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Thread: Book of Job: commentary on religion?

  1. #1 Book of Job: commentary on religion? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Ok this section has been petering out a little and so here is something to liven things up a little. Granted this may be of limited interest but perhaps some people might find it interesting. I have been taking another (and careful) look at the book of Job from the perspective trying to see what it intends to communicate about religion. Because it does seem to me to be about the different approaches that people have to religion, comparing several different viewpoints on the topic.

    1:1-5 Tells the story of a man of God, Job, who prospered in life but was obedient to the law. It is interesting that he had no illusions concerning his sons (Job 1:5) and that tells me that he was a man devoted to a true and accurate assessment of himself, the world and humanity.

    1:6-12 Tells a curious story of a conversation between God and Satan, in which God praises Job, and Satan challenges the validity of this praise. Shall we take this story at face value and suppose that God does not know Job in truth and would have any need to prove anything to Satan in the first place? This is either terribly naive or an absurdly primitive view of God. This suggests to me that the real purpose of this story is simply to raise some time honored questions about the nature of righteousness, that there is a big difference between behavior when one is comfortable and behavior when life is difficult. Many are the great men of God who have responded to tragedy by turning away from God.

    1:13-20 Tells how the life of Job came crashing down and how everthing he owned and all those he loved was taken from him in an instant. Job's response to all this is sorrow but not anger and so he turns to God rather than against God recognizing that all He had was given him by God and thus he could not fault God in taking any of it from him.

    2:1-8 We are back to another of these curious conversations between God and Satan, and again we cannot believe that God does not know Job or that He must justify Himself to Satan. No the point is that depths of human suffering that contribute to how we behave goes far beyond any mere loss of property, friends and family for we find in disease (as did Albert Camus in "The Plague") a torturous suffering of the innocent which beggars the mind to see any justice or good cause in it.

    2:9-13 His wife sees no point in faith anymore, but Job refutes her argument. She is the voice of the common man. But then we have introduced to us the voices of the typical sentiments of the reigious in Job's three friends. And since the dialog they have with Job is the main body of the book of Job, from chapter 3 to chapter 31, 28 chapters out of 42, it is safe to say that here is the main purpose for which this book is written. For we will hear what these three say about what happened to Job and in the ending we will know that their wisdom is false.

    In chapter 3 we are assured by Job's own words that Job's stubborness is not because he does not care about what has happened to him, but that he is in truth in the very depths of despair, telling us that it would better to have never been born at all.

    In chapters 4 & 5 we hear from the first of Job's friends, Eliphaz. Eliphaz' starts by saying that we should be confident that our righteousness is all we need. But then he observes that the righteousness of mortal man is base and temporary, and thus we must be measured by the approval of God so that we can find a righteousness in God's eyes, which are the measure of truth. So when we bow to God's measure of righteousness then God will show His approval in our prosperity.

    In chapters 6 & 7 Job answers that his friend has been confounded and made afraid by the calamity which has fallen Job. If they would say that Job has has brought the wrath of God upon himself by some error then they should teach him what this error is so that he can mend it. Job explains that in this time when he has nothing else left his mind seeks answers to basic questions. "Why does God even care about the sins of men?" "What does God want from us?"

    I will stop there for now and see what interest there is in this subject, and what comments people make on the topic, and what commentary of their own they make about these passages if they care to.


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    Do you ever wonder the place that Satan plays in the story? Not as an antagonist, but as a student of God. Like an adolescent of overly critical mind saying "he only loves you because of what you give him" but not aware that Satan was also given everything he has by God, yet he does not love him. So Satan jumping to conclusions in judgment of God's creation seems to be preventing him from realizing his own divinity.

    Or recognizing his own divinity, instead of embracing/sharing it, he hordes it and wields it as a weapon, testing God's creation. We, as in mortal souls, are not the student, in this story, Satan is.


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    Now THAT'S an interesting take on a book of the bible.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Now THAT'S an interesting take on a book of the bible.
    If you mean marcus' take, then yes it is, and people have made a lot of this peculiar role of Satan in these 13 verses of this book. Yet I think it is clear that this is more of the nature of a literary device, in order to set up the situation for the dialog that ocurs in 40 of the 42 chapters of this book. I ask you to note that Satan is not mentioned in the book again, not even in the concluding chapter where it concludes the story with a happy ending for Job. Thus I don't see how we can conclude anything about Satan from this book in which Satan is really irrelevant. In fact I think it is rather clear that this book is not intended to be understood as historical either.

    I believe that the book of Job was written at the around the same time as Isaiha largely in response to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews where the Judaism was faced with a crisis of faith. If the Jews really were the chosen people then how could God allow this to happen to Israel? When the enslaved Jews looked a Babylon they did not see something that they thought that God could favor or approve of and yet the Babylonians prospered at their expense in spite of this. I think this is why we see a sudden turn around in the books of Job and Isaiha in the attitude that these books have towards the forms of religion (you will see an even more explicit criticism of religion as known by the Jews at the time in the first chapter of Isaiha).
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    I would agree with what mitchell has said.

    I do not think the story of Job is actually based on a true story, I think it is purely fictional.

    I think the moral of the story is to trust in God, even though life seems to come crashing down.

    At the end of the story Job basically says "God has turned brutal, I ask for help and I get none even though I served him honourably and helped others."

    On hearing Job say these things God comes down and basically says to Job "Who are you to question me? Have you not seen what my power has achieved?" But God doesnt actually answer the questions that Job and indeed the readers have asked. Mainly "Why do good people suffer?". This I think is another indication that this story is a construct by man to show that God is all powerful and that it is wise to trust him.


    Just my 2p's worth :P

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  7. #6 Re: Book of Job: commentary on religion? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    1:6-12 Tells a curious story of a conversation between God and Satan, in which God praises Job
    This would reveal the petty nature of god. Why he would be having conversations with Satan is bizarre in the extreme, the conversation is him praising one of his flock, which is clearly a challenge to Satan, of course. God shows himself to be a braggart and a pompous ass. Christians have learned this lesson well and do very much the same thing espousing their cult.

    This suggests to me that the real purpose of this story is simply to raise some time honored questions about the nature of righteousness, that there is a big difference between behavior when one is comfortable and behavior when life is difficult. Many are the great men of God who have responded to tragedy by turning away from God.
    Agreed, but unfortunately, the way in which this lesson is taught is lost in favor of the lesson learned of being pompous and arrogant.
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    God having a conversation with Satan isn't petty. Do you mean to imply talking with someone who disagrees with you is petty? Because if so, then you are being pretty petty.

    Arrogance, and being pompous, as in being narcissistic, is actually quite adaptive to attract healthier mates.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Do you ever wonder the place that Satan plays in the story? Not as an antagonist, but as a student of God. Like an adolescent of overly critical mind saying "he only loves you because of what you give him" but not aware that Satan was also given everything he has by God, yet he does not love him. So Satan jumping to conclusions in judgment of God's creation seems to be preventing him from realizing his own divinity.

    Or recognizing his own divinity, instead of embracing/sharing it, he hordes it and wields it as a weapon, testing God's creation. We, as in mortal souls, are not the student, in this story, Satan is.
    This is an interesting point. I had not seen this lesson in Job before.

    You could replace "divinity" with "talents", and this becomes a powerful message for all.

    Meaning, we all have gifts, how are we using them?
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    And now we actually have a good moral lesson learned from the bible by the interpretation of one of it's adherents... Go figure
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    In Job chapter 8 we have Job's 2nd friend, Bildad the Shuhite, making his first commentary on Job's situation and what Job has said, offended by Job's questions. "Does God pervert justice?" He begins. "If you are pure and upright, surely then He will rouse himself for you and reward you..." Sounds like Bildad does not believe that bad things happen to good people. He preaches at Job, saying that all who forget God will wither and perish and Bildad finishes with his assertion of faith that God will not allow a blameless person to suffer and will punish those who do him wrong.

    In chapters 9 and 10 we have Job's answer that Bildad is speaking that which Job has always known. But then Job argues, how shall we be pure and upright when God does not answer for what He does, to explain Himself? Job does not question that God is just and wise, but Job is unable to repent of a sin that is unknown to him. By his own faith in the very things that Bildad has preached, Job finds himeself without recourse, condemned without any way to respond but to wish for death. He can see the sins of others but they prosper by comparison to Job. Job wonders why he has labored all his life to do what is right when this is the reult. He does not deny God the right to destroy what God has made, but for what purpose has God made him?

    In chapter 11 Job's 3rd friend, Zophar answers Job, "God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves." He says that Job is stupid and stubborn not to turn from his wickeness, for if he would do that then Job's misery will pass away. It seems to me that each of these three friends is stupider than the last, and in them we have the idiocy of the religious that preach to the victims of tragedy how they must repent of their wickedness. Doesn't the complacent arrogance and ignorant self-righteousness of their own words condemn them for fools?

    In chapters 12, 13 and 14 we have Job's answer. Job looks at these friends of his and sees in them the fool that he was. Job has never doubted the greatness of God and the pretense by these three to make a defense of God is revealed to Job for what it really is: a cover for their own attempts whitewash their own sins and to justify themselves. Job knows that he is without hope, but therefore he has nothing to lose in demanding an answer from God for what has happened. Job questions, what point is there in a punishment of death, for what lesson can be learned when there is no life to bear it out?
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  12. #11 Re: Book of Job: commentary on religion? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    1:6-12 Tells a curious story of a conversation between God and Satan, in which God praises Job, and Satan challenges the validity of this praise. Shall we take this story at face value and suppose that God does not know Job in truth and would have any need to prove anything to Satan in the first place? This is either terribly naive or an absurdly primitive view of God.
    When was this written? 600 BC? 1000 BC?
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  13. #12 Re: Book of Job: commentary on religion? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    1:6-12 Tells a curious story of a conversation between God and Satan, in which God praises Job, and Satan challenges the validity of this praise. Shall we take this story at face value and suppose that God does not know Job in truth and would have any need to prove anything to Satan in the first place? This is either terribly naive or an absurdly primitive view of God.
    When was this written? 600 BC? 1000 BC?
    Well that is true... But I am more interested in what the book of Job communicates to us today than what it might have communicated to people in 800BC (divining which is a dubious prospect anyway). I grant that my understanding of the book of Job is colored by my modern perceptions and instead of making some pretense at understanding what was originally intended, I simply ask myself what does an honest reading of the book communicate to me? I don't think these are or can be entirely unrelated, but I understand and accept the limitations, for in truth they are only an extentions of the limitations that are inherent in the communication of any person to another person.
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    The thing that (for me) prevents it from seeming like a serious attempt at addressing the issues of why god allows/causes bad things to happen to good people (and, as Job laments, good things to bad people) is that at the end the story "wusses out" and has god give Job back all his wealth etc. times 2. It keeps seeming like it's going to confront the issue, and initially seems to present Job's friends as idiots with overly-simplistic ideas about divine justice and why good or bad things happen...but then at the end it says "Oh, but don't worry, OF COURSE if you just stay faithful things will always work out in the end! See, the faithful guy was properly rewarded after all!"

    This seems to actually vindicate the ideology of Job's idiot friends to a large extent, because it turns out that god really wouldn't unjustly punish a righteous person, and that the just actually are rewarded, at least in the long term. It seems that the only real mistake that Job's friends were making was their assumption that the divine justice would be continuous and lacking in "noise," when in fact they are more of a long-term trend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    The thing that (for me) prevents it from seeming like a serious attempt at addressing the issues of why god allows/causes bad things to happen to good people (and, as Job laments, good things to bad people) is that at the end the story "wusses out" and has god give Job back all his wealth etc. times 2. It keeps seeming like it's going to confront the issue, and initially seems to present Job's friends as idiots with overly-simplistic ideas about divine justice and why good or bad things happen...but then at the end it says "Oh, but don't worry, OF COURSE if you just stay faithful things will always work out in the end! See, the faithful guy was properly rewarded after all!"

    This seems to actually vindicate the ideology of Job's idiot friends to a large extent, because it turns out that god really wouldn't unjustly punish a righteous person, and that the just actually are rewarded, at least in the long term. It seems that the only real mistake that Job's friends were making was their assumption that the divine justice would be continuous and lacking in "noise," when in fact they are more of a long-term trend.
    Well yes of course, from that perspective Christianity can also be said to "wuss out" in the end by extending this to an afterlife. If there really is no justice then most of the reasons why people believe in God go down the drain. So this is always going to be a divide between the theist and the atheist. For the theist, the criticism of Job, must of course, be just this question of when is justice satisfied. Bad things happen to good people and bad people often do get what they want. It is only rational to accept this reality, and I can certainly understand that from the atheistic perspective the religious always refuse to accept this reality on some level.

    It is an essential aspect of religious faith to believe that ultimately goodness is rewarded in some way. Now in my case, as it is with some non-theistic religions, I think it is rewarded not by an act of divine intervention either in this life or another, but by the very nature of what is good and evil - by the facts of life so to speak. Thus I would extend this more rational and solid foundation to ethics to an afterlife as well, rejecting the the idea of divine rewards and punishments as being part of the ethical poverty of divine relativism. I believe its real rewards are found in its effects on what it makes of us. I just think that in order for this to really carry any substantial weight that this effect must extend beyond limits of death.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    In chapters 12, 13 and 14 we have Job's answer. Job looks at these friends of his and sees in them the fool that he was. Job has never doubted the greatness of God and the pretense by these three to make a defense of God is revealed to Job for what it really is: a cover for their own attempts whitewash their own sins and to justify themselves. Job knows that he is without hope, but therefore he has nothing to lose in demanding an answer from God for what has happened. Job questions, what point is there in a punishment of death, for what lesson can be learned when there is no life to bear it out?
    Just a couple of points. It seems to me that Job's friends were attacking Job more than they were defending God. Also, they were using their knowledge of God to attack Job.
    If they were just defending God, they would have told Job to be patient and trust God.
    Instead they told Job he deserved what he got.

    This seems to illuminate a common issue w/ religious in that they can misuse their knowledge as if it were a weapon in judgment and criticism of others.

    It seems that there is a new perspective in this (at least for me). There is a lot to learn from Job by contrasting Job's behavior with that of his friends and the devil. The suffering seems to bring the vast differences into focus.

    Thus, Job really suffers to teach us.
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    I suppose the moral is, as long as you lead a good, righteous, life; you will eventually be rewarded. I love the concept of Karma, though, and I think this book shows the Christian perspective of Karma. I just don't think it's always a good moral to take to heart, as it's not always true. Sometimes, the good people on this planet get the shaft, so to speak, and are always dealt crap. But, I think the character you leave behind is the ultimate reward for maintaining the righteous way of life in the face of misfortune and punishment. The moral compass a person has will, in some way, always net them a reward, be it the peace of mind they have at the end, the afterlife, or becoming a more "pure" creature in the next life they lead; they will always get something.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Just a couple of points. It seems to me that Job's friends were attacking Job more than they were defending God. Also, they were using their knowledge of God to attack Job.
    If they were just defending God, they would have told Job to be patient and trust God.
    Instead they told Job he deserved what he got.

    This seems to illuminate a common issue w/ religious in that they can misuse their knowledge as if it were a weapon in judgment and criticism of others.
    Yes that is exactly the point. In their own mind these three friends are outraged by the things that Job says, taking them as an attack upon the goodness of God, but Job sees through the deception in just this way that you explain. This is certainly the case of Bildad and Zophar. Eliphaz makes the more humble approach to Job of the three, and yet his "who can keep from speaking?" is echoed more strongly by Bildad's "how long will you say these things" and Zophar's "should a multitude of words go unanswered?" It is indeed their need to attack Job that reveals the wrongness of their thinking.

    I think that in this we thus see the behavior of the zealously religious whose faith is rooted in rules and dogma. Uneducated by loss and suffering, their empathy and compassion has not matured. When Job says, "I am a laughingstock to my friends" he realizes that he too was as ignorant as his friends are now, and by looking at them he realizes that his previous confidence in the rewards of righteousness was a sham, for such a confidence untested must be hollow.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    The moral compass a person has will, in some way, always net them a reward, be it the peace of mind they have at the end, the afterlife, or becoming a more "pure" creature in the next life they lead; they will always get something.
    Well yes, but another lesson here is that forbidding dark feelings like despair, anguish and even anger against God is to live an immitation of life based on self deception. And by the end of the book of Job, we see that this sort of religion is condemned by the author.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Do you mean to imply talking with someone who disagrees with you is petty? Because if so, then you are being pretty petty.
    No, I didn't imply that. Your petty response is acknowledged.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Do you mean to imply talking with someone who disagrees with you is petty? Because if so, then you are being pretty petty.
    No, I didn't imply that. Your petty response is acknowledged.
    Perhaps explaining what you meant is a a better approach than continuing the misunderstanding.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Perhaps explaining what you meant is a a better approach than continuing the misunderstanding.
    Perhaps, if he had just read my post, he wouldn't have asked the question. Did you not read it, too?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    I suppose the moral is, as long as you lead a good, righteous, life; you will eventually be rewarded.
    And, what an utterly ridiculous concept that is, reward and punishment. Don't bother trying to think on your own, just follow the hard line rules of religious absolutism, no matter what the consequences.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    I suppose the moral is, as long as you lead a good, righteous, life; you will eventually be rewarded.
    And, what an utterly ridiculous concept that is, reward and punishment. Don't bother trying to think on your own, just follow the hard line rules of religious absolutism, no matter what the consequences.
    Sigh... it's not so much that, as following your moral compass in situations where you have to make a decision. Follow the *guidelines* but make a decision on your own that reflects what will cause the most good and least harm, or, have the intent to do the most good and least harm.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Follow the *guidelines* but make a decision on your own that reflects what will cause the most good and least harm, or, have the intent to do the most good and least harm.
    You mean, like these *guidelines*?


    "Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

    If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)

    All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

    If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

    A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)"
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    In chapter 15 we have the next response of Eliphaz in which he reveals himself to be no different from Bildad and Zophar, accusing Job of "doing away with the fear of God" and saying "your own mouth condemns you".

    Job responds in chapters 16 and 17 calling his friends "miserable comforters." Job has the advantage of being taught by suffering, "I could also speak as you do if I were in your place." Job feels that he has an intimacy with God that his friends have no part in. From Job's perspective this lesson that they would make of Job, is false and empty and so he can see no wisdom in them.

    In chapter 18, Bildad responds with incomprehension, "Why are we stupid in your sight?" The wicked, Bildad says, are brought down and by this we can know that they do not know God.

    Job answers in chapter 19 that they should be ashamed to wrong him in this way. Even if he has erred in some way they cannot name that error and so all they seek is to magnify themselves at Job's expense. When Job says, "for I know that my Redeemer lives," I am reminded of the Beatitudes, "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

    When Zophar responds in chapter 20 with, "the exulting of the wicked is short." I see the self-righteousness of the prosperous throughout all the ages. I see how Americans lord it over the world with such an argument, "see we must have the right of it because see how we prosper!" Perhaps like the friends of Job, we take too much credit for the chances of life. I suspect that this is same argument that the Babylonians had for their contempt of the Jews and their God. Zophar's accusations starting from verse 19 shows how all this prosperity can quickly become a reason to revile as soon as a person falls on hard times. Is that not what the world will say of America if we should fall? "See what their greed has brought them to?"

    Job responds in chapter 21 that from his experience, he can now see the truth to which he and his friends had blinded themselves, that the wicked not only live well but "grow mighty in power" and their children profit by it. Job scoffs at the sophistry that the punishments for these wicked are stored up for their decendants, asking why not visit these punishments upon those who have actually done evil so that they will know it? For after all do not the wicked live for the day caring nothing for those who come after them? Thus Job sees the "words of faith" that his friends give to him for what they are, nothing but lies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    For after all do not the wicked live for the day caring nothing for those who come after them?
    Agreed. And it's only those who have broken the bonds of cult slavery that are caring for the world theists have left us. Unfortunately, much of the damage is irreversible, and theists will have to answer for their folly. But, the quicker cults are irradiated from the world, the quicker we can fix our planet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Do you mean to imply talking with someone who disagrees with you is petty? Because if so, then you are being pretty petty.
    No, I didn't imply that. Your petty response is acknowledged.
    Petty is subjective. I don't think anything is petty, but that might just be a coping mechanism to deal with how petty I am at heart. Nonetheless, completely subjective. Now if you care to bring a degree of objectivity to your statement.

    What did you mean by saying that God speaking to Satan is petty?

    I get your point, you say it clearly, but without support I fail to understand what it means, and can't logically determine whether or not it is true.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman

    What did you mean by saying that God speaking to Satan is petty?

    I get your point, you say it clearly, but without support I fail to understand what it means, and can't logically determine whether or not it is true.
    I thought I made that perfectly clear in the post. God has become a braggart who stoops to pandering to his own claims. He then stoops even lower by taking action in an attempt to prove his claims. What's worse, is that he's doing so with Satan. Petty, in the extreme.

    What you'll find is that Christians haven't learned the lesson our colleague Mitch is trying to demonstrate, but instead, they have learned to be petty braggarts themselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman

    What did you mean by saying that God speaking to Satan is petty?

    I get your point, you say it clearly, but without support I fail to understand what it means, and can't logically determine whether or not it is true.
    I thought I made that perfectly clear in the post. God has become a braggart who stoops to pandering to his own claims. He then stoops even lower by taking action in an attempt to prove his claims. What's worse, is that he's doing so with Satan. Petty, in the extreme.

