Yellow Sweater

United States

(Formerly Zinniav)

I'm 17, interested in linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, theology, and history.

She/ Her | Bi | Disabled | Agnostic | Useless Intellectual | WA

I don't necessarily agree with my own assertions.

Message to Readers

Thoughts? I know my interpretation of the Tower of Babel is a stretch. But it is an essay on how mistranslation is a defining feature of humanity. I am really sorry if this offends anyone. It's just an idea I was exploring. When I wanted to portray a more human version of God, I used the word Elohim, which is a more casual Hebrew word for God.

Babbling Heretics, a Retelling of Two Crucial Moments in Genesis (Trigger Warning: Blasphemy)

April 21, 2021

FREE WRITING

3
It could be said that the Original Sin was an act of devotion. Juice dripping from their mouths, Adam and Eve learned to call God good and themselves evil. They learned to translate the Tree of Life into fruit, rotten and ripe. Eventually, they discovered how to make pie. They went on picnics. They colonized The Garden that once was their home. They claimed it in God’s unspeakable name. But for a while after our banishment, we humans wanted nothing more than our own name, our own place in God’s creation. We still remembered The Garden. We still longed for peace and unity. 

Before humanity dared to envision heaven on earth, we looked to the sky. Before we realized God’s hands were our hands, we laid bricks, mixing straw and clay, slowly stacking up blocks towards the blue. Elohim's ego swallowed ours. What if we only built the Tower of Babel so we could stroke his face with our muddy fingers? I guess love leaves you tall and tongue-tied. 

Just like casting us out of The Garden, twisting our tongues was a mistake. Mistranslation: linguistics, love poems, liturgy is at the root of self-awareness, self-destruction. When we stopped speaking the intrinsic language of the cosmos, when we stopped experiencing the world and started categorizing it, we became gods ourselves. 

The bible says that Elohim made man in His image. And yes, we can see our shapes reflected in the macrocosm. But once our tower was destroyed, out of ignorance, we began to project our own notions of the divine onto the stars. And that’s when love stopped being unconditional and became idolatry. God cast us out of the garden and scattered our people. He forced to reckon with disunity. He perverted our worship.  

But perversions can be beautiful: pies and picnics, love sonnets and liturgy. I, for one, am pleased with my divinity. I’m happy to observe the garden from distance. I'm happy to write poetry, to idolize my own abstractions, to bastardize God, to speak my own language.  
 
 

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  • April 21, 2021 - 10:16am (Now Viewing)

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15 Comments
  • EliathRose

    Replying: In all truthfulness, I'm not completely sure that I believe in the Tower of Babel story. I believe in a God, and I believe that the stories in the Bible were believed to be true by their writers, but I also think that it's a deeply flawed book that isn't exactly the Word of God. I kind of see it as more of a philosophy book rather than a history book. All of these stories such as the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and the Creation seem more like humans attempting to make sense of how humans ended up where they were than actual literal truth, and it's unlikely that those books were written in real-time (unlike the stories in the New Testament, which were firsthand accounts written by people experiencing Jesus). The world was also seen in a very different way back then, with people categorizing the natural phenomenons that they experienced as the work of some deity or magic system. There's a hypothesis in psychology called bicameralism, and it refers to the theory that human minds used to operate in separate cognitive functions, making one side seem as if it was "speaking" to the other. If this hypothesis were true, then that would explain where so many religious origins and stories about gods speaking to humans came from. People were literally hearing things inside of their heads, and their reasoning was that there was a powerful being somewhere out there and it was speaking to them. Take a little bit of exaggeration and time for these stories to be told through generations, and eventually, they blow up into something much more supernatural than before. Obviously, we have no way of knowing whether that is true or not, but it's an interesting idea.
    I'm absolutely in love with your explanation of language being a mistranslation of experience and reality. That's such a cool concept, and I'm going to be theorizing about it for a while now.
    (Also yes, I have read "The Song of Achilles," and yes, it is one of my favorite books of all time.)


    17 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    Also if you're in Wisconsin, Culver's is one of the best things to ever come from that state lol. It's delicious.


