First published May 16th, 2007. I have added some thoughts which came to me last week as the scientific community launched experiments with its underground “atom-smasher.” With economic foundations beginning to crumble (the current “rebound” in stocks are an illusion), this writing is more timely than ever.
I realize that the nature of these writings this past week are difficult. But the truth sets us free. Always, always bring yourself back to the present moment and be anxious about nothing. Simply, stay awake… watch and pray!
The Tower of Babel
THE past couple weeks, those words have been on my heart.
So high have the sins of this generation reached, even to the very threshold of Heaven. That is, man has assumed himself to be a god, not only in his mind, but in the work of his hands.
Through genetic and technological manipulation, man has made himself the new master of the universe, from the cloning of life, to the alteration of food, to the manipulation of the environment. With the new media of internet, man has acquired god-like powers, near angelic powers to communicate instantaneously, crossing vast distances in the twinkling of an eye, drawing upon knowledge of good and evil at the tap of a keyboard.
Yes, the new Tower of Babel stands erect, taller, and more arrogant than ever. The CERN Large Hadron Collider is a 27km underground tunnel of technology designed to find the “God-particle”—the conditions after the “big bang” which created the universe. Is this the upper floor of this Tower?
Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (Gen 11:4)
This is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. (vs. 6)
With that, He sent them into exile.
Economic, social, medical, scientific, educational, agricultural, sexual, and religious perversions are the bricks which have built this tower. Hollow bricks built on the shifting sands of materialistic capitalism and corrupted democracy, built on the backs of the poor, built on false illusions and lies. Built on pride.
The Tower is tilting… the Tower must fall.
…and we must not be found in it!
But what is Babel? It is the description of a kingdom in which people have concentrated so much power they think they no longer need depend on a God who is far away. They believe they are so powerful they can build their own way to heaven in order to open the gates and put themselves in God’s place. But it’s precisely at this moment that something strange and unusual happens. While they are working to build the tower, they suddenly realise they are working against one another. While trying to be like God, they run the risk of not even being human – because they’ve lost an essential element of being human: the ability to agree, to understand one another and to work together… Progress and science have given us the power to dominate the forces of nature, to manipulate the elements, to reproduce living things, almost to the point of manufacturing humans themselves. In this situation, praying to God appears outmoded, pointless, because we can build and create whatever we want. We don’t realise we are reliving the same experience as Babel. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Pentecost Homily, May 27th, 2102