alt=Metropolitan Hilarion title=Metropolitan Hilarion]https://www.aoiusa.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/hilarion-sitting.png[/img]Metropolitan Hilarion[/color][/size]
9.03.2010 · Analitics, DECR Chairman Russian Orthodox Church – Department for External Church Relations

If it does not cooperate with the Church, culture today is at risk of turning into a destructive anti-culture carrying a negative moral message, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relation, said in an interview to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Speaking about the Patriarchal Council for Culture established by the Holy Synod on March 5, he said, ‘The point is not control or censure. The point is constructive cooperation between the Church and those representatives of the world of culture who wish this cooperation. The Church does not impose anything on anybody; she only offers her participation and assistance to those who wish it’.
The Church does not have ‘an ideology’ of her own, he said, unless it is viewed as ideology that she ‘is called to save people, to make their life better, purer and brighter. And this is unachievable without having a spiritual and moral pivot’.
According to him, culture is not neutral spiritually and morally as ‘it can carry both a positive and negative moral message and can equally create and destroy’.
‘If the Church does not participate in the development of cultural life in the country, culture faces a risk of turning into an anti-culture, as was repeatedly the case in the past’, the DECR chairman warned.
In order to avoid the mistakes of the past, His Eminence Hilarion urges, ‘the wall erected between the Church and culture during the Soviet times should be removed once and for all to be replaced by a model of such relations between church and culture as to avoid putting any fetters on the development of culture but rather to create an additional potential for its comprehensive development and flourishing’.
Asked about the heated public debate about the return of valuables from museums to the Church, Metropolitan Hilarion expressed the conviction that the Church and museum workers should deal together with the problem of preserving church valuables.
‘An exchange of open letters and mutual accusations will hardly help to deal with this problem effectively. A more constructive approach would lie in direct dialogue between the Church and museum workers. This dialogue can be carried out within the framework of the Patriarchal Council for Culture’, the metropolitan stressed.
He believes that ‘a church should be a church, not a museum; the place of an icon is not in a museum, but in an acting church; the place of the Eucharistic cup or paten is on the altar, not in a glass showcase’. At the same time, he added, ‘it does not mean that old churches representing architectural monuments cannot function at the same time as museums and that icons kept in a museum church cannot be placed under security’.
As a positive example of church-museum cooperation, Metropolitan Hilarion mentioned the Icon of Our Lady of Vladimir placed in St. Nicholas’s-at-Tolmachi, which is part of the Tretyakov Gallery museum compound. This icon is under round-the-clock observation by specialists. ‘There must be much more of such examples’, the metropolitan said.
Among other areas of concern for the Patriarchal Council for Culture, not involving the problem of returning valuables, the metropolitan mentioned the restoration of church monuments of architecture and art, development of religious and secular architecture, as well as literature, poetry, painting, applied arts, cinematography and television.
As a composer, Metropolitan Hilarion believed it important that the Church should participate in the musical life of countries in the post-Soviet space. ‘We should move from one-time events, such as festivals or particular concerts, to systematic planning… The Church should promote the popularization of the musical works which carry a positive spiritual and moral message, giving special attention to Russian musical tradition and supporting young composers and performers’, he said.
Along with spiritual culture, the Council will be concerned with physical culture and cooperation with the ‘world of sports’.
‘It is quite logical to have the Council led by the Patriarch since any other level would not be appropriate today considering the scale of tasks facing the Church in her dialogue with the world of culture’, the metropolitan remarked.
The membership of the Council will be adopted by the next session of the Holy Synod. ‘Clearly, the Council will include people of creative professions as well as church workers who are linked with the world of culture in this or that way’, the Metropolitan informed the RIA Novosti.
Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, father superior of the Sretensky Monastery, who is a film director by education, has been appointed as secretary of the Council.
HT: AOI Blog


President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Was there a literal Tower of Babel?
« Reply #128 on: September 29, 2020, 07:11:01 PM »
Wake me up when they build a tower to the Sun. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

ZenMode

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Re: Was there a literal Tower of Babel?
« Reply #129 on: September 29, 2020, 07:23:37 PM »
I don't know if there was a tower of Babel, but I'm currently sitting at Honky Tonk Central drinking beer in downtown Nashville.


