Why Babel Matters Today: Fighting Prejudice and Racism

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by Laura Allnutt on January 22, 2019

In Luke 10:25–37, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to show what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. In the parable, a man is traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when thieves attack him and leave him on the road severely wounded. A priest and a Levite come by and see the man, but they pass on the other side of the road. But when a Samaritan comes along, he sees the man and has compassion, bandaging his wounds and helping him to an inn where he can receive medical attention. He pays for all the man’s bills.

What makes this story relevant is not only the lesson of kindness, but also the lesson of anti-racism. You see, the man from Jerusalem was a Jew, and the man from Samaria was a half Jew. Jews and Samaritans did not get along because they each perceived themselves as better.

You probably know many people who look different from you. Think about the people on the major continents: Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. In each continent and in each country, skin tones, eyes shapes and colors, and hair textures vary.

But it wasn’t always this way!

At the time of the Tower of Babel, all the people in the world lived in one place. Because they were all together, they all spoke the same language, practiced the same culture, and contained a vast gene pool that kept them all looking very different even though they all lived in one place. For instance, a mother and father could have had four (and more!) children that looked nothing alike!

But people of Babel had disobeyed God by staying in one place, for he had told them go forth and inhabit the earth. Because they disobeyed him, God confused their languages. Changing the languages forced the people to separate and inhabit different parts of the world.

Because the people at Babel were separated into smaller groups, their gene pool was also significantly limited. As a result, certain dominant characteristics developed in each people group. Over time, humans started believing that some people groups are better than others. This belief is racism, and it is sinful.

It’s important to remember that all people living today have a common ancestry through Noah and his wife and ultimately Adam and Eve. We may look different from each other, but we are all part of the same human race! God loves all people and sent his only Son so that we all can have eternal life.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands (Revelation 7:9)