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Personal experience

We all experience the movement of the Earth in a way that makes the sun look mobile.

We all experience the movement of the Earth in a way that makes the sun look mobile.

One of the most often utilised, and possibly most effective arguments for the existence of God is personal testimony. I gave something of my own testimony in a previous post, simply to illustrate that I’m empathetic towards those who’ve had this “personal relationship” with God.

These testimonies normally involve an emotional recounting of ones experience while undergoing conversion. They often involve strong emotions, a feeling of union (or relationship) with something, and some major life changes. It sounds compelling, until you’re aware that all religions report experiences, not just Evangelical Christianity who uses them so effectively as a marketing tool, thus making it susceptible to an outsider test, which I will get to later.

My first issue with this argument is the huge emotional appeal. There’s nothing wrong with emotion, but it isn’t always a good thing to make life choices on. I’m not sure it’s ever a good thing to make judgments on how reality works. Emotions are influenced by psychological factors and factors in the real world, and can often be misinterpreted.

As an example. When I was studying, a lecturer asked if any of us had ever mistaken sex for love. More than 90% of the sexually active people in the room said yes, they had. The emotions generated during and post sex, seem to be akin to what we see as love.

Likewise, people are expected, by some churches, to go to counseling prior to marriage, partly in order for their pastor to ascertain that they understand the gravity of the situation, and to ensure that they are doing this for the right reasons, not in a blind act of emotion. In general, people are discouraged from just leaping into marriage because of emotion.

We seem to recognise that this kind of life choice shouldn’t be made based entirely on emotion. This should apply to choices regarding ones “eternal fate” too, but that’s just my opinion. Of course, this doesn’t mean that, given good rational reasons to believe in a god, emotion can’t play a part. So I’d say accepting this hinges firmly on the more academic arguments for the existence of whatever God you believe in.

Life changes seem to be evidence, a cannibalistic society stops eating people, or a drug dealing gangster cleans up and becomes a school teacher. This looks, to many, like evidence, I can’t accept this though. It’s very simple, people do shocking things in the names of their gods, and this speaks to all religions, which is never seen as evidence against their god. If people being good is evidence for the existence of deity, and it’s moral character, then people doing evil is evidence either that the deity doesn’t exist, it can’t really make changes in people, or it speaks to it’s moral character. Since most people don’t believe in an evil deity, the last option would mean their god doesn’t exist.

One could say maybe they are insincere, but we can’t really make that judgment, now can we? If you’re a Christian you’re specifically told not to judge others. The measure for their sincerity would also simply be your own belief, which is what I’m questioning, so it isn’t a useful gauge when gauging whether your opinion is true.

Experience in general is unreliable, I focused on emotional experience earlier, now I’ll get a bit broader. While science is largely based on experience, there are checks and balances to try to eliminate preconceived ideas and other personal bias. The other thing is, science generally uses experience to attempt to falsify theories and will only accept them such rigorous attempts at falsification fail. So the experience of someone who believes God touched their lives is scientifically unreliable, it has no possible checks.

As people, we experience the world as flat, you can circumnavigate the globe, and it would still seem flat, it’s no surprise this was what people once believed. Everybody experiences a flat earth and the sun moving in relation to the earth, rather than the other way around. We know better, but we experience it as flat, and if not for scientific inquiry, we’d not know better, and insist that it was flat, which is pretty much what happened before scientific inquiry.

Less than everybody seems to share a religious experience, and if the gods wanted to be worshiped, you’d think everybody would. While everybody could quite easily say they experience a flat Earth, therefore it is so, and they pretty much all once did, they’d be wrong, they’d have misinterpreted the experience. So while I don’t discount the experience, which I have had, I do think that it’s fair to say interpretation could be an issue.

This also seems to be a bit like a god of the gaps argument. We don’t fully understand how emotion works, and what stimulates emotional responses when good speakers, or crowds are involved. There are experiences that may not involve either, but again, we don’t really know what is happening, there’s no way of testing it at this stage. Given that, people seem happy to fill the gap in knowledge with something supernatural.

The outsider test would dictate that either you accept that all religious experiences are evidence of all religions being true, or, you reject the argument as a good one. There are some loopholes, “the devil did it.” Yup, everyone else’s claims that contradict yours are actually evidence of your position. Problem is, the rest can make the same claim, and you wouldn’t accept it, so why should anyone listen to you using arguments you recognise to be poor.