    What you'll find is that Christians haven't learned the lesson our colleague Mitch is trying to demonstrate, but instead, they have learned to be petty braggarts themselves.
    That still didn't explain anything. how is the fact that he is speaking to Satan petty, or rather, more petty than had he been speaking to some other person? You still have yet to elaborate on that point.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    That still didn't explain anything. how is the fact that he is speaking to Satan petty, or rather, more petty than had he been speaking to some other person?
    *sigh*

    Forget it. I'm talking to a wall.
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    no, not really. You just aren't explaining your terms.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    no, not really. You just aren't explaining your terms.
    Do you need a dictionary or something? I don't understand the problem here.
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    pet⋅ty
      /ˈpɛti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pet-ee] Show IPA
    –adjective, -ti⋅er, -ti⋅est.
    1. of little or no importance or consequence: petty grievances.
    2. of lesser or secondary importance, merit, etc.; minor: petty considerations.
    3. having or showing narrow ideas, interests, etc.: petty minds.
    4. mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things: a petty person.
    5. showing or caused by meanness of spirit: a petty revenge.
    6. of secondary rank, esp. in relation to others of the same class or kind: petty states; a petty tyrant.



    So, I don't know how you are using the word Petty, because the only definition that follows, us the 1st/2nd. Maybe I don't get it, but please, enlighten me. How is God talking to Satan about his loyal follower petty, unless you mean unimportant, at which point why even mention it?
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    In chapter 22 we have the final appeal of Eliphaz, where he explains that it is impossible to believe that Job is without any fault, for surely his previous prosperity was at the expense of others. Therefore he concludes that Job's attitude is derived from thinking that God is too far away to see his sins. Therefore Eliphaz plees with Job to admit that he is in the wrong, to repent and learn his lesson so that God will again bless him as before. "For God abases the proud, but He saves the lowly. He delivers the innocent man; you will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands."

    Job responds in chapters 23 and 24. And Job says that the point is that punishments of God are without meaning if God will not explain His reasons. When I read Job's words, "behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backwards, but I cannot percieve Him; on the left hand I seek Him, but I cannot behold Him; I turn to the right hand, but I cannot see Him", I hear the something much like the argument of an atheist, that this silence of God when they can see no logical reason for it, means that He just isn't there. But Job does not come to this conclusion, instead he sounds to me like he is giving voice to the absused dog who is punished inconsistently and therefore is reduced to cowering in fear.

    But in chapter 24, Job give voice to the classic problem of evil and suffering. "From out of the city the dying groan, and the soul of the wounded cries for help; yet God pays no attention to their prayer." Job counters, that evil men surely think as Eliphaz suggests, that God does not see what they do, and yet where God has given Job nothing but calamity, God has given these evil men long life and security. So Job issues them a challenge, "if it is not so, who will prove me a liar, and show that there is nothing in what I say?"

    Again this echoes the Jewish experience of Babylon. Before going there, the Jews might have believed that their conquest and captivity was simply a judgement of God for their sins, but seeing the depravity of the Babylonians made this sort of thinking look kind of stupid.

    The brevity of Bildad's reply in chapter 25 and Zophar's complete silence represent the basic failure of Job's three friends to make their case. But anyway Bildad's last argument is that man cannot be righteous in the eyes of God anymore than the moon is bright compared to the sun. I think he refers to ancient/Jewish prejudices about the impurity of women's menstrations or something when he declares, "how can he who is born of woman be clean?"

    Job however is going as strong as ever with a long reply in chapters 26 through 31, which completely silences his three friends. He begins with a challenge to them, to show him how they have done good that Job has not? Look at the great and incredible things that God has done in the earth and sky, and yet "how small a whisper do we hear of Him!" Could it be so much harder for God to simply tell Job what Job has done wrong than to visit such calamities upon him?

    In chapter 27 Job vows that he will never depart from his commitment to honesty and integrity. He is clearly a man who has made these part of who he is rather than to curry favor with God and so his extreme distress changes nothing and cannot make him regret the way in which he has conducted his life. Job then preaches the same convictions back at his three friends with more eloquence and insight demonstrating that these are things he knows even better than they do.

