Vision Logo Circle
Vision Logo Circle

Living in Modern-Day Babylon: A Conversation with Martyn Iles

by | Tue, Feb 27 2024

Text size: A- A+

What would living in Babylon look like today? The biblical city of Babylon was a symbol of evil, corruption, and tyranny. The pagan culture rejected God, worshipped false gods, and was influenced by false prophets. Does that sound familiar to what’s happening in today’s culture?  

The Living in Babylon Tour, presented by Ken Ham, the founding CEO of Answers in Genesis, and Martyn Iles, the executive CEO, will be one of the best speaking tours you’ll see this year. Martyn joined Neil Johnson on 20Twenty to compare our current culture to the Babylonian pagan culture.  

God-fearing People Forced into a Pagan Culture

Israel was a nation established by God, and the Israelites living in Jerusalem were God-fearing people with Godly principles, much like the Judeo-Christian foundations established in Western culture.  

During King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Babylon attacked Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, and took many Jews as slaves, including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego back to Babylon. The Israelites who were taken as slaves found themselves having to adapt to Babylon’s pagan culture—a culture that rejected God.  

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were specially chosen to be trained in the ways of the Babylonians for three years. Then they were put into the king’s service, where the pressure to comply with the pagan culture was more difficult to avoid. However, they remained faithful to God. They would not adopt the pagan culture, eat their food or worship the king’s golden statue. When they were forced to comply with the king’s decrees and refused, they were thrown into the fiery furnace, and on another occasion, Daniel was thrown to the lions.  

Living in Modern-Day Babylon  

This is a similar scenario to what we face today. Our Western Christian culture is being replaced with woke ideologies and anti-God ideologies. We’re living in this Babylon-type culture, and like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we face having to adapt to it and still honour God. Christians today are facing court battles and threats of imprisonment—some for simply wanting to protect their children from gender transitioning, encouraged through the education system, without the parent’s knowledge or consent.  

‘Babylons are always built on pride. … They try to take God’s authority away from him,’ said Martyn. ‘You think of Babel when they said, “Come, let us make a name for ourselves.” It’s all about human pride and raising people to the status of gods. And we see a lot of that in our culture at the moment.’  

Our government is funding gender clinics and targeting young people with inclusive education programs. The government is using its power and infrastructure to promote the view that we can be like God in the matter of gender. Today’s culture reports that there are over 80 types of genders and gender identities. Is it any wonder why some of the younger generation are confused?  

Christians today face the same dilemma Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced. We may be overlooked for a promotion because of our thoughts on transgenderism, or our stand to honour God could cost us friends. The Australian laid-back attitude towards life incorporates tolerance of different views or opinions.  

 ‘In America, there’s always a big hustle. Everyone wants to get rich. Everybody wants to get powerful,’ said Martyn. ‘In Australia, people want a comfortable life. … to have an easy life as your highest value means you’ll never really stand up against the sin of Babylon. You’ll never really make the right decision when the day comes to either compromise and go along with the culture or draw a line and stand apart and say, “No, I’m going to serve God, not what this culture is asking me to do.” You need to make the decision that you’re not just out for the comfortable, easy life; you’re actually out to serve God first and foremost. He is your highest value.’  

Being the Salt and Light of the Earth 

Having that kind of courage takes faith. It shows that you trust God with your future. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did, and God looked after them. Christians are meant to be the salt and the light.    

‘Daniel is a great example of salt and light and what it means to be the salt of the earth and not to allow the salt to lose its taste. It means; make sure you don’t compromise because salt loses its taste when moisture seeps into it,’ said Martyn. ‘You can see the metaphor straight away. If we allow the culture around us to get to us and change us and compromise us, then that’s wrong. We’re not being the salt. Daniel did not allow that. He didn’t allow the culture around him to change him.’  

Trust God to Protect You 

When Darius was made king, he issued a decree forbidding prayers to any god other than the king for 30 days. Daniel purposely opened his window and prayed as he had always done. This ended with him being thrown into a lion’s den. Yet, God protected him by shutting the lion’s mouth.   

‘At the very least, we need to draw a line in the sand and say we will not allow this culture to compromise our godliness and our stand for God. And then, beyond that, we need to find ways to be the light of the world. That is; to be seen doing good and speaking the truth so that people might know we are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ,’ said Martyn. ‘Whenever Daniel did that, God worked through him. … He went to the lion’s den and the fiery furnace, and every time that happened, God used him in Babylon to reach the culture and people. And we need to have more confidence that God will work through us when we take those stands, even when it’s difficult.’   

The Homeschooling Solution  

Homeschooling has grown in Australia because of the pressures on Christian schools to comply with government anti-discrimination policies being imposed on private schools. Sadly, rather than speaking up against these impositions forced on Christian schools, parents opt to homeschool. Perhaps if there was stronger leadership in the school, there may be a chance for success in pushing back against these policies. Christian schools don’t want to be in the headlines like the Christian Outreach College in Brisbane was when they took a stand on the sexuality issue in Christian schools.   

‘People don’t want to face the trouble. They want ease and comfort rather than being in the headlines. They don’t want to be held out as nasty people, so they will compromise,’ said Martyn. ‘The legal pressure is going to increase to the point where I think it’s going to be basically impossible for Christians to uphold a Christian ethos of sexuality and gender and such issues and be within the law. … This is where the example of Daniel comes in. What would Daniel have done? Well, Daniel would have run his Christian school, according to the Bible, and trusted God. That’s what he would have done. And he would have said, “We honour God, and God’s will be done in this matter. That’s our first calling, and what we’re here to do. And I think we need some more schools and institutions who are prepared to do that.’  

There are many examples where God has used high-stake moments to showcase His works. Martyn believes the only way to move forward is not through politics but by evangelising.    

Who Am I? Solving the Identity Puzzle  

Martyn’s book, Who Am I? Solving the Identity Puzzle aims to have people look to God, who created them, and Christ, who redeems and restores them instead of looking at themselves for answers.   

Our current culture, which lines up with the Pride of Babylon culture, is based on how people feel about their sexuality, the lusts of their hearts, their gender identity, their personality type and their cultural identity. People are taking these feelings as the roadmap for how to live. The Pride Movement encourages people to make these feelings the governing principle of their life.  

‘The point I make in the book is that it is leading us into misery. If you look into yourself, Jesus says you’re only going to find sin. He says that which comes out of the heart of a person is what defiles them. And he lists all the sins that are in there,’ said Martyn. ‘The book finishes by saying, stop asking, “Who am I?” Instead, you should ask, “Who is God?” Because when you find out who He is, the rest will fall into place because you were made to bear his image.’  

The Living in Babylon Tour starts in Adelaide on 28 February. Brisbane is sold out on 2 March, Perth on 4 March, and finishing in Melbourne on 9 March. This event will be live streamed. Click here to find out more.  

This article was inspired by Martyn’s interview. To listen to Martyn’s full interview, click the link below: