Job – Chapter 5: Eliphaz II

In Job Chapter 4 we heard from one of Job’s three friends, Eliphaz.  Eliphaz did his best to comfort Job and in my opinion is acting in the best interest of Job.  Unfortunately there’s little Eliphaz can do to stop God.  God has made it His mission to prove His point to the measly mortals He created.  If you haven’t figure it out by now, I consider God’s actions on Job to stink of jackassery.  Look up ‘jackassery’ online at urbandictionary.com if you need a definition.  Chapter 5 brings us more from Eliphaz.  He begins with some bad advice.

“Resentment kills the fool, and envy slays the simple.” – Job 5:2

Job has every right to be resentful and envious of those around him.  Remember from Job 1 that Job is the greatest of all men in the east.  Yet God punishes Job for no reason.  I’d be resentful in that position too.  If I ever found myself in a situation of very poor health with no hope of recovery, I’d be envious of my healthy family and friends.  I would never wish them harm, but I would be envious of their good health.  Envy is a perfectly normal, healthy emotion.  To suppress it as the Bible suggests is not good for one’s health.

“I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed.  His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender.” – Job 5:3-4

The punishment of children due to the father’s actions is a common theme in the Old Testament.  This is the first we’ve seen it, but it’s one of many statements in the Bible making it clear that children can and will be punished due to the actions of the father.  This is simply ridiculous and it’s something I wish more Christians would question in the Bible.  No one, and I mean no one, can seriously argue that a 10 year old child, or even a 30 year old child, should be punished because a father did something wrong.  Eliphaz next advises Job to plead his case before God.

“But if it were I, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before Him.  He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” – Job 5:8-9

Apparently God’s wonders and miracles include destroying all of Job’s servants, animals, and children.  Thanks, but no thanks.  If I were Job, I wouldn’t be asking God for any more ‘miracles’.

“He catches the wise in their craftiness, and schemes of the wily are swept away.” – Job 5:13

The Bible again states that being wise or striving to be wise is a sin punishable by God.

“Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” – Job 5:17

Finally!  We have a reason for God’s ‘discipline’.  God is only doing these horrible things to Job so that He can bless Job.  I’m sure God thought long and hard and came to the conclusion that the only way to bless His creations is to ‘discipline’ them through the most horrible way possible.

“For He wounds, but He also binds up, He injures, but His hands also heal.” – Job 5:18

First, I think God’s just bored and needs something to do.  Second, he doesn’t always heal.  People who die young in car accidents aren’t healed.  Children who die from leukemia aren’t healed.  Those are just two of many examples I could provide of God injuring but not healing.  Christian apologists will argue that God’s healing is Heaven, but for a child living in pain for his/her entire short-lived life, Heaven makes no sense as a healing.  There’s no purpose for God to ‘discipline’ an innocent child.  It’s sickening and disgusting.

Eliphaz says a few more things to Job.  How Job holds back from knocking the teeth out of Eliphaz I do not understand.  I guess Job was ‘disciplined’ so harshly that he was unable to move his body.

To sum up Chapter 5, Eliphaz tries to help and encourages Job to plead his case to God, but his words are probably more harmful than helpful.  In modern life we call all of this false hope.  It’s false hope to tell someone that they will be fine when you know they won’t.  Yes, it’s tough to tell the truth and the timing must be right, but the truth is always better than false hope.

Coming Soon:  Job – Chapter 6:  Job Replies

Atheists and Christmas

Christmas is quickly approaching and if you’re a non-believer, you may have already been asked what you do at Christmas.  So what do Atheists do at Christmas?  From what I’ve read in Atheist books, blogs, websites, message boards, social media sites, and my own personal experience, Atheists do the exact same thing as a majority of Christians.  Atheists celebrate Christmas by spending time with family, exchanging gifts, and enjoying some time off from work.  That’s it.

There’s nothing magical, mysterious, or scary about Atheists celebrating Christmas.  In fact, a large majority of Christians celebrate Christmas in a non-theistic, pagan way.  Think about what most Christians do at Christmas.  They put out lights, set up holly/ivy/mistletoe, put up a tree, exchange gifts, send out cards, celebrate Santa Claus for kids, etc.  All of this is pagan for the most part.

