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.
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.
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?
Do not take it all literally. Some parts of the bible are symbolic and metaphor.
Book of Job? Yes youre right. You have valid points there. But the moral of the story is... IT IS EASIER TO TURN TO THE DARK SIDE THAN TO WORSHIP GOD!
I know this for a fact. Its easier to cheat on your wife if you see that hot younger girl Its easier to punch someone in the face who has offended you Its easier to just laze around and slack off instead of exercising at the gym and getting yourself in shape.
And if you keep doing "the easy way out" negative consequences happen. And if you persevere you will be rewarded in the end. Like... if you just laze around and get yourself fat you will have cancer, high blood, and a host of other diseases associated with being overweight / fat / obese. But... if you hit the gym and eat healthy... you'd get physically fit and have generally less health problems than someone who just slacks off and eats more than he's suppose to.
There are spiritual laws in effect. Much like the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc. And one of these laws is "you reap what you sow".
That is the moral of the story of the book of Job.
I get that this story was simply meant to teach a lesson, but it either does a bad job, or the lesson isn´t a good one.
Also, the whole point of the story was that Job was already a good person before the whole thing happened, but the satan questioned his motivations, so God tried to prove the satan wrong by letting him take away all Job´s stuff.
And what do you think is the real dark side: Worshipping the being who intentionally killed your children and put you through hell to prove a point, or not worshipping him?
Dark side? Negativity. Hate, anger, depression, etc.
It is outlined in Galatians 5:19-21 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
That is the dark side.
And it isnt about God killing your children. It is about spiritual laws that are in effect that are much like the laws of science (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) or the source code of a computer program.
The Bible has deeper meanings to it. If you interpret it literally the logical conclusion is to be an atheist. As I once was.
I'm of the opinion that Job was written by critics within the temple of mainstream Judaism at the time. The friends are the simple-minded fools that think that those who are unfortunate must be in the outs with God, and therefore justified their mistreatment of the impoverished and otherwise unlucky. The Satan is supposed to point out that many people outwardly do good deeds and seem good on the surface but only do so for the blessings they think they'll get. Job himself is supposed to represent those who do good and wonder why tragedy befalls them. The entire point is to poke at the idea prevalent at the time that doing good and following God's laws leads to blessings. Obviously, bad things happen to good people. Why?
If anything, it's important that this book exists because it forces people to examine their approach to religion and forces the temple (or church) to critically examine their teachings. I'm happy it was canonized.
Gotta admit, I skimmed through most of this, because I've read Job a couple of times and have a pretty good idea what happens. One thing I would point out is that the story is clearly fabulistic in intent, meaning that you can't read it literally and have to look at what it's communicating about the relationship between God and Man. The other thing I'd point out is that most scholars think it was two separate texts combined into one book. There's the main thread about Job and his sufferings, etc., then there's the portion where his friends are arguing over whether he brought it on himself through misdeeds.
All that aside, Judaism doesn't interpret the text quite as Christians do. For one thing, Satan in the text was probably not the fallen angel as Christians understand him, but The Adversary appointed by God. The ultimate message of the text is that bad things don't necessarily happen because you pissed God off, they just happen, and that God's intent is often a mystery. We just have to do our best to live well and remain faithful through hardship. Christianity throws a wrench in this because it is more explicit about God's qualities of omnibenevolence, which God in the OT often appears to contradict.
You might want to check out C.G. Jung's Answer to Job. It offers an interesting interpretation of the story.
In this story, God´s intent isn´t mysterious. It states that he allowed all these horrible things to happen to prove a point to the satan (and I already pointed out that this being isn´t Satan).
Regarding the whole ´´always have faith in God´´ story, I think that faith and trust should be earned. If someone I knew allowed bad things to happen to me to prove a point to someone else, I would be mad at him. How is someone supposed to have faith in God if he does these kinds of things to them?
Like I said, I skimmed over a lot of your post, so no surprise I missed some points. I do apologize.
