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The Truth Is Fragmented

Peter Breughel the Elder’s “The Tower of Babel”

Peter Breughel the Elder’s “The Tower of Babel”

I love the story from Genesis of the Tower of Babel. Here it is from Verses 1-9 of Chapter 11 in the King James Bible:

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 Shi’nar; and they dwelt there. And they said to one another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

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 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 all have one language: and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

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 be 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.

It is my opinion that language was not the only thing that was confounded at that point: So was religion. Across the face of the earth, there are at least as many religions as there are languages, or even dialects.

Today Martine and I went to the L.A. Greek Festival at Santa Sophia Cathedral near downtown. Once again we were stunned by the beauty of Saint Sophia, with éclat of all the glittering gold in the icons and decorations. I am curiously drawn toward Eastern Orthodoxy. But then I am also drawn to Roman Catholicism, in which I was raised; Buddhism; Hinduism. Probably to all major religions except the youngest, Islam, which seems to be entering a self-destructive death cult phase.

Depiction of the Trinity in St. Constantine’s Chapel at Saint Sophia

Depiction of the Trinity in St. Constantine’s Chapel at Saint Sophia

I not only believe in God, but in a sense I believe in all of them. I do not currently attend church, but I am thinking of attending services at Saint Sophia when I return from Peru. And while I am in Peru, I will visit scores of Catholic churches built by the Spanish. Also, on the flip side, I will visit the Museum of the Inquisition in Lima.

When the languages of man were all “confounded,” so also was the truth. It was fragmented into thousands of discrete pieces, some of which are beautiful, others of which are damaged, losing whatever truth was originally there.

I believe that, in this life, man must find fragments of the truth and hold on to them, irrespective of their origin. Truth and beauty abound, but also horrors unimaginable. Putting the right pieces together, very like a mosaic, is what life is all about.