One could take the ecumenical stance, they’re all experiences of god, and all religions offer an insight to god. This disproves most religions, since most claim to be the only way. The next thing is, how does one decide which are true interpretations of people’s experience with God, and which aren’t? Normally if they agree with your position they are correct, if not, then not. Since it is the position you’re stating that is in question, it’s hardly a good measure to go by.

By taking the ecumenical position, many people then make an appeal to popular opinion, by stating how common the deity interpretation of the experience is, kind of like the earth being flat in the distant past.

In conclusion, there are some good reasons not to simply accept experience as proof of your beliefs. Emotions aren’t a good thing to make life choices on. Experiences, particularly emotional ones, are easy to misinterpret, and even the obvious (like a flat earth) are often not what they seem. People do bad stuff in the name of their gods at least as much as they do good stuff, so that isn’t evidence. It seems to be filling a gap in understanding emotion with something we don’t have any real evidence for. The outsider test sinks it, unless one takes an ecumenical position, in which case one will likely end up using the “weight of evidence” which is simply an appeal to popular opinion. All this said, this argument might have some use, if, and only if, there is actually a rational reason to believe that supernatural stuff exists, so we need to examine other arguments for the existence of people’s deities.

My testimony

Me being Baptised into the Adventist Church

Me being Baptised into the Adventist Church

I had an experience when I was a teenager, which I assigned to the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was more likely that it was the presence of a very talented Presbyterian speaker, and a crowd of like minded people, but who can be sure.

As an adult, I felt I experienced the Holy Spirit again, while being exposed to Seventh Day Adventism. This is still quite strong in my memory, and came largely from the anger generated when exposed to their clear proof that God existed, and that most of Christianity was being misled as per Biblical prophecy. This strategy seems to be quite common among Charismatic evangelical groups, and Latter Day Saints. (Just as a note, I don’t consider Mormons and Adventists Charismatic.) It was undeniable, the evidence was all there, they had to be correct, God is great.

The problem with this is that when I dug, and dug, and dug, I realised, that the arguments that hold Christianity, not just Adventism together, are often based, if not simply on incorrect reasoning, but on outright lies. I will get into the blatant lies of Craig, Habermas, Strobel, Finlay and the rest of the bunch in later posts. The reason I call them lies is because these people know better, they know what they are saying is false, or their degrees are worth nothing.

The point is, all the emotions that were God sent to bring me into Adventism were there to bring me out, praise be to God. I felt the same level and type of anger at the dishonesty which millions have been deceived by one finding out that the Adventist church was lying in the way they blamed others. As the anger slowly subsided, I felt the same sense of relaxation and relief as I had when the Holy Spirit filled me while going into religion as when coming out.

Obviously I owe a huge dept of gratitude to God for revealing by his presence that he doesn’t actually exist, it wasn’t His presence I felt, but simply ordinary human emotions brought about by natural, easy to explain factors.

Joining the church did a lot for me, for one, it really made me think about that which is right and wrong, how should we make moral decisions, and is morality reasonably stable, or simply something relative to the mind and upbringing of the person involved. Having found clear “God given” ways to do this, I realised that no deity ever recorded could live up to any half decent moral code.

I heard church leaders telling children things that are known to be false. Not because they were lying, but because someone of the likes of Walter Veith or Doug Bachelor had told them something and they hadn’t bothered to check. This goes a long way to debunking a common defence of the resurrection. I ignored it, for over 2 years, and became a baptised member and lay preacher. I wanted to believe, I’d still like to believe in a benevolent deity, but the one depicted in the Bible, isn’t that.

Now, we can do some intellectual gymnastics and try to make out that only the parts of the Bible that paint God in a good light are true, but this wouldn’t actually be honest to ourselves. This was something that I realised while searching, there isn’t a consistent way to reason through the Bible, it really just comes down to preference.

I’m doing this now, simply because I wish to focus, in the next post on the existence of God, on the Argument from Personal experience, which I feel, we have very good reasons to reject based on, a) the inconsistency on God being able to send them same message to different people, and b) things we know to be true about the world.

Of course, you could show that there’s nothing anyone could ever say to provide evidence against what you believe by blaming the devil. But the less people acknowledge the possibility they could be wrong, the less chance they have of convincing sceptics. So it is up to you how you take this.