--- I just realized that nobody knows that I live on the west coast, so the fact that I'm drinking in downtown Nashville is probably not that exciting.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 08:07:42 PM by ZenMode »

HK_Vol

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Re: Was there a literal Tower of Babel?
« Reply #130 on: September 29, 2020, 08:19:29 PM »
Drinking beer?  Too early for me. I'm drinking coffee.....but it is 8:20 a.m.

DunkingDan

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Fr. Johannes Jacobse: Paschal Message 2009
« Reply #131 on: October 02, 2020, 11:27:55 AM »
Only the Gospel of Christ, the proclamation that Christ is risen from the dead, reveals that death is an enemy destroyed and exposes the nihilistic embrace of death as a lie. The grand schemes of the social engineers who are intoxicated by their own pride and contemptuous of what is good and true, will one day come to nothing. Babel will fall. But until it does, destruction and suffering prevail by their hands.
How does evil flourish? Edmund Burke answered the question this way: When good men do nothing. God enters the world through a word. The Gospel of Christ, when preached with authority and by the Spirit of God, tears down strong places. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in the heavenly places,” writes the Apostle Paul. Truth, spoken into the world of space and time, draws from and reveals Him who is True, and tears down the towers that men build to reach God.
[…]
Every Pascha, I repost two stories on OrthodoxyToday.org. that tell how Orthodox prisoners in Dachau held the Paschal Liturgy during their liberation. The first, “The Souls of All are Aflame” provides historical background and detail. The second, “Pascha in Dachau” recounts the story of a prisoner who was there.
Dachua was liberated during Holy Week. The Orthodox believers experienced Christ’s triumph over the forces of darkness to a depth that is difficult to understand. It is hard to fathom the depravity the evil ideologies fostered in their persecutors short of any direct experience, but anyone who has confronted lesser evils knows that such great evil can exist.
The resurrection of Christ is the final confrontation to the horrors unleashed when the embrace of Nazism and Communism opened the jaws of a deep hell. We see it in our own day too, especially the embrace of the nihilistic fantasies that fuel the arguments that devalue human life. It began with that faceless figure, the one who lies, who is the father of lies and appeals to the base passions of men, who whispered into the ear of man that he can be like God. Some choose to believe him. They whisper anew that first whisper. The whisper gets louder and louder so that in some corners of our world it is proclaimed from the housetops. Evil always masquerades as good, and not until the evil that those ideas hide is laid bare do most men dare face the consequences of their own beliefs. Others of course, never do.
[…]
But preaching the Gospel comes with a cross. The cross is the locus of transformation, the place where death is changed into life. The men in Dachau understood this. Lest the darkness overwhelm them, they instead bore the suffering of Christ in their own bodies just as the Apostle Paul teaches that we must do. They would not let go of Him who had captured them.
Christ’s victory over sin and death begins on the inside. That is where the struggle first takes place. The Apostle Paul taught us about this too. Every disciple has his Garden of Gethsemane, sometimes many in a lifetime. Yet, “I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me,” the Apostle Paul wrote while enduring a suffering of his own. He was jailed in Philippi at the time, no small thing in the Roman empire. His suffering however, was for the sake of the Gospel and through it light entered the world.
Carrying our cross is the way that “Christ is born in us.” We should not despise our suffering, but bring our cross to Christ who enables us to carry it and through it, come to know Christ. There are no shortcuts here. “Narrow is the gate and few that be that find it,” Jesus said. Death would not have been transformed to life — the gates of Hades would not have been overthrown — had Jesus not ascended the cross. That He did so voluntarily (his death was a capital murder), and that He was innocent of sin according to the Mosaic Law, is why He was able to destroy — through His death — the death to which He was condemned.
We must put to death the “…sin that reigns in our body,” the Apostle Paul teaches us. Harsh circumstances can impose this discipline, but most of us don’t experience the level of hardship that the men in Dachau did. We also don’t see the stark contrast between life and death that the presence of real evil reveals. Sometimes we even accommodate ourselves to evil as long as it does not directly affect us. We don’t want to accept that the the first line between good and evil rests in the heart, as Solzhenitsyn said.
But, if we know that the Gospel is true, even imperfectly, then silence cannot be our lot. We have to speak what is true and do what is right, even when we know it will impose a cost. That cost can become a new cross, just like St. Paul’s imprisonment for preaching the Gospel. But, like St. Paul or the men of Dachau, carrying that cross sheds light in places where it would otherwise not be found.
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
. . . more


