A Muddled and Troubling Lesson
March 29, 2016
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Georgia's governor Nathan Deal -- a Republican! -- vetoes the state's anti-LGBT "religious freedom" bill. Wisely not being North Caroline, Deal says:
I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, which I and my family have been a part of for generations.
You should read Kimberly Winston's piece about the blasphemy law in Pakistan, about real religious persecution, and how it's all really sad.
Relatedly, protests continue to erupt over the execution of the man who murdered Punjab governor Salman Taseer for criticizing the blasphemy law.
On Point of Inquiry, Lindsay Beyerstein is joined by journalist Ann Neumann, who talks about how awful dying is. Not death, per se, but dying. It's not as miserable as I'm making it out to be.
Ron Lindsay offers helpful suggestions to the "gifted and inspired" writers at the NRA who have recently rewritten popular fairy tales to include the virtues of firearms. Ron suggests they start adding guns n' ammo to the New Testament:
Now it came to pass that the authorities decided to arrest Jesus, as his vigorous advocacy of Second Amendment rights was causing a tumult. For protection, Jesus always carried with him both a handgun and an AR-15, but Judas, a disciple who betrayed Jesus to curry favor with the Hollywood crowd, stealthily removed these weapons while Jesus slept. So the authorities came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. One disciple pulled out a knife and cut off the ear of one of the jackbooted government thugs. To this Jesus said, “An ear? Really? Is that the best you can do?”
In the aftermath of the Lahore Easter attack and ISIS's genocidal acts, Iraqi Christians are expressing this sentiment: "We are threatened with extinction."
The fellow who brought a gun into the Capitol yesterday and was shot by police is one Larry Russell Dawson of Tennessee, who has been arrested in DC before, declaring himself "a prophet of God."
A Catholic priest in Canada gambles away $500,000 meant for refugees from Iraq.
FFRF puts up billboards declaring "I'm an atheist and I vote" in Madison, Wisconsin ahead of the state's primaries.
Rafael Cruz (Ted's dad) points the finger at the signing of the Humanist Manifesto as when everything went to crap, and then the guns will be taken away, and used on Christians or something.
Damon Linker is pessimistic about doubt:
Nothing about human history or the present world gives us reason to conclude that most people are thoughtful, inclined toward standing back and judging their beliefs in a detached and dispassionate way, living in doubt, and affirming a life dominated by questions rather than answers. On the contrary, human history and the present world teach a far more muddled and troubling lesson, which is that the vast majority of people who have ever lived find it perfectly possible and even downright appealing to affirm certainty about a range of issues, including the divine.
The natural condition of humanity, you might say, is relatively passive, dogmatic belief in whatever the political, moral, and religious authorities teach in a given time and place about right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust — and about God or the gods.
Quote of the Day:
Kavin Senapathy clears away the rubble of nonsense left by Andrew Wakefield's collapsing ego after his film is pulled from Tribeca:
I won’t mince words. There is no big pharma conspiracy to push vaccines, and the only fraudulent narrative is that of Andrew Wakefield and his supporters. To screen the film at Tribeca would provide a false balance around an issue that doesn’t have two equal points of view. It’s simple, vaccine opponents fail every test of science and logic and their propaganda doesn’t warrant validation.
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