A message for a concerned mother

We all have a history, sometimes one we aren’t keen to share, it makes us feel less valuable, less likeable, less everything. It’s also likely that if you have the kind of past that makes you feel like this, you place a high value on the things you feel lacking in, at least that’s how it is for me.

While I’ve struggled sharing the past, particularly more recent events that stem from it, I did put a rather silly post on Facebook that aggravated issues, I’m not sure I really regret doing that. My half brother ran straight to dad to tell him, which is likely what he’ll do if he reads this.

On the other hand, trying to explain what happened and how it makes me feel often results in an outbreak of tears. I managed to contain much of that while trying to explain things to a client who was unfairly dragged into the mess. A fantastic momly scottish lady, she was understanding, but I don’t think things will be like they were before she knew, possibly more because of how I view things.

Why am I telling you this now? Well, because Kanga 4 is asking some pretty big questions over at her blog.

“I find myself stuck. I cannot simply take the kids, up and leave the husband and expect to make it on my own.

Now, why on earth would I want to do that in the first place? Well sometimes I wonder whether growing up without a father would be better for my children than growing up with their dad.”

Then after talking about the physical and emotional abuse her husband has meted out on her, this…

“The children’s rooms must at all times be neat and tidy and if not, and he is in one of his moods, he hits them, very hard, with a belt. I am not allowed to interfere and in fact he shouts at me for not doing it myself.”

This sounds like my dad. I think leaving him would be a smart move, but I should give a reason, so here goes…

My father had a violent temper, still does incidentally, he just isn’t as physically fit as he used to be. He was the dinosaur of parenting, children should: be seen and not heard, do as they are told, and get beaten if they forget this. My mom is a lovely Christian lady, but like many Christian parents never thought of questioning the oft misquoted Proverbs 13:24, and like Kanga4, was bullied for not beating us enough. The weapon of choice in this case wasn’t a belt, or wooden spoon, or even a good old cane, it was a riding crop, designed to make a half ton animal with half centimetre thick skin do something it doesn’t want to.

A riding crop, from Wikipedia

There wasn’t the kind of decorum of a good proper caning either. I was at high school by the time they banned caning in South Africa, and I wasn’t the most well behaved child, so I experienced that too, but it doesn’t leave me with quite the same sick taste in my mouth, the burning sensation in my eyes, and the rapid heart rate as the ones I got at home, but particularly from my dad.

The decorum behind a caning is simple. Usually you stand outside an office for a bit, so on the off chance that the person delivering the caning is the same one who caught you in the wrong, has had time to calm their temper a bit. When you finally enter the office, which may be after listening to sound of your accomplices backsides receiving the treatment that likewise awaits yours, you are normally asked what the crime is and if you understand why you are there (this, for me, is crucial to the process if this barbarous activity is allowed to continue anywhere). You are then asked to put your hands on something low down, or simply touch your toes. Some more sadistic teachers would put you under something, like a shelf, to stop you shooting up as the blow was administered, it wasn’t necessary, by then you stood still. You then received the blows, stood up, thanked the teacher involved and left.

My parents got angry, grabbed you by the arm and started thrashing, somewhere in the region of the rear end, but that wasn’t too important. There was no discussion, no reasoning, no, I’m sorry, it was a mistake, nothing, just a good thorough thrashing. I recall my dad once saying that we (my brother and I) “always knew why we were being punished.” He was right, it was, without fail, because he got angry. The incident didn’t really matter, it wasn’t about understanding, and often the punishment didn’t remotely match the crime. Ask yourself, how many things a particularly naughty boy could do in a week to warrant being thrashed with a riding crop. I wasn’t particularly naughty, just a little boy, a rather wimpy little boy.

Now to the things I think Kanga4 should consider. If this is how a parent reacts, what is the likely consequence on the child’s ability to deal with anger, frustration or someone’s books in their space? What is your children’s father’s response to frustration going to teach them about responding to frustration? Is this a lesson you want them to learn?

I have huge problems dealing with anger, I’m better with horses, but a bad mood and me doing any constructive work with a horse is a pipe dream, go over the basics put the horse away. With people, I get loud, I shout, get scary, intimidate. It’s horrible, it scares me. All I want is to have better management skills over this, and I’m working towards that, but until then I’m scared of relationships, and getting close to people, because that’s when it is an issue. This is my cross to bear, and although I have a past, the future is there for me to make good on what I see as being a better person.