    18 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    re: no problem haha. And if you need any of my info cited let me know. I can provide that. And I hope making a decision goes well. I'm very indecisive about things and overthink outcomes.

    "Anxiety's like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you very far.”

    I like that quote lol

    I find it to be more and more true every day.


    18 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    The comment below piqued my interest.

    This is why God had to scatter the people:

    The tower was not meant to work together to reach God. The people used asphalt for mortar. The tower was waterproof and strong. The human race did not believe in God's promise never to flood the Earth again, so they started to build a tower that would protect them from a future flood. Summed up, they didn't want to be with God, and they knew they were rebelling. It's like if I locked the door behind my parents because I didn't want to do what they said.

    The people wanted separation from God. God could tell they were becoming too powerful. It was almost like a hive mind. So in making them speak different languages, God kept the power in check.

    Interesting quote on that:

    "The division of the languages is a fascinating subject. Modern linguists know man did not invent language, any more than man invented his own circulatory or nervous system. Most modern linguists believe language is so unique that the only way they can explain it apart from God is to say that it was part of a unique evolutionary process."

    Most linguists believe languages all derived from one language as well.

    All in all, Babel is not really a heartwarming story of the unity of man. Instead, it's the rebellion of man and how there was no original thought. Everyone was building the same tower and believed in being anti-God.


    18 days ago
  • EliathRose

    Replying: I've never really given much thought to the Tower of Babel, to be completely honest. I've heard it often told as if the people were in the wrong for trying to build a tower to reach God, but I can't find a lot of Biblical evidence proving this. I wanted to look up why they built it in the first place, and from what I can find, their motives for building it were to "let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4). Then, God decided to mix up the languages because if They didn't, then "nothing will be impossible for them" (Genesis 11:6). I'm confused as to why God would do this in the first place, though. It almost sounds as if They were scared of humans - but why would God be afraid of what humans could do? Does that mean that the world is only our world because of its chaos and division, and if we were to gather together again, we would be back to the starting point? Because I totally agree that that seemed like the big moment in which humans no longer had the same ideas, though it was only a language barrier that prevented those ideas. We began to not just live inside of God's world, but to take control of it for ourselves. I find it funny how a lot of believers talk about how we should strive for unity, how coming together is such a beautiful thing when in the beginning, it's what God prevented us from doing all along. Something about that just doesn't sit right with me, and we'll never truly know God's motives (depending on your view), so are we just supposed to accept it all and assume that maybe we shouldn't aim to become a whole again? Sorry if a lot of that was off topic, I'm just thinking aloud at this point and trying to make sense of this story.
    What do you mean by "mistranslation?" That your piece is mistranslated, that the Bible is mistranslated, or that mistranslation and the diversity in language in general causes those things?
    I'm really sorry if I missed the mark with that comment - I don't really know how to counteract many of your points, as I myself agree with them pretty readily. I have to wrap this comment up earlier than I expected, but before I go, I just wanted to say that I really love the line "I'm happy to write poetry, to idolize my own abstractions, to bastardize God, to speak my own language." It felt powerful and it really made me think.


    19 days ago
  • EliathRose

    I've been going through all of your posts, and wow, all of your ideas and everything on God and who They are are absolutely fascinating. I'd love to start a dialogue about some of it with you, but I'm going to have to find a starting point, and I think I'm just going to address this piece right now. Sorry if I misunderstand anything that you've written.
    What I got from this piece and your conversation with the people below is that you are saying that because of the casting of humans from the Garden of Eden, we became almost gods ourselves in our own eyes, and therefore we have almost more free will and a desire to make something of ourselves? And then when God destroyed the tower of Babel and scattered our languages, They messed up how and what we worshipped? I can't tell if that's quite right, but if it is, then I'm thoroughly intrigued by those concepts. I think that the whole idea of "because God is perfect, we shouldn't question anything They do" is inherently abusive in a way; it puts God on a pedestal and makes people just accept whatever happens to them, saying that it "must be God's will" or that "God has a plan for this." I believe that it is healthy to be able to question the things that They do, to scrutinize the Bible and all that happened inside of it, to ask those hard questions. Because if your god doesn't hold up to scrutiny, than what good are they, you know? Sorry, I know that that was completely off topic, I just wanted to mention that I don't think that you're being blasphemous in any way, as well as fill up the space in this comment until I get a confirmation about what you're really talking about in this piece.


