The Bible and the idea of European integration

by Adriel Kasonta

The Bible and the idea of European integration

When we discuss the European Union we tend to focus only on its political economy analysis, where not long time ago, in Britain, Lady Margaret Thatcher was so disappointed by the lack of logic in the project of utopian vision of the 'new Europe' that she attempted in one of her speeches to use the biblical analogy:

“Imagine a European Community of 30 nations, ranging in their economic productivity from Germany to Ukraine, and in their political stability from Britain to Poland (…) Mr Chairman, such a body is an even more utopian enterprise than the Tower of Babel. For at least the builders of Babel all spoke the same language when they began. They were, you might say, communautaire.”[1]

Despite the fact that the parable of the Tower of Babel may be seen as a fairy tale by many modern men and women, in my opinion should be perceived as a serious lesson for the European people, because it is connected with the story that changed the course of human history.

The city and the tower of Babel was part of the kingdom of Nimrod:

“(…) 8Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to become a mighty warrior. 9He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD." 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar (…)”[2]

In order to promote the integration of peoples and foster unity within his empire, Nimrod initiated great building projects—the construction of fortified cities and massive public buildings like the Tower of Babel, however in the Bible we find proof that his motives were dictated by ordinary human vanity:

1Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." 4Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth (...)”[3]

Forging an empire of many cities enabled Nimrod to dominate the surrounding region militarily, economically and politically. Both Scripture and secular sources suggest that Nimrod aspired to a world empire.

The rise of Nimrod’s empire was a crucial turning point in world history. Nimrod set a pattern of rebelling against God’s instructions, and empire building through vanity-motivated conquest, subjugation and control that has continued down through history. This is why God intervened and confused the languages at the Tower of Babel—which caused the construction process to cease. Nonetheless, the idea survived and was adopted on the ground of the European Union project.

The architects of the European Union recognize the parallel between the Tower of Babel and their efforts to “construct” a new Europe. The Council of Europe used a poster of the Tower of Babel to promote the construction of Europe. Tours through the EU Parliament chamber in Brussels hear an audiotape describing the multiple languages used by delegates as a “modern tower of Babel.”[4] This comparison, however, goes much deeper.

The basic attitude that motivated the builders of the city and Tower of Babel was a desire for power and glory. That same motive is deeply embedded in the desire to construct a unified Europe. In the years following World War I, Europe lost its leading position in the world to the U. S. and the Soviet Union. Intellectual elites on the continent saw unification as the only way to reverse Europe’s decline. The current effort at European integration is an attempt to regain a leading role on the world stage. Just as Nimrod organized great building projects to unite the peoples of his empire, the construction of Europe involves many projects under way at the same time: the creation of a common currency, a central bank, common laws, a continental judicial system and police force, a European army, a common foreign policy and a constitution. A major goal is the elimination of individual states by surrendering national sovereignty to supranational European institutions. The builders believe that the only way to guarantee peace and prevent future wars in Europe is to eliminate the nation state, by creating a European super-state.

Therefore, my question is: If “Europe was created by history and America was created by philosophy”,[5] does the United States of Europe project has its justification?

Builders of the New Europe seek to restore the unity of the Roman Empire. The Empire of Charlemagne, and the medieval “Holy Roman Empire” are also cited as models of continental unity.[6] Yet these empires were not exactly models of peace, harmony or unity.

The “Christianity” adopted by the Roman Empire was mixed with paganism, as doctrinal controversies divided both church and empire. Charlemagne expanded his “Christian” empire through military conquests, and conversions often came at the point of a sword. Medieval “Christendom” saw bitter rivalries between popes and emperors who waged wars against each other in the heart of Europe.

Napoleon also attempted to unify Europe under the crown of the “Holy Roman Emperor.” His goal was to redraw the map of Europe, establish a common legal system and bring peace to a troubled continent, by the force of French arms. What is more interesting, less than a century later, Hitler set out on a similar path using German military force.

In my opinion, the conclusion that should be drawn from the lesson of history is that all these attempts failed to bring lasting unity or peace to a war-torn continent. In fact, one reason for Europe’s blood-stained past is the recurring struggle to establish a single empire under one ruler and one religion, which is confirmed by these words:

“What we should grasp, however, from the lessons of European history is that, first, there is nothing necessarily benevolent about programmes of European integration; second, the desire to achieve grand utopian plans often poses a grave threat to freedom; and third, European unity has been tried before, and the outcome was far from happy.”[7]




[1] Thatcher, M. Speech in the Hague ("Europe’s Political Architecture"), 15.05.1992, Margaret Thatcher Foundation. Online 12 September 2015 <>

[2] The Book of Genesis: Chapter 10, Verses 8-10 (Genesis 10:8-10). Online 12 September 2015 <>

[3] Ibidem (11:19). Online 12 September 2015 <>

[4] Winnail, D. S. Europe: A Modern Tower of Babel, (in) Tomorrow’s World Magazine, July-August 2003, Vol. 5, No. 4, p. 23.

[5] Blundell, J. Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady, 2008, p. 137.

[6] Winnail, D. S. Europe: A Modern… ibidem, p. 24.

[7] Thatcher, M. Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, p. 327.

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