There’s more to the story, there always is, but I don’t have much of a relationship with my family, I chat to my brother, but never go home. I can’t chat to mum, it hurts me too much, due to circumstances that I won’t prolong this post with.

For children, it is crucial they grow up with a half decent example, they learn from what their parents do, not what they say. It’s possible that your kids could end up more like my brother, well adjusted, not resentful. It’s also possible your kids could end up like me, and you may end up losing them.

Does discussing religion enrich lives?

This question was posed during a debate on Facebook regarding a discussion on… well… God’s existence and people’s inconsistency in taking the Bible literally. I figured it was a good thing to get back to blogging with. Yes, I’m still alive, survived my airplane rides, but have had a lot to process and sort out, like life without God, or much of a family. (No connection between the two.)

So, a world with no religious discourse, that sounds like a world with no religion, great, I can live with that. Now we just need to convince Christians that the only command that most Christians really take seriously should be ignored like the others (sabbath keeping, pork, shaving, mixed breed cattle, mixed textiles and vegetable gardens). This command is the one to ‘make disciples of all nations’. As long as there is this mentality, then religious discussions must, as a necessity, continue.

Since religion is probably objectively bad for modern society, and (at least all the ones so far invented) are so obviously, not true, it would be a good idea to continue in the vein of bloggers and writers around the world that are working to free people from the imaginations of ancient cultures. Here is the answer, the discourse can be fulfilling, since it can have positive results. Fulfilling is a little vague, but I think it’s more than just ridding the world of one of many justifications for evil.

So, is it worthwhile debating the existence of God, is that fulfilling? Again, a bit vague, but when I’m done you can decide whether I have fulfilling. I’d say yes, an emphatic yes. My deconversion started on this blog, and on other people’s blogs, debating, examining arguments, checking facts (you’ll be surprised at how much christianity crumbles when you just check to see if the “facts” from the apologist are indeed facts), and finally, trying to defend the Bible as something worth believing from a rational standpoint.

It was the uncomfortable places I found myself in, the discussions I had with believers, and unbelievers, and the final realisation that if the God of the Bible does exist, he’d not be worth the effort. I won’t reiterate Dawkins’ famous description from The God Delusion, but for those who know it, or who will look it up, that’s what I think of the Old Testament God. My quest for the truth was sincere, I tried, I prayed, I researched, and I just can’t find truth in the existence of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus or Muhammed.

This discomfort was compounded by issues at home, and eventually a life of moving from place to place, I still do this. For readers out there who don’t know me personally, I teach horses to be ridden, so I tend to work myself out of work, and then move to the next breeder. My life has been somewhat upside down, but it is a strangely more promising life without the hope for a hereafter, without the belief that the amazing rainbows I see are anything more than a fortuitous assortment of water and light unintentionally formed by natural occurrences to provide something aesthetically pleasing. That, I am lucky enough to be there at the right moment, to glimpse the beauty of the universe. Instead of believing that they represent the promise of an unreliable God to never eradicate mankind with a flood again. I wonder if that means he’ll do it some other way.

I work hard (it doesn’t look it), I fall, rarely, but it happens. I enjoy every minute of being the first person to climb onto a horse’s back. Sometimes I’m anxious, mostly just excited. It’s exhilarating, and it’s real. I don’t need to add superstition, or God protecting me or anything else into it, it’s just fun. It’s this life, my one life, and I’m living it doing something I love, not sacrificing it for a hopeful, heavenly, hereafter of complete subservience to a totalitarian peeping Tom who watches you shit.

Am I fulfilled? Did having those nasty discussions result in fulfillment. My life before of constantly feeling like I was ignoring what I knew to be true for things I wanted to be true. This wasn’t fulfilling, it kept me in books, it kept me from living. It kept me focused on God, and not on life, I truly believed that if God was my focus all else would come right, so I made God my focus. Work suffered, I didn’t stop completely, relationships with friends suffered as I tried to foist my beliefs at them, such was my love for God. Has having the discussions that lead to my deconversion offered fulfillment? Absolutely!

Sure, religious discussion often go nowhere, especially with religious minds involved, but they can be fulfilling, but my hope is for them to be unnecessary.

This is by no means comprehensive, and sort of got away with me, but hey, have something from the heart as my return gift. Any issues you have may be addressed in the comments.

Fright for flight

Ok, so I’ve been neglecting the blog for a while, and need a kick in the back of the pants for it. So to get into the swing of things something light hearted, then maybe we can get back to the Bible stuff.

