Clarissa Hughes

Zimbabwe and the Story of Job

Still on a biblical theme: the parallel between the long suffering people of Zimbabwe and the misery of Job in the Old Testament is apparent. In the Book of Job God has a wager with Satan that Job’s faith is so great it will withstand all manner of deprivations inflicted by God.  The conceit in this is shocking (and probably inadmissible to many of the faithful). Yet the parallel is there again – Zimbabwe’s ruling elite crushing their own people for the purpose of shoring up their power.

Jung had quite a lot to say about the Story of Job and when he wrote his Answer to Job in 1952 it was widely regarded as blasphemous. Hopefully we have come a way since then and denial is not the first reaction. When judged on equal terms, Job is revealed as by far the better “man” over God in this story.    Jung noted that Satan tricked God, by appealing to His vanity.  Omnipotent God may be, but in this story He is not omniscient.

If one views religion as a reflection on the process of spiritual development in people, it is clear from the Story of Job that God is somewhat lacking in feeling and in awareness.  For Jung, Job had surpassed God in the humanity stakes. To be meaningful, it becomes necessary for God to grow into a more conscious entity and to learn what it means to be human. And so God sends his son, Jesus, who in his suffering on the cross “experiences what it means to be a mortal man and drinks to the dregs what he made his faithful servant Job suffer.” God has moved into a more empathetic realm and understands human suffering and pain. This is the essence of Christianity.

Back to Zimbabwe. Who are the lesser men? Certainly not the suffering people. How do those who mete out the punishment compare with the ones who, while claiming to be humanists, sit by?

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