I just watched a Chinese video version of the biblical story of Job.
It seems the Christians even misrepresent their own mythology when spreading it abroad. The English introduction to the video said that Job’s afflictions were all done to him by Satan, i.e. it wasn’t God’s fault at all.
For the record, it wasn’t Satan unaided who inflicted poor job with boils, killed his children, reduced him to financial ruin. It was all done with good old God’s permission and in the case of “God’s fire which fell from the sky”, with his active participation. Here’s the story as presented by Wikipedia:
The Book of Job tells the story of an extremely righteous man named Job, who is very prosperous and has seven sons and three daughters. Constantly fearing that his sons may have sinned and “cursed God in their hearts”, he habitually offers burnt offerings as a pardon for their sins. The “sons of God” and the satan (literally “the adversary/accuser”) present themselves to God, and God asks the satan for his opinion on Job. The satan answers that Job is pious only because God has put a “wall around” him and “blessed” his favourite servant with prosperity, but if God were to stretch out his hand and strike everything that Job had (emphasis mine, DH), then he would surely curse God. God gives the satan permission to test Job’s righteousness.
All Job’s possessions are destroyed: 500 yoke of oxen and 500 donkeys carried off by Sabeans; 7,000 sheep burned up by ‘The fire of God which fell from the sky’; 3,000 camels stolen by the Chaldeans; and the house of the firstborn destroyed by a mighty wind, killing Job’s ten children. Still Job does not curse God, but instead shaves his head, tears his clothes, and says, “Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return: Lord has given, and Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
As Job endures these calamities without reproaching God, Satan solicits permission to afflict his person as well, and God says, “Behold, he is in your hand, but don’t touch his life.” Satan, therefore, smites him with dreadful boils, and Job, seated in ashes, scrapes his skin with broken pottery. His wife prompts him to “curse God, and die,” but Job answers, “You speak as one of the foolish speaks. Moreover, shall we receive good from God and shall not receive evil?”
Okay, maybe it wasn’t God himself who inflicted such horrors on Job. The loving God just stepped aside and let it all happen.
That’s the kind of god you’ve got there in the bible.
Why did God allow such suffering to be inflicted on poor Job? Why, to win a bet with Satan. To gratify his godlike ego. Of course, God being all knowing and omnipotent and all that, he would have known beforehand that he’d win the bet, so making Job suffer really wasn’t necessary. But I guess the deity gets hungry for entertainment. Maybe He had doubts, though doubts are a strange thing for an all knowing deity to have.
Of course it wouldn’t do to tell the heathens the real story. That might turn them against your megalomaniac sky faerie. So the God that is being presented to the Chinese is a Teflon god, a god with no responsibility. And of course He makes it all up to Job in the end, though I’m not sure how that makes it up to Job’s first family, his original ten children.
So there they are, the Christians, selling their god to the Chinese. I suspect that the Chinese will be a hard sell. They aren’t as credulous as medieval European peasants.
Reading more about this story, I realize that my understanding of its point has been very limited. Apparently the message is that it doesn’t take anything to piss God off and make him smite you or your family a bit, or a lot. You just have to accept that He has his reasons, and they’ve got nothing to do with you. You just have to accept whatever shit comes down, and don’t forget to love him anyway. If you can manage that, He’ll be nice to you eventually, unless you are one of the kids he’s killing as an example to your dad.
What a good thing it is that their god doesn’t exist. I’d hate to have a bastard like that running the show. And I do wish the Christians would stop trying to Teflon coat their big daddy in the sky. I rather prefer it when they tell it like it is, and let us all know that their God hates fags and mixed fabrics and is okay with stoning rape victims. That way we get a clear picture of their ideology, and any ethical person will avoid any contact.