Friday, April 01, 2011

UNC to launch Department of Irreligion

One of our local papers here, The Herald-Sun, is reporting today that the University of North Carolina is about to launch a new "Department of Irreligion":

NC hires William Franklin Graham III for... Department of Irreligion?
CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina is set to hire William Franklin Graham III as the founding director of what is believed to be the nation's first department of irreligious studies. Amidst campus-wide budget reductions and strategic program cuts, Dean Bernard Manakin of UNC's College of Arts and Sciences announced this bold new initiative: Establishment of a Department of Irreligion . . .
Not surprisingly, Bart Ehrman is mentioned in the article:
Of course, we could not hire someone who believes the Bible to teach the Bible. That would simply be wrong. We need people who can be objective about the document; obviously believers cannot do that," said Manakin.

One of the recent additions to UNC's Board Of Trustees, Gilbert Aussenzeit, had encouraged the university to place Dr. Bart Ehrman, the current chairman of the Department of Religion, as head of the new Department of Irreligion.

"As one of America's leading unbelievers, I thought that Ehrman would be the perfect fit, but, boy, was I quickly disabused of that notion," said Aussenzeit, a businessman from Fuquay-Varina.

"As Chancellor [Holden] Thorp explained it to me, it's OK to have a physics professor who believes in Newton's laws of motion, or a chemistry prof who accepts the periodic table, but it doesn't work that way in the humanities. There's no way you can have a religion professor who is religious," said Aussenzeit.