Sure, some people set out a nativity scene or images of a white Jesus living in the Middle East, but for the most part, most of what people celebrate at Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus Christ.  In fact, it’s very unlikely Jesus, if He existed, was even born on December 25th.  Celebrating Christmas on December 25th has to do with the Roman Catholic Church defining that day of celebration for many reasons having nothing to do with Christ.  In fact, there’s strong evidence Jesus was born during the summer months.  For more information, check out:

When Was Jesus Born?

Regardless of your beliefs, it’s fine to celebrate Christmas.  However, don’t criticize Atheists for celebrating Christmas unless you are only celebrating the Christian aspects of Christmas and nothing else.  My advice?  Celebrate Christmas.  Enjoy the time with family.  It’s a great excuse to give gifts to others and receive gifts from them!  YOU GET PRESENTS!!!  Celebrate Christmas!  LOL!  If you’d rather not, that’s fine too.

Job – Chapter 4: Eliphaz

In Job Chapter 3 we know that Job is suffering from great pain and doesn’t understand why.  He asks many questions which are certainly NOT rhetorical.  Does God answer?  Nope.  Not a peep from God in this chapter.  God is certainly going to give Job some relief in Chapter 4, right?  I’m guessing you already know the answer to that.  🙂

The study Bible I’m reading from begins this chapter immediately providing excuses for what the reader is about to read.

“The speeches of Job’s three friends contain elements of truth, but they must be carefully taken in context.  The problem is not so much with what the friends knew but what they did not know; God’s high purpose in allowing Satan to buffet Job.”

I agree that we must always consider things in context, but simply not knowing what God’s ridiculous plan is does not mean Job’s three friends are speaking out of context.  In addition, this study Bible implies that not everything the three friends speak is truth.  If that’s the case, then how do I know if any of it’s true?  I don’t know the answer to this question, but this study Bible frustrates me because it’s constantly providing excuses for offensive verses of the Bible.

Job Chapter 4 is Eliphaz’s response to Job speaking in Chapter 3.

“Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.” – Job 4:3

Really?  Let’s consider Job’s last words in Chapter 3.

“I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” – Job 3:26

If I’m struggling in life, Job’s words from Chapter 3 are NO comfort to me.  In fact, they are the opposite.  They tell me that my suffering will continue and I will have no peace.  Not exactly words of support.  I give credit for Eliphaz trying to help Job, but when his words are put in context, they are little to no help.

“Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?” – Job 4:6

Yes, Job may be blameless.  He was described in Chapter 1 as the greatest of all men in the east, yet God inflicts unimaginable pain on Job.  If I’m Job I have no hope.  Instead, I’m questioning my ways for God is upset at me for my ‘blameless’ ways and is punishing me for something I did but am not aware.

Eliphaz goes on telling Job that he need not worry as God only punishes evil and Job will surely come out of this.  Eliphaz next relates a story of being visited by some spirit that spoke to him.  The spirit begins by saying:

“Can a mortal be more righteous than God?  Can a man be more pure than his Maker?” – Job 4:17

I agree that if there is a God, as described by Christians, then man cannot be more righteous and pure.  However, given what God has done to Job, I can’t rightfully describe God as righteous and pure.  My study Bible has a few things to say about this verse and the last couple of verses of Chapter 4.

“All mortals are sinful; therefore God has a right to punish them.  Job should be thankful for the correction God is giving him.”

Seriously?  Job should be thankful?  WOW!  Job is supposed to be thankful that God is punishing him to send some message to the rest of society?  Let’s not forget that mortals are sinful BECAUSE of God.  God could have and still can remove sin from the world, yet HE chooses not to.

It’s stuff like this that Christians use to justify small children dying horrible deaths due to cancer, AIDS, warfare, etc.  All mortals, including children are sinful.  Children may be the most innocent of all, but God is teaching all of us a lesson by killing children in horrible ways.  If children can die horrible deaths for being innocent, then even small sins adults commit can be punished in the same way.  Disgusting.

That does it for Chapter 4.  I give credit to Job’s friend, Eliphaz for trying to help, but there’s little any mortal friend can do if the all-mighty God is punishing someone to prove a point that could easily be proven, especially by God, through thousands of other more humane ways.

