11 November 2006

The Goon Bible Project - Book of Job

The Book of Job gets way more respect than it deserves.

It is, after all, Howard Dean's favorite New Testament book. (I don't know whether he just misspoke during the interview, or whether he really didn't know which testament Job is in. But it was probably the latter. If he's like most American politicians, he's never read the Bible, but he has to pretend that it's one of his favorite books.)

The Goon Bible Project gives the Book of Job a fair and balanced treatment.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait for a next installment by these folks.

The complaints of inaccuracy I've seen in some of the comments on the video are rather nitpicky, some of the "Satan came humbly, not just chumming around", which is a bit beside the point.

Anyhow, I'm glad it left out most of the book of Job.

Quite frankly, the way that most of the book of Job goes... if it were a faithful account, I think it would be proof of ancient e-mail, because nobody in their right mind would sit there and ask 41 questions before waiting for a reply ;)

(Yes, I know, literary devices and all that)

It's still a pretty horrible parable, to my mind. One can admire Job's countenance in the face of this, but it certainly doesn't leave the deity looking worthy of admiration, nor is it a resonant explanation of "bad things happen to good people"... in particular because you wouldn't think that God would keep making that same damned bet :)

Dave B said...

I enjoyed the Goon Bible Project video, but it completely left out what I found to be one of the most repugnant aspects of the story of Job. Unlike what the video implied, god didn’t just leave Job’s 10 children dead. God replaced Job’s 10 kids, and his three new daughters were really hot! Imagine how pleased Job was to get rid of his first “normal” kids and have an even better set, with daughters fairer than any other in the land! (Job 42:15) Since the bible is clear that Job got back twice as much as was taken (Job 42:10), one can reasonably conclude that god thinks good looking children are worth twice as much as normal ones. Seriously, as a father of daughters, I find the story of Job one of the most morally corrupt in the entire Bible.

Steve Wells said...

I agree, Dave. That bothered me, too. Replacing Job's daughters with better, prettier ones is about as disgusting as it gets. I wish they'd have mentioned that in the video.

Anonymous said...

grossly inaccruate representation of the story of Job, not to mention quite disrespectful and particularly offensive. Mock God now...if you dare... I won't be seeing you later

Dave B said...

Excellent and courageous post anonymous… I think I will change my mind and become a Christian again! Not! You are right about one thing; the story of Job is extremely disrespectful and particularly offensive! By the way, we are not mocking God; we are mocking the biblical god. Big difference. Perhaps you can worship a god that would murder a man’s family to prove an immoral point. I can’t.

Jørn Lavoll said...

Job, the story so many christians think they so well that they have never bothered to read it. please, do read it, and stick to what it actually says and dont make any apologies for god, and it will reveleal itself in all its cruelty.

Robin said...

As a Christian and a pastor, I laughed (with, not at) the video and many of your comments.

Jung suggested that a significant value of Job is that it criticized God. When I read the book (which I have many times) I see in its pages the conflict between divine intervention, human suffering and free will. For example, God didn't kill Job's children, although he allowed it to happen. Should we assume when bad things happen that God is to blame, either through action or inaction?

Someone made a comment about not mocking any God only the god of the Bible. If (as I believe to be true) God is real, then does it matter what definition you use? The problem is the same...how do you reconcile God's ability to be, well, God with human suffering? Voltaire suggested it was impossible.

Perhaps that is the lesson of Job and why God doesn't explain himself to Job: bad stuff happens. It just does. What you choose to do about it determines your consequences.

Maybe not...just thinking out loud.

dmcmillon said...

I absolutely agree with Robin, and disagree the spirit of the earlier Anonymous's comment. One of the most beautiful things about the book of Job is the honesty that Job displays. Job himself echoes the common (complaint? observation? I'm not sure what word to use here) of many who read the book, that God, as sovereign, bears at least some responsibility for Job's suffering. The essence of Job's complaint is: "God, I know you have control over this situation, and this still sucks. I don't understand why you're allowing this to happen, and I even wish that I were dead because of how bad this is." Job sounds like he is angry with God because he is angry with God, and God affirms Job's perception of reality over that of his friends. If you read the narrative carefully, you will notice many similarities between what Job says and what Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar say. Notably, they all affirm that man is powerless and without standing before God. These men are all men of faith. The difference is that where Job speaks out of confusion and humility in his frustration, Job's friends speak as if they understand the system. They essentially say, "Job, you just don't get God like I do." Thus, even while Job speaks in so much frustration at God, and God himself speaks in a way that belittles Job, he does nothing to condemn Job's crying out to Him in his frustration. One thing that this teaches us today is that God desires that we bring our frustrations to Him, not cover them up with platitudes and try to will ourselves into being happy. God does not expect us to grin and bear anything that comes our way. I won't patronize you by trying to convince you that God is blessing Job throughout his story, not just at the end, but I will say this: Reading, understanding, and appreciating Job requires a position of humility. It requires of me that I acknowledge the fact that I may not know what is best for myself. I may want things that are not best for me. This is true of all mankind (as anyone who knows young children can attest), and recognizing this is the first step to understanding Job.

dragonspirit said...

Even if God doesn't explicitly absolve himself of all responsibility in this matter, the silence he accords himself does not make him any more worthy of respect. It's worrying to see how Christians can derive moral teachings out of an explicitly perverse and self-deprecating text; regardless of the good one sees out of this text(and the assumptions of optimism that goes with it), the concept that is being sold here is one of total subjection to the mood swings of divine entities who can come up to you anytime, rob you of everything you treasure and love and inflict disease and poverty upon you. All for the sake of a gamble. As if that wasn't repulsive enough, it further confirms its dehumanising representations of human beings as replaceable commodities by simply filling in the vacancies in Job's family with, to quote some of the earlier comments, prettier daughters. (Not to mention the condescending idea that physical beauty holds greater worth, or is in some way adequate compensation) Inherent in this book is also the notion that Job's wife is morally inferior because she tried to get him to curse God, which seems analogous to Eve telling Adam to eat apples. In other words, the degradation of women once again.

On an ending note, I would like to say that if any divine entity ever told me to sacrifice my son as a sign of reverence, I would unequivocally tell him (and why not her?) to fuck off.

Unknown said...

My cat Gary scratches the already poor looking sofa, jumps in front of the monitor when I'm working, arrives, eats and then leaves when he's satisfied.

He never praises me. He seldom communicates any form of appreciation.

I support him because I am stronger and smarter than him and I love him and would hate to see him suffer.

My relationship with my cat isn't perfect but compared to the story of Job, it's evidence that I'm better than some apparently all-power god that so many humans worship and am much better off having left such a ridiculous way of thinking.