back to article US teacher fired for non-literal bible reading

A teacher at a US community college in Red Oak, Iowa says he was fired after telling his students not to interpret the story of Adam and Eve as a literal account of events circa BC 4000. Steve Bitterman, 60, who was teaching a western civilisation course at Southwestern Community College, said he often used extracts from the …

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But it's all bollox

"..in which he referred to the story of Adam and Eve as a fairy tale".

Isn't this stating the bleedin' obvious!?

Like all religions, it's all complete nonsense (why am I even bothering to point this out???), and I never fail to be impressed by how otherwise sensible and (apparently) intelligent people believe otherwise.

Of course, the fairies that live at the bottom of my garden next to the compost bin are perfectly real, of course! And I'll consider it a breach of my right to be childish and stupid if you deny it.

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Science content? No Paris Hilton or Vibrator either...

Hmm, I could just stretch credibility if said professor was in a science class and being sacked over a creation/evolution argument, but he is a History prof. This should be in Bootnotes, not Science!

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IGMC

"Bitterman said he had put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other"

There's where he went wrong - nobody wants snakes on a plane.

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ffs

Bangs head against table...

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Anonymous Coward

academic freedom?

Again, freedom of stupidity and the rigid and aggressive win.

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Intelligence and common sense....

..aren't the same thing. The bible has many good points about how to live your life for the good of humanity but even Jesus taught using allegories. If you take take his words literally then the only good you'll get is that you shouldn't plant corn on rocky ground. Good if your a farmer, not so good in the IT profession. Perhaps the bloke who's suing God can add Jesus as well. Although the legal wrangling over how they are one and the same person should be fun.

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Does this mean

I could work my way up the ladder at work by getting my colleagues fired for denigrating my worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (praise be to his noodly appendages)?

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HA Religion

Once more religion shows how useful it is. Does any person who is religious actually read and understand any of the readings in there given books. Wars, killings people getting assaulted physically or mentally just because of their different views, by those preaching from there book of gods. The only thing I can think of that is any where near what gods are really like would be the Diskworld books. If there is/are gods (I’m not a disbeliever in anything, I still get presents at Christmas so there must be a Santa) then why don’t people try to understand those who have different views or understandings. Religion has killed or harmed more people than it has saved.

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Anonymous Coward

Shouldn't the college have asked for an appropriate biblical punishment

Perhaps stoning?

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Lock em all up

I've had it with the religious fools, I went to a Christian school and had to sing hymns and pray every morning before lessons, I soon questioned what I was taught, I soon denouced it as BS.

The bible is nothing more that a 'live your life this way or else' book to bring about law, order, and ultimately control of the week minded masses.

It is funny if you look at a map of the world that countries that are /more/ religious, have more problems because they are constantly at war with each other over 'my dads bigger than your dad', oh sorry, I meant God.....

If I believed that a <insert generic pink elephant> was watching over me and everything I said and did, and was going to judge me when I died, I'd be locked up under some mental health act etc..........

Why cant we do it with these people, we know where they are every Sunday morning.....

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6000 years old?

If you want a good laugh, read the link in the story above that explains why the earth cannot be millions or even billions of years old (precis - Noah's flood caused everything). It's absolutely hilarious and might distract from the fact that this story is frankly terrifying.

The end of the world IS nigh. Especially seeing as the USA is supposed to be a secular country...

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@Lloyd

Be careful!

The almighty flying spaghetti monster is surrounded by heretics

http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/article.html?in_article_id=43272&in_page_id=2

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Re: Shouldn't the college have asked for an appropriate biblical punishment

Only if he actually said "Jehovah"

<THUD>

Outch!!

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Could have been worse

At least he didn't say Jehovah.

Oops!

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Punishment: Stoning.

for most people, getting stoned isn't a punishment!

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JPQ

RE: Shouldn't the college have asked for an appropriate biblical punishment

"Perhaps stoning?"

It is a college, there should be plenty of stoners.