President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

Cincydawg

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Re: Was there a literal Tower of Babel?
« Reply #132 on: October 02, 2020, 12:51:28 PM »

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Was there a literal Tower of Babel?
« Reply #133 on: October 02, 2020, 03:38:21 PM »

I once dreamt of riding an elevator to the moon. 

Now if ever it should have been blatantly obvious to me that I was dreaming, it should have been then. But somehow I totally bought it hook, line and sinker.

They say that the key to lucid dreaming is to somehow become aware that you are having a dream. Yet even when I dream that I am back in school as a kid or whatever, I can never seem to be able to catch onto the fact that it is all just a dream. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Cincydawg

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Re: Was there a literal Tower of Babel?
« Reply #134 on: October 02, 2020, 04:12:28 PM »
There is a pretty neat sci fi book about an elevator into near Earth orbit using diamond filament.  I think Clarke wrote it.  

DunkingDan

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Pick-and-Choose Piety Makes Enemies
« Reply #135 on: October 02, 2020, 04:39:26 PM »
Heading an organization whose entire purpose is to promote friendship and mutual respect between Jews and Christians, egregious assaults on this friendship really bother me. As I reported last week, it gives me little pleasure to admit that most of these assaults come from my side of the fence. Well, here we go again.
In Bellevue, Washington, just a few miles from my home, a Jewish Reform temple has been upsetting its neighbors by insisting on hosting an encampment of homeless people on its property. Fearful neighbors in this upper middle class enclave of young families point to countless offenses, ranging from assault and relieving in public to drug possession, perpetrated by this group of homeless during their earlier sojourn on the grounds of a church in a neighboring city.

Last Thursday, forced to adjudicate between neighbors’ unhappiness and the fervent do-goodism of the temple, the city of Bellevue imposed a time limit of 60 days on the encampment—far less time than the temple requested. The city also imposed a limit on how many homeless the temple grounds could accommodate, based on the number of toilets and showers available.

