Babylon revisited: the confusion of languages
Today, there are squabbles and debates and ruckuses and protests and shouting matches and tribal election campaigning and smears and divisions -- between political parties, within political parties, among economists, between Church leaders, amid congregants. There are constant quarrels -- from the mainstream press to social media, on raucous talk shows, from secular blogs to Christian ones: the truth is very blurred on a constant basis. There are racial divides. There are ethnic divides. There are economic divides. There are theological divides. There are language barriers (heed this especially: language barriers). Objectivity has all but vanished. There is spiritual blindness. In science, many would be astonished at how few things researchers actually agree upon -- even matters that have been presented as "fact" in textbooks. Across the modern landscape is rancor. Across everywhere is discord. As a result, there is little direct communication.
And that has led to societal confusion on a massive scale.
("But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God," James 1: 19-20).
Jesus said that the truth sets us free, but these days, save for Scripture, one has trouble finding it.
Our time is one in which few people agree. Few listen. There are debates over every single detail of every issue (note how nearly impossible it is for the U.S. Congress to get anything done), and this has caused inertia and befuddlement -- a key word in unusual times, for when we think of confusion, we think of the Tower of Babel.
Are we seeing Babel revisited?
We certainly have Babylon in our midst.
Why not the tower that went with it?
The Lord chastised that empire by "confusing the language of all the earth" (Genesis 11:8). We are seeing a repeat of that today. We no longer can tell what is true and what is not.
There is rudeness. Hardened hearts. In many cases, people seem nicer than ever -- truly pleasant, on the surface ("not a problem," "of course," "perfect") -- but then there is the rampant road rage, the constant cutting off; politics. Beware of explicit content, but take a look at the words one politician uses in public (caution: very coarse language, profanities, but for our information). When we have candidates on one side who speak about defending the downtrodden while supporting abortion -- or who comport themselves as religious while okaying homosexual marriage -- and on the other side politicians who tear each other down in the nastiest way -- including Catholic versus Catholic -- we see a muddled, confused, and evil communication. Christians embrace politicians who promote anti-Christian values (and not just with gay marriage or abortion). Truth is found in the heart and when it hardens (when we rely solely on the mind) there is confusion.
One of the reasons for the obscurity of truth is that we not only bear animosities and the penchant to quarrel but also because there is so much "busyness": we're in too much of a rush to fully read or communicate. We speak in e-mails or texts or tweets and Facebook posts that are whipped off in a way that often leads to hard feelings through misinterpretation. (Did you ever notice the almost preternatural way that e-mails and texts can make you seem rude, mad, or abrupt, when that was not the intent or feeling?). And so we must ask if modern media are the modern Tower of Babel and if indeed we like the Babylonians who we so closely resembled have brought confusion -- and will soon bring chaos, and destruction -- upon ourselves. The Babylonians were constantly at war -- with foreigners and each other.
Confusion is a key footprint of the enemy. So is fear.
Their fruits are chaos, division, and dictatorial rule (as in the days of Nimrod). Is this our sudden course?
"Find Me in the midst of the maelstrom," the Lord spoke in an inspiration, to a Christian woman named Sarah Young (a word of knowledge, if you will). "Sometimes events whirl around you so quickly that they become a blur. Whisper My Name in recognition that I am still with you. Without skipping a beat in the activities that occupy you, you find strength and peace through praying My Name. Later, when the happenings have run their course, you can talk with Me more fully. Accept each day as it comes to you. Do not waste your time and energy wishing for a different set of circumstances. Instead, trust Me enough to yield to My design and purposes," she wrote in Jesus Calling. "Remember that nothing can separate you from My loving Presence; you are Mine."
Nothing can separate us, that is, but hatred; but confusion.
Power comes quickly when we think of Him in that desert and repeat over and over in our minds in the midst of busyness or perplexity: "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus..." We must embrace that as our anthem, that (not the economy) as our "greatness": His quietude, His peace, His exaltation -- or descend toward tyranny and civil war.