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Anonymous Coward

more proof

if you needed it that americans are stupid and shallow. Nothing in the bible can be taken literally, have every added up the ages of some of these people? Perhaps that would give us an age for the planet, and prove that man lived along side dinosuars dispite thier lack of mention as being on the ark.

The book was written/edited after the fact by a Roman who didnt want to lose his empire.

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Anonymous Coward

Talking snakes

It's wrong to lie to children. Tell them the truth and then let them decide if they want to believe in mumbo jumbo.

Talking snakes, fools, more like talking arse.

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Anonymous Coward

More ignorance in my country...

These were college students???

Imagine how devastated they must have been to learn that the tooth fairy wasn't real.

Does this college now require that their professors teach that the population of the world originated from some white dust-boy and some white rib-woman???

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Not infringed?!

"[...]but stressed that the teacher's right to free speech had not been infringed."

Oh really? Sacking someone for suggesting that something that goes against all current scientific knowledge(i.e. a talking snake) should not be taken literally isn't infringing his right to free speech at all. Of course not!

Good ol' America, so-called land of the free!

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Silver badge

Inherit the wind?

After the 1925 Scopes trial in Tennessee (See "Inherit the Wind, Spencer Tracy, 1960) one really would have expected a little progress in 82 years.

Apparently not...

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@ Andrew Bolton

Thanks for the tip andrew, pmsl here reading through that nonsense :)

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Wow.

f.x. << slaps back of head repeatedly while saying "duhhhhh, duhhhhhhhhhh, I'm an American" >>

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<more proof>

totally spot on!

Cannot believe that so called Christians still don't seem to have caught Jeezo's drift Bunch of loons.

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Silver badge

Of course snakes can talk.

Harry Potter and Voldemort talk to them all the time.

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Anonymous Coward

B*ll*x? Indeed, those of God...

The fanatics would remove themselves from the earthly existence, if they were any more logical. After all, how could they possibly kill themselves, in entirety, even if they destroy their own physical body, if they're guaranteed an afterlife? Why not just go to Heaven, go directly to Heaven & do not collect any sins. How literal do people want it? How much faith do believers not have, in this Heavenly existence?

n.b. Believers should recognise that have no need to complain about this, as He has the final say & anyone else's opinion is of no consequence!

---

Adam & Eve a fairytale? Innocent until proven guilty, m'Lud. You require oath on The Book? Unfair Trial Alert! Counsel for the prosecution should enlighten their gullible client.

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Silver badge

The snake could not really talk (ask any rabbi)

because it hasn't got hands!

cheers, and long live the flying spaghetti monster

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Rob

Well, IOWA does stand for...

Idiots Out Wandering Around.

As any fule kno.

IGMC

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Unfortunately...

Christianity, already has that angle covered. Sucide is a mortal sin. Plus, humans are born sinful (apparently).

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@Paul A. Walker

Quote:

"Bitterman said he had put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other"

There's where he went wrong - nobody wants snakes on a plane.

End quote

I don't think there should be room here for comments/posters like this

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Bronze badge

More Details, Please

This certainly is a strange-sounding story.

But what I would like to know is whether or not Southwestern Community College is an accredited degree-granting institution.

If it were, then it would have tenured professors, and it most *definitely* would not be involved in the kind of incident this story recounts, because the consequence would be that its degrees would soon end up not being worth the sheepskin they're written on.

But if it isn't that kind of college or University, then perhaps they have to worry more about the threat of a lawsuit for being "insensitive" and "discriminatory" than about looking ridiculous

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Anonymous Coward

Title

Thats the problem with the educated they feel their masters degree makes them an authority, (i.e. my oppinion is an authority) He he clearly has no idea what so ever about the workings of FAITH,

So in conclusion he should not be teaching on a subject he has no knowledge about. His masters does not make him a rocket scientist and neither a religious authority.

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@Paul A. Walker

LOL!!! No doubt some twat will accuse you of anti-Semitism for that.