On Monday the temple filed a lawsuit against the city in King County Superior Court claiming that the city violated the temple’s religious freedom. I have already debated this matter on the radio with senior rabbi, James Mirel, who happens to be a really decent guy and a thoroughly nice person. He claims that the limits imposed by the city are unacceptable because “The whole idea of reaching out to the poor and needy is part of our Jewish tradition.”
On the air I pointed out to Rabbi Mirel that very few of the temple’s leadership and members live within the quarter-mile radius of the temple that experience tells us will be deleteriously impacted by the presence of a crowd of indigent squatters. This meant that others would bear the burden of the temple’s pick-and-choose piety.
I use that phrase because most Reform temples reject much of Jewish tradition. For instance, they usually ignore the obligation to live within walking distance of their temple, as the Sabbath laws dictate.
I felt that a family that had worked hard, scrimping and saving in order to be able to afford a home in that locale shouldn’t have their quality of life destroyed by the local Jewish temple. Especially since the temple was doing something that zoning laws would prohibit any of them from doing—namely allowing campers with a history of anti-social behavior to hang-out on the front lawn.
Needless to say, the neighbors have protested mightily. They have obtained over 60 pages of sheriff’s reports of hundreds of run-ins with the law that these campers have had during their previous stays at houses of worship in King County. I have seen these reports and they make for shocking reading.
During our radio debate, Rabbi Mirel assured listeners that security guards had been engaged to supervise the harmless homeless. Although I regard the rabbi as a friend, I couldn’t resist showing him that one of those very security guards had been arrested at the encampment for distributing illegal narcotics. This is not very reassuring for the young mother living next to the temple who called me, sick with worry about her children’s safety.
One of the most astounding aspects of this entire affair is that almost nobody is speaking up for the rights of the homeowners in the area. Since when in America do the rights of the homeless trump those of the homeowners?
Indeed, is there a right of the homeless to be anywhere other than in homeless shelters? There is an almost insufferable aura of sanctimoniousness and self-righteousness about these so-called tent cities. Politicians race for the television cameras to demonstrate their compassion. Do Americans who have practiced self-discipline and moral restraint in order to be able to purchase a home, forfeit their rights to compassion?
My right to my property’s value is protected from my neighbor’s zealous efforts to help the homeless by housing 50 of them on his lawn next to the newly installed porta-potties. Why should my rights be any more vulnerable if my neighbor happens to be a house of worship? Why is someone, who is often at least partially complicit in his homeless status, more important than a homeowner?
Why do some people feel they owe more compassion to the homeless than to their very own middle class neighbors?
All these questions are really only one question—why does the culture loathe those who have achieved a little financial success?
The answer is because the culture has rejected the Abrahamitic model of Judeo- Christian values which promotes work, achievement, private property, and yes, charity to the deserving. Instead, our left-leaning culture has adopted the socialistic thinking of the Tower of Babel.
In that worldview, scorning the civilized norms of society confers virtue; the homeless vagrant becomes a hero. To the mandarins of modern Marxism, wealth is evidence of malfeasance. Utopian believing bureaucrats hate private property wanting us all out of our cars and into mass transit and regard all property owners as nuisances who buy absolution for the sin of achievement with ever higher taxes.
To my shame, far too many Jews have fallen for the failed promises of socialism instead of for the rapturous embrace of the Torah as a blindingly incandescent source of truth. Not surprisingly they then disappoint and baffle the many Christians who do see the values of the Ten Commandments as central to our society.


