Bible or College?

On the drive into work today I saw an [sarcasm] AWESOME [/sarcasm] bumper sticker. Ready?

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.

*sigh* This is why we can’t have nice things.

Aside from this being a ridiculous premise – (Which is going to help you in the real world: a thorough knowledge of a fairy tale/horror story/slash fiction or a real-world-based education?) – I got pissed off for another reason.

Earlier this month at the American Atheists Regional Conference in St. Paul I had a chance to hear Teresa MacBain, an ex-pastor, speak about how hard it was for her to leave her church. At the Midwest Freethought Festival in Omaha, Nebraska, Jerry DeWitt shared some of his story about leaving the church after 25 years as a Pentacostal minister. He also introduced ex-evangelical preacher Dan Barker at that conference.

Dan Barker heads up The Clergy Project, a confidential online community for active and former clergy who no longer believe in the supernatural. Dan spoke about some of the challenges that clergy members have to think about when they want to quit the church. One of the big ones is career placement. How hard must it be to fill out a resume and have little other job experience to write down than “preacher” for the past 10, 20, 30 years? How well does that thorough knowledge of the bible serve ex-clergy when they leave the church and have to find a new career?

But I don’t know; this is outside my experience. And I had a thought: Does a theology degree translate well to changing careers mid-life? For those of us who go to college, we all specialize in something and that doesn’t necessarily keep us from changing careers. The difference is, I think,  that we don’t have to worry about losing belief in biology, physics, math, business, art, computer science, literature, history. These subjects are based in reality and they prepare us for taking a place in a reality-based world.

But then this bumper sticker isn’t saying a theology degree is worth more than any other degree. I’m betting in this case it falls more along the lines of “if you know the Good Book real good, that’s worth more than book-learning at one of them librul colleges.”

Bible or College?