Atheists Hostile to Christians are Teaching Religious Studies at our Universities

Why are atheists who are hostile to Christians teaching religious studies courses at our universities?  A good example is Hector Avalos at Iowa State University.   Avalos is a religious studies professor and and an atheist as well as the faculty adviser to the ISU Atheist and Agnostic Society.  He teaches courses on the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament.  And he is clearly hostile and intolerant towards Christians.  An example is ISU issuing a press release a few years ago boasting about Avalos’s appointment as the executive director of a group affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism that seeks to debunk religion.  A recent example was his working against a Christian astronomer at ISU to make sure he was denied tenure even though he had an impeccable record that easily justified tenure.  To read more about this story click here.  And another example is his recent work attempting to block the ISU football team from having a chaplain as part of the team.  To read this story click here.  Further, Evolution News reports the following about Avalos:

“Avalos’s promotion to full professor comes just in time for the publication of his new book on the Bible later this month. According to the publisher’s description, Avalos argues in the book

that our world is best served by leaving the Bible as a relic of an ancient civilization instead of the “living” document most religionist scholars believe it should be. He urges his colleagues to concentrate on educating the broader society to recognize the irrelevance and even violent effects of the Bible in modern life.

Just how extreme Avalos’s view of the Bible is can be seen in his previous book, Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence (2005), in which he repeatedly equates the Bible with Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Indeed, in a section of the book titled “Scripture: A Zero-Tolerance Argument,” Avalos actually suggests that the Bible is worse than Mein Kampf:

In fact, Mein Kampf does not contain a single explicit command for genocide equivalent to those found in the Hebrew Bible… Thus, if all of Mein Kampf is to be rejected simply for its implied genocidal policies, we should certainly reject all of the Bible for some of its explicit and blatant genocidal policies. [p. 363]

At other points, Avalos appears to blame Jewish people for Hitler’s attempt to exterminate them, locating the origins of the Holocaust in what he calls “Hebrew racism.” Consider the following passages:

“The purpose here is to show that the Nazi policy of genocide was based on premises quite similar to those in the Hebrew Bible.” [p. 316]”the Nazi Holocaust represents the synthesis of attitudes found in both the New Testament and the Hebrew scriptures.” [p. 318]

“[Scholars Katz and Wolpoff] fail to see the parallels between certain practices promulgated in the Hebrew Bible itself. Indeed, the supreme irony of the Holocaust is that the genocidal policies first systematically enunciated in the Hebrew scriptures were reversed by the Nazis. Nazi ideology simply had better technology to do what biblical authors had said they would do to their enemies.” [pp. 318-319]

“Hitler saw himself as trying to counteract Hebrew racism, which he saw as the main counterpart and enemy of the German race.” [p. 319]

As if these statements were not enough, Prof. Avalos has equated creationism with Nazism, denounced religion-inspired acts of love, and even suggested that we “eliminate religion from human life altogether”:

“Nazi ideology is similar to creationist ideology, which believes that scientific findings support the biblical stories of Creation and the Flood.” [p. 318]”any act of love based on religion is immoral.” [p. 369]

“Mother Teresa… advocated policies that helped to generate the very pool of poor people she was attempting to help. Religious beliefs are largely responsible for arguments against contraception, which helps to perpetuate poverty and conflicts over scarce resources. So in the end, did Mother Teresa help more people than were harmed by her religious belief?” [p. 370]

“until the Abrahamic religions overthrow the master-slave model in which they were born, we see little progress to be made. Since all religious beliefs are ultimately unverifiable, the greatest scarce resource of all is verifiability. And one way to remedy or minimize unverifiability in any decision-making process, especially that leading to violence, is to eliminate religion from human life altogether.” [p. 371, emphasis added] “

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