I am moved by the story of the Tower of Babel because it answers the question non-Jews ask me most frequently (second only to “Why do Jews not believe in Jesus?”). That question is: “Why do we have to have all these different religions? Wouldn’t the world be better if there was one religion instead of all the problems caused by religious differences?”
My response to the question if the asker is a Christian is, “Whose religion would it be? Would it be yours, where the life, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension to heaven of Jesus are the guiding beliefs and set of religious principles? Or would it be mine, in which the life and death of Jesus plays no role whatsoever?”
I am very proud to be a Reform Jew. I wold never want to be anything else. But that does not mean for a moment that I think everyone should be like me or believe as I do. Our world is enriched, not diminished, by religious diversity. The problems come when people are not able to accept that thinking people can differ on how God wants them to believe. The Tower of Babel story teaches that God is the force that created religious and cultural diversity. If diversity is God’s creation, then it is blasphemy to try to proclaim that one and only one religion is right!
No. Religious unity should not be our goal. Rather, respect for, and appreciation of honest religious differences is what will lead us to a better world.