President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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Babel vs. Pentecost
« Reply #136 on: October 03, 2020, 11:26:53 AM »
An Orthodox priest, who was involved in ecumenical activities, became acquainted with some Lutheran pastors and He invited them to a Holy Friday service. Three of them came but the church was already full. The priest noticed them standing in the back and wanted to show good hospitality. So, he whispered to one of the acolytes, ?Get three chairs for our Lutheran pastor friends.? The altar boy didn?t quite hear, so the priest said it again a bit louder, pointing towards the back of the church, ?Three chairs for the Lutherans.? Dutifully, the boy went out of the altar and stepped to the front of the congregation and loudly proclaimed to everyone, ?Three cheers for the Lutherans.?
   A golden anniversary party was thrown for an elderly couple. The husband was moved by the occasion and wanted to tell his wife how he felt about her. She was hard of hearing however and often misunderstood what he had to say. With many family members and friends gathered around, he toasted her: ?My dear wife, after fifty years I have found you tried and true!? Everyone smiled with approval but his wife said, ?Eh?? He repeated in a louder voice, ?After fifty years I have found you tried and true!? His wife harrumphed and shot back, ?Well, let me tell you something?after fifty years I?m tired of you too!?
   These two stories underline the importance of clear communication and how good intentions can go bad with mis-communication. Today is the great Feast of Pentecost on which we commemorate the descent of God?s Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. The Epistle reading from the Book of Acts (2:1-11) recounts the event itself, how the disciples were gathered together in one place (v.1) and a rush of violent wind came and filled the entire house in which they were sitting (v.2). Divided tongues of fire appeared and rested upon each one of them (v.3) as they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages (v.4). The icon in the narthex depicts this exactly.
   The event of Pentecost ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven should remind us of another earlier event that we read about in Genesis. Listen to it.
1Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3Then they said to one another, ?Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.? They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4And they said, ?Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.? 5But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6And the Lord said, ?Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another?s speech.? 8So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:1-9 The Tower of Babel)
   The event is so well know in history that we now use in the word ?babel? to mean a confused mixture of sounds or voices; a scene of noise and confusion.? What are the similarities and differences between the Tower of Babel event and Pentecost? One obvious similarity is that God bestowed different tongues of languages upon the people involved. But the huge and important difference is this: with the Tower of Babel event God intervened to cause miscommunication where at Pentecost the various languages are meant to facilitate communication. How so? Well, all the disciples/apostles were Galileans (v.7) and had their own language or dialect. Yet, the people who came to Jerusalem for the ancient feast of Pentecost, which celebrated eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the harvest of first fruits (Ex.23:16) and Moses striking the rock in the wilderness (Ex.17:1-7), were from different countries and regions (v.9-10) and thus spoke different languages/dialects. So, God enables the Apostles, with the fiery gift of tongues to speak in the languages of the Parthia, Medes, Elamite, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phyrgia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Rome, Crete and Arabia. Why? So these people could hear the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, the preaching of God?s Kingdom, repentance and forgiveness of sins. These people say in the last verse of the Epistle ?we hear them speaking about God?s deeds of power? (v.11).
   Unlike Pentecost, the different languages given by God at the Tower of Babel event were meant to hinder communication so they could not finish building the tower. Why? Was God afraid of their power or what they could do if they worked together? No, it was to defeat their pride which just like He defeated the pride of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The people of Babel wanted to be like God but without God or apart from Him. So, He humbles them to save them. And He will do this time and time again to succeeding generations up to and beyond our own.
   With the advent of reinforced steel, in the last 100 years mankind has been able to build the highest skyscrapers in history and each country and/or corporation tries to outdo the previous one. Are we really that different than the ancient people of Babel trying to make a name for ourselves? Each one of us, at various times, has built a skyscraper within our heart to stand above and look down on everyone else. But you know what they say, ?The higher you go, the greater the fall.? One of the lessons for us today is humility. If we want to acquire the Spirit of God, and the Saints agree that this should be one of our main goals in life, we must be humble. This is why we kneel as we read the special prayers of Pentecost. This is why daily prayer and weekly worship are so important, because they are actions of humility before God in which we express our utter dependence upon Him. And the Sacrament of Penance is one of the main ways to tear down our skyscrapers so that God may build/construct us in His image and likeness, not the other way around.
   In conclusion, let us hear again the words of the Kontakion of Pentecost:
Kontakion (Plagal Tone Four)
When the Most High came down and confounded tongues of men at Babel, He divided the nations. When He dispensed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity, and with one voice we glorify the Most Holy Spirit.
   This same Spirit, which descends upon us at our Chrismation, which descends upon us at every Divine Liturgy, is also calling us to unity. Division and divisiveness are not qualities and characteristics of the Holy Spirit. Dividedness is the result of demonic spirits, stirring things up because of the human passion of pride. Let us come together in humility to have one voice, glorifying the God the Holy Spirit. Amen!

President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9)
« Reply #137 on: October 04, 2020, 01:26:53 PM »

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God calls the church to be the true and better Babel — a community of people not united around towers or anything else, but united around the good news of Jesus.
The story of the Tower of Babel is about more than just the origin of different languages. It’s a story with a powerful message for all people. What is this message? Join us today to find out!




https://youtu.be/hp6B6s55uKo?t=3
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

Cincydawg

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Re: Was there a literal Tower of Babel?
« Reply #138 on: October 05, 2020, 06:44:53 AM »
There is a pretty neat sci fi book about an elevator into near Earth orbit using diamond filament.  I think Clarke wrote it. 

DunkingDan

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THE FALL OF BABYLONIAN CIVILIZATION
« Reply #139 on: October 06, 2020, 01:54:56 PM »
Part 7. On the Origin of Nationalities and the Sin of Ham

Continuing his cycle on the book of Genesis, historian and sectologist Andrei Ivanovich Solodkov speaks about what should above all transform a man—the surrounding world or himself; why the Lord punished Babel; about the bloody star gods of Babel and their “influence” on modern life; and on ungodly unity and unity in God.