I recently (at 32) took a flight on an aeroplane, which while it may seem odd, made me more or less representative of a nation of people most of whom will never fly. I’m not part of that fortunate group anymore though. Obviously this made me a little nervous and somewhat excited, so I got my ticket, went through security, and my heart sank… “Put all metal and electronic objects in the box provided.” I’m screwed I thought, all I want is something to eat, and I’m going to be stuck here until they’re calling my name over the intercom in between some tones that sound remarkably like playing harmonics on a guitar.

So, I bravely march up and put the tablet in the box with my cell and wallet. They check my crotch, hopefully for one of those big cowboy buckles that do more to pull your pants down than hold them up. I go through the metal detector, it makes a noise, my heart moves from somewhere in my tummy to somewhere in the tiled floor that the security guard is looking at. He was fortunately looking at the safety boots which I always wear on horse jobs (I like my toes the shape they are). Unfortunately I’m unaware of this, so I’m still thinking of a private room with a bouncer called Buck and surgical gloves, this is not appealing, how do I explain this.

So he searches me and asks a few questions which I don’t really pay attention to, just reply “no” in a soft nervous voice. He then concludes that it must be the toe caps that are setting the metal detector off. I breath a sigh of relief, no strip search, no rubber gloves. So I don’t need to explain that there’s a foot long piece of steel in my back that I can’t put in the box provided. Thank whatever.

After a reasonably tasty spicy scrambled eg dish that I overdid the tabasco sauce on I head of to find gate A9, which turned out to be reasonably easy, and sit down and wait with the other passengers, that include two very nice looking blondes still in their PJs (I’ve been up since 3am, and envy them somewhat). The harmonics go followed by our boarding order and more harmonics. I see the plane for the first time, and I’m like “really?????”

Once we’re on, a little simple maths tells me that they’re squashing 132 passengers and flight crew into a space large enough for the average African family, I’m stunned, even more stunned by the fact that a normal intercity bus liner has more leg room (and I’m only 5’2″). We take off, the apprehension grows, soon the clouds are as far below us as they should be above us. As someone who has been in a helicopter and a microlight (whose wings seem as good as those allegedly holding up our series 300 737) this seems somewhat stupid.

“Do I pray?” I ask myself, to whom? I think, surely not the god of Abraham I’ve spent the last couple of months insulting. No, he won’t help me, and all the others seem even less worthwhile.

The safety manual isn’t comforting, and I try to work out whether or not sticking your head between your legs can really do much good when the ground is approaching you at terminal velocity. I conclude that I should rather stick my head in the sand like an ostrich than read any further.

Now, I’ve travelled in those death trap minibus taxis that kill thousands each year in South Africa, and I’ve never felt quite so nervous about travelling. I think about it, those taxis are packed just as tightly as this aeroplane, like a sardine tin, mainly for maintenance purposes (they don’t dent so much when they roll if you’ve put enough living human flesh in them). They don’t have the same allure as flight travel, but they’re starting to look awfully attractive.

They announce breakfast, crap, I’m a vegetarian, do they cater for vegos? Will I be stuck between the two nice french people on either side of me munching on their bacon. Oh no, will I have to squeeze past the lady in the isle seat to go have a chat with George on the porcelain phone? Will my scrambled eggs be distributed forty thousand feet above the KZN coast? “We’re serving a continental breakfast.” Great, how un English of BA, at least I won’t have to have that chat with George after all.

Breakfast arrives, there’s a muffin, fruit juice, yogurt, and a plastic bowl with a few pieces of apple banana and mango that is supposed to pass for a fruit salad.

Mango…

I start thinking, there are two positives to this form of travel. Firstly, if this winged tin can suddenly decides that all it’s tonnage doesn’t belong at forty thousand, then I’ll die of heart failure before we reach the clouds (courtesy of the scrambled eggs), and won’t experience the impact. Secondly, if I’m going to be reduced to the intellectual state of a mango, at least I won’t be doing it in that orange plane that left shortly before us, and had “Mango” emblazoned on it’s flank. I get to do it in a white aeroplane with “British Airways” tastefully printed on the tail. Great, at least there’s a couple of bonuses. They aren’t that comforting though.

Ok, so I lived (duh). Now I’m in PE waiting at the airport to board a, no doubt, equally flimsy winged beverage can. If the news reports BA 6321 ate the dirt, you know why the blog is finished, anyway, I’ll let you know if I make it.

