We are now on Part 3 of my comments and I’m now going to tackle some of Pastor Vince’s issues using the Christian Bible.
Suffering (A Question on Job’s Theodicy)
There was this site that Pastor Vince recommended that we Freethinkers should read regarding why good people suffer.
After reading it, I noticed that it is quite typical for Christians to use the Book of Job to explain this theological dilemma. The Book of Job seems to be a good case in point why God allows good people to suffer…or does it?
Unfortunately to Pastor Vince and Bro. Tom, the Book of Job fell short in accomplishing such task.
In the first chapter of the said book, we find that Satan has tempted God in an issue regarding Job and his faith. Well…well…well…I thought God cannot be tempted? Now, in the first part of the test, God killed Job’s family…that I think is Test No. 1.
I thought God was omniscient? God perfectly and eternally knows all things which can be known, past, present, and future. So why did he need to give a test to Job? Surely he did not need to test Job’s faith because He already knew the entire outcome.
Why would God kill the herdsmen, the shepherds, the camel care-takers and Jobs’ sons and daughters? What did they do to deserve being killed? Job was the subject of the test, wasn’t he? These other people had their own lives and families.
Christians will quickly answer this by saying that since God gave us life, he has the right to take it back from us. Really? Is that a moral thing to do? If I gave someone something…like a gift, or blood…could I just demand to take it back? Are Christians telling me that God is such an “Indian giver”…there’s always a string attached to his gifts?
What is shocking on the Book of Job is that the whole story is really not about Job’s fidelity. Nope…the so-called test was not about Job nor his faith; it’s about a conversation between God and Satan. God was just proving to Satan that he was right, so he allowed Satan to inflict harm to Job and his family. Good grief!
Somewhere in the middle of the story, Job was allowed to see God and to ask the reason for his suffering. But instead of giving a clear answer, what this braggart (that Pastor Vince called “God”) did was to boast his inflated ego all over the pages of the book…Wow! Talk about a bigheaded son of a bitch!
So why would I worship such a jerk?
According to Bro. Tom, people suffer because of these five reasons: Adam’s sin, other people’s sin, our own sin, satanic oppression, and God’s chastening hand.
Now why am I being punished for Adam’s sin? After all he and his wife were the ones who ate the “apple”, not me. (Note Deuteronomy 24:16 says: The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.)
Why would God harm others for the sin of someone else? Why would God send famine and pestilence to kill innocent children to punish other people?
Why would God send storms or flood to some impoverished community in Bangladesh to punish a sinner living in a large penthouse in Beverly Hills, California?
Oh, and now we must blame Satan? Based on Job’s story Satan needed to get God’s approval first before he could make any damage, right? So why blame the “Yes Man”? It was God’s call, not Satan’s.
So just like these pastors, theologians and parishioners, both Pastor Vince and Bro. Tom are still struggling to find the answer to their own question and by using the Book of Job, the issue on “why do good people suffer” became more problematic than ever.
Pastor Vince: Yes, the Bible will be contradicting itself my friend espcially if the one interpreting the Scriptures interprets it all literally and as is without understanding the Bible itself.
I will not explain more of the Bible since it will be a one BIG GIANT topic to discuss. But I can assure you that most if not all of the passages quoted by the article you cited are simply a bunch of misinterpretations.
Who’s making a bunch of misinterpretations?
Ah…the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit, eh?
Pastor Vince, if I will put you in a police lineup, together with the Roman Catholics, the Mormons, the ADD, the INC and the Pentecostals, all of you guys will claim that you are “right” and everybody else is wrong. All of you are claiming certain knowledge on theological or biblical hermeneutical background.
Just an illustration: Let us look at your Matthew 16:17.
Your interpretation here is that it is telling us that faith is enough to be in heaven…Let me refresh your memory:
Biblical teaching from Ephesians 2:8-10 says:
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Matt 16:17; Eph 1:19;
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Rom 3:27; Col 1:29;
10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.
To summarize this:
Grace (Coming from God) + Faith (coming from man) = Salvation
Totally different from what Catholic Church teaches:
Grace + Faith + Works = Salvation.
Roman Catholics interpret this differently. For them this is proof that Peter was the first Pope. According to the notes on the New American Bible, “[13-20] The Marcan confession of Jesus as Messiah, made by Peter as spokesman for the other disciples (Mark 8:27-29; cf also Luke 9:18-20), was modified significantly here. The confession was of Jesus both as Messiah and as Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). Jesus’ response, drawn principally from material peculiar to Matthew, attributed the confession to a divine revelation granted to Peter alone (Matthew 16:17) making him the rock on which Jesus would build his church (Matthew 16:18) and the disciple whose authority in the church on earth would be confirmed in heaven, i.e., by God (Matthew 16:19)”.
Beside, the Bible also justifies faith with works. Jesus says that we need to do certain actions before we can be in heaven (see: Mt 5:16; Mt 13:3-9; Mt 16:27; Mt 25:34-36; Mark 10:17-25). You should also read James 3:14-26). Based on these passages, Roman Catholics can justify Grace + Faith + Works = Salvation.
Let’s face it: Christians interpret the Bible to fit their agenda. Martin Luther (1483-1541) created Sola fide to free him on his guilt so he could find inner peace. That is why most evangelical Christians teach the same doctrine…it all boils down to Martin Luther…to the Protestant Reformation.
There is really no truth in these so-called “Bible interpretations”. It’s not interpretation but rather justifications of a certain denomination’s doctrine.