For religious skeptics, the Bible is full of stories that make it absolutely impossible to accept the Bible as literal truth. For me, one of the stories that tops the list is the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9.
As the tale relates, all of humanity spoke a common language and settled in a single place called the plain of Shinar. These industrious people resolved to build a tower of bricks that would reach to the heavens.
God is described in the story as coming "down to see the city and the tower that the men were building." Now whomever wrote this story reveals some interesting things. First off, the author (or plagiarist, more on that in a moment) of this tale had some idea that God dwelled somewhere up, up, up in the skies. Secondly, by describing God as coming down to see the tower, the author is clearly implying that God occupies a physical space and must actually come down to the Earth in order to see what humanity was building. After all, if God is all knowing, all seeing, and everywhere at once, he would not come down to the Earth. Now one might make the argument that the author of the story was describing God based upon his own limited understanding. But Bible believers constantly remind us that the Bible was revealed by God himself, and many believe that it was Moses himself who wrote down what God told him. Thus, God is describing himself as having to "come down" to the city.
Now where the story gets really interesting is where God decides that he must stop the people from building the tower, because "nothing they do will be impossible for them", which clearly suggests that God was afraid that the humans would actually succeed in building their tower high enough to reach heaven. Again, the teller of the tale is revealing his ignorance. He is obviously unaware of the fact that the Earth is surrounded by an atmosphere, and that at some point, if one goes high enough, there is simply no air to breath. Assuming the technology was even known to build the tower as high as the tallest mountain, the workers at the top would begin passing out from altitude sickness. Work would have to cease because it would simply not be possible to advance any further. But of course the technology did not exist back then to build a tower as high as Mount Everest. In fact, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (aka Cheops) in Egypt remained the tallest man made structure on the Earth until the advent of the skyscrapers in the first half of the 20th century. So God did not have to worry.
But God clearly was worried, so he decides to divide humanity by confusing their language so that they would not understand each other, and from there, God "scattered them over the face of the whole Earth." Now, what the Bible means by scattered is unclear. Did different groups of people migrate to different parts of the planet, or did God teleport them to sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Siberia, China, Australia, and the Americas?
Now what really makes a literal belief in the story of the Tower of Babel ridiculous to me, in short, is that humanity has long surpassed in achievement and ability the things that God feared humanity was capable of thousands of years ago. Not only do we have skyscrapers that are higher than any structure that ever existed before, but we have sent men to the moon and landed space probes as far away as Saturn's moon Titan, not to mention the Voyager probes that have travelled to the outermost edges of our solar system. Furthermore, in spite of the multitude of languages that are spoken by different ethnicities and nationalities, we all have the ability to communicate with one another. The English language is the language of global commerce and educated people from all over the world speak it. It is possible, with sufficient exposure and study, to learn to speak and understand the languages of others. We have the capability to pool the knowledge and resources of all humanity to accomplish almost anything we set our minds to.
This begs the question, if God stopped humanity from building the Tower of Babel some 4,000 years ago, then why hasn't God stopped us from landing on the Moon and landing probes as far as Titan? The Russians had the MIR space station orbiting the Earth for over a decade, and currently the International Space Station circles the planet. In a few decades, it is not inconceivable that we will have opened up space to commerce. Hotels and convention centers will offer visitors the ultimate panoramic view. Intrepid miners will venture to near Earth asteroids to mine for metals and minerals. There may even be budding colonies on the Moon.
But back to the plagiarism issue I hinted at earlier. When one reads chapters 10 and 11 of Genesis, the Tower of Babel story does not make any sense, and in fact, it looks like it was conspicuously inserted between Genesis 10:32 and Genesis 11:10. Genesis 10 covers the three sons of Noah and their descendants in the aftermath of the Flood. The descendants of the three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, are said to have occupied specific territories and having their own languages The last section of Genesis 10, from verses 21 through 32, cover the descendants of Shem.
Now, just to reiterate, Genesis 10 clearly tells us that the descendants of each of Noah's three sons occupied specific geographic areas and had their own languages. And then we go write into Genesis 11:1, in which "the whole world had one language and one common speech" and that they all moved "eastward", though from where we are not told, to the plain of Shinar. And then in Genesis 11:10, the story picks up again with Shem two years after the flood. The Tower of Babel totally interrupts the flow of the story. This clearly shows that what we know as the Book of Genesis is not a single book, but in fact a collection of stories cut and pasted together from various sources. I get the impression that some Hebrew priest overseeing the assembling of their holy texts came across the Tower of Babel story from some Mesopotamian sources and thought "I better put that in here to explain why different nations speak different languages." The Tower of Babel story is a cut and paste job, and a poor one at that.