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View Diary: Do I Look Fat in this Dress? A political meditation (148 comments)

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  •  I've Seen People Make References... (none) the Book of Job on dKos ever since Howard Dean mentioned it in one of his speeches/debates.  Frankly, I don't understand the context in which they were referring as it didn't fit into the whole message of the Book as I understand it.

    Job was a rich man who was very devoted to God. A-#1 servant.  Satan said to God, the only reason why Job loves you is because he's rich and if you take away all his riches, Job will reject you.  God says, "not my Job."  So God takes away everything from Job.  He loses all his money, his cattle, he gets diseased, calamity upon calamity falls upon Job.   Horrible things happen to Job but Job doesn't listen to friends who say God is against him and Job remains unshakeable in his confidence with the Lord.  At the end, God rewards Job's loyalty by restoring his fortunes and making him even more prosperous as a reward.

    You may want to read the entire Book of Job as I've seen it cited in some diaries by liberal Christians.

    But if you could point me to the stories where man or woman accomplishes something great, and God says, "good for you" I'd be delighted to look at those texts.

    The Bible shows that the greatest accomplishment worthy of praise and reward are things man does showing love for God.  

    •  okay (none)
      I guess we've reached an impasse then. My atheism isn't going to find a lot of comfort in the ideas of humanity's greatness being in those moments when it proves its love for God. It's not intended as disrespect, just a different point of view.
      Thanks for being willing to engage my argument.
      And you know, don't you, that Harold Bloom argued that the Book of Job was most likely written by a woman?
      •  No Disrespect Taken... (none)
        ...Didn't know about Harold Bloom's argument as I've never seen an author attributed to Book of Job.
      •  Actually God praises our loving treatment (none)
        of others as proof of our love for God.  The first set of verses are from the Old Testament.
        ...thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself...(Leviticus 19:18)

        And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (I Samuel 15:22)

        Although most people are under the impression that the religion of the Old Testament is all about sacrifices, actually it is about loving God by obeying his command to love your neighbor.  The command to love your neighbor is part of what was known as the "Royal Law" which Jesus quoted when he was asked what was the greatest commandment. He  replied that the greatest commandment was to love God with your whole being, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  Most of the Biblical laws pertain to relationships between people, especially if you don't count the laws pertaining to the priests' duties.

        Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  (Romans 13:10)

        Jesus said the sheep and the goats would be separated on the basis of their treatment of "the least of these."  Jesus said God contrues that treatment as direct treatment of God himself.

        And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)
        •  one of Scarry's arguments (none)
          You may really enjoy Scarry's book. She talks about the difference between the OT God and the NT God.

          For example, on page 213 she writes:
          "Just as the O.T. act of wounding is explicitly presented as a 'sign,' so the N.T. act of healing is explicitly presented as a 'sign:' the human body is in each the site for the analogical verification of the existence and authority of God, but the alterations are almost always now in the direction of recovery."

          By Christ assuming a body in the NT, God becomes flesh, and the body less the locus of shame and self-hatred. So, it's why I keep wondering why the Christian Right in this country tends to cite the OT when declaring certain sexualities or body practices to be sinful.

          I'm not a biblical expert, but somehow, it seems to me that Christocentric politics would be more compassionate and more accepting of  the body.
          Any thoughts?

          •  Christocentric politics (none)
            If America's politics, especially those of the "American Taliban" were truly Christocentric, I do not think there would be this yawning red-blue gulf.    I'm not even sure the present division is Republican-Democrat, or liberal-conservative. It seems to be more a division between those who believe policies should benefit and prosper themsleves versus those who believe policies should benefit and prosper all at the expense of none.

            Entire essays have been written on the significanse of God taking a body, and you have touched a couple of those aspects, especially that God clearly does not despise the human body, but considers it good like all of his creation.  On a simplistic level its like the "Guns don't kill; people do" argument.  Our bodies provide us the means to act in the world.  Some choose to use their bodies to do good to others; some choose to use their bodies to hurt others.  Choosing to use our bodies to do harm is what is sinful.

            Although some people argue that Biblical standards are constant, there are examples where the principle is constant but the particulars may change.  One humorous example is that strict Sabbath keepers 150 years ago forbid the riding of a bicycle because bicycles were associated with work.  Today they are more often associated with recreation, so it is perfectly acceptable for the same strict Sabbath keepers to ride on the Sabbath.

            Another example is the eating of pork.  In Biblical days eating pork could kill you (It still can) and thus was forbidden to the Jews.  But we can minimize the danger to practically nothing today.  I am not sure how this relates to sexual and body habits.  Yesterday someone wrote a comment in a diary about how oral sex can cause herpes.

            As to wounding as a sign, the only example I have offhand is when Jesus showed the wounds in his hands to Thomas as evidence that he was the same Jesus who had been crucified.  Jesus healed people as a sign that he was God incarnate with the authority and power to heal bodies he had created.

    •  A little clarification (none)
      In the story of Job, when Satan challenged God about Job, and God said, "Not my Job," Satan said, "Put your money where your mouth is. Let me test him." God said, "You may test him, but you may not kill him."  God is not the one who took everything away from Job, but it could be argued that because God gave the permission, he is ultimately responsible.  Many people beleive that the book of Job is an extended parable and that Job was not a real person.  Those who think Job was real think he may have lived at in the same time period as Abraham.

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