What’s Not Important is to Be an Atheist

January 18, 2013

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

Pakistan's ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, is accused of blasphemy for allegedly making comments that one angry guy felt were derogatory to the Prophet Mohammad. Rehman is a supporter of reform of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Tom Flynn demolishes the recent article from Dennis Prager for his misunderstanding of atheism.

Because some folks asked what the CFI policy was on blocking folks on Twitter (though not in a nice way, like, at all), we decided to, you know, have a policy -- rare as it is. Here's the policy in full, and I blogged about it from my own perspective. Of course, all the comments are nasty, so I just can't win.

Fox News is reporting that an Egyptian woman and her seven children have been given a 15-year prison sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity. 

My oh my, Zack Kopplin, the 19-year-old atheist activist, is busy. He's now got an article at the CSI website on his fight with creationists in Louisiana. 

Sarah Kaiser talks to Kate Donovan about the CFI On Campus Affiliate of the Week, the Northwestern University Secular Student Alliance

Ryan Levi does a little thought experiment on the scientific plausibility of Genesis. Not the awesome band (yeah, I said it!) but the Bible thing.

Turkey's "science council" stops the publication of books about or supporting evolution. 

David Gibson on the "delicate balancing act" of abortion politics:

. . . what’s really going on is a case study in the psychology of movement politics, where activists have to rally supporters with cries of alarm without making them despair that all is lost. At the same time, they must offer evidence that their efforts are paying off without leaving them complacent. 

CFI-Long Island will host a Secular Parenting Forum in September.  

On February 17, CFI-DC will host our own John Shook to discuss "Who are the Nones?" 

Rabbi A. James Rudin on the dubious wisdom of using Bibles in inaugurations:

It is not the Bible, but rather the oath written into the Constitution that is necessary and sufficient for our leaders. Linking that pledge to any religious text does not add to the efficacy of the political vow. 

63% of American voters believe in some political conspiracy or another, according to a new poll. 

Robert P. Jones at WaPo: Catholics see abortion opposition and gun control as "pro-life," but...

Among white evangelical Protestants, by contrast, “pro-life” theology has no parallel history of flourishing over such wide terrain. When evangelical pastors try to weave together pro-life identity and theology with support for stricter gun control, they are, to borrow a Biblical metaphor, sowing seeds on rocky ground.   

CSI's Joe Nickell on his 1000 personas: "I long ago determined to investigate life—and cheat death—by living many lives in one." 

More from NPR and the nones: What happens when only one person in a marriage believes in God? 

Catholic News Agency: The Vatican is squeamish about potential picks for US ambassador to their city of gold, as they may have, gasp, disagreed at times with bishops:

“From the steps Obama has taken in the last year, it would seem that he is trying to diminish Church influence,” a Vatican official told CNA.

To borrow an expression: God forbid. 

Rev. Adam Hamilton will lead the upcoming National Prayer Service, to be attended by the president and vice president.  

More health care workers looking to opt out of flu vaccines due to religious objections

I have a song from a few years ago about a space ship that Carl Sagan was keen on. 

Catholic schools in Indonesia agree to give Islamic instruction to Muslim students. 

Quote of the Day

In Peter Boghossian's address to the FFRF convention, he warns us "not to become what we're fighting" in terms of being unwilling to revise our beliefs:

What's not important is to be an atheist. It is important to be a person who trusts reason, who formulates their beliefs on the basis of reliable evidence, and who's genuinely willing to reconsider. 

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net! 

The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta

Comments:

#1 approximat (Guest) on Friday January 18, 2013 at 9:55am

Turkish state science council denies ‘evolution censor’

#2 Thaumas Themelios (Guest) on Saturday January 19, 2013 at 10:51am

“Of course, all the comments are nasty, so I just can’t win. “

Um, what? I read the first seven so far and they are not ‘nasty’ at all, unless you classify skepticism and criticism and questions as ‘nasty’. Here’s one, quoted for convenience:

“#5 Oliver (Guest) on Thursday January 17, 2013 at 10:26pm

I am a man with learning difficulties who is in a long term relationship with a trans woman and grew up with African foster bothers. I believe in equality for all and deplore any kind of hatred based on race, sexuality or gender.

Yet the fact that I disagree with the radical feminist views that Western women are oppressed, that the West has an epidemic of rape and that our language needs policing I am regularly accused of being a sexist bigot and blocked or banned on forums like Atheism+ and “freethought” blogs.

The above policy seems to leave ample room for the blocking of people who disagree with the radical feminist ideology which CFI has embraced.

Can you assure us that no such policy of blocking legitimate critics of CFI’s hard line feminism will occur? “

What’s ‘nasty’ about that?

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