Sunday, October 12, 2003

I'm sorry... Job is a sick story

Went and saw Stryper with Brook, Lee, and my brother this evening. As usual, I had a worthy conversation with Brook, albeit a short and interrupted one. It is interesting to my how sometimes thoughts I have about a subject do not get developed and refined until I put them into words. Brook was mentioning that Madeline Engle makes a supposition that perhaps Abraham had in fact failed the test when it came to sacrificing his son. He had chosen law over love. Interesting theory. When I heard that, I thought about how we always assume that the story of Job worthwhile. The more I think about it though, the more it bothers me.

Satan challenges God through his servant Job. As you may know, God accepts the challenge and allows Satan to torture Job in numerous ways to get him to crack. Job doesn't, and at the end God rewards him above and beyond anything he had ever had.

When quickly glanced over, it seems like a good lesson in remaining faithful to God, regardless of circumstances. However, when I take it apart, I find it disturbing. If this story were told outside the bible, most people would probably find it sick. Two people arguing over the stamina of another decide to torture him. Two children take a magnifying glass to a small animal and burn it in the sun to see what kind of a squeal it makes.

Job is given new children and wealth at the end of the story. Could other children make up for the violent death of my children? Could someone slaughter my Kathryn and Jacob and then think that offering me two children in their place that would make it all better?

At the end of the story, God makes it clear that Job has no grounds to question him. Why? Because God is stronger? Might makes right? Again, set aside for the moment that this is a biblical story. Would most of us not see it as bullying, that a stronger entity tells a weaker entity to not question the torture the stronger just inflicted?

I know I am bordering, if not entering, blasphemy here, but does it not show poorly on God that he can be goaded into a cosmic "pissing contest" with someone who is supposed to be the personification of Evil? How about rather, 'Satan, I don't give a flying rip what you think of any of my creatures. Your opinion does not matter to me. Go to Hell".

Brook and I both commented that the easiest answer is that the Bible is not to be taken literally. But if you don't, what good is it. If it is not reliable, then all of our notions of God are merely guess work. For all we know then, any or none of the present or historic religions may have been right.

I hate being on this shifting sand. I want answers and there are none to be had.
I have pages more thoughts on this topic, but sleep calls. Good night all. May God be patient with my stumblings in the dark.
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