Could God Get Tenure?

Could God Get Tenure? January 12, 2012

I came across a bit of educational humor which I thought might be worth sharing, and reflecting on:

Publish or Perish :

Ever wonder why God never received a permanent job at a good university?

The Reasons :

1. He had only one major publication and it had no references.

2. Some people doubt that he even wrote it himself.

3. He expelled his first 2 students – for learning!

4. When one particular experiment went awry he tried to cover it up by drowning the evidence.

5. He rarely appeared in class, usually just telling students to read the book.

6.Although there are only ten requirements, the majority of students can never pass his tests.

7. He may have created the world, but what has he done recently?

I remember seeing a version of this once before, which added to the first point that not only did he have only one publication, but it was in Hebrew. Israeli scholars will get the point, even if others don’t.

But some of the points made in the joke above above, however much intended as humor, do raise some serious questions about how God is thought of and depicted. Is it any surprise that some religious believers adopt an anti-intellectualist stance, given that they understand key Biblical stories in terms of punishment for learning or independent though, in terms of unattainable standards, or in other ways that subtly or not-so-subtly communicate such a message?

How might we either reinterpret the stories in question, or point to other stories that have authority within the same tradition, in order to depict God as a good teacher, interested in our learning, and thus worthy of tenure?

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  • 8. Ever since Quincy Adams Wagstaff edged Him out as president of Huxley College, He lost interest in earthly academia, instead endowing professorship with a heavenly seat on His right side. 

    “Horse Feathers,” (1932) The Marx Brothers.