700 Club's Bible Reading: I think this is funny

So, I was watching the 700 Club the other day. I haven’t watched in a while but just that once inspired me to at least two OP’s, the other is forthcoming.

Every day at the end of the show, Pat Inc. leaves their flock with a Word From God to think about till the next 700 Club.
The other day it was Job 34:21-22

“For his eyes are upon the ways of man and he seeth all his goings.
There is no darkness nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.”

(At least that’s the quote from my King James. Pat uses The Book. I didn’t get the exact translation. And my opinion of The Book as a rendering of the Bible is already on record. But the chapter and verse are accurate.)

I am not arguing the issue of whether or not there is a place where the wicked may hide from God’s wrath.

But I would point out that they are quoting not God’s word, but Elihu’s. One of Job’s comforters. Of whom God said a couple chapers later: “My wrath is kindled against thee and thy two friends, for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right as my servant Job has.”

So the 700 Club sent their parishioners out with the word of Job’s comforters on their lips.

I think that’s funny. Hell, I think that’s hysterical. But that’s probably just me.

Anyway, my Great Debate point is: Isn’t that just what comes of fundementalism? And the way fundementalist seem to want to read the Bible? It’s all God’s Word, so we can’t think about historical context, or apparently even the context of the text itself. You come to the Bible that way, you end up quoting Job’s comforters. Next they’ll be quoting Satan.

Well, you know what they say…

Better to reign in hell than serve in heav’n. – Satan, Paradise Lost

Well it says:

So, see? God obviously wants us all to be rich!

‘Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die’
1 Corinthians 15:32

Context just confuses the fundamentalists…

Actually, I think that’s a little unfair on the fundamentalists. I am not a ‘fundamentalist’ in the derogatory sense that the word is often used, but there is nothing wrong with going back to the basics or the fundamentals of your faith, because if you’ve got those wrong, then you will be way off in your advanced theology. As you said youself ** betenoir ** -

“I am not arguing the issue of whether or not there is a place where the wicked may hide from God’s wrath.”

Maybe that’s why Pat - I don’t watch the 700 Club, so I don’t know who he is [and maybe don’t want to?] - was using the quote to show. Just because it was the wrong advice for Job in his situation, doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Even quoting Satan may not be wrong as long as he was speaking the truth, and as long as you made it clear whom you were quoting and why.

You are correct though in that a refusal to consider context, both historical and contextual, will lead to a distortion of the meaning of scripture. I wouldn’t go as far to say that that is what fundamentalists do, although it does appear like that on occasions. Some parts of scripture are symbolic, and should not be taken literally, but I do believe that unless a passage is clearly and obviously symbolic, then it should be given a fairly literal interpretation - allowing, of course, for textual and historical context!

What the fundamentalists do say (I think - but please correct me - any fundamentalists out there?) that I agree with, is that behaviour that was sinful 4000 years ago, is still sinful behaviour today. Morality should not change.

The problem is when such thinking is extended to non-sinful behaviour, such as the status of women as second class citizens. (Before I’m jumped on from a great height - I am using the word ‘sinful’ in its proper theological meaning.) That is something that clearly has to be looked at in a ** historical ** context, and not carried forward into today’s theology. Besides, Christ clearly didn’t treat women any different from men.

So, my point is that the fundamentalists may have a point about certain aspects of scriptural interpretation, but a strict literal interpretation, without reference to context, is at best misleading, and at worst dangerous.

[Moderator Hat: ON]

I’m altering the thread title from the entirely-too-vague “I think this is funny” to something that might actually let people know what this thread is about.

David B, SDMB Great Debates Moderator

[Moderator Hat: OFF]

Well, David B used me as a cite once… :smiley:

betenoir wrote:

Except for the edicts against eating ham. For some reason, those aren’t considered part of “God’s Word.”

That’s the fun part about making up a new religion, you get to pick and choose what you want to follow. Actually, in the New Testament (I want to say Acts, but I’m not sure) the dietary laws get tossed out when Paul receives a vision from on high.

I just knew you were gonna comment on that one. You gotta know it would be a happy day for me when Pat Robertson start quoting YOU. :slight_smile:
Um…thanks, David, you’re quite right about the title.

Iguana Boy you raise some interesting points that I would like to adress when I’m actually awake.

“Oh- It’s all good…”

Rev. Lovejoy

Actually, Elihu is not one of the men that God chastises, in the book of Job, but more on that in a second.

Job is one of the least-understood books of the Bible, as the popularity of the phrase “the patience of Job” proves. Job is many things, but he is NOT patient! On the contrary, he’s a man who screams and rails at God, demanding an explanation for his pains and suffering.

Three Edomites, members of a race that was once esteemed for wisdom and philosophy, offer poetic justifications for God, the kinds of pious platitudes that well-meaning people ALWAYS try to offer us when we’re suffering. And Job responds with the sarcasm most of US are tempted to use, when hit with such platitudes.

The Bibles’ language is poetic, but I’m going to put it crudely:

Job: “Come on God, tell me wha this is all about? I’ve been good my whole life! I’ve never done ANYTHING wrong! I don’t deserve this! Come down here, and face me like a man, and tell me why you’re doing this to me!”

Friend 1: “Do not speak ill of the Lord, for the Lord is good, and sees all things, and his mercy is everlasting. Everything that happens is God’s will, so everything that happens is good.”

Job: “Oh, that’s brilliant! Thanks a heap, Socrates! Come on, God- after all I’ve done for you, is THIS how you repay me?”

Friend 2: “The Lord is kind, and in the end, you will see his justice. What SEEMS like evil is really good, for it is all God’s will.”

Job: “Oh, THAT’s a lot of comfort, Einstein. Is THAT supposed to make me feel better? Come on, God, I’m waiting for an answer!”

Friend 3: “God has his reasons for everything, for he is mighty, and his ways are too mysterious for us.”

Job: “Geez, and you guys are my friends??? Is that all you can give me? A bunch of inspirational, fortune-cookie cliches? I’ve honored God and lived a good life. I want to know why I should be suffering like this, if God is so good.”

At THIS point, a young man named Elihu interjects with his own take on the subject. He’s tired of listening to the wise men offer such lame defenses of God. Elihu chastises Job by pointing out:

“So what, if you’ve been good? So what, if you’ve been kind to the poor? So what, if you’ve offered sacrifices? Does any of that really help GOD? Is GOD any better off as a result of your actions? NO! Human actions can only help or hurt other humans. Don’t kid yourself that God OWES you anything, because of your actions.”

FInally, of course, God offers his own soliloquy. You can all read it for yourselves, but it all boils down to one thing: “I’m God, you aren’t. This is MY world, MY creation, and you just live in it. I have my reasons for everything, I have my plans. YOU don’t understand it, but you just have to trust me.”

At this, Job relents, and says, essentially, “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

But, as the OP says, God isn’t angry with Job at all- he’s angry at the self-styled philosophers who tried to defend the indefensible, by positing that it was God’s will. God tells them, “You have not spoken rightly of me, as has my servant Job.”

So… God is saying that Job, the angry blasphemer, the man who railed against Him, was speaking correctly! Does that make sense?

Well, yes, actually, it does. “Prayer” is communicating with God, and whatever his faults, Job NEVER stopped praying. Even yelling at God, and complaining about injustice constitues prayer!

In short, whether you’re a believer or a non-believer, I suspect the moral is that God prefers those who HATE to see misery and injustice, and want to see an end to it, over those who see misery and injustice, and accept it casually as God’s will.

Great summary, Astorian. But doesn’t at least one of the friends say: “C’mon Job, God wouldn’t have done this to you if you didn’t have sin in your life, so just tell us what you really did with that intern and we can move on.” Well, I made up the intern, but you get my drift.

Actually, a fundamentalist has no problem quoting out of context if the snip matches what he already knows is true from the rest of the Bible.

Of course, not allmis-quotes are from fundies. My favorite is a greeting card company that quoted a passage from Revelation that goes something like: “And everyone in the world celebrated merrily and gave gifts to each other.” Too bad that the context is that the evil world has just killed God’s two witnesses. (Has the LB series gotten to this point yet?)

According to this article in the Sept. 1999 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer, “Hayseed” Stevens attempted to convince a bunch of Fundamentalist Christian investors that there was a whole buttload of oil hidden under the Dead Sea. He did so by claiming that Isaiah 60:5 says:

Problem is, this is not an accurate quotation of Isaiah 60:5 in any English translation of the Bible. The actual passage only talks about the wealth of “the sea”, not the Dead Sea in particular – in fact, it’s probably referring to the Mediterranean Sea.


That would be Peter’s vision…Acts 10:11-17. Peter goes on to interpret this as God not being a respector of persons when Peter is called to minister to a Gentile later that day. i.e. we aren’t to call “unclean” (as Jews called Gentiles) what God has made “clean”.

/end nit/