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Good greif

Yet another terrifying story of fear and ignorance winning over in what is supposed to be a relativley enlightened society.

*hides in corner and puts pillow on head*

P.S. Seriously though, "snakes on a plane" ? Frikkin genius.

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re: more proof - if you needed it that americans are stupid and shallow.

Even as a Brit, I cannot accept that this is true. What is more the problem is that the majority of Americans are probably rarely given the chance to exercise their minds. And I must also admit that the same forces are at work over here.

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Talking Snake

Must have been Fluffy the Anaconda

( from Cow and Chicken )

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Anonymous Coward

God must be kicking himself

He's going to be lumbered with these numpties for eternity while Satan's chilling with Hendrix and Oscar Wilde.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Matthew Middleweek

Oh, I do think there should be. Plenty.

@ Paul A. Walker: LMAO!

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time gentlemen please

i think it's time we called time on the whole religion thing. It should be resolved by the high courts. Lets subpoena every 'so called' god, and those that don't show should have their religion disbanded and officially labelled 'complete and utter boolocks'.

:-)

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Anonymous Coward

Genesis

As far as I remember - Genesis in the Bible contains 2 different versions of the Creation story - er - how can they BOTH be literally true ? Doh!!

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Anonymous Coward

Exodus

Reminds me of this one:

A trainee parachutist asked the instructor "What if the 'chute fails"?

Instructor: "The chances of that are 1 in a million, but if it does fail, use the reserve".

Trainee: "What if that fails"?

Instructor: "Well, that's a one in a trillion chance. In which case, pray to Allah".

Come the day of his first jump, the trainee's 'chute does indeed fail. Twenty seconds later, with a 2 pound load of moist manure moisturising his nether regions, he remembers the reserve 'chute.

It fails.

Hurtling towards the ground at 120 mph and certain death he remembers the instructor's advice.

"Oh Allah! Oh Allah! Save me! Save me"!

Instantly, from out of a cloud, a huge upheld palm catches the trainee, slows his decent, and places him gently upon the ground.

The trainee is overwhelmed.

"Jesus Christ"!! he exclaims.

And a great big foot appears from out of the same cloud and pulverises him into the ground.

Note: feel free to substitute any other deities if you re-tell this and are afraid of the PC brigade / mind police / religious fanatics. Pink elephants have VERY big feet.

For reasons of self-preservation, this is posted anonymously.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Title

"Thats the problem with the educated they feel their masters degree makes them an authority, (i.e. my oppinion is an authority) He he clearly has no idea what so ever about the workings of FAITH"

So you believe in the talking snake? Get out of my industry, NOW

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Anonymous Coward

Most definatly the work of the mind police (PC Brigade)

What's wrong with the talking snake? I talk to it all the time.

Also, why is it when you talk to your deity of choice it is called praying, yet when said deity talks to you it is called schizophrenia?

Wibble.

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peace

genuinely sounded rancid to me - I thought the mods would just deal tbh, such was my conviction. Certainly didn't mean to get into anything unseemly.

I am praying for you

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haha

I love reading the comments here

always funny

having not read the bible, when exactly was Jesus declared God? from what little I was taught he was his son, a bit like Hercules only Jesus didn't go around with his sidekick beating up 'bad' guys

Jehova, isn't that spelt with an I?

Wouldn't it be nice if the Gods could just come down on their lightning bolts and declare to the world that they exist, stop all the petty squabbling over who worships the real god and how it should be done. No one would have to believe in the gods because we'd all know they're real. Well that's not going to happen now is it because all the true god's are dead because no one actually worships them they worship books, statues or one of the gods prophets.

If you worship the flying spaghetti monster, does that mean you cant eat spaghetti? or is it like that bread wafer thing catholic's eat at mass?

