We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
1:1 There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
2:1 One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.
2:2 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it."
2:3 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason."
2:4 Then Satan answered the LORD, "Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives.
2:5 But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face."
2:6 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life."
2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
2:8 Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.
2:9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die."
2:10 But he said to her, "You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
I don't consider myself a religious person, but I consider myself a devout Jobist.
"Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?"
And just who are you to decide what is good and what is bad in God's mind? Job's buddies drew God's ire in insisting that Job must have sinned something awful for God to be punishing him so, they insisted they knew how God worked and what reasons He had for doing what He did. Wrong - you attempting to understand how God works is like a goldfish attempting to understand how a nuclear power plant works, there's such a profound difference in intellectual capacity that it's a silly exercise even attempting it.
And that's where faith comes in - I have faith that God's up there running the universe, He knows what He's doing and He sure doesn't need my help or my advice on the project. No need to fret, everything's going to be okay.
Jerryskids - you opened with "who are you to decide what is good" and ended with "everything's going to be okay".
"Okay" in whose eyes?
Jewish monotheism sets up an irresolveable paradox when it posits an infinite, transcendent, ultimately unknowable G-d - and finite, imperfect humans created in that G-d's image, lovingly given a (finite, imperfect) world in which to exercise their free will. Unlike pagan gods, the G-d of Israel is very concerned with the choices made in this world, with justice and lovingkindess.
So: Humans and their material world are simultaneously insignificant, and cosmically important.
In 2 weeks Jews will start reading the Biblical stories of Abraham. Here is a guy who stands there arguing with G-d to save the sinners of Sodom from destruction (unlike Noah, who does not reprove his generation, and is content to save himself). He appeals to a caring, personal G-d: "Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?"
A few chapters later Abraham is asked/commanded by that G-d to take his miracle son, Isaac, and slaughter him like all the debased Canaanites around him. Why? Because I said so.
That is the paradox.
One of the oldest prayers in the Jewish prayerbook is a seemingly random list of affirmations and requests. Each sentence starts with the phrase "our Father, our King". Both are true.