    In chapter 28, Job speaks of the accomplishments of man which no other creature on earth can claim, but these are nothing compared to widom: "but where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?" It is these which are more valuable than all of man's accomplishments in digging up gold and jewels. And where can this wisdom that is more valuable than gold and jewels be found except in God? And God says to man, "behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

    Then in chapter 29, Job explains to his three friends that his lament for all he has lost is not just for himself, but for all those he could have helped in their suffering and difficulties as he has done all his life. This all men knew for they all held him up as the example to emulate and whose advice they should hear and follow. But because of calamity and dire need, Job who did his best to answer the need and deal with the calamities of others, is now treated as a criminal. When Job sees this he knows that they are nothing like him, and certainly no people to emulate and learn from. What lesson seems to be taught by Job's demise, is that those who had no taste for selfless works of care and concern of others, are now free to justify themselves and ridicule the foolishness of Job. And this Job explains is the cruelest torment of all, to see good and decent behavior fleeing from the habits of men, because from what happened to Job, they see no profit in it.

    In chapter 31, Job explains the moral commitments and convictions by which he has lived his life up to this point, presumable so that his friends could find some flaw in them and point out what he had done or not done. But they they cannot answer him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    pet⋅ty
      /ˈpɛti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pet-ee] Show IPA
    –adjective, -ti⋅er, -ti⋅est.
    1. of little or no importance or consequence: petty grievances.
    2. of lesser or secondary importance, merit, etc.; minor: petty considerations.
    3. having or showing narrow ideas, interests, etc.: petty minds.
    4. mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things: a petty person.
    5. showing or caused by meanness of spirit: a petty revenge.
    6. of secondary rank, esp. in relation to others of the same class or kind: petty states; a petty tyrant.

    So, I don't know how you are using the word Petty, because the only definition that follows, us the 1st/2nd. Maybe I don't get it, but please, enlighten me. How is God talking to Satan about his loyal follower petty, unless you mean unimportant, at which point why even mention it?
    Arcane, you are absolutely correct - you don't get it!

    Neither 'god' nor 'satan' actually exist in any physical realm you can imagine poking a big stick at; therefore - no mouths!!!! But your determined religiosity cannot permit you to - get this!

    In order for you and Marcus (and others) to 'get it', you have to commence by unlocking the handcuffs that have you burdened under millenniums of mythical religious babble, but that may never be possible for you seem to cling so feverishly to it all.
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman

    What did you mean by saying that God speaking to Satan is petty?

    I get your point, you say it clearly, but without support I fail to understand what it means, and can't logically determine whether or not it is true.
    I thought I made that perfectly clear in the post. God has become a braggart who stoops to pandering to his own claims. He then stoops even lower by taking action in an attempt to prove his claims. What's worse, is that he's doing so with Satan. Petty, in the extreme.

    What you'll find is that Christians haven't learned the lesson our colleague Mitch is trying to demonstrate, but instead, they have learned to be petty braggarts themselves.
    Again, support your claims. I don't know anything about this concept you call "God" and your telling me all brand new stuff. It would help to give me an example of what you mean.

    Concider this as an example why. If I said "(Q) doesn't understand the importance of supporting his claims" this may or may not be true, and assuming someone doesn't know anything about who (Q) is then they won't have anything to agree or disagree with. If I added "Despite asking him to provide evidence on many occasions he still makes claim after claim lacking any supporting details." This is a supporting detail and explains why I said the first phrase, you now have a better understand of what I mean when I say you lack understanding of the importance of supporting your claims.

    So please support your claims, I'm not asking for all the back support that everyone who reads these discussions deserves, but just a slight effort in the future to provide 1 just ONE example that supports each of your claims, or at least the premises that your claims are based on. Is that too much to ask here on a SCIENCE forum.
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    "In order for you and Marcus (and others) to 'get it', you have to commence by unlocking the handcuffs that have you burdened under millenniums of mythical religious babble, but that may never be possible for you seem to cling so feverishly to i"

    LOL ROFL

    arcane is atheist and I'm Taoist, I think your concept of "religion" is wider than most
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apopohis Reject
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    pet⋅ty
      /ˈpɛti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pet-ee] Show IPA
    –adjective, -ti⋅er, -ti⋅est.
    1. of little or no importance or consequence: petty grievances.
    2. of lesser or secondary importance, merit, etc.; minor: petty considerations.
    3. having or showing narrow ideas, interests, etc.: petty minds.
    4. mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things: a petty person.
    5. showing or caused by meanness of spirit: a petty revenge.
    6. of secondary rank, esp. in relation to others of the same class or kind: petty states; a petty tyrant.

    So, I don't know how you are using the word Petty, because the only definition that follows, us the 1st/2nd. Maybe I don't get it, but please, enlighten me. How is God talking to Satan about his loyal follower petty, unless you mean unimportant, at which point why even mention it?
    Arcane, you are absolutely correct - you don't get it!

