Mostly Warps and Rarely Fulfills

March 18, 2013

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

Our boss Ron Lindsay is back at work after being on a leave of absence (not that you'd know it):

Been gone for a few weeks. Living in a cave in north Pakistan. Little known fact: Al-Zawahiri snores. 

NYT focuses on Pope Francis during the Argentinian "Dirty War," as he offers a "complex description of his role during the dictatorship." 

Still, at the very least, this pope offered his popeliness to nonbelievers:

Given that many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I give this blessing from my heart, in silence, to each one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you, but knowing that each one of you is a child of God. May God bless you. 

Yes, the Pope believes in evolution, mostly, because the Catholic Church officially accepts it. 

Emma G. Keller writes that Ratzinger's resignation was the straw that broke the camel's back for her switch from Catholicism to Episcopalianism:

The scandals grew and multiplied, going higher and higher up. Where would it end? And then, the pope quit. The pope! He left. He walked out on it all. I watched him fly away from Rome and I thought, "That's it." In the few moments of his flight, I left too. I decided I could no longer be a part of this church. It was over. 

Miranda Celeste Hale warns not let the new pope's flare for austerity fool us: the Church's opposition to contraception is a key blockade to fighting poverty. 

Whew. Okay, that's enough pope for now. 

Seema Jilani at NYT reminds us that Malala Yousafzai was not the only victim of the Taliban attack that day, and asks us to recognize her friends Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan

The folks at CERN are certain. It's the Higgs, alright

Hey, you folks who made that Bible docu-drama-thing on the History Channel? Subtle. Real subtle

Stephen Law talks about God, atheism, and evil, and all that other stuff, in these videos for Closer to Truth

At the CFI On Campus blog, Chris Burke is pleased with his experiences with interfaith engagement:

These dialogues offer the same sort of intellectual stimulation I would expect to get from weekly discussions with the campus atheist club, with the only difference being one of perspective. 

Susan Jacoby talks to Five Books about understanding atheism.

Pakistan's chief justice says that we shouldn't be punishing whole communities for blasphemy. Oh, but totally still punish whoever committed the blasphemy, obviously. 

Here's an opening paragraph for you, from Martín Caparrós at NYT:

We Argentines are a credulous people. Perhaps 9 out of 10 of us believe in some God; most of us certainly believe that that God is Argentine. 

This is going on my to-read list: Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept by Brent Nongbri. 

New book argues that one can't really be spiritual or religious without a formal structure and institution.  

Here's a shirt that I think would sell well at a skeptics' convention. 

Herb Silverman writes about palling around with Richard Dawkins in South Carolina.  

Egypt reportedly allows regular folks to make citizen's arrests against tourists who blaspheme. 

Hey, no worries. That giant Jesus portrait has been removed from that Ohio public middle school. And placed in a high school

A petition drive in Liberia aims to change its constitution to declare the country a "Christian nation." 

NYT on some nonbelievers' "eccentric observance of Lent." Paging Tom Flynn. 

Sarah Posner notices that the RNC's post-defeat outreach plan doesn't mention, anywhere, "Christian, religion, abortion, marriage, Jesus, [or] God."

Staks Rosch talks to SCA's Edwina Rogers about attending - shudder - CPAC. 

Alt-meds like acupuncture, chiropractics, hypnosis and tai-chi have been approved by France's medical academy.  

Meanwhile, trainers from The Biggest Loser hawk pseudoscientific weight loss products

CFI-LA's Jim Underdown reports back from his experience at the ConDor sci-fi convention. 

Rhino horn is being hunted and sold as a cure for cancer

Family Research Council winger Pat Fagan is upset that in 1972, "the Supreme Court essentially said is single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse." The nerve. 

Cataloging Nessie sightings

HuffPo's tips for quality UFO tracking includes "warm clothing." 

(Here's where today's image comes from.) 

Quote of the Day 

Ross Douthat on the problem of the Catholic Church's moral authority:

. . . it’s one thing for Catholics in a Catholic culture, possessed of shared premises and shared moral ideals, to accept a certain amount of “do as I say, not as I do” from their pastors and preachers. It’s quite another to ask a culture that doesn’t accept Catholic moral ideals to respect an institution whose leaders can’t seem to live out the virtues that they urge on others.

In that culture — our culture — priestly sex abuse and corruption in the Vatican aren’t just seen as evidence that all men are sinners. They’re seen as evidence that the church has no authority to judge what is and isn’t sin, that the renunciation Catholicism preaches mostly warps and rarely fulfills, and that the world’s approach to sex (and money, and ambition) is the only sane approach there is. 

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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. 

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