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November 3, 2012
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The book of Job

:iconresponsibleatheist:
Let's take a look at the Book of Job, one of the most revolting stories ever told. Seriously, no smart person can read this book and still think of God as a benevolent being.

For those who have never heard of Job, he is the title character of the Book of Job. He was a wealthy man with many possessions, servants, a wife, 7 sons and 3 daughters. He was a good man who cared about his family, his friends, and the people around him. He also praised God and shunned evil.

One day, however, satan (actually not the same being as Satan from the New Testament), has something to say about this:

So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"
And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person."
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. (Job 1:9-12)

This is where the whole thing begins. Satan taunts God that Job only likes him for what he gives him, and God allows him to destroy Job's live to prove it. After he allows Satan to mess up Job's live, Satan sends down people to kill Job's servants, camels, donkeys enz. He than causes a storm which destroys Job's house while his children are inside.

Why would an omnibenevolent God do that? Why would he care more about what some archangel thinks about him, than about the well being of a perfectly good man, his servants and his family?

Even after all of this, Job still loves God. God than allows Satan to take away Job's health, with the one condition that Job must stay alive:

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:7-10)

By this point, it's not foolish at all to curse someone for making you suffer like that (especially if it's all for a BET).

After this, three of Job's friend decide to comfort and mourn Job. When they arrive, they barely recognize him because of his boils. They sat down with him for an entire week, without saying anything to him, because they saw how much he suffered. By this time, Job is suffering so much that he wishes that he was never born. He wonders WHY God allowed all of this to happen to him, and begs for an explanation. He tells that he's innocent, and has never asked anyone anything.

However, instead of comforting Job and mourning him, his friends (and later a young man named Elihu) try to justify God's behavior, and tell Job that he must be wicked, because only the wicked suffer (of course, if this was true, EVERY person on earth, including Christians, must be wicked). They tell him that God is just, and he mustn't question him. (This whole conversation between Job and his friends was actually more than 20 chapters long, but it was very repetitive, and most could easily be summarized in ONE chapter).

Of course, none of them realize that Job is completely blameless, and God makes him suffer for the sole purpose of proving a point to satan.

In Chapter 38, God finally shows up to talk to Job. However, instead of comforting him, or even admitting that the whole thing was part of a bet with Satan, God scorns him and spends two chapters boasting about all the things he supposedly did (including the things which we all know were caused by the laws of physics, like lightning). This is kinda weird, because the Bible claims that God is love, and love doesn't boast (1 Corinthians 13:4). God than tells him not to question him, and keeps on bullying and scorning him until he repent (for something he didn't even do).

And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has."(Job 42:7-8)

The ironic thing about this is that Christians always justify God's actions in the same way Job's friends did, yet God actually punishes Job's friends for what they said.

Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days. (Job 42:12-17)

There are several things wrong with this ending:
1. Hundreds of Job's servants were brutallly MURDERED, and the Bible never mentions that they were ever resurected. Good people, murdered because God wanted to prove a point to Satan. Unbelievable.
2. God never tells Job that the whole thing was part of a bet between him and Satan, and instead makes it look like it was all Job's fault.
3. The Bible doesn't mention that he was cured of his diseases, although that might have happened off-screen.
4. Anyone who has ever lost a friend or relative knows that you can't just replace your lost relatives. If your child dies, and you later get a new child, it still doesn't make it better that you lost a child. God is omnipotent, so why didn't he just resurrect Job's children and servants? The chapter makes it seem like material possessions, like cattle, are more important than friends and relatives. What kind of lesson is THAT supposed to be?

If you're a Christian or Jew, ask yourself: Is this the kind of God that I would want to worship? Would you actually consider other people to be AMORAL for not worshiping this God? Do you DARE to call this being omnibenevolent? If the answer is ''yes'', take some time to think about what you believe in.
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Devious Comments

:iconlyteside:
I'm just curious...

Do you relate to job? Have you felt that God has dealt with you flippantly concerning your life and wellbeing, etc?
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:iconresponsibleatheist:
No. I simply think that no good person should have to suffer like that.
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:iconi-stamp:
Why would an atheist who doesn't believe in God feel that God acted in any way regarding their life? This is a commentary on the moral value of the book of Job.
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:iconlyteside:
We might think it's straight forward enough like that... its not always.

I'm asking curious questions to understand the fuel behind the post. Is an athiest so because he "lacks belief in God"? Some, but hardly most. We are all fueled by something. It would be wrong to assume that all athiests are the same and think the same way, just like religious people.

My questions are designed out of curiosity (when I say that I'm curious). I have no hidden agendas, other than to understand a person's heart, desires, goals, visions, joy, and pain.

For instance, I don't believe that pink unicorns live on Neptune, but if I started making posts about why I don't believe or why other's shouldn't believe, etc. I am positive there would be a reason behind it:

Do I believe that those that believe in pink unicorns are dangerous? Am I trying to stop them from believing because of something they might say or do that I am opposed to? Am I uncomfortable with the idea? Am I scared that I might exist? Do I hope they exist, but really don't think they do? Do I believe they are illogical? Why do I spend my time trying to show people that they are illogical in specific idea of unicorn belief. Does the belief system challenge something else of mine? Or is it that I want people to have a full life? Do I think belief in Pink Unicorns prevents full life? Or... Why do I even care enough to help them think clearly?

These are the sort of questions that come up that I genuinely want to know - I just don't want to make assumptions.
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:iconlyteside:
All that being said... I don't know, maybe I should have asked:

Why Job as the example of God's ambivalence about a person's well fair?
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:iconi-stamp:
Maybe because it's considered a happy ending despite that several people were killed for no good reason other than to satisfy a bet, one that was approved by God.
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:iconi-stamp:
The 'an atheist who has a reaction to a story which influences the beliefs and actions of millions of people around them, must not have that reaction out of concern over the validity of the application of those beliefs, but because the atheist secretly also believes it. Otherwise they would also react towards other things like pink unicorns, even though nobody seriously believes in pink unicorns or applies beliefs about pink unicorns to the world around them thus cannot even be approaching a similar priority' sounds an awful lot like pushing a familiar agenda to me.
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:iconlyteside:
I'm a bit lost. Can you try again?

The only thing I got I think was that you think an athiest operates out of concern for others? Did I get that right?

What familiar agenda? Is it that you don't believe that I'm curious? Sorry, I just wasn't following you very well.
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:iconi-stamp:
Concern for others and themselves, since Christianity and its tenets effect them and their kin more than tenets about a pink unicorn ever will.

The familiar agenda is trying to get an atheist to either convert by accusing them that they are not, in fact, atheists, or that if they are atheists they should be silent about Christianity because why should they care?
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:iconlyteside:
oh! I see. Well thank you for clarifying. I am not asking at that level. Rather just, why do you care? And why this as an example, etc...

I noted your other response.
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