Coming Soon:  Job – Chapter 5:  Eliphaz II

No Religion Required Podcast

On December 7 I posted a list of my favorite atheist podcasts.  Today I want to take a moment to share a few of my thoughts on the No Religion Required Podcast, which I ranked as my third favorite atheist podcast.  No Religion Required is co-hosted by BobbyC and Ashley from Savannah, Georgia.  I’ve never met them but have conversed with them via email.  They were kind enough to share this blog on their show as well as share my de-conversion story (Episode #39).

One of the reasons I enjoy the No Religion Required Podcast is the down to earth attitude that BobbyC and Miss Ashley portray on their show.  They strike me as two individuals that one could meet and immediately open up to.  They are very open discussing their life on the show.  They are simply two people with the same type of challenges in life that we all have.  They’re not trying to hide anything or be any more than simply who they are.  They’re an absolute joy to listen to and I look forward to a new episode each week.

If you’re looking for a good Atheist-related podcast, you can’t go wrong with No Religion Required.  Keep up the good work BobbyC and Miss Ashley!

Job – Chapter 3: Job Speaks

God is far from done with Job.  Here’s what we learned in Job Chapter 2.  Satan incites God once again and God takes the bait.  God allows Satan to afflict Job with sores covering the entire body.  Job’s three friends arrive, but say nothing to him over the course of seven days and seven nights.  In Chapter 3 Job decides he’s tired of this silence and finally speaks.

“’May the day of my birth perish…’” – Job 3:3

I’d curse my own birth too if I had to go through what Job has so far.  It’s very clear that Job wishes he was never born.  He says many things condemning the day of his birth, including:

“That night—may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months.’” – Job 3:6

Job wants the day of his birth stricken from the record of life.  He wishes it never happened.  Job continues to curse the day of his birth eventually saying:

“’Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?  Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed?’” – Job 3:11-12

“’Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never say the light of day?’” – Job 3:16

My study Bible states that these and a few other verses are rhetorical questions?  I completely disagree.  If there is a God, why would God bring a life into this world only to cause that life extreme pain and suffering?  What kind of loving God would do that?  Thus these are very valid questions Job is asking to God and Job deserves an answer.

Job then rambles on for a few more verses stating the same thing over and over.  But again, I give him the benefit of the doubt for the suffering he’s going through.  I’d probably do the same thing if I was in his position, but I’d add a bunch of cursing at God.

That’s the end of Job Chapter 3.  We know that Job is suffering from great pain and doesn’t understand why.  He asks many questions which are certainly NOT rhetorical.  Does God answer?  Nope.  Not a peep from God in this chapter.  I’d argue that Job is cursing God, but let’s take the Christian stance that he’s not.  This is one of those ridiculous arguments Christians use to argue against dying with dignity laws for those in great pain and no hope of recovering.  Christians argue that Job was in great pain and never cursed God and since your pain is certainly not as intense as Job’s, there’s no reason for you to curse God by ending your life.  This makes me soooooo mad when I hear arguments such as these that include no critical thinking at all.  Why do Christians insist that suffering is good for society?  The only reason they have is God.  They believe suffering is necessary because a God, who clearly introduced evil into the world, said so.  That’s it!

Coming Soon:  Job – Chapter 4:  Eliphaz

Job – Chapter 2: Job’s Second Test

Last time, while reading Job Chapter 1, we learned that God is one messed up being.  God has a “perfect” servant, but is goaded by Satan to test His servant and He takes the bait.  God kills all of Job’s livestock and servants.  He also kills all of Job’s children.  And if that’s not enough, Chapter 2 brings us Job’s second test.  Apparently God decided the first test of killing all of Job’s livestock, servants, and children wasn’t tough enough.  The first two verses of Chapter 2 are odd.

“On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him.  And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’” – Job 2:1-2

Uh…this is the same question the Lord asked Satan the first day.  Satan already answered.  Why is God asking again?  Isn’t the answer obvious?  It’s obvious not just because Satan answered that question the first day but also obvious because God is the supposed to be the creator of all and is supposed to know everything.  Apparently not.