    19 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    Those numbers are really cool to me because I have trouble sometimes with pure faith. And yes, if you took all of the evidence away, I would still believe, but it's nice to have hope from archeology and secular historical sources.

    It has crossed my mind, like, what if Jesus just faked it all in His life? What if He wasn't divine? But if you look at a.) Jesus would have to be born in the exact city at the exact time b.) He knew He would have to suffer one of the most painful deaths and c.) He would have to cover up to fulfill 300+ prophecies, no man in the right mind would do that. It also doesn't explain how people turned on Him with a mob mentality to kill Him, or how His own friend would betray Him.

    It's all quite interesting.


    20 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    That's why I believe Jesus was divine. The estimated odds of that prophesy being fulfilled are estimated to be 1 in 10^5. These odds were calculated by a professor and 600 college students. I find them a little low considering the absurdity of the number of 483 years, but we will go with them. Now, if you also believe Jesus was born in Bethlahem, the odds are also 1 in 100000.

    A prophesy that's even more improbable is that Zechariah (lived long before Jesus) declared Jesus would be sold for the price of a slave. Secualr and Biblical sources agree that He was betrayed for that price.

    The odds of that? 1 in 100000000000

    Heck, the Bible even predicted Jesus' crucifixion before it was invented by the Romans. 1 in 10000000000000.

    This professor tried to figure out the odds of Jesus fulfilling just eight prophecies. An atheist turned Christian (Lee Strobel) calculated the numbers put it into these terms: “I imagined the entire world being covered with white tile that was one-and-a-half inches square—every bit of dry land on the planet—with the bottom of just one tile painted red. Then I pictured a person being allowed to wander for a lifetime around all seven continents. He would be permitted to bend down only one time and pick up a piece of tile. What are the odds it would be the one tile whose reverse side was painted red? The odds would be the same as just eight of the Old Testament prophecies coming true in any one person throughout history"

    Pretty amazing if you ask me. What's more amazing is Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies according to secular and Biblical sources.

    The professor then looked at the odds of any man fulfilling 48 of the prophecies. The odds? 1 in 10 to the 157th power.

    Again, regardless if you believe, the numbers are still amazing considering the Bible was written in different places at different times.


    20 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    Ok cool :) And I think Blue Letter Bible would definitely help if you want to study the Bible in-depth.

    Here's why I asked that question though:

    "Some time before 500 BC, the prophet Daniel proclaimed that Israel’s long-awaited Messiah would begin his public ministry 483 years after the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25-26). He further predicted that the Messiah would be “cut off,” killed, and that this event would take place prior to a second destruction of Jerusalem. Abundant documentation shows that these prophecies were perfectly fulfilled in the life (and crucifixion) of Jesus Christ. The decree regarding the restoration of Jerusalem was issued by Persia’s King Artaxerxes to the Hebrew priest Ezra in 458 BC, 483 years later the ministry of Jesus Christ began in Galilee. (Remember that due to calendar changes, the date for the start of Christ’s ministry is set by most historians at about AD 26. Also note that from 1 BC to AD 1 is just one year.) Jesus’ crucifixion occurred only a few years later, and about four decades later, in AD 70 came the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus."


    20 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    sorry for the bad grammar as well lol

    Also, just a question, do you believe Jesus was a historical figure?


    20 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    Re: Glad I could clear some things up with that verse.

    And I understand what you mean by saying we didn't have an idealogy. If we boil it down, an ideology is a set of shared beliefs within a group, and a group can be two or more people or things. Adam and Eve both had the belief that God was God. They also knew they could eat of the trees in the garden. Genesis 3:2 says "And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden."

