The Pastor of my Old Church Tried to Re-Convert Me Yesterday
Yeah, and the first death only hurts a little, I don't know what you're making a big deal out of cofty.
I f you are only born once, you are going to die twice, but if you are born twice, you will only die once...
Life not death is to be the victor !
why is death and destruction all you see ?
You are proving my point that christianity is a cult of death. You think that the drowning of a quarter of a million people wasn't really so bad because in your book it could be far worse.
Marx rightly described religion as "the opium of the people". It dulls your sensitivity to the awful reality of human suffering. There was no silver lining to the Asian tsunami, it really was as bad as it could possibly be for 250 000 people and not much better for the survivors. The only possible good news is that your threats of a second death are nothing more than a sick fantasy.
Your god isn't even finished with us when we die!
we can’t determine what is absolutely wrong or right because we are finite beings who are
not absolutely good or perfect! Only a being who is infinite and absolutely good can
determine what is absolutely right. When we lose God we lose our reference point to
determine what is right or wrong. If God doesn’t exist the question self-destructs.
jgnat said- Adamah, for your hallmark card reason number 1), I challenge the believer with the story of Job. To accuse the victim of hidden wrongdoing is to be a "Job's Comforter"; small comfort indeed.
I'm just reporting on the options available to believers which are easily found in the Bible, since the evolution of theodicy is clearly seen in the Bible.
You're right, in that the option is clearly seen in the words of Job's "friends" who provided "comfort", and they were in fact correct, since that reflects the ancient thinking that God causes diseases and suffering, whether lepers or not, as a result of some latent sin; Job was stricken by a painful skin condition, and even later such people were excluded from Temple worship in Israel and often viewed as being cursed by God. There was a WHOLE lot of playing "let's blame the victim", which is why it pops up so frequently in many believers today. They didn't learn it on their own!
(Remember the story of Job was set in the distant-past at the time it was originally composed as poetry, and set in a time long-before there even was a Nation of Israel; it was changed, centuries later, where later redactors adding a narrative 'frame' to the much-older poetic narrative 'core'. Leolaia's written on the subject in her posts years ago, so search for "Leolaia narrative poetic core Job" if you're interested in learning more).
Remember that the idea of God causing suffering didn't seem foreign to anyone, or even strange: in fact, Jesus CURED lepers by forgiving their sins (or even their parent's sins, since the debt of sin was inheritable): that was the explanation of HOW Jesus healed people, having been authorized by God to forgive (much as the priests similarly were given the permission by God to perform rituals for forgiveness of the penitent's sins).
So even in Jesus' day, the concept of suffering due to some unknown sin wasn't foreign to Jews, but the "great breakthrough" of the account of Job was NOT that God caused suffering, but that it allowed for the possibility of righteous (innocent) men being tested by God, suffering some undeserved punishment. So the moral of the story is that others cannot just automatically conclude that those who are suffering are being punished by God.
Robert Sutherland makes the point that the story of Job contains the echoes of an ancient Hebraic legal strategy known as "taking an oath of innocence" before God, a last-ditch effort to appeal directly to God to be vindicated if one knows they're innocent and suffering some undeserved punishment, and even to turn the tables on the actual guilty party who caused the suffering:
(I've posted multiple times on many threads on the ancient Hebraic legal device known as the "oath of innocence" upon which the entire account of the story of Job is based (and is found elsewhere in the Bible); search for prior posts if you haven't read my comments on the subject before now.)
Point being, the story works better from a modern-believer's standpoint for theodicy purposes without the narrative frame added to set it up, and the redactor who added it actually undermined the writings of the poet by adding details that make God look like a real heel, since it makes it more difficult to just leave it at "God works in mysterious ways". Apparently the later redactor who added the narrative frame missed that subtle message, and instead created the story storyline by awkwardly revealing Satan as a member of Team YHWH and serving as a faithful member of the Divine Counsel in Heaven (!), who had to seek God's permission to test "righteous" Job based on a Heavenly bar bet). However, he felt the need to add the pay-off, with Job getting twice as much as what he lost (land, cattle, and even twice as many children, which as we all know, are pretty much the same)!
jgnat said- The answer that God gives in Job is interesting in itself. In summary, God is bigger and smarter than all of us and he does not need to explain his actions to any man. That would point towards all-powerful but uncaring.
As Cofty just said, it's actually a non-response. I mean, what exactly do you find "interesting" in a bald-faced 'appeal to authority' (AKA appeal to Divine Authority)? I see it as about as interesting as threats of extortion by telling someone, "do what I say, or ELSE!" esp in light of the redactor who added a narrative core that made Jehovah out to be more sadistic and cruel, as if He and Satan were bored and betting on the mortals, like it was cockroach races.
Point being, the redactor who added the narrative framework undermined the nebulous message of the poetic core ("God's ways are beyond us", which SIMILARLY relies on an appeal to Divine authority claim, but it doesn't reveal God ACTUAL bar-betting motives). Too much information added...
Hence Job's verbal strip-down comes off as even more of a Divine Kiss-off, since Job easily could've comprehended an explanation based on the redactor's added elements:
"Job, I tested your loyalty to me, Jehovah, and you PASSED! Yes, sometimes I will test humans by authorizing my tester, Satan, to inflict undeserved punishment and see if they break under duress! You didn't, so I'm blessing you with double your rewards."
HOWEVER, that was impossible to do, since unlike the added narrative frame, the core is poetic (which includes the verbal strip-down), so it's not so simple for the non-poet to alter the poetic elements, and the insertion of the frame up front leaves God looking like a haughty dismissive egomaniac, since the reader knows what's going on, and so should Job be able to.
It's a classic case of "too many cooks spoiling the broth", but fortunately, most believers aren't familiar with ancient Hebrew legal doctrines, when the story shifts from poetry to narration, and they don't care to do the research, but are content to let their pastors tell them how inspired by hope they should be after hearing a comforting (but heavily-sanitized) message that still works if you don't really think about it, esp after it's been cleaned up after a millenia of such changes...
EDIT: thank you Caliber for adding contradictory scriptures to the palette of answers on offer in the Bible! Like I said, it's a veritable Hallmark Store, where there's a sentiment for EVERY occasion, and users simply hunt for one that fits their need.
we can’t determine what is absolutely wrong or right - Caliber
Is it right or loving or ethical to passively observe the death of a quarter of a million innocent people, if is within your power to prevent it?
"Can aught beneath a power divine
The stubborn will subdue?
'Tis thine, eternal Spirit, thine,
To form the heart anew.
To chase the shades of death away
A beam of heaven, a vital ray,
'Tis thine alone to give"
Marx rightly described religion as "the opium of the people".
Uh, let me take this moment to say that being an atheist does NOT (necessarily) require joining up with the local Communist Party!
we can’t determine what is absolutely wrong or right - Caliber
Is it right or loving or ethical to passively observe the death of a quarter of a million innocent people, if is within your power to prevent it? - Cofty
A simple yes or no would do Caliber.
Adam - I detest Communism but on this point Marx was right. Click the link for the context.