Man, change thyself!
Although God destroyed the perverted pre-Flood civilization (we spoke about this in the previous conversation), sin continued to exist. This is the answer to those who ask, “If God exists, then why doesn’t He bring order?” As we see, He imposed order from a position of righteousness and strength, but external change did not make man more noble. Degraded human nature needs healing from the inside out, and therefore all external changes of the political world order, thanks to which mankind supposedly attains the fullness of happiness and prosperity on the earth, are but deception and illusion. There are more successful political systems, there are worse, and there are those that are absolutely useless. But the reason for the disorder is in us. Everything is topsy-turvy for us. We demand love, respect, courtesy, and patience from others, but Christ teaches to demand this from ourselves. And not only with words, but by His very life He teaches us sacrificial love. There is no such commandment, to demand love from others, but there is, Love thy neighbor… (Mt. 22:39). As long as we have no faith, trust, and love for God, we will be running in circles.
However, all the same, the fullness of order will not be on Earth. But man has the desire for absolute purity. It is inherent in him from creation. “The soul is Christian by nature” (Tertullian), and the law in the soul is the conscience. The conscience, according to teaching of Abba Dorotheos, is “something Divine and never perishes,” and, “there is no man without a conscience.” “When God created man He sowed in him something Divine,” the saint teaches, “a certain thought which has in itself, like a spark, both light and warmth; a thought which enlightens the mind and indicates to it what is good and what is evil—this is called conscience, and it is a natural law.”1
Absolutely purity is possible only in the Heavenly Kingdom, but the desire for it in this life transfigures a man, making him purer through repentance. In this way, in this striving for Heavenly purity, a Christian spreads his light upon people and all the surrounding world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Mt. 5:16). If you all sought to change yourselves with Divine help, it would require no external, imaginary prosperous world political systems, upon which we so vainly rely. People would become simpler, and where there is simplicity, in the expression of St. Ambrose of Optina, “there are a hundred Angels, but where there is cleverness—there are none.” And the state system would become better.
Thus, the external post-Flood changes to the surrounding world did not abolish sins, which are deeply rooted in the hearts of man. It would seem that with all villains destroyed, life on earth would begin anew with a clean slate. Righteous Noah left the ark with his three sons. Finally, everything was just, and goodness had triumphed… However…
The sin of Ham was not slow to appear. Sin enslaves a man, and here we meet for the first time in the Bible the expression “slave of sin,” which one of the sons of Noah—Ham—became. Blessed Augustine writes the following in this regard: “The state of slavery is rightly appointed for the sinner. In Scripture we do not find a slave before Righteous Noah punished the sin of his son with this name. Thus, not nature, but sin deserved this name.” Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Rom. 6:16).
Note: In the tenth chapter of Genesis it says that the head of the grandiose Tower of Babel construction, Nimrod, was a descendant of Ham (cf. Gen. 10:6-10).
Higher, and higher, and higher…”




