Offices of Charlie Hebdo, French Magazine Often Critical of Islam, Barraged with Gunfire; A Dozen Are Dead

In 2011, the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo ran this cover:

That’s “guest editor” Muhammad saying “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!”

For that, Hebdo‘s offices were firebombed and their website was hacked (with messages like “No God but Allah”).

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Mississippi Rep. Scott DeLano Says Law Preventing Atheists from Holding Public Office Should Remain in Constitution

We know that Mississippi is one of seven states where atheists theoretically can’t hold public office. Article 14, Section 265 of the state’s Constitution reads:

No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

All bans like this are, of course, unenforceable thanks to the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court.

Still, Openly Secular has been pushing for legislators to remove those bans from the books if for no other reason than to send the message that anti-atheist bigotry will not be tolerated.

It would take a lot of work to make that happen, but isn’t it something all politicians should at least pay lip service to? Surely, they would jump through hoops to change the law if the ban affected any other group of people.

But when an NPR reporter asked Mississippi’s House Constitution chair Scott DeLano (R) what he thought about the request to change the law, he argued that it should stay in place:

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Sam Harris Releases Lecture on Spirituality Without Religion as Streaming/On Demand Video

Last fall, Sam Harris gave a handful of lectures revolving around his new book Waking Up (all about spirituality without religion).

He’s now releasing a video of that lecture (along with Q&A) on his website for $5 — an idea that’s been pretty successful in the world of stand-up comedy.

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Conservative Catholic Hopes LGBT Community Respects Anti-Gay Christians if Marriage Equality Goes National

I was reading Jonathan Merritt‘s column yesterday about how evangelical Christians might respond next year if the Supreme Court decides that gay marriage should be legal everywhere, and one quotation really stood out.

