Would this kind of religious persecution be allowed in college?

There a movie coming out soon, God’s Not Dead, that has as a premise a philosophy class where the students are told to write down on a piece of paper “God is dead” and hand it forward, and that failure to do so is an automatic failure. When the one righteous Christian tells him that he will not do so, the professor tells him that he must prove the existence of God, or fail the class.
Skipping the artificial angsty backstory of the professor losing loved ones and the scene where the Righteous Christian stands up before the class to cry out “Why do you hate God???”, would a professor be allowed to have anti-religious requirements like these?

You actually watch shit like that?

(bolding mine)

Why wouldn’t a professor be allowed to have anti-religious requirements like these?

I mean, maybe handing that piece of paper forward is the prelude to a discussion about the nature and existence of god(s) or about the nature of faith and belief. In general, AFAIK, college instructors are free to teach their lessons in whatever way they see fit, so long as they aren’t physically, verbally or emotionally abusing the students.

ETA: I have a feeling that this question wouldn’t come up if the subject was “horror movies are dead” or “banjo jam bands are dead”; it’s the subject matter of religion that somehow prompts the worry that this is somehow too touchy. Well, as many have asked, why the fuck should religion somehow be accorded more respect and deference than any other completely subjective topic?

There is absolutely no way to come away from that movie preview and think that he was only doing that to start a conversation. The company that made this, Pure Flix Entertainment, is in the business of putting out evangelical Christian movies.

No-I came across the preview while looking to see if the Veronica Mars movie was playing in my area.

Yikes…that’s, um, some kind of film, there.

I certainly hope not. I’m sure it depends of whether it’s a public or private school, and in the latter case, the individual policies. Looking at the policies of my alma mater, the University of Kentucky, it wouldn’t be permitted there. It meets the definition of the prohibited conduct of discrimination:

The film’s official summary says “[The Professor] begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade”, so it’s seemingly meant to be a sincere, personal declaration.

Sounds like the first live-action Jack Chick film. Count me in!

I can’t see this being a realistic scenario.

Most (all?) public universities do guarantee students’ freedom of religion. A professor who seriously had such a requirement would run afoul of university policy. It usually works the other way. Classes that explicitly deal with one religion are generally expected to be welcoming to students of other faiths.

Some private universities do require a positive affirmation of faith from students and faculty and can/do discriminate based on it. I suppose I could envision somebody attempting to establish a private university that requires a positive affirmation of no faith, but it doesn’t exist now and would probably come under assault pretty quickly.

If it’s a state school, I think there would be religious liberty/separation of church and state issues with forcing students to affirm the nonexistence or death of God.

A private school could do whatever it wanted. There are certainly Christian schools that expect students to affirm quite detailed “Statements of Faith”: Patrick Henry College requires all faculty and students to “fully and enthusiastically subscribe” to a Statement of Faith which includes not only a belief in Trinitarian Christianity but also that the 66-book Protestant canon of the Bible is “inerrant in its original autographs” and that “Satan exists as a personal, malevolent being who acts as tempter and accuser, for whom Hell, the place of eternal punishment, was prepared, where all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity”.

I don’t know of anyone in this country who has tried to set up a private college where all teachers and students must subscribe to the some statement affirming that there are no gods or angels or demons; it would be perfectly constitutional to do so but (as a lifelong atheist) I think it would be a completely ridiculous idea and basically antithetical to the idea of a true university–universities ought to be bastions of freedom of thought, and not forced to uphold anyone’s unquestionable dogmas or doctrines.

I am at work right now and cannot watch videos with sound. I’ll watch it in a few hours when I get home.

Still, my point stands: college professors can teach their subjects in nearly any way they see fit. If enough students complain or simply stop signing up for their classes, maybe that would engender a change in behaviour, but I think it’s fairly rare for a college or university to tell someone exactly how to teach a particular class.

So, if a college professor told everyone to take off their clothes or else they fail the class that would be OK? Or is that one of those “rare” occasions, but the the scenario in the OP is not?

Tenured professors are certainly given a lot of latitude, but I doubt many (if any) colleges or universities in the US would allow the behavior described in the OP.

If it’s on the first day, no problem.

A truly evil professor waits until after the add/drop deadline.

I’d say you’re incorrect. At most colleges there are limits on what professors can do, probably all colleges. The hardcore religious schools wouldn’t allow something like this. The public schools would be afraid of discrimination laws.

At public schools I’d be surprised if forcing a Christian or Muslim or some other serious monotheist to assert they don’t believe in God would either explicitly run afoul of civil rights laws or would run afoul of campus administrator’s “red line” on things like that and you would probably see action taken. Under civil rights legislation religion is one of the protected classes along with race, national origin, veteran status, age, and disability (did I miss one?) Some States you can add in sexual orientation and gender identity.

At most of the private schools that are well respected, even the religious ones (like Georgetown, Notre Dame) sort of go above and beyond to be inclusive. I believe Notre Dame and Georgetown traditionally make you take on course on Catholicism but have tons of “conscience” exceptions where you can get out of it and take an alternative instead.

Some of the hardcore fundamentalist schools (many of which are not accredited by the respected accreditation bodies and have degrees that many employers treat essentially as nothing) don’t have this level of respect, and even some of the accredited religious schools cross the line as well (Brigham Young is decently respected by requires a non-denominational profession of faith and a voucher from a faith leader about your faith prior to admissions) but consider the premise of the OP. This is a movie apparently put out as evangelical proselytizing so I’m going to guess the student doesn’t attend a school that is a self-professed atheist organization and requires students to be atheists to attend, but is probably a public liberal arts college as that would represent one of the great “enemies” to the evangelicals.

"God is dead." – Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead." – God

Is this an art class about producing artwork of nude subjects? It might be ok. Is it a nursing school class? I can think of more situations where your hypothetical might be okay. Outside of any relevance to the class, which is entirely unlike the situation described in the OP, I doubt it would be okay; it would more likely be considered abusive and exploitative.

The situation in the OP is the equivalent of forcing students to write “I like mudkips”.

No, no, no, no, he’s on the outside, looking in.

[Oops wrong thread… :rolleyes:]

This act would engender one of those fairly rare cases. Watch the trailer when you can, it’s not a rhetorical teaching device, but rather a multi-day showdown between a student, and a professor demanding that he abandon his religion or be failed.

Heck, starting out with “God is dead” is silly. Just teach a class on Nietzsche and Ayn Rand and 75% of the students will end up atheist, anyway.

This strikes me as a perfectly reasonable way to start of Philosophy 101 class. Or Ethics. Or Semiotics. Maybe even Epistemology.

How would the atheist deal with this question? How could a non-existent being die?

The irreligious superstitious?

The religious ambitious?

The very polite?

This could be a very interesting, and inexpensive, indie film …

Outside of a theology class, would it be against college rules to require students to pass forward a note stating that god is the end all be all?
If anyone objects they fail.
If the school had no problem with with this scenario then it should be fine to do the god is dead thing. Or vice versa.