Original article posted by gandhi2:

The story of Job is one of the most confusing tales of religion that I’ve ever came across on my “path to enlightenment.” This guy, Job, who was “perfect and upright,” followed God, and did just as he was supposed to. God’s MVP, if you will.

Now this kind of perturbs the other guy,… you know, the bad guy. Satan approaches God and offers the classic challenge: he can make him take off his coat first(maybe that’s another tale, but essentially its the same). Lucifer’s argument is that Job is so faithful because he’s livin’ the high life. It’s easy to be true to God when you got thousands of any imaginable type of livestock, plenty of loving family, and fame rivaling the royalty of the land.

God, of course, does the only thing a benevolent Creator can do in such an instance: he hands over full control to the bad guy. Oh, Satan is not allowed to actually harm Job HIMSELF, but he has full reign to screw over his life. This he does with in short time. A couple days later, Job is without posessions, cursed with boils, and seriously rethinking some of his major ideas about how the universe works. What the hell was going on? He’s been a good man, he’s done everything right, he has to deal with a shower of crapulence.

Perhaps the most confusing part of the story of Job is the conversations he has with the various “-ites, ” where he is chastised for questioning the will of God Just a couple of great lines:

“Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?”(Job 4:7)

“Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, he put no-trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly;”(Job 4:16-17)
“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. “(Job 5:17-19)

“Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?
As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:”(Job 6:1-2)

“Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?”(Job 8:11)

“If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not. Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?”(Job 9:3-12)

“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”(Job 14:1-2)

Job is basically told that he’ll be ok if he just sticks it out. If he deals with the crap, he’ll be rewarded; if he is killed because of God’s greater plan, he’ll enjoy an afterlife of luxury. Job sees that he was wrong, but points out how useless it is to do anything else BUT fear God and do as he has commanded. There are countless times where the “-ites” tell Job that life is short, so you can’t really suffer for very long, reminding him of his mortality.

Job’s faith is reaffirmed by the pep-talks, and he goes on a rant showing that even the rich man will eventually lose it all, and eventually end up as dust, just like the rest of us. The man who curses God is a coward and chump, because he’ll get the smiting he deserves when God decides its what He wants to do.

At this point, Job is further tested. A man named Elihu gives his two cents, agreeing with Job’s earlier argument of the futility of any resistance. Elihu makes the point that God can do whatever he likes, which must have touched a sensitive note with God, because he later shows up “in the flesh.”

I think that at this point, Job was starting to waver. Up to now, he had always assumed that God knew what he was doing, and as a benevolent deity, would NEVER do anything to harm him(unless it served a larger plan). Job started to see that God was acting pretty sadistic and chaotic neutral. Why bother serving God, when at any given point, He’ll screw you over, just to prove a point.

In the Bible, the story has a “happy” ending. God comes down, yells at the “-ites” for there confusing talk, affirms his omnipotence with tales of greatness (You question the entity that can rearrange the constellations if he so desired?), and rewards Job for enduring the ordeal by commanding the “-ites” to donate livestock to Job.

However, I think that the story is a bunch of crap. I’m generally an altruist and can have quite a lot of patience, but I see no point whatsoever in putting up with all the shit that a sadistic God might throw at me. It kind of makes me think that the only difference between the “good guy” and the “bad guy” is the time that the crapulence happens. With Satan, you live in happiness (or at least temporary happiness) and have the everpresent fear that it may all be taken away from you and go to hell for all eternity. With God, you live in misery (with the guarantee that it won’t last for eternity), and have the everpresent hope that it will all be taken away from you.

Feel free to comment. I love a healthy religious debate. Perhaps you can enlighten me about Job.

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