“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.”

Job 38:2-3

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

That description comes from Richard Dawkins, a somewhat faded star in the late New Atheist movement in his book The God Delusion. Among such people, the treatment of Job is often cited as proof of God’s despicable attitude. How could a supposed just and loving God send all of these torments upon Job at the request of Satan? Putting aside the character of Satan for the moment, whose role has been shifted in popular understanding by reading in details not actually based in Scripture, we have a God who tests Job by killing his children and his livestock and basically doing everything possible to ruin his life.

Is that really whom we are supposed to believe sent Jesus, with all of his grace and forgiveness? The better question is who is qualified to define justice?

Oddly, from my observation, the waning of the New Atheist movement and their would be champions has come because of a rationalist view of their own assertions; the atheistic and agnostic ideas of modern society were, in fact, shaped to a great degree by Biblical values. Modern scientific thought and modern atheist philosophy owe a great deal to Christianity. There are also no new leaders in this nascent movement, it seems to be supported “by the literature” as it were, with historians, philosophers and culture leaders accepting this concept with a shrug.

Christianity is “everyone’s religion”. It is the basis for modern international law, for the principles of scientific exploration and for the very concept of human rights. Jesus is humanity’s great religious teacher! For now.

For the Christian, a warning. Do not let this cultural acceptance of the historical importance of our faith fool you. We do not seek friendship in this world, but neither should we long for old enemies to come back and give us a fight. Instead, let us take up the cause of the Gospel and go and speak wherever there are listeners.

Ethan Kirl