When the reader is ready, the book appears

Published: Thu, 12/23/21

I have too many books for our rather small house, My popular fiction library has been massively reduced with the Lee Child, Clive Cussler, John Grisham, etc titles finding their way to charity shops. Other books I am rediscovering as I decide whether or not they deserve shelf space. One box I opened contained a hard back volume dating back to 1938, a collection of sermons compiled as essays entitled ‘Beyond Tragedy’ by Reinhold Niebuhr. Niebuhr was a highly regarded American theologian who preached, taught, and wrote in the middle period of the 20th century. I have had the book for around 20 years and I am not quite sure how it came into my possession. I have attempted to read parts of this book on previous occasions but never seemed to get very far.

This time I was looking for answers and the second chapter, a meditation on the Tower of Babel myth, caught my attention.

Niebuhr shares a lot of vitally important ideas in this particular chapter which will need several posts to properly explore. However, the first thing that really struck me was this quote, which I have slightly abbreviated:

“Religion, declares modern man, is consciousness of our highest social values. Nothing could be further from the truth. True religion is a profound uneasiness about our highest social values. This uneasiness springs from the knowledge that the God whom true religion worships transcends the limits of finite man while this same man is constantly tempted to forget the finiteness of his cultures and civilisation and to pretend a finality for them which they do not have.” Page 28

I have certainly been feeling such a profound uneasiness over the past 20 months or so as I have watched the world torn apart for the sake of a ‘scientific’ response to a so called pandemic. As I reflect more deeply I realise that, perhaps to a lesser extent, this uneasiness has been with me all my life as I have observed the unsustainable manipulation of our culture, education, health, economics, our relationships to technology, the natural world, and indeed how we relate to our own bodies. Maybe I have lived my life looking to tune into transcendence while recognising the limitations of the culture within which I have lived. The only relationship which really matters is the one with the transcendent God, who then gives various tools, relationships, and experiences to aid us on our journey through this world. I have been blessed in the gifts I have received, at the same time it hasn’t been easy living in a flawed culture which seems
to believe that it has found all the answers.

Of course once a society decides that the all the answers are settled, and all values are universally agreed on, then collapse of one kind or another is not far off. As Niebuhr puts it:

“One of the most pathetic aspects of human history is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously, compounds its partial and universal values most convincingly, and claims immortality for its finite existence at the very moment when the decay that leads to death has already begun.” Page 39

In our own time we are seeing the attempt to create a ‘New World Order’ where all power, control, and wealth will be concentrated into the hands of a few. Looks to me like the building of a single Tower of Babel which will truly make gods of the architects.

Is this concentration of power a done deal? Those who would build the modern Babel have little to fear from the majority whose lives are dominated by fear, who are ignorant of the real agenda, and who are willing to collude with their own enslavement. As for the rest? We shall see.



PS How far have the ‘elite’ got in their plan to consolidate all power, influence, and wealth? Further than you might think and, either all is lost, or we are close to a transformation of consciousness. Check this out anyway: