Atheists Don’t Steal Danish Bicycles

October 1, 2013

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

The government may be shut down, but luckily, heresy does not depend on public funds.   

Yesterday was International Blasphemy Rights Day, and I was proud to watch as CFI's Michael De Dora did a live Google Hangout interview with persecuted atheist Kacem El Ghazzali of Morocco. (Alber Saber was supposed to be there, too, but his connection failed. We plan to have him back.) Skim past the technical troubles in the first few minutes, and then it's a great interview with a fascinating guy.  

Also yesterday we launched the Living without Religion campaign, and people seem really excited about it. I know we are! Tweets are coming in that eloquently tell how you guys live happy, fulfilling lives #withoutreligion, and I encourage you to keep it up. If you live in or near DC, NYC, Grand Rapids/Detroit, or Indianapolis, keep your eyes out for the ads, like this one in Michigan!  

Hemant is in the spirit:

Remember, above all things, this is a campaign to extol the virtues of Humanism, the positive side of atheism. It’s really not anti-God or anti-Religion, even though you know local media outlets will make it sound that way. . . . CFI definitely deserves praise for its excellent ad design (yep, even I’m saying that) as well as for using a diverse group of people for the ads. 

JT Eberhard says the campaign is "pretty nifty" and agrees that "life without religion simply rules." 

Remember how I was just at the Religion Newswriters conference in Austin, and I was also on a panel of heathens for a "Breakfast with the Atheists" thing? Remember? It's okay. Anyway, they recorded the audio (MP3), and I come in at about the 32 minute mark, and a bit more throughout the remainder. 

Police in Montgomery, Alabama are betting that some old time religion will help reduce crime.

Rod Dreher explains his disassociation from American Catholicism (he's now practicing Eastern Orthodoxy), which he thinks has become too shallow and anesthetic:

As the [sex abuse] scandal raged, one Ash Wednesday, I attended mass at my comfortable suburban parish and heard the priest deliver a sermon describing Lent as a time when we should all come to love ourselves more.

If I had to pinpoint a single moment at which I ceased to be a Roman Catholic, it would have been that one.

Andreea Nica rounds up some of the more recent examples of blasphemy in art and popular culture. Ah, memories. 

IHEU's Bob Churchill explains the various ways in which religious dissidents are persecuted with blasphemy laws.  

A new book by Ara Norenzayan on how particular religions came to triumph over others, not to mention how they deal with non-adherents. From a review by Michael Bond:

Norenzayan asks why in religious societies atheists are so profoundly distrusted – as many surveys have shown – rather than simply disliked or ignored. The reason, he suggests, is they are considered freeriders. To the faithful, those who don't believe in divine monitoring cannot be expected to act morally. But he also finds that prejudice against atheists diminishes in nations with strong state institutions. Police, judiciary, and the rule of law can be as effective as a supernatural power at ensuring cooperation and accountability. . . some of the most cohesive and peaceful societies are also the least religious. In Denmark, he notes, people don't steal bicycles even – especially – when the bicycles are free to use.

What the hell is a Hodag? Apparently, it's something you'll want to blow up with dynamite if it comes looking for you. 

Egypt Independent talks to a group of Egyptian atheists about how they arrived at nonbelief, and the consequences they now face. 

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh tells the UN, "Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence." Wait. What?   

Marianne Bujacich at the GW Hatchet reports on the big Richard Dawkins event (with friend-of-the-Heresy Jamila Bey). 

Pope Francis convenes his own little G8 of cardinals to talk about church reform

One week into her hunger strike in prison, Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is hospitalized

At least six of the 28 members of Texas's panel that oversees science textbooks reject evolution

Quote of the Day

A win for Grumpy Cat on Blasphemy Rights Day:

Jesus: I died for your sins.

Grumpy Cat: Good. 

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