The Old Testament Job. A Freethinker Recruiting Tool.

I heard a presentation today about Job.  I came home and read commentary about it.

As I would summarize the story, Job was a perfect guy in the eyes of God.  Then, Satan teased God as to Job’s faithfulness.  God told Satan to go ahead and test Job to see if he remained faithful to God.

Job was wealthy.  While God watched approvingly, Satan burned all Jobs wealth, killed his family and gave him physical pain.  Job screamed at the injustice of it all, but remained faithful.

People have been scratching their heads about this story for a thousand years. What seems to be a common contemporary reading is the story in no way reflects an unjust God. This, even though the Bible does not give us much explanation as to why it was necessary for God to allow Job suffer so.   Instead, it is supposed to be a lesson for us all about how mysterious this God is–we must not think we understand his complex ways.

I call the Job story a “recruiting tool” because it is frequently used at gatherings to ridicule the faith.   And, in my view rightly so.

No matter how one spins the story, it still looks like a cynical God. God, himself, does not seem to suffer in the ordeal, only an innocent man.

Laughable as well is the talking cloud, instead of a talking snake. Why does anyone read this stuff?

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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18 Responses to The Old Testament Job. A Freethinker Recruiting Tool.

  1. Michael Ross says:

    Q: “Why does anyone read this stuff?”
    A: ” because it is frequently used at gatherings to ridicule the faith. “

  2. Henry says:

    Jon at one time had an understanding of the positive side of the Job story. Atheistic amnesia works every time. What is the term? Oh yeah, bound they say.

    http://redriverfreethinkers.areavoices.com/2011/08/30/post-hurricane-analysis-why-is-god-mad/#comment-10904

    • entech says:

      I still wonder how a just God could permit such evil to be done to a loyal servant on a whim. It is the worst example of why is evil permitted.

    • entech says:

      Jon at one time had an understanding of the positive side of the Job story. Atheistic amnesia works every time. What is the term? Oh yeah, bound they say.

      Henry what can I say, except WOW. These are the words Jon used at the time. The only positive aspect is the “spin” that can and is employed to make the story seem other than the act of an entity that is so mean as to allow all kinds of horrors to be heaped on one of his creatures, the reason for this is not quite clear but it was either a whim, a dare or a bet.

      Jon Lindgren says: September 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm
      … I had forgotten, Henry, the positive spin it is possible to place on Job. … I have tried to place the God behavior into present times and concluded this: If I were living with parents, and they behaved like God, I would leave home. If I were working and had a boss like God, I’d quit. …

      Yes, Jon had a positive approach, when faced with such an entity, run away, as fast as you can.

      Reading through the posts I see your reply to my interpretation includes an affirmation of the concept of freewill. This talk of freewill is interesting when you consider that both Jon and I are frequently accused of speaking about things we don’t understand. On the subject of freewill:
      THIS, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to
      know: That God foreknows
      nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does
      all things according to
      His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, “Freewill”
      is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert
      “Free-will,” must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them.

      a few words from:
      On the Bondage of the Will (Latin: ‘De Servo Arbitrio’, literally, “On Un-free Will”, or “Concerning Bound Choice”), by Martin Luther

      Given your theft of the “bound will” idea from WBS and the contradiction between Bound Will and Freewill it is obvious that you do not know what you are talking about”
      Oh yeah, bound they say from the contradiction what on earth (or in heaven, if you like) does this mean?
      A rhetorical question and the answer is that you will simply say anything that you think will make a point with absolutely no regard for truth or relevance. As I have said before you would have made a good lawyer.

      • Henry says:

        entech: “Given your theft of the “bound will” idea from WBS and the contradiction between Bound Will and Freewill it is obvious that you do not know what you are talking about””

        1. That was over a year ago. I honestly had never studied “bound will” prior to that (although I was quite aware of what blasphemy of the holy spirit was). So you perhaps are right. I have done some growing.
        2. You and Jon have a bound will based on your level of constant blasphemy of the holy spirit.
        3. To obtain a bound will, you obviously chose to initially blaspheme the holy spirit. One could allege you and Jon exercised free will in your baptised, saved state to attain your bound state through the vehicle of blasphemy. So, my current position and my position in 2011 are not necessarily in contradiction. I am gracious enough to give you that, however.

        • entech says:

          Any concession is a rare event and to be acknowledged gracefully. (Now there is a clever Henry type sentence, full of contradictions and double meanings, better rephrase).

          Thank you for the acknowledgement. I would, however, take issue with some of your writing, though this may be a difference of interpretation and emphasis between us.

          I do say that it is a contradiction to be “Bound” and “Free” at the same time. Unless we go into the field of sexually perverse action, and no one needs that, being “freely bound” is a concept we would agree is quite abhorrent (or is that aberrant, perhaps both).

          I deny “constant” blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, this is a deliberate and conscious act of denial – the theological term for Jon and I is “Infidelity” (although, as we were both raised in a Christian setting “apostate” could be a possibility). Now if you say that the simple act of disbelief, even when unstated, is blasphemy then you are moving into the realm of “thought crime” and are already well started on the well known ‘slippery slope’.
          Now, I say that although Jon and I are acknowledged disbelievers (atheists if you will, but I have still not had any one here define the term), what we usually write is more in the way of criticism and questioning the validity of the ‘scriptures’ than anything else. Some people that respond occasionally interpret anything not in favour as being hatred, to me this demonstrates a little insecurity.

          Now, having claimed to be an infidel and apostate rather than a “constant Blasphemer”, will say that, although I could not even begin to disprove anything you believe, I do deny the existence of the Trinity, occasionally not constantly. My aim is to present the possibility that Christians may be wrong in their absolute faith just as I may be wrong in my denial.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “Now, I say that although Jon and I are acknowledged disbelievers (atheists if you will, but I have still not had any one here define the term)”

            Atheism – the frothy mixture of godlessness and hate that is sometimes the byproduct of idolatry.”

          • entech says:

            Is that from any recognizable source or just a reflection of your own bias and prejudice.

          • Henry says:

            Just a thought I had based on my observations.

  3. entech says:

    When Job was asking why this all happened to him, the answer he got was, How dare you question me you worm, and had to accept that “He” did it because he could.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 6:39 I’m trying to understand all this material. Currently, my understanding is God is always a “just” God. He is never unfair. When it appears he is being cruel and unfair, as in the case of Job, we are to conclude we don’t understand.

      If we applied this rule universally, we would conclude mass murderers, like the recent mass killing in a school, were really people committed to justice and fairness. We’re just not capable of understanding there was a perfectly good reason to do what they did.

      P.S. I thought we’d be swampped with explanations about why God is really a good fellow in the Job story. Guess we’ll have to wait for that.

      • Henry says:

        Jon: “I thought we’d be swampped with explanations about why God is really a good fellow in the Job story.”

        Why would what happened with Job determine if God is good or bad, and who are we to judge God? Really, the Job story in my view, is a reflection of humanity after the fall. Obviously the good is that a portion of humankind is redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ. My mortal flesh suffering? So be it.

  4. Ed says:

    Watching the inauguration this morning. Lots of references to God – and Jesus. Jon…you have a lot of work ahead I’m afraid. A lot of work.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Ed 4:50 “a lot of work ahead.”

      You are so right. To be accurate, I don’t care a lot how much god talk politicans do. I don’t like it–they have to do it. More important is they don’t put it into laws, like anti gay marriage, or, wars they assign religious meaning to.

      • Stanta says:

        He doesn’t believe a word that a politician says either. I am sure they are only pandering to the weak minded right Jon. Because you know the ends justify the means.

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