Social Epistemic Reading Model





Social Epistemic Reading Model

Unnamed People in the Genesis Story

The unnamed people in the book of Genesis refer to a large population that emerged several generations after Adam and Eve. This group of people was unified in purpose and behavior. The question of whether their actions were moral or immoral is largely dependent on the interpretation. The decision to build a tower to “make a name for ourselves” hints at the possibility of idiosyncratic interests. In a way, it would appear as a competition between human beings and God. In fact, sections of the chapter notes that God planned to “…go down and there confuse their language”. This open act of defiance against God is itself considered immoral. From the onset, I think that their idea of coming together and building a tower into the sky was vain. Human beings planned to use their thinking abilities under the authority of co-creators with God to go against his wishes. In this case, they opted to defy God’s word. God had commanded them to fill the earth but they chose to stay at one point. It is relatively easy to conclude that God’s

Similarity between the Gambler and people of Babel

The proverbial Navajo Gambler myth was a foreigner who came to Chaco and introduced gambling games with large bets. Since he understood the game well, the people soon lost all their possessions and opted to bet their bodies. Ultimately, the Navajo Gambler took all the people as his slaves. These laborers formed the workforce that built the vast Chaco architecture. In particular, the Gambler was responsible for orchestrating the construction of complex stone structures. Johonaa was responsible for triggering the events that restored sanity in the society. However, he also ordered his son to “turn the tongues” of the people “backwards”. In essence, this was the beginning of the dispersal of the community. It was a strategy to ensure that the people would never again assemble in such a large group to avoid captivity. This story is quite similar to that of Babel in the Old Testament (McPherson 34). The Babel story is about a society that spoke the same language and who decided to build a tower to consolidate their power and unity. God came down and confounded their language with the plan of scattering them across the world. The Gambler in the Navajo myth is very similar to the human beings in the Babel story since he exploited the ability to speak a common language to further his own interests. Coincidentally, his objective was to develop a modern empire in a manner similar to the people of Babel.

Immoral Actions in Both Texts

The earlier assertion made concerning the nature of man presents itself strongly in both texts. In the Navajo myth concerning the Gambler, the discussion for or against morality is relatively clear. His intention was to enslave the community by ensuring that they learnt to gamble and eventually become engrossed to a point that they would bet themselves. Ultimately, the gambler gained control of the slaves and used the excess labor force to build one of the most memorable Native American civilizations. In the second text, man emerges as a conniving being that uses the intelligence bestowed upon him for selfish gain. The construction of the tower of Babel was significant of man’s independence and astuteness. Expecting to compete with God, the ultimate creator and Supreme Being was the epitome of man’s corruption. The theme of manipulation is evident in both instances and this point towards immoral nature of man. Left to his own devices, man has a tendency of resorting to his selfish ways. The account of the tower of Babel was written several centuries before Jesus Christ allegedly occupied earth. Even during these ancient times, man had already shown his egotistical nature. Inside the hearts of each of the builders of the tower was a need to satisfy their decadent interests. The actions of these early men contributed towards engaging in a futile activity as “building a tower of Babel”. The txt contained in Genesis 4-11 is significant in the discussion of man’s immorality since it indicates the first mention of sin. The Babel account illustrates a naive, yet solid affirmation in what man through their knowledge could achieve in the universe. The developers of this structure dreamt of living a unified and affluent life. They desired to be renowned for their prowess. They desired to achieve a god-like status and power to make their own creations. This is why they are considered immoral, as they desired individual prominence and influence among fellow men. In the bible, Babel represents the foundation of the humanistic idealistic dream. The greater part of civilized societies were located in cities that always had a tower. The cities harbored wickedness and immorality. The Bible concurred with much of this evaluation of the transgressions that was focused on the towers and cities that consolidated the interest of sinners. The collective efforts of sinners lack the potential of generating any moral outcome. In the Navajo myth, immorality is similarly evident. The whole society is engrossed with the practice of gambling to a point where they lose all their belongings. Furthermore, the Gambler’s immorality is seen in the way he pushes the community into slavery by allowing them to place their bodies as bets.

Dangers of Society

The Navajo myth is an ancient story but it contains an indication of the dangers of society as a context for human behavior. From the story, it is evident that a corrupted society has the power to change the way people relate. The current society is a manifestation of the earlier Navajo one in which children have mastered the art of self-preservation. Human beings grow up with the notion that thinking of their selfish needs is the only important thing. The slavery in the Navajo myth that tied men to drug addiction, immorality, and gambling has given way to a modern form of enslavement to immorality. This new generation lacks discipline, self-control, and compassion for fellow human beings. Above all, they are unable to delay instant gratification. People have settled for the realization of selfish needs.

Lessons that Apply in the Current Culture

The current society can benefit greatly from the teachings in the two related texts. From the Navajo myth and the story of Babel, the society can learn that human beings have an insatiable thirst for self-gratification and accomplishment. The Navajo people were entrapped into slavery by the gradual allure of wealth through gambling. The unified community decided to build a tower so that they could “reach God”. Both societies became entrapped in their zeal to realize a better secular existence.


Works CitedTop of Form

McPherson, Robert S. Dinéjí Na’nitin: Navajo Traditional Teachings and History. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2012. Print. Bottom of Form


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