    Neither 'god' nor 'satan' actually exist in any physical realm you can imagine poking a big stick at; therefore - no mouths!!!! But your determined religiosity cannot permit you to - get this!
    You just SUPPORTED my claim... Their having a conversation isn't petty, it's ironic. WOW. YOU don't get it, and I'd rather hear from (Q), not you, as he is the one who initially stated that this conversation is petty, and you state it doesn't exist as the two have no mouths... You are rather closed minded though, as you seem to think that the only way of comunicating for an all-powerful being... Plus, I don't care about your thoughts on Q's remark, because your thoughts aren't his. Why did you even reply to my question that was posed to SOMEONE ELSE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apopohis Reject
    In order for you and Marcus (and others) to 'get it', you have to commence by unlocking the handcuffs that have you burdened under millenniums of mythical religious babble, but that may never be possible for you seem to cling so feverishly to it all.
    Seriously, what angle are you getting at here? Marcus is right, neither of us are christian, and as such, God and Satan mean NOTHING to us (in this sense) aside from the attempt at understanding the rhetoric that these people used to make sense of their beliefs. What's wrong with attempting to understand it?
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Getting back to the matter at hand, however, I see in these chapters that Job is assessing a situation and thinking that, perhaps, these punichments and treatment is something beyond God, somehting that may not be divine. He seems to think that the way The Good are being "punished" and the Wicked being "rewarded" has nothing to do with God, as if God isn't really the one causing this situation. I get out of it that Job is coming to terms with the world aroud him, and is taking his own character as his, making it what matters over being in God's "good graces".

    Personally, I think that lesson is the single best I've ever seen in the Bible, that being morally strong despite whatever God may seemingly want is a major key to being a good person of sound character. This may very well be my favorite biblical book

    Oh, and as an aside, I did read a large portion of the bible when I was 10-12; and another hunk 4 years ago as an english rhetoric assignment. Sadly, not a lot of it 'stuck' (not the most exciting read)
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Getting back to the matter at hand, however, I see in these chapters that Job is assessing a situation and thinking that, perhaps, these punichments and treatment is something beyond God, somehting that may not be divine. He seems to think that the way The Good are being "punished" and the Wicked being "rewarded" has nothing to do with God, as if God isn't really the one causing this situation. I get out of it that Job is coming to terms with the world aroud him, and is taking his own character as his, making it what matters over being in God's "good graces".
    Well lets be cautious here. We do not exactly see Job coming to such conclusions BUT because the reasons are there, we CAN suspect that this is what the AUTHOR may be saying under the radar so to speak. On the other hand, let us not forget that we are not his audience and we may read there what even the author does not exactly intend. However, even if that is the case, I think there is no doubt that such conclusion may well be suggested to the open minded modern reader.

    I think that when something is taught in the fashion of a story or a parable there is always this element that readers from a different time and culture are quite likely to glean a very different lesson from that of the original audience, BUT I would argue that this is a legitimate lesson regardless, precisely because the author has sought to teach by such a means. Frankly I think this (shall we call it "divergent methodology") is how the Bible ought to be read in general because I see Jesus and the New Testament writers reading the Old Testament in this same manner, and no surprise because this has been a long tradition in rabbinical Judaism.

    On the other hand, since I am reading the book in this manner, my commentary should not be taken as anything like an objective synopsis, so others should read it for themselves, for they may indeed see something entirely different going on. There is room for considerable interpretation here because this is far more like poetry than prose.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Personally, I think that lesson is the single best I've ever seen in the Bible, that being morally strong despite whatever God may seemingly want is a major key to being a good person of sound character. This may very well be my favorite biblical book
    Yes. Job is an interesting book.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    When I read Job's words, "behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backwards, but I cannot percieve Him; on the left hand I seek Him, but I cannot behold Him; I turn to the right hand, but I cannot see Him", I hear the something much like the argument of an atheist, that this silence of God when they can see no logical reason for it, means that He just isn't there. But Job does not come to this conclusion
    He most certainly would have come to that conclusion had he witnessed the tsunami that took the lives of over a quarter-million people in one day.

    If god were there, he did not make distinctions between Christians, Jews or Muslims, he murdered them all without prejudice.

    Job would have been proud of his conclusion, then, to have witnessed his god demonstrating how he treats all men equally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    I don't know anything about this concept you call "God" and your telling me all brand new stuff.
    Sorry pal, I'm not hand-holding you through the English language. Come back when you have a clue.
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