Let’s read further in the eleventh chapter of Genesis:
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 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. 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 morter. 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 (Gen. 11:1-4).
As we see, there was one tongue and one speech. People understood one another without a translator. Borders were erased—it was cosmopolitanism! But such unity didn’t bring people happiness. Why? The stimulus for the construction of the Tower of Babel was the idea of “unity for the sake of unity,” and the desire “to make a name.” People began to create their own civilization without God, their own political structure, based on the ideology of self-exaltation. One of Nimrod’s reasons for constructing the tower was nothing other than perpetuating “his name” in his descendants, to gratify his pride and vanity: “Look how human nature does not love to remain within its boundaries… This especially destroys people… Addicted to worldly possessions, even when we have great wealth and power… they endeavor to rise higher and higher,” writes St. John Chrysostom.
Recall how God concluded a covenant with Noah and gave the commandment and blessing to spread over the entire face of the earth, promising there will be no more floods. But people acted as they wantes. They built a tower reaching up to heaven, reasoning, “Even though God said there wouldn’t be a flood … what if there is one?” We have to play it safe. They did not come to their senses by the punishment of the flood; they had no intention of changing, but decided to continuing acting as they wanted—to sin, and if there would be a flood, then to save themselves it would be enough to change the surrounding world, for example, to build a high tower “to heaven,” climb up there, and continue to live according to their own desires.
Modern man has not gone far from the builders of Babel. Today we reason the same way: “What’s written in the Bible? Oh, come on!... What do they say in the Church? Sin begets death? Ok, we get it—the clergy’s job is to scare the people, but we will do what seems best to us.” The Church warns about the danger of experimenting on producing surrogate people, trying to stop the infanticide of unborn children, but man acts according to the principle, “while no thunder’s crashing…”2
But, it would seem, the thunder has struck, and recollections of the flood are still alive in the Babylonians, but man persists. God says to spread across the whole face of the earth. But man creates a huge metropolis. As before, so today. Here it’s crowded, and there’s shoving in lines and standing in traffic. And man makes his way through the jungle of civilization, exhausted by his artificial world, his idea of imaginary freedom and an imaginary meaning for life, walled up in a concrete cave with a gas burner, sitting at the “substitute for nature” of the television, looking for rest and comfort, but falling into the same trap of the hustle and bustle—only now the human soul is devastated by information overload.
I’ve been to Sakhalin on a missionary trip. You fly for nine hours without a layover. Under the wings of the plane you see forests, rivers, lakes, fields… And the thought involuntarily arises: To whose advantage is it to build up Moscow and not the rest of the country?
Those who built the Tower of Babel acted according to this principle—higher, and higher, and higher…
The seventy-year experience of the builders of ghastly communism has, unfortunately, taught us little. Of course, the Church is not persecuted now, but the desire to please both God and mammon can be seen in the attempts to build a consolidated society. As the old soviet-era song went, “We are born to make a dream come true… and replace our heart with a fiery motor.” This seventy-year construction showed everyone, to put it mildly, the absurdity of such building. It all collapsed. And everything that’s being constructed in the same way is doomed to destruction. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Mt. 7:24-27). And it is all because man became the object of worship instead of God, revealing all the madness of such an undertaking. A mad man is he who says in his heart, there is no God (Ps. 13:1).
Bloodstained stars



We read further in the book of Genesis:
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 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 (Gen. 11:5-6).
What did the Babylonians do? Creating their world and not trusting God, they created their own religion—astrology. “If a man stops believing in God, he begins to believe in everything else,” says Feodor Dostoyevsky.
People began to invent a self-made religion—of course, not without the prompting of the devil.
During the heyday of the Chaldean-Babylonian civilization, they built a gigantic ziggurat in the Mesopotamian Valley. “Chaldean priests watched the starry heavens from these towers and plotted maps of the locations of the heavenly bodies. They believed that the sun, moon, planets and stars were gods, able to magically affect the fate of the world and of every man individually, and believed that if they managed to understand and predict the motion of the heavenly bodies, they would be able to predict the future. Astrology of this kind is called vulgar, or primitive astrology. The main principle of vulgar astrology is that the position of things on earth and trends in the development of events correspond to the configuration of celestial bodies. The astrological beliefs of the religion of Canaaan, itself an offshoot from the Mesopotamian religion, were closely associated with the worship of gods such as Baal (Bel, Moloch), Astarte (Ishtar), and Remphan, identified respectively with the sun, moon, and Saturn” (Biblical Encyclopedia).
Archaeologists have held excavations in these places, and they have discovered thousands of skulls of infants offered in sacrifice to these star gods. The Babylonian religion had a principle: to decipher by the stars which children were pleasing to the gods and which weren’t. Some were offered in sacrifice as unwanted and useless for society, and others to appease the gods and avert their wrath.
How and what to do when depended on the location of the stars. And, as the Babylonian tablets bear witness, during these slaughters they would engage in orgies with whomever they could grab.
The apostle Paul writes about the reason for this madness in his epistle to the Romans:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Rm. 1:21-32).
It's interesting that modern people have, for some reason, raised this ancient pagan Babylonian religion, satanic in essence and connected with human sacrifice, to the level of innocent fun. Astrology is not science. Astronomy is science, but astrology is a pagan religion. So why in a secular state is it ranked as if it were a dominant religion?! For example, for a person to register on the social network mail.ru, a zodiac sign is immediately given to him, and without his consent. And if by the same principle, but following instead the Church calendar, a person registered in the same social network, would be reminded, and not him only but also by his friends, which saint he is named after and when his name’s day is, imagine what ruckus there would be in the media! People would be yelling about freedom of conscience, and about “insulting the feelings of unbelievers”; but when it comes to the zodiac—nothing. They made me a pagan; they decided for me, and in fact it’s the same as if they had roped me into a marriage against my will. But shut up, they say, this is science. How did it happen that we live in a country where astrology—an ancient misanthropic pagan religion—has won out over Christianity in social spheres?
And what’s so surprising? We also kill children in the mother’s womb—the unborn! Nothing has changed since those ancient times—just instead of Baal and Astarte, people began to worship the dollar and the euro. And instead of the stars of Remphan—comfort. They say, “Why should I give birth? I want to live for myself.” They kill children for the sake of temporary happiness!...
God instructs us to eschew such pseudo-religious experiments: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them… There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord (Deut. 4:19, 18:10-12). And again: Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish (Jer. 27:9-10).
How reliable are the predictions about our futures by horoscopes, in which the curious so eagerly believe?
Senior researcher of the State Astronomical Institute of P. K. Sternberg and associate professor of the physics department at Moscow State University, B. G. Surdin writes in one of this works, “The position of the zodiac signs is displaced in relation to the constellations about 30 degrees, or one constellation. This is due to the fact that the canonical rules of astrology were established two thousand years ago in the works of the ancient Greek scholars. Since then, as a result of the movement of the earth’s axis relative to the plane of the Solar System (the phenomenon of precession), the system of heavenly coordinates has shifted relative to the stars. Therefore, now when the sun is located in the Taurus constellation, astrologists believe that it is in the sign of Gemini.”
In 1981 the Roman newspaper “Paeze Sera” published a debate between astrologists and astronomers, during which the scientists asked the fortunetellers one interesting question: “How do you compose a horoscope for those who were born in the north, in the Arctic Circle?” The fact is that for many months, the sky over the poles has no traditional astrological planets (they are below the horizon). It turns out that those born in the northern regions are deprived of characteristics and destiny! This dilemma did not receive any coherent answers from the astrologers.
The Lord did there confound the language of all the earth





