SATANIST BIBLE STUDY: JOB’S PROBLEM OF EVIL PROBLEM
People who spend a lot of time thinking about god have to worry about what they call the “Problem Of Evil.” Rarely realizing that it’s only a problem for them.
The Problem of Evil is simple: If god is allegedly so good, why does he let bone cancer and volcanoes keep happening? Why do terrorists get away with it? Why does Jason Rapert have a political career, etc?
Sometimes it’s not even about human suffering. Charles Darwin (the Satanist) said, “The sufferings of animals throughout almost endless time are irreconcilable with a creator of ‘unbounded’ goodness.”
God can be good or he can let shark babies eat each other in the womb, but not both.
(That really happens, by the way. Don’t fuck with nature.)
Of course, most atheists and Satanists have an easy answer to the “Problem of Evil.” But philosophers and theologians have wrestled with it for centuries anyway. Which brings us to that poor schmuck Job.
The Book of Job sports some of the Bible’s best poetry. And, for better or worse, its most sensible and consistent commentary about life:
“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down. He fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”
Yeah, old Job is kind of rubbing it in here for the rest of us. But he’s had a rough week. We’ve all been there. Or close to there.
The point is he’s right. And when he fulfills the fantasy of basically everyone who’s ever read the Bible and asks god to explain this sorry state, the answer he gets is harsh but at least consistent:
“Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Hast thou an arm like god? Or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?”
Notice that god has some rather Trump-like habits when confronted. Ask him a question and he just starts touting his resume.
But the message here is pretty clear. As Bible scholar Bart Ehrman puts it, “I’m god and you are a peon. Who are you to question me?”
Why would a good god let bad things happen? Because he’s just kind of a dick sometimes. If that doesn’t seem very good to us, well, how smart are we anyway?
It’s not a cheerful answer. But it adds up.
Note that pagans also have no problem with the Problem of Evil; there are a lot of gods, some of them are assholes, and even the nice ones have bad days. Like the Book of Job, this theology corresponds with the world we live in.
But it seems Job’s answers weren’t good enough for some. In their 2005 book The Birth of Satan, TJ Wray and Greg Mobley suggest this is even why believers invented the devil:
“People find it difficult to synthesize a god who claims to love them while inflicting suffering and death. […] An exorcism of sorts takes place, Yaweh’s negative aspects cast out [as] other beings.”
And people still argue this. In a 2009 network news debate about Satan, a preacher declared “You’ve got to account for evil some way.”
Okay. As a Satanist and an atheist (or perhaps a non-theist, as Jex Blackmore prefers the term), my accounting is pretty simple: I don’t believe in any god, so I’m not surprised he doesn’t intervene.
As for where evil “comes from?” Easy: People do it. Why do we need any explanation beyond that?
Human beings are primates. So like most primates, we’re gregarious and cooperative social animals.
But also like most primates, we’re clannish, violent, and warlike. Or least we have the recipe for it in our DNA.
If that seems contradictory, well, clearly it isn’t. Just look around. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding, and that’s the best understanding, at least to my layman’s mind.
But I guess some people will still persist that there has to be a supernatural explanation for it all (for some reason). In which case, I’d suggest they consider Job.