Greasy Faith

May 24, 2016


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

Research by St. Mary’s University shows that in the UK, the number of people claiming no religious affiliation has almost doubled from 2011 to 2014, with “nones” at 48.5%. Meanwhile, churches are “hemorrhaging worshippers” (as the Telegraph puts it), losing 11 congregants for every new one they gain. That’s truly remarkable.

On Point of Inquiry this week, Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Maia Szalavitz about the way addiction treatment is changing, and the way we perceive those going through addiction treatment is also changing. 

Speaking of Lindsay, tonight she’ll be hosting her webinar (I hate that word), “On Bullshit: Donald Trump, Harry Frankfurt, and Indifference to Truth.” Sign up! David Koepsell previews the presentation with a post on why Trump is being singled out.

And speaking of Trump, next month, Trump will have a closed-door meeting with, get this, 500 evangelical and conservative leaders. That sounds like a long, painful meeting. For everyone involved. 

Meanwhile, the opposite of Trump, Jimmy Carter, means to convene Baptists for a summit to take on racism

Ugh, one more Trump thing: While Trump says global warming is a hoax, he’s also building a wall — not to keep out Mexicans — but to keep the rising sea from destroying his golf course from, as his own documents put it, “global warming and its effects.” Can’t be too careful I guess. 

George Blaustein at n+1 explores the legacy of Antonin Scalia in terms of religion and originalism (I haven’t read it yet because come on it’s early).

David Gorski urges folks to sign this petition on blocking naturopaths from being able to be licensed as “doctors”:

Naturopaths desire all the status and privileges of medical doctors, but without the training, experience, or science-based standard of care. You may think I am being hard on naturopaths, but that is likely because they have been successful in selling their narrative and confusing the public about what they actually do. 

The Catholic Church’s own audit of itself shows “sharp increases” in reports of sexual abuse by clergy, up 35% from the previous year. At what point does this reach rock-bottom? 

Mike Scutari at Inside Philanthropy notes the news of the new chair of atheist studies at the University of Miami, and wonders if it heralds the ascent of big atheist donors

Reason Rally chief (and future CFI coworker) Liz Liddell makes a pitch at Friendly Atheist for support of the Rally.

This Thursday in Portland, Oregon is the Atheist Festival, sponsored in part by the folks at CFI–Portland. The Oregonian has an interview with the organizer.

Here we go: Talk begins of UFOs spotted by Turkish Airlines pilots near the crashed EgyptAir flight

Pine Bush, NY: “The Roswell of the East Coast,” and apparently a safe district for Trump. 

Varias personas en Santa Cruz, Bolivia informe viendo una tierra nave extraterrestre, de la que surgieron un ser que se parecía a un niño humano con brazos largos. Según los informes, la criatura subió a un árbol y desapareció. 

Quote of the Day:

Julian Baggini, reflecting on the big numbers for “nones” in the UK, discusses what role the concept of “faith” actually plays in the lives of the nonreligious (“If ‘religious’ is a slippery concept, ‘faith’ is even greasier”):

What we all need is not best described as faith. It is simply more than can be proven by logic and science. We need to believe in things that are not entirely justified by reason, but that does not require us to embrace creeds that reason tells against. The non-religious do not find meaning, purpose and value by taking a leap into the unknown and transcendental. We find it in the beauty and joy of life, and in the empathy that makes us see value in the lives of others too. These things are not facts captured by fundamental physics but nor are they religious mysteries to be taken on faith. What grounds us ethically can be found entirely on the literal ground on which we live. 

BONUS: The cover of Variety, featuring Marissa Mayer, the would-be savior of Yahoo:

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photo credit: The Exiles via photopin (license)

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