The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
I know he’s my boss, and this will seem all sycophantic, but Ron Lindsay nails it with his take on the appropriate atheist response to religious invocations during this post-Newtown grief process, and how religious folks should remember to keep their atheist neighbors in mind during the same.
Anti-Claus Tom Flynn still thinks Christmas should be a normal work day, but this Christmas he will not be at his desk. Why? His love for his wife and a good deal.
At something called The Patriot Post, Terence Jeffrey looks into CFI’s website and position papers and is NOT pleased with what he sees. He’s particularly miffed about our positions on sex education. His verdict? “It is a very dark creed they preach.” You’re welcome.
Blogging at The Independent, atheist activist Waleed Alhusseini tells of his persecution for his nonbelief:
I spent the worst 10 months of my life in a Palestinian jail, facing constant pressure to say I was sorry.
Did you know that atheist groups put up billboards? Billboards, billboards, billboards. We’re going to become to billboards like Jehovah’s Witnesses are to door-knocking.
Five women distributing vaccinations in Pakistan are killed by Taliban murderers, ostensibly because of paranoia about vaccines being a cover for CIA activity.
Joanna Brooks: Romney’s candidacy did little for the public’s understanding of Mormonism.
Fully jumping the shark, The History Channel will present a 10-part dramatization of the Bible.
So here’s a kind myth that I didn’t expect would need a skeptical eye: The Verge says Instagram is not going to sell your photos. (I mean, they are doing other creepy things, but not that.)
Quote of the Day
It’s a slow news day on the heresy front, so I’m dipping back into this wonderful book on Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell, How to Live. Here’s her discussing Montaigne and his religiousness:
It is true that he showed little sign of real interest in religion. The Essays has nothing to say about most Christian ideas: he seems unmoved by themes of sacrifice, repentance, and salvation, and shows neither fear of Hell nor desire for Heaven. The idea that witches and demons are active in the world gets shorter shrift than does the idea of cats hypnotizing birds out of trees. When Montaigne broods on death, he apparently forgets that he is supposed to believe in an afterlife. He says things like, “I plunge head down, stupidly, into death … as into a silent and dark abyss which swallows me up at one leap and overwhelms me in an instant with a heavy sleep free from feeling and pain.” Theologians of the following century were horrified by this godless description. Another topic Montaigne shows no interest in is Jesus Christ. He writes about the noble deaths of Socrates and Cato, but does not think to mention the crucifixion alongside them. The sacred mystery of redemption leaves him cold. He cares much more about secular morality—about questions of mercy and cruelty. As the modern critic David Quint has summed it up, Montaigne would probably interpret the message for humanity in Christ’s crucifixion as being “Don’t crucify people.” On the other hand, it is unlikely that Montaigne was an out-and-out atheist; in the sixteenth century almost no one was.
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