The Good, The Bad, and the Fugly

October 28, 2012


Waiting for death. Stock photo.Job’s Friends
Job 8:1 to 18:1

8:1 After Job’s extensive tirade about the unjust nature of humanity’s role in the battle between cosmic factions of good and evil, his number two friend had finally heard enough and entered the fray. He said “How long can you go on and on about what a good guy you are? If you’ve been so pure and upright as you say you have then God would wake up to it and reward you somehow. Those who forget about God are hopeless, like plants growing on a rock with no place to root. God never neglects a perfectly good man and he never helps an evil man.”

9:1 Job said “I know one thing for sure. Right or wrong, one can’t even win one in a thousand arguments with God. God moves mountains and causes earthquakes and controls the stars. God could walk right by me and I wouldn’t even see him. And who does God have to answer to? Nobody. How can I reason with God? I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”

Earthquake near Japan causes devastating tsunami.

“God destroys both the perfect people and the wicked people. He laughs at the troubles of innocent people. He’s given the whole Earth over to the wicked ones. So tell me, what is the point of being a good person? What has it done for me? What is the benefit? God, what is it you have against me personally? What did I ever do to you? Are you pleased at the suffering of your followers? Do you get some perverse enjoyment out of helping the wicked? Can you even imagine what life is like through my eyes? I am so confused. Why did you have me be born? I feel I will die soon, the sooner the better. I’ve had it with this crazy messed up world.”

Tens of thousands of buildings destroyed in northern Japan.

11:1 At last friend number three contributed his take on the relative powers of good and evil. “Hey man. How can I resist responding to all this garbage you’re laying on me man? If God would speak out loud he would tell you to your face that he already tells you more than you need to know. He knows every-freaking-thing, man. He knows what you think before you thunk it. You think you’re so cool man. Look around and you can see God’s handiwork in everything. All you have to do is prepare your heart properly and there is hope. There is safety. Just trust God and you’re golden man.”

Japan's worst crisis since World War II.

12:1 Job said “Bullshit. I can see what’s going on around me as well as you guys, I’m not inferior to you. I’m not stupid. I know that thieves often prosper and people who badmouth God are often safe and secure. God even brings them wealth. Some of the most evil people in the world are the most successful. Sometimes the nicest people in the world get crap for a life. Just listen to the Earth and the animals, they’ll teach you about the unfairness of life. What God decides to break you can’t fix. He controls people’s lives and makes arbitrary unfair decisions. First he builds people up, and then he tears them down. He builds up whole nations and tears them right back down. He makes old people go senile. He makes whole nations wander leaderless in a dark wilderness, staggering like drunks.”

More than 10,000 people dead, millions without water, power, heat or transportation.

Job’s bitterness persisted. “Yes I would like to argue my case with God. You guys are no help. You are liars and some pretty lousy councilors. God will surely punish you. Doesn’t he frighten you? I have no choice but to trust him but I will maintain my own ways and opinions before him. I must have my say to him or it will kill me. A man’s life is short and full of trouble. He blooms like a flower and then gets cut down. His life is like a shadow that is suddenly gone when the light comes. If you cut down a tree, it might sprout from the old stump and come back. If a man dies there is no coming back. He is just gone. He just lays there and rots forever. Even when heaven itself has faded away he will still not have risen from death. The waters wear away at the mountains while God destroys all of man’s hopes. He always wins his fight against man and ignores our pain. When you are gone you are gone.”

A baby evacuated from Fukushima Japan is measured for radioactivity.15:1 Job’s friend number one spoke again. “Is it wise to make speeches that do no good? I think your crafty tongue lacks the sound of the fear of God. You’re really incriminating yourself. What makes you think you have wisdom? The wicked travel in pain and you are in pain my friend.”

16:1 Job responded. “I’ve heard this sort of crap before. In fact I just heard it from you recently. You keep saying the same thing even though you’ve made your point. What miserable company you guys are. If you were in my place I would totally support you and try to make you feel better. You guys are jerks. Why has God turned me over to these wicked ungodly people? God has me by the neck and he’s shaking me to pieces. My face is puffy from crying. I am crying to God. Please, can’t a man plead with God the way he pleads with his neighbors? The grave is ready for me. As for you assholes, go away and don’t come back. There is no wisdom among you.”

18:1 Friend number two said “Are you done? How long are you going to talk before we can get a word in edgewise? So you think we’re a bunch of animals and we are vile in your sight. Fine. Whatever. But good people always prosper, like me. Meanwhile wicked people suffer, like you. End of story.”

Shocked and homeless, a woman stares at the damage.

Next: The Last Laugh
The Bible According to Brad

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