And in the story, the God's intent is actually left a mystery to Job, but you're right, we as the readers know what God's intent in allowing his suffer is. In God's final speech he pretty clearly says that we cannot perceive or know as he knows, therefore it is not ours to question. And yes, it would be normal to get mad at God for letting those awful things happen. But the point of the story is that they don't happen because we did something wrong, they happen as a means of testing our faith.
Anyway, Christians have a brilliant work-around for this problem called Jesus. God used to be kind of a jerk, but it's OK now because he changed his mind.
Don't assume I agree with any of this, I'm just trying to work it out from the perspective of those who believe it w/o criticizing. I do recommend checking out Jung's book on the matter, since it offers an interesting interpretation from a different perspective.
It's made clear in the beginning that God allowed this to happen in order to prove a point to satan. And is it really admirable that someone is completely okay with all this unnesecary torture which he didn't deserve, and actually continues to praise the being who causes all this suffering? If people like Job should be admired, than we should also admire abused spouses for their faith in their partner.
"Seriously, no smart person can read this book and still think of God as a benevolent being."
That is your opinion.
"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?"
Well, first consider this. From the Judeao Christian perspective, death isn't the end of things. It isn't even a horrible thing. It's the next step on your journey. For Job and his righteous household, they would be going to a place of peace and happiness, where they can rest from their trials, and their sorrows. Is it such a bad thing that God takes them away from Earth (or allows them to be killed), when the place they will be heading to is the epitome of a wonderful utopia? If God feels that their time is done; that their designated period of probation, here on earth, is done, then, since he is the judge, he has the right to take them away, does he not?
"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). "
Says whom? That is your opinion. If I don't want to curse God, I certainly don't have to.
"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)."
You need to read the scriptures better. God is telling Job that we are all unknowledgeable compared to him. He is not boasting. Look at the second verse in Chapter 40, the conclusion of all this:
"Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it." The idea is to strip Job of all pride. That doesn't mean Job is unrighteouss. And we will all... every one of us... have to be stripped of our pride like Job before the end. It's a long process on the way to perfection and exaltation.
And from the Judea-Christian point of view, don't you think God organized the laws of physics, and therefore, indirectly, lightning?
"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."
All men who came to Earth will be resurrected in Christ. Where they will be resurrected to is dependent on their faith and their deeds.
"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."
And where is Job now? How glorious is he for enduring till the end through his trials? No, I think Job knew that bad things sometimes happen to good people.
"The Bible doesn't mention that he was cured of his diseases, although that might have happened off-screen."
Why does this matter so much?
"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?"
You aren't replacing lost relatives. When you die, you will be with them once again. Life is just a small time in the ultimate perspective. An extremely important time, albight, but just a small moment in the full view of things.
"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."
Well, why don't you go and ask God yourself why he did such things. You aren't going to be satisfied with the answers until you hear an answer from him. So stop asking Christians and Jews and Muslims to do X, Y, and Z. Ask God why he did things, with a humble heart, and he will give you his reasons, in his own time, and in his own way. He loves his children.
''From the Judeao Christian perspective, death isn't the end of things. It isn't even a horrible thing. It's the next step on your journey. For Job and his righteous household, they would be going to a place of peace and happiness, where they can rest from their trials, and their sorrows. Is it such a bad thing that God takes them away from Earth (or allows them to be killed), when the place they will be heading to is the epitome of a wonderful utopia? If God feels that their time is done; that their designated period of probation, here on earth, is done, then, since he is the judge, he has the right to take them away, does he not?''
If death is not a bad thing, why did God constantly command the death of people who disobeyed him? And in the Old Testament, dead people went to Sheol, not Heaven. Sheol was simply an afterlive for everyone, both good and bad people. And God didn't allow them to be killed because it was their time, but as part of making Job suffer. Couldn't an omnipotent God simply make them drop dead, rather than have them killed with swords and fire from the sky?
''You need to read the scriptures better. God is telling Job that we are all unknowledgeable compared to him. He is not boasting. Look at the second verse in Chapter 40, the conclusion of all this. The idea is to strip Job of all pride. That doesn't mean Job is unrighteouss. And we will all... every one of us... have to be stripped of our pride like Job before the end. It's a long process on the way to perfection and exaltation.