    But, they also knew God said not to eat of the tree that is in the midst of the garden. "but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”"

    They both knew they weren't allowed to. So I would say they both had an idealogy. And there was a wrong answer too, and that was eating of the fruit. In my opinion, choices aren't necessarily binary either. Even if there are no wrong answers, that doesn't mean that there can't be multiple right answers. For example, if I had the option to donate to multiple charities but I could only pick one, all of the choices would be good.

    Adam and Eve had free will to do anything that was good. They also had free will to be creative and to come up with ideas and names. Adam was rather poetic in one section in fact:

    "Then the man said,
    “This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man."

    And I know it's a big question: why would God allow the tree in the first place?

    It's an easy answer. Because of love.

    Say there's a person that wants to pursue a romantic relationship with you. This person forces you to love them, even though you didn't want to in the first place. And you can't say anything about it because this person is extremely powerful.

    That's not loving. That's being controlling and abusive. If God gave us no option, then we would be forced to love Him. At the end of the day, that wouldn't be our choice, but rather, God's choice. It would be like me programming a computer to say "I love you." At the end of the day, I was the one that made it relay that to me.

    The garden was true perfection. Bliss is when you are in love with someone, and they are in love with you. That is what the garden was before Eve was deceived. Imagine this world with all of the good things that you described (pies, picnics, sonnets, etc.), but without the pain of wars, deaths, lying, heartbreak. I, for one, would love to live in an environment like that.

    ///

    As for wanting to learn more, keep on reading the Bible. A fantastic option is Blue Letter Bible (it's severely underrated.) It's online, and you can compare translations, commentaries, and more. You can even look at the root words in Hebrew and Greek to better understand what is being said. I know plenty of agnostics who are fascinated with the Bible, and it's cool that you are too. Whether or not you believe it, it's still an amazing piece of literature. The poetry is very technical considering the times.


    20 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    re: All good, totally up for continuing this conversation! I'm going to finish this test then I will respond :)


    20 days ago
  • Caleb Urlacher

    The poem is interesting and good. I will warn you though, you will probably receive a lot of criticism. Instead, I'll try to explain. I *think* what you are trying to say is that the fall in the Bible led to creativity and good and self-awareness. Sorry if I'm wrong on that lol.

    A quick verse set dispels that though. "19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and He brought them to the man to see what he would name each one. And whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found."

    So I get if you want to take a more metaphorical approach to scripture, but there are also parts that are supposed to be taken unpoetically. For example, the historical parts of the Bible.

    It's definitely interesting to see another point of view, but when that point of view begins to contradict the thing it's criticizing or satirizing, then personally, I can't take it as seriously. And I would say the same thing for any piece on religion or atheism. That also goes for politics, no matter what side of the spectrum. I'm actually going to take a religions course to better understand other Western religions, as well as Eastern religions. In my own life, I think it's important to respect other beliefs and to understand them and research them, even if I may be opposed to them.

    All in all, I like this piece as a piece of art. What I said is just a thought, nothing personal at all. As I said, I'd be saying the same thing for any other piece. I apologize on behalf of this comment section's future lol. And guys... please don't send any angry comments//


    20 days ago
  • Jo Rejoicing [ChildOfGod]

    (1) Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden right after their sin; they weren't allowed to stick around. (2) The first sin wasn't an act of devotion, it was an act of rebellion against God. You can express love by obeying someone, so disobedience is the opposite. (3) We are made in God's image because we share some of His qualities that no other creature has: feelings, creativity, etc. (4) Humans are not divine. Only God is divine; humans are fallen and sinful. Poetry and picnics and pie are wonderful things but they're not the outcome of the Fall. The outcome of man's Fall is sin, brokenness, disease, hate, war, pain, and death. I hope that you will realize the incredible truth that God created you. He formed you with His own hands. He knit you together! He loves you an infinite amount and it makes Him sad to see His beloved child scorn Him. Earth is not our home. Nothing here lasts. Heaven is our home, where all is beautiful and eternal. And all you have to do to get there is believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he came to earth to die for our sins, and that he rose again! That's it! Believe and accept Jesus as your Savior, and someday I will meet you in eternal paradise. You will be in my prayers.


    20 days ago
  • Odysseus

    RE: Thank you so, so much for your comment! It made my day. :)


    20 days ago