“…And he (Job) still maintains his integrity, though you (Satan) incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” – Job 2:3

Regarding this verse, my study Bible says:

“God cannot be stirred up to do things against his will.”

Either this statement is wrong and Satan did incite God, or the statement is correct and God destroyed Job of His own will.  That is a horrible God.  Satan then incites God some more and God gives Satan permission to cause medical problems to Job’s skin.

“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.” – Job 2:7

Yes, you heard me right.  The Bible clearly states that God allowed Satan to do evil to Job.  God allows evil in the world.  That’s not something an all-perfect God could do.  Therefore God is not perfect or He doesn’t exist in the way the Bible states.  Given the punishment afflicted on Job in Chapter 1, having sores all over your body is child’s play.  I’d take that any day over having all of my children, animals, and servants killed for no reason at all.

“His wife said to him (Job), ‘Are you still holding on to your integrity?  Curse God and die!’” – Job 2:9

I don’t know about the dying part, but on the cursing God part, Job needs to listen to his wife!  Alas, he doesn’t and calls her a fool.  The wife is the smart one.  Job is the fool, although I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since he’s probably insane at this point given what God has done to him.

Next Job’s three friends enter into the story.  They are Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  They come to comfort him, something any good friends would do.

“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights.  No one said a word to him because they saw how great his suffering was.” – Job 2:13

This is just weird.  Job’s friends come to visit him and spend seven days and nights with him but say nothing?   Talk about an awkward silence.

That ends Job Chapter 2.  In this chapter we learned God is not through with Job.  Satan incites God once again and God takes the bait.  God allows Satan to afflict Job with sores covering the entire body.  As I stated above, this punishment is nothing compared to having many of Job’s loved ones killed in Chapter 1.

P.S.  I’ve used the word ‘punishment’ several times instead of the word ‘test’ used in the Bible.  I’m sorry, but this is a punishment to Job even if he doesn’t know what the punishment is for.  In addition, my study Bible describes this chapter as containing a very important theme.  The theme is that God gives good and bad to his creations and it isn’t our place to judge this.  Excuse me?  Yes it is.  There’s no spiritual benefit to be gained from the evil that God, if He exists, brings to this world.  Body sores provide no spiritual gain.  Small children dying of cancer provides no spiritual gain and anyone who says so is insane in my opinion.  We have every right to question evil in this world.

Coming Soon:  Job – Chapter 3:  Job Speaks

Ashamed and Embarrased

I started this blog approximately one month ago and in that time I’ve discussed Genesis chapters 1 – 11 and Job chapter 1.  I’ve read these chapters before, and in the case of Genesis, several times.  It amazes me how anyone (including my prior Christian self) can believe any of what is written in these chapters.  It’s complete nonsense!

This is the first time I’ve read these chapters as an Atheist.  About six months before becoming an atheist, while I was still a Christian, I started reading the Bible with the goal of reading it cover to cover.  Before finishing, I made a full de-conversion from Christianity to Atheism.  I’m willing to admit to anyone reading this that I am ashamed and embarrassed of myself for not dumping this B.S. earlier.

I’m not sure why it took so long.  I never thought of the stories in the Bible as literal truth.  I had enough critical thinking skills and a strong enough science background to realize that much of Genesis was false.  Yet it didn’t push me away from Christianity.  Why?  Honestly, I don’t know.   Maybe I wasn’t thinking hard enough.  Maybe I didn’t want to consider a world without a God.

If I had to give a reason, I’d probably say that the Bible and God simply didn’t mean much to me.  Yes, I prayed now and then, but only if I really needed something.  Aside from those very few times, I never thought about God or considered God in my life.  I had more important things to do than think about God and I didn’t realize the problems of religion in society.

It wasn’t until I started going to church on a regular basis that I started thinking more about God in my life.  After a few years of going to Church I made an effort to read the Bible from cover to cover.  It wasn’t the Bible itself that made me question the existence of God, but it made me think more carefully about religion and the horrible effects it has on society.  All of this together pushed me from a believer to a non-believer.

I can’t change the past, but I can’t help but feel ashamed and embarrassed that it took so long to recognize the truth.