What a Fraud You’ll Feel Like

October 26, 2015

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

The New Yorker, just in time for Halloween, republishes its 2002 profile of CFI’s own Joe Nickell, with the best caricature of him ever. 

Today, however, Joe warns folks about a telephone scam where callers claim to be the IRS, and investigates claims of “miracles” from the painting of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.

Tanya Lewis at Business Insider explores the psychology behind ghost-belief, and checks in with CFI’s Ben Radford who asks, “If you’re genuinely terrified of ghosts and think they could kill you, why the [heck] would you go looking for them?” (I wonder what he said instead of “heck.”) 

Brian J. Grim & Brian W. Walsh write at Forbes that fostering religious pluralism around the world will help bring economic stability and perhaps “prove to be a global engine for innovation and sustainable development.” 

Looks like neither the Washington Post nor the LA Times are following the AP’s lead when it comes to climate change deniers: Both have headlines labeling deniers (Exxon and in Congress) “skeptics.”

Ben Carson comes out for a full ban on all abortions in all circumstances

Greg Gaffin is the frontman of Bad Religion, has a PhD in zoology, and has a new book out called Population Wars: A New Perspective on Competition and Coexistence. He talks to VICE about it

Mike Kilen at the Des Moines Register looks at how atheism has become less stigmatized in Iowa

Jesse Rifkin at The Daily Beast profiles atheist rapper Baba Brinkman

Steven Salzberg sees the censorship of science going on in Russia, and urges Russian scientists to flee to the West to do their work and critique the Putin regime.

Raza Habib Raja worries about the growing demonization of secularism (often as “sickularism”) in India. 

The Economist reports on a strange-bedfellows coalition of secularists and Christian groups against efforts in the UK to curtail radical speech. 

Jim Weiker at the Columbus Dispatch looks at the decision faced by realtors when they find a property is believed to be haunted

Goldwin Emerson at the London Free Press explains humanism:

Humanists try to sort through … ethical issues in a caring thoughtful and logical manner. What if we are wrong? What if there is a caring, loving, and wise God who has set out his ethical principles for us to follow? What if there really is a hell that awaits us with eternal damnation? Then we are wrong in our views. 

Anti-vaxxers and the Nation of Islam “rally” against vaccinations. With RFK Jr. 

Atheist Ijeoma Oluo says nonbelief is its own “leap of faith,” and cautions atheists not to judge believers:

We need to constantly examine and expose our nature as pack animals who are constantly trying to define the other in order to feel safe through all of the systems we build in society.  

Norwegians: Bustin’ makes them feel good.

Quote of the Day:

A 16-year-old atheist in Alabama writes to Dear Abby about her struggle to belong, and whether she should just pretend to be religious. “Abby” (Jeanne Phillips) responds:

I think you should continue being true to the person you really are. Let me point out that if you’re feeling isolated now, consider what a fraud you will feel like if you join a religion and must pray to a deity you don’t believe in in order to “fit in.”

While many churches promote church-related youth activities, you should explore what nonsectarian activities are available in your community. If the boy you like cares about you, he will like you even if you aren’t religious, and you will have your self-respect. It’s not easy feeling different, but sometimes it’s worth it.

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Original image by Shutterstock

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