Did God really need to spend several chapters on that? I think Job would already have gotten the point. And the beginning of the Book of Job states that Job was a good man, so he clearly wasn't pridefull. And there's a difference between stripping someone of his pride and stripping someone of his selfesteem.
''And from the Judea-Christian point of view, don't you think God organized the laws of physics, and therefore, indirectly, lightning?''
The Book of Job states that God did it directly.
''All men who came to Earth will be resurrected in Christ. Where they will be resurrected to is dependent on their faith and their deeds.''
What about the friends and family of the servants? They had to spend all these years without them. Also, every time people defend this story, they claim that there's absolutely nothing wrong with death, even though the Bible claims ''thou shall not kill''.
''And where is Job now? How glorious is he for enduring till the end through his trials? No, I think Job knew that bad things sometimes happen to good people.''
There's a difference between bad things happening accidently, and a God who's supposed to be omnibenevolent being directly responsible for them. And why don't most people have to suffer all those things?
''You aren't replacing lost relatives. When you die, you will be with them once again. Life is just a small time in the ultimate perspective. An extremely important time, albight, but just a small moment in the full view of things.''
Job still lived a very long time, and spend all this time without his children. Was it really that difficult for God to just resurect his children?
''Well, why don't you go and ask God yourself why he did such things. You aren't going to be satisfied with the answers until you hear an answer from him.''
So why doesn't he just give people the answer? If he communicated with the entire world, nobody would be able to doubt his existence.
"If death is not a bad thing, why did God constantly command the death of people who disobeyed him?"
Perhaps it's because he thought their time of probation; their time to perform their works, was up.
"And in the Old Testament, dead people went to Sheol, not Heaven. Sheol was simply an afterlive for everyone, both good and bad people."
That's what spirit paradise/spirit prison is, in my theology; it's the spirit world. I'm not an orthodox Christians, so my faith doesn't look at the afterlife quite as other Christians do. Sheol does not represent hell as most Christians look at it. It represents the Spirit World where those who were not taught the gospel learn it from those who do.
"And God didn't allow them to be killed because it was their time, but as part of making Job suffer. Couldn't an omnipotent God simply make them drop dead, rather than have them killed with swords and fire from the sky?"
I don't know why God had them killed that way, tbh. You will have to ask him. Perhaps it has some symbolic meaning of some sort.
"Did God really need to spend several chapters on that?"
I'm not one to judge that. If he thinks he needed to spend several chapters on it, then well, he needed to spend several chapters on it. He knows Job (and also us that read the scriptures) better than we do ourselves, I think, so if he thinks it's necessary, I'm not gonna be the one to complain, if you know what I mean .
"I think Job would already have gotten the point."
How humble does a man have to be to obtain all God has to offer him? He has to be lower than the dust of the Earth, so to say, metaphorically. Not just humble... but supremely humble.
"And the beginning of the Book of Job states that Job was a good man, so he clearly wasn't pridefull. And there's a difference between stripping someone of his pride and stripping someone of his selfesteem."
A good man isn't necessarily a perfect man. Many good men still need perfecting, and sometimes that comes with really really really tough experiences. However, God knows we have the capability to come through it better off than we were. Otherwise we wouldn't be tested like such.
In any case, why do you feel that Job's self-esteem was stripped away from him in a bad way, exactly?
"The Book of Job states that God did it directly."
That's reading too much into it. It is only one of many possible interpretations of the scriptures talked of, I am thinking.
"What about the friends and family of the servants? They had to spend all these years without them."
And their joy will be more full afterwards. Do you think God does not pay them back for their sacrifice? Every bit of service and sacrifice we as people give will be paid back many times in blessings later. Yes, that is ends justify the means, which, one could say is kinda iffy, but considering they will see each other again, I don't think I'm pushing it too far.
"Also, every time people defend this story, they claim that there's absolutely nothing wrong with death, even though the Bible claims ''thou shall not kill''."
Why do you think God says 'thou shall not kill'. He's killed people plenty of times; why is he granted an exemption? The answer is that men kill for no good reason; they don't have the sight of God, to judge whether a man should live or die. They can't make a good decision on that part, without God's help. It isn't that death is evil... it's that God is the only one with the foresight to actually use it, for the time being (under the perspective that death is not permanent, of course).
"There's a difference between bad things happening accidently, and a God who's supposed to be omnibenevolent being directly responsible for them."
Why do parents let kids fall off a bike? So they can learn and grow. Without trials, we'd be stuck, we wouldn't be slowly becoming perfect. We have to go through trials to learn, and this is one of the trials that was given to a very righteous man. Hard... oh yes... but will it be worth it in the end? I think so.
"And why don't most people have to suffer all those things?"
Well, I suppose I'll give you my religion's ideas on it... it isn't something you will hear talked about much in other Christian religions (unless you read lots of old stuff like City of God by Augustine and whatnot).
So... what is the point of trials? It's to perfect us. But why do we need to become perfect? Why do we need to become so good? Well, we want to return to Father, yes, but is it that simple? What is the phrase the Bible uses... "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Now... why would he command that? Now let's read a verse in John... "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." So what shall we be like, when we are perfect? We shall be like him! Our ultimate duty in life is perfection because the ultimate goal in life is to become like our Heavenly Father. Not just in perfection... but also in what we do. Just like he organized our spirits, so shall we go on in doing the same, for our own non-Earthly children. The point of this life... is for man, to become like God... to become as God is, to fulfill the work God does, as he does, under his command, as his steward, for all eternity.
Now, of course, you can probably see why God demands perfection. You don't want somebody who isn't like God acting like God... you want a God who has learned benevolence, patience, and all those other virtues... not one who has not. That's why this Earthly trial is so strict and critical. Because we need the trials, the hard ones, to become that perfect, so we can become like him, and fulfill his ultimate purpose is sending us here to Earth in the first place. "For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to past the immortality and eternal life of man." Eternal Life being exaltation; becoming like God.
Now of course, remember, I'm not an Orthodox Christian... so this isn't a usual perspective. But, that would be my answer as to why these trials are so tough... because they will be worth it in the end, and we need to be prepared to become like God... in all his perfection. Utterly emptied of pride, because we can't have any up there.
"Job still lived a very long time, and spend all this time without his children. Was it really that difficult for God to just resurect his children?"
I suppose it wouldn't have been difficult for God to do that, but it wasn't prudent for him to do so.
In any case... Christ hadn't been born yet, so the resurrection could not occur, in a sense. Christ was needed for that aspect.
"So why doesn't he just give people the answer? If he communicated with the entire world, nobody would be able to doubt his existence."
From what I understand, the power he works on requires faith. We need to learn how to use that power, and thus, we need to learn how to have faith, and believe in what we cannot see, if we are to become perfect.
Of course, I can't see that fully, but I am confident I will sometime in the future, perhaps after I am dead. But I am sure it will all be made clear by sometimes. Hopefully sooner rather than later .
But I think there may be also one other reason; how can we be good stewards if we don't know how to act without his presence? The point of stewards is to take care of things, in place of the Lord. So we need to be able to have faith in him and to be able to do his will even though we can't communicate to him face-to-face necessarily. Although with enough faith, I suppose you could even do that .
I realize, of course, you will be skeptical of all this. But, hey, it's a different perspective, perhaps you will find something useful in it, after all .
If I believed in God, and believed that this story was true, then I guarantee you that I'd do everything in my power to either placate this being or make it not notice me. So I think there is nothing morally wrong with worshipping such a deity. It's not as if it gets more power from that.
Doesn't God do this with us all? We are just pawns in a game between God and satan. He created us knowing what was going to happen. He says the wages of sin is death, yet instead of destroying satan, He allows him lead us all to damnation by opening our eyes to evil. I don't think any righteous god would allow this and send zillions to hell because they couldn't believe a god would do this so there can't be a god.
Hmm. Fine, I'll bite. Yes, I'm a Christian, and also practice Judaism. Yes, I've read the book of Job, and in truth, this is one of my favorite books. Now for your first question:
1.)Yes, this is the kind of God I want to worship. Reason being is number 2
2.) No, I don't think people are amoral for not worshiping this God. I am more than willing to admit that the Bible is full of contradictions and errors that the natural mind will pick up. I don't expect people to believe in God because I said so. I expect people to believe in God, because God shows Himself to them. That is how anyone, and everyone, is converted. The only way anyone can follow the Bible, is if God shows them how.
3.) Yes, I still consider this God to be benevolent. Again, because of reason 2.
He's always trying to get your attention. It's a matter of being in a position to listen.
Plus, He did make His plan for salvation so simple a child could figure it out: Confess with your mouth that Christ is Lord, and believe in you heart that He was raised from the dead. There is literally no other way to translate that passage. That is as literal as one gets in scripture. It had to be this simple so that there was no excuse not to.
The purpose for the rest of the Bible is for the spiritual growth of those who are saved, not for salvation, as deciphering the rest of scripture requires His spirit to reveal the messages within. He will not hold one responsible for something they don't understand, which is why this particular passage is so clear.
If, by number 2 you mean ''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.'', than I seriously wonder why. Why couldn't God just be honest about the whole thing, and make Job aware of the full context of the story?
When does God show himself to them? Has anyone ever caught him on camera? And why would God allow the Bible to become such a mess of errors and contradictions? Wouldn't that harm his credibility?
You said that God appeared to people. Appearing to someone means becoming visible. Also, the difference between God and gravity/air/impulses is that gravity, air and impulses can be empirically observed(seeing something is not the only way to observe something). And brainscans allow us to objectivily observe the brain activity associated with love, fear and other emotions.
The fact that the world looks designed doesn't mean it is. Science can already explain how the world and the species on it came to be. And even if there was a designer, what makes you think it's the god of a particular religion?
really? can they explain? or do they keep making up stupid theories that have zero grounds and zero proof and get disproven every day by actual scientists and are only good for filling the hopes of desperate atheists? if you are going to start to argue me about a design in creation let me tell you already that it will be futile.
science doesnt explain anything in the first place. science only shows the result. a scientist can sit down and write thousands of pages about the formulae of an electron that is shot trough a cable, can tell you how it goes there, what it effects, what magnetism it creates and what resistence it recieves and what makes an electron etc etc. but he can never tell you why. why does an electron move in a cable in the first place? and not on a different carbon molecule structure? why does the mass of the cable create resistence? why is there an electron anyway? science tells how and thats it. religion tells why. dont confuse the two things. science never truly explained the reason behind anything.
besides who gave you science in the first place?
different religions dont advocate different gods. thats the same ideology that makes americans think Muslims worship some moon god in the desert. all religions refer to one creator, even the paganist ones. what the main religions disagree with the paganist ones is that the other gods that sit in between the main one and the worshipper in the paganist religions. not the denial of each others main. so when you say God, there is only one.
When have been gravity, evolution, The Big Bang and so on been disproven? Even when science can't explain something (yet) doesn't mean religion has all the answers. We can science to accurately measure the age of the earth and universe, and show how all species evolved from more primitive species. We don't need religion to prove those things.
Are you saying that religion gave you science? Religion is all about blind faith in something you can't document, while science allows us to objectively test our claims. Also, since you're using a computer to type this message, and probably have used a lot of medicines and other medical treatmenst in your life, you should think twice about acting like science is useless.
The gods worshipped by all these different religions are different in some major ways. For example, the mormons believe God created the universe with pre-existing material, while others believe he created everything out of nothing. Some religions believe that many different gods were responsible for creating the universe, while others claim it was only one god. Even if it was proven that one god existed, what makes you think that it's the god described in Christianity (a being who hates gays, hates foreskins, created the world in six days, hates shellfish and send his only son to die for mankind)?