My college history teacher is teaching the old testament as historiclly accurate?

So at my commmunity college here in Wichita, Kansas I instantly took notice that my history teacher was religious, even though he tried to mask that fact. As i have only had his class one day so far I was  very interested as to how he would teach the bible. In everything he has said, he is seeming to present everything in it as truth and is coming off as extremely preachy in his notes.


Here is a powerpoint that I downloaded talking about the old testament. He focuses on exodus and presents miracles as historically accuate. Is it just me or is he trying to twist the bible into history? An%20Overview%20of%20Old%20Testament%20History.ppt

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This sounds more like a religious studies class than a history class.  Is his degree in history or religious studies?  I have a masters in history and I have taken many classes that involve religion, but usually it is something like the impact of Christianity on slavery, African Americans and the Black Church, or the role of the black church in the civil rights movement.  Okay, I have taken a lot of  AA history classes and it would be very difficult to separate the church from black history, but usually it is not about how god works rather more about how the church impacted this or that.  For example, the xian religion condones slavery and how that played a role in enslavement. 


Unless his area of studies is in religious history or middle eastern history, he should not be teaching a subject which he is not a master of.  For example, my degree is in American history, therefore, I should not be teaching Asian history because I do not have the proper background for that.  You are fully within your rights to find out what his background is and if he is qualified to teach this sort of class.  What you do from there is up to you.  Sometimes universities do hire ministers to teach religious history classes.  If this class is supposed to be about American history or European history, you have a real gripe on your hands.  This class will not prepare you for the following classes and will probably not be recognized by any state four year university.  So before I invested my money any further in this class, I would make sure it will transfer or be recognized by other universities.

thanks for the reply, I totally agree with you
I have not heard of the Bible used as a valid historical text outside a religious studies class.  Besides, the rules of history demand that a historical "fact" must have at least two separate sources.  What is this person's other source?  I really question if this class will be transferable to a four year state university.

"Even though the first eleven chapters are problematic to modern readers, it nevertheless is a giant leap forward in regards of explaining the origins of the universe as opposed to the creation myths of the Ancient Near East "

So what? It's still wrong


God creates in an orderly fashion without violence or bloodshed
In ways totally inconsistant with what we know.

Everything He creates is good.
"How can something be good before the knowledge of good and evil was gained? The act of which triggered expulsion. No creature which is naive of a moral stance can be said to act for the good if it is not aware of what the good is. Even within the narrative that doesn't make sense!!

Mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation
And yet pacce Haldane, curiously he does demonstrate an inordinate fondness for beetles.

He is made in His image
"dumb all over and a little ugly on the side."


He is able to fellowship with God
He is a free moral agent
Slight concerned at the privileging of the masculine here. Something gender neutral like "humanity" would be preferable, but I think we can guess why he's dissing on Eve....


Explains the origins of evil
No it doesn't. It tries to explain why farming is so bloody difficult and childbirth, painful, messy and deadly and why snakes apparently "eat dirt."

In the story the snake tells the truth, god lied Eve didn't die. How is that evil?
(that'll test his apologist bonafides!!)

Essentially sin is man trying to be his own god.
Something that's never addressed: why is that considered bad.

God admits other gods exist, in fact he gets very worked up about people worshipping them and not him for which the punishment is death.

So it seems there's nothing actually wrong with being a god, unless you are a petty-minded, obsessive, control-freak.


The Flood:
Result of mankind’s evil.

What is the causal mechanism for sin -->. flood  How did humans create a flood - I thought it was god who was so annoyed it had all gone horribly wrong (again! d'oh!) intervening in order to commit global genocide.


The Noah story is found in many Ancient Near Eastern cultures


Which probably means this is a cultural record of a flood but not one on the scale or nature of the flood according to genesis which is refuted absolutly by disconfimatory physical evidence which is inconsistent with the biblical vision (eg the distribution pattern of animals around the globe fits with an evolutionary account eg. marsupials in Australia, chameleons on Madagascar etc.  The calibration of radiocarbon dating from tree-rings and remnants gives us a history of continuous growth in trees from a variety of altitudes for the last 12,000 years or so - that wouldn't be possible if the 'tops of the mountains' had been submerged. The only deduction which follows is that there has been n global flood in the last 12,000 years (If he's a YEC - that's more than double the length of time the universe is supposed to have existed)  None of this fits with the big bloody boat idea, which by the way suffers from a thorough absense of supporting evidence (eg a mixed fossil layer of unstratified dead things attesting to a catastrophic flood.that you would expect to find it were true.  There isn't. It never happened. QED.



The Sumerians date their history before/after the flood

A flood, perhaps but not THE flood.


The Tower of Babel

  ... is a myth?
The tower was probably a ziggurat

Oh.. okay - evidence? How about archaeological remains - why don't we go dig those up?  Find out exactly where it was?

Explains the origins of languages and cultures.

No it doesn't (picking up the point above) what is your expertise is ancient languages, their history and development.  Are you qualified in linguistics to be able to make that assessment, which almost certainly isn't true.  WTF are you talking about?




etc....  I'd submit a complaint.

Before you decide to stay in the class or drop it, evaluate your educational and personal goals.  If your goal is to take this class to forefill a core requirement for world history at a four year state university, I would seriously reconsider taking this class.  I know that four year universities like to ignore your CC classes so they can charge you an arm and a leg to take the same class over again.  They are looking for classes to cover very specific areas which I would not guess this class does.  Not knowing if you intend to continue your education or where you plan to attend afterwards, I can't give specifics, but if I were going to take a wild guess, I would say any survey of world history should cover Europe, ancient Rome, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Chinese and some central/south American civilizations.  This is what your advisor at a four year university is probably going to look at to put a nice check mark in that core world history box.


If you are looking for an elective that may or may not transfer or you are just interested in the subject, then stay in the class.  According to Rate Your Professor, this guy is pretty well liked and easy (probably well liked for being easy).  However, I cannot tell you if he would take offense and lower your grade for not agreeing with his religious dogma. 




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