Shlomo, Herb, and Esther Part the Sea

November 1, 2013

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

Oklahoma atheist group FreeOK is doing a big charity drive for kids affected by natural disasters. 

Pope Francis is looking for ways to let divorced Catholics get communion again. Stop this guy! He's crazy!

I would like to combine these next two links into one gestalt-uber-nonsense story. First, two Nashville pastors proclaim "they can use hyperbaric chambers to treat everything from hair loss to depression." Then, this guy thinks JFK was killed to keep him from spilling the beans about UFOs. Now SOMEBODY GET TO WORK MERGING THESE TWO. 

53% of Americans don't want religion influencing policy, according to a new ABC poll. 

Protip for those looking to summon the avenging spirit of Bloody Mary from Ben Radford: "Sometimes Mary only appears after a toilet has been flushed or a candle is blown out."

Ben also notes that while many religious folks are hung up on Halloween being evil, it's of a piece with other beliefs:

Halloween is only a high-profile part of the problem. Role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, the Harry Potter books, and even popular films like “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial” and “Ghostbusters” are also gateways to sin. Rap music, violent cartoons and video games, and so on are all evidence of social moral decay leading to drug use, suicide and murder.  

WGNO (motto: "God bless Louisiana") more or less posts a commercial-as-article for a local psychic who performs seances. 

Kentucky Baptist childcare agency, Sunrise Children’s Services, considers opening the door to hiring gays. Hey now, let's not get crazy.

BREAKING: Bill Donohue is kind of a jerk

Cleveland law professors get a $666 pay raise, and apparently have no sense of humor about it. Hey guys, I'll take it. 

The Age covers the Indian Rationalist Association's efforts to lessen the influence of spiritual gurus

Ray Comfort, musing about school shootings, keeps it classy:

Yeah you can see humanism rear its ugly head every time there’s a school shooting or some father gets a knife and slits the wife’s, uh, the throat of his wife and children. What the world does is that it believes that every person is born good, and this person who did this heinous thing has gone off the rails. There’s some mitigating circumstance. 

Quote of the Day

Lawrence Shapiro at Aeon says you should absolutely not believe in miracles, and here ponders what even qualifies:

Does rarity really indicate miraculousness? Suppose for a moment that Moses parting the Red Sea was not such an uncommon event. Perhaps he parted the Red Sea every day and twice on Sundays. Maybe not just Moses, but his friends Shlomo, Herb, and Esther also took turns parting the Red Sea. I think if people were parting the Red Sea frequently, we would begin to suspect that nothing unnatural was going on. We might suppose that the Red Sea has unusual tides and that Moses and his friends just figured out the schedule. On the other hand, we might come to think that Moses & Co had secretly installed a drain at the bottom of the sea. The more frequent the partings, the more inclined we’d be to regard them as a feature of nature, or a trick with a perfectly natural explanation. It’s because, to our knowledge, the sea never parts on command that we find a supernatural explanation tempting when it does.

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