Let’s return to Genesis and read:
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth (Gen. 11:7-9).
The Lord scattered the Babylonians across the whole face of the earth. Was this dispersal a punishment? Yes, but God’s punishment is always a desire to help man return from death to life. From this story we see the origin of the languages of the peoples of the world. We spoke about the origin of the nationalities in the last conversation.
“Confounding” is always a negative word. The word “Babylon” is also translated as “madness, insanity, rebellion, insane rebellion.” That is, this scattering occurred because of people’s insane rebellion and search for unity outside of God.
There are many theories about the origin of the languages of the peoples of the world: the theory of sign language, the theory of onomatopoeia, the theory of the creation of language by the power of the human mind—but these do not speak of the source which gave power to the mind. But none of these are able to explain the presence and richness of speech, which, unlike all other living beings, man alone possesses. Evolutionists speak about a gradual development of language. Some talk about a sudden change in man’s DNA that spawned languages. When you research all these theories, none of which have any scientific basis, you simply marvel at how much we have to be believers in chance and coincidence to affirm that theories, hypotheses, and myths are science.
Such unity as the unity of the Babylonians is not pleasing to God, but is soul-destroying for man. But is there an alternative, a different unity? Yes. On the day of Pentecost—the day of birth of the Church—the apostles spoke in the tongues of the peoples of the world (cf. Acts 2:3-4), proclaiming unity in Christ. “For in the confusion of the tongues [at Babel—A. S.], their plan was destroyed, for their plan was ungodly, but here their thoughts were confirmed and united because their intention was godly. Through that which is fallen, through the same is restoration,” says St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
***
And then the eleventh chapter of Genesis brings forth the generations of Shem. His family extends until Abram. And we read:
But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran (Gen. 11:30-32).
We will speak more in detail about these events in the next conversation. For now, I will note that God rescues Abram and his family from this place so full of the passions—the Babel chaos (the word “Ur” is translated as “fire, vehemence, passion”)—and leads him into the land of Canaan—an image of the Church and of the Heavenly Kingdom.



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President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

 

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