Reading through the Bible: day 9

Job is a tough book, I remember attempting to read through it a few times, but it only worked when a) I believed the God of Job existed, and b) I was incredibly angry with that God. For those struggling, we’ll be done soon, and there are few sustained sections of tough reading comparable to Job in the rest of the Bible, don’t loose hope. If you’re a believer and believe in the power of prayer, pray, but it would be a pity to pull out now.

Job 21 – 23

The wicked prosper

Job talks about the wicked in chapter 21, and speaks in such a way that, I feel, makes sense to a modern day person. Verse 7-13 are the ones that got me, this is the world as I see it, perhaps I’m a cynic, but it seems to make a lot more sense than what has been coming from the other three. This is a question Job desperately wants an answer to, but he probably already has some idea at what that might be, just as most Christians realise what answers they may expect from God should they ask the same question.

The guilt of inaction

In chapter 22, I actually agree with a lot of what Eliphaz says, read it carefully, you’ll probably agree with me, his mistake is accusing Job of evil, but he seems to hit the Christian sentiment of evil quite well. I particularly like verse 7, where the accusation was for omission of good deeds, not commission of evil. It made me recall a sermon I did on the golden rule: “do for others…” Not being Christlike is most common, and quite noticable in how we aren’t, and what we don’t do, rather than the bad things we do. I also think that when we repent, we tend to remember the bad stuff, but seldom ask for forgiveness for the good stuff we just didn’t do.

Sorry I’m late on this, hope it hasn’t put anyone out. Let me know what you think of today’s texts, and point out where I’ve gone wrong, or just let me know what you got out of it.

Get others involved by sharing the reading through the Bible page with them, it’s something we should be encouraging all Christians to get involved in, and possibly others too, since this book has had a huge impact on society, probably more than any other single work.

Reading through the Bible: day 7

Job 13:20 – 16

An unscientific claim

The Bible is often accused of making unscientific claims, and since it’s supposed to be divinely inspired, we might be expected to accept that all claims should be scientifically valid. I say might, simply because context could allow for one to say that there’s a good reason for it not being scientifically valid.

Job 14:7-9 shows a case where one could level the accusation of scientific inaccuracy. I’ll reproduce the text from the English Standard Version:

“For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud. and put out branches like a young plant.”

Obviously we have the benefit of knowing about the deciduous nature of some trees, which seem to die over winter, yet return to life in the spring time. Job’s claim is therefore completely unfactual and unscientific, the real question is, does it detract from the Bible?

One of the major themes in the book of Job seems to be that through all this happening, the characters seem rather oblivious to what is really going on: Job feels he’s fallen out of favour with God, and his friends feel he has obviously done something very bad to deserve what he’s getting. This claim by Job actually then fits this theme perfectly, since it shows how Job and his friends are operating, like the rest of us, from a position of incomplete knowledge. Obviously earlier generations of believers would have missed this particular nuance and may have taken it literally, but that in itself should not mean the Bible is faulty, simply people’s understanding of it.

The point here is that the Bible isn’t a book of science, and should not be used to attempt to make scientific claims. This opens up the creation evolution problem, but for many the issue is a fundamentally doctrinal problem. There are apologists out there who claim to be able to prove evolution false, which is a serious stretch, there are reasons we may have to doubt it, or even the efficacy of atomic clocks, but I haven’t heard a compelling argument to actually say it (evolution) definitely didn’t happen. Although I think people need to explore the idea of evolution not being the case, from a scientific stand point, but proving evolution wrong wouldn’t prove creation.

Being full of hot air

Eliphaz gets back in here, accusing Job of getting it all wrong, and being without knowledge. 14:2 has Eliphaz seemingly telling Job in fancy language that he’s full of hot air, “…and fill his belly with the east wind?” (ESV) I quite liked that.

Maybe you should just shut up

As most of us, Job’s friends aren’t very helpful in comforting him, in fact, it’s likely they couldn’t have chosen worse words. In Chapter 16, Job would just like his friends to shut up, he needs to talk, and get things out. He needs to work things out for himself. Often we’re all to ready to try to help, when all that’s needed is listening. Although this may not be a doctrinal lesson, it’s a good lesson in life.

What do you think? What stands out?

If you wish to get others involved, they can follow, without having to catch up. The reading through the Bible tab contains all relevant links.