As for taking the bible literally, surely everyone knows all religions were created by wise men looking to control their 'tribe', and the wise men made up stories to explain what they didn't really understand. 'Lies to children' I think these are called

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Anonymous Coward

Creation, why can it not be scientiffic

Hi there,

just for those who keep on bashing Christians:

I personally grew up side by side with Natural Sciences and yet I still do believe the Creationism Theory.

I don't have a problem with people believing in evolution, I just simply think its wrong.

I also completely disagree with the lecturer being fired for his statements, but I suppose that is another one of those great American rights issues, that go far beyond anything that is sensible.

And for those who want to flame me now:

As a born again Christian I believe in everyone having the right to make your own choice! I may not agree with it, but if you choose not to believe that Jesus died for your sins, that I find that very regretful and sad, but that is your choice.

And just for those who are wondering why God allows all these horrible things to happen:

exactly for this reason: we all have the choice of our actions, but at the same time have to live with the consequences.

People who choose to be evil ans nasty cause things to happen, and the effects can be quite varied.

God bless you all!

And P.S.

Allah and God are different (no offense to the Muslims, I have a great deal of respect for Muslims, even though I do not agree with their religion!)

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Ben

Missing the point

I believe the point here is not whether you feel that the teacher's views are correct or incorrect, it is whether or not it is appropriate to provide instruction on how the bible should be interpreted. Some Christians view genesis as allegory others take it literally. Unless this was a course on theology, statements on the legitimacy of either (or neither) of these positions was unwarranted.

I find it interesting that Mr. Bitterman (ironic name???) was quoted as saying "I'm just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college and have a master's degree, a couple actually, have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job." Take note of how Mr. Bitterman has twisted the situation and also revealed a condecending attitude towards people of faith (pretty much the same as everybody who has posted comments on this article so far).

First, he was never required to teach that snakes can talk. He was never required to teach that genesis is true and literal. I doubt he was even required to discuss genesis at all. What he apparently is required not to do is to directly teach that the religion of some of his students is false. I use the word directly in order to draw a distinction between teaching topics that may conflict with positions of faith such as evolution or cosmology vs. outright instructing students that genesis is false. It is for the students to make the judgement on their faith, not the instructor.

Now onto his condescending attitude wherein he can't believe college educated people would have to teach that there are such things as talking snakes. No Christian believes that "post fall" snakes can talk. They do however believe that the world/universe was very different "pre fall" and that yes serpents could talk. If you believe in God as the author of all reality then the above is niether impossible nor inconsistant. Hence I can only surmise that Mr. Bitterman feels that nobody with a higher education could believe in God. He of course has a right to be ignorant or bigoted as a person but is and should be held to higher standards when acting as an instructor.

Were he teaching that the big bang was the creative act of God or believed that blacks were not mentally competent enough to be involved in higher education (not a Christian view so don't read into this analogy) he would have been thrown out of class with howls of protest by angry humanist/athiest mobs. Of course when he teaches that biblical creation is false and believes Christians aren't fit for higher education that apparently is a different story. In both cases we are dealing with theory or opinion, unfortunately for Christians, theirs is increasingly on the proscribed list.

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"Bitterman said he had put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other"

I bet you he didn't even mention the Flying Spaghetti Monster....

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not right...

Here is a shocker - I believe Genesis literally but I also don't believe that the prof should have been fired. We supposedly have free speech here. He has a right to express his views, especially outside of the classroom, which is when he called Genesis a fairy tale. Even in the classroom he should have the right as long as he qualifies that it is his opinion. I have no problem when people share their opinions on origins, or science, or anything else, as long as they are willing to treat me with the same respect when I voice mine.

Oh, and you guess you get tripped up on the talking snake bit like I get tripped up on the universe suddenly appearing out of no where from nothing. hmmmmm. Sounds a little unbelieveable huh? Well, you may say that you have never seen a talking snake. So, I have never seen a universe spontaniously appear from nothing.

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Anonymous Coward

Sauce - goose - gander

Seeing Christians are sacked for not following the creation myth of the Atheist I'm not sure what the complaints are about.

Martin

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