With Special Guest Star Victor Garber as the Antichrist

May 21, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.  

Heather Adams at Religion News Service profiles Voices of Reason, the only atheist choir in the U.S. Oh, and look who she quotes:

James Underdown, executive director of the Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles, where Voices of Reason has performed several times, said the choir is a natural philosophic fit for their organization, whose mission is “to foster a secular society.”

“There’s a lot of music out there that celebrates religious beliefs,” Underdown said, adding that people in his community “appreciate hearing something that lands in their perspective every once in a while.”  

Stuart Vyse at CSICOP.org tries to suss out why millenials seem to be into astrology. One big factor is the stress of being a liberal in the Trump era:

Astrology has a stronger appeal for liberals than conservatives, and in the United States, since November of 2016, the liberal world has been rocked. If ever there was a time when liberals might be looking for a compensatory sense of control, now is it. ... If history of this moment has promoted belief in the paranormal, it would not be the first time. Earlier studies have shown an increased interest in astrology and other occult beliefs during periods of economic and political stress, such as in Germany during the 1930s.

How comforting.

Malin Fezehai at the Times profiles I Gusti Mangku Sasak, a healer in Bali, where healers outnumber doctors by 4 to 1:

I Gusti Mangku said he had treated heart conditions, headaches, deafness, breast cancer and other various illnesses. He also recognizes that there are some illnesses that he can’t treat. For example, when he sees patients with typhoid or cholera he will tell them to seek treatment at the  hospital. “A healer should never guarantee that they can heal people,” said I Gusti Mangku. 

At Religion Dispatches, Galen Watts considers whether Alcoholics Anonymous is its own "religion."

Jimmy Carter becomes the first Democrat to deliver the commencement address at Liberty University.

Emily McFarlan Miller reports from a Templeton Foundation-funded youth ministry conference, "Jesus Rode a Dinosaur and Other Silly Tales." 

A Louisiana bill, that would have made it so that students could participate in prayer activities with teachers if they had a permission slip, has been diluted to almost homeopathic levels.   

Nikhita Gowra at Deccan Chronicle reports on the rise of "Sujok" therapy, which uses "seeds, colours, magnets, and acupressure" to treat, like, everything, and "based on the belief that all the organs of the body can be treated via a person’s palms and feet."

Betty Crocker is the hero GMOs need. From their Twitter account:

GMOs are safe, we would not use them if we thought otherwise. Safe food is, and always has been, our number one priority. Global food and safety regulatory bodies including the FDA and the WHO have also verified their safety. 

When the nation is ripping itself to shreds over the pain, fear, and anger over school shootings, Ray Comfort is here to save the day with his Jesus powers.

An internal Google video was recenly revealed called The Selfish Ledger (a play on Dawkins' The Selfish Gene), which according the Vlad Savov at The Verge, "imagines a future of total data collection."

Some crazy Christian TV barker named Rick Wiles says, "I personally believe that the Man of Perdition, the one that you call Antichrist, I personally believe he will be a homosexual Jew." I hope it's Victor Garber!

Kari Paul at MarketWatch reports on a convergence of wishful thinking: cryptocurrencies and astrology. Now please enjoy these phrases quoted directly from the piece which are in no way funny at all when used out of context:

  • Uranus shifts every seven years
  • Uranus moving into Taurus 
  • Uranus will bounce back

Quote of the Day

Crispin Sartwell, writing at the Times, makes a case for a kind of "original sin":

The doctrine of original sin — in religious or secular versions — is an expression of humility, an expression of a resolution to face our own imperfections. In undertaking any such act there is risk. To allow the self-scrutiny required in this act to turn to self-loathing would be debilitating. But a secularized doctrine of original sin, a chastened self-regard, doesn’t entail consigning ourselves to the flames.    

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Original image by Huntington Theatre Company (CC-BY-2.0).

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