January 7, 2010

Job

The Bible is probably the most influential piece of literature in human history. An on-again/off-again project I've been working on for over three years now is reading the bible cover to cover and writing out my thoughts on each book. I left off with Esther and now I return with Job. I know its two religion blogs in a row but don't worry; it'll probably be a while before i get to Psalms.
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Job

Quick summary: God and Satan are talking. God brags about how loyal Job is. God let's Satan test Job. Satan takes Job's wealth, kills his wife and children, and gives Job terrible boils and pain. Job still worships God although he is considerably more bitter.


Job is easily one of the most controversial books in the bible. It takes on the hard questions every religion faces such as: why does God let bad things happen to good people?; and, why aren’t the wicked punished for selfish and evil acts? I have a couple of friends that I know in my heart are good people but can’t seem to shake off a streak of absolutely shitty luck. We all struggle with these questions whether you believe in a higher power or not.

The book of Job would have been a great time to grab the bull by the horns and answer the tough questions head on. Instead, God does a curious thing in his response to Job; he belittles him. In the beginning of the book God praises the earth Job walks on before he lets Satan loose on him. After Job survives his trials (think: perverse re-imagining of the ‘80’s movie “Trading Places”) God answers Job’s questions by saying:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements - surely you know!”
What the hell kind of answer is that? Yes, there is more, but that’s the gist of it.  God doesn’t explain why Job suffered. He just talks about how awesome he is. I can see why so many people have had trouble with the book of Job; it is very unfulfilling. This book asks about human suffering but it doesn‘t provide any answers.

Maybe that’s the point; there is no explanation for good and evil.

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I find it interesting when people say, "Everything happens for a reason." I know they're being figurative and trying to explain that a "higher power" has things under control, but I can't help but take such a statment literally. Everything happens for a reason and that reason is the result of a little thing called "cause and effect." Personally, I don't believe that suffering occurs out of some mystical divine reasoning. You said it well when you called it "shitty luck." Personally, I think that's just what it is. (said the agnostic)

    (I deleted my last comment because no amount of divine intervention can justify my typos)

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  3. First time here! WELL said!
    I loved your post and I will follow too.

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  4. Manda: I agree. The world is filled with individuals that take individual actions that have results. If something bad happens to you, in all likelihood someone is responsible for that bad thing. PS thanks for your excellent punctuation.

    Betty: Thanks for stopping by and feel welcome to come back anytime.

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  5. Causes of suffering, there is a pretty simple explanation in Buddism, you pay in this life for your past life sins.
    Well but I feel that your thoughts create your reality(conscious or subconscious).
    So when suffering happens(not as in Job cause this is just a story) in realy life its because your thought the attitude. Be positive and nothing happens.
    Since you used the word shitty luck.
    There was a research done many years ago on LUCK.
    They got together the so-called lucky people and also the ones who believed they were lucky and put them together with the unlucky people.
    They gave them a book and told that to count all the pictures in the book and they would get 100$.
    On one of the early pages there was a line that said there are 40 pages in your book go and collect the 100$.
    In the middle pages there was a nother line, if you can see this then collect another 250$.
    Guess what the lucky people got the 250$. The unlucky ones did not even get the number of pictures right when they counted it.
    It only showed that Luck does not exists. It is a state of mind, the people who are lucky have their eyes open, they don't have tunnel vision.
    The text that said there are 40 picture was highlighted properly. Also since they knew the amount of pictures they simply scanned the book for more highlighted text and found the other reward.
    While the unlucky ones were always worried about getting the number of photos right. They all missed count
    So you are only responsible for the "bad luck" in your life. Does not matter if god exists or not.

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  6. Wow, I am impressed, I liked to read this post, Mr. Christopher...Welcome back, have not seen you in these here parts in quite some time!!!!!! Good post. Good questions....

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  7. Raj: Glad to hear from you again and wow, thats a fascinating experiment. It shows how important outlook really is in life.

    The Me: Glad you enjoyed and glad to hear from you again.

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  8. You would love a book called "Jesus, Interrupted." Really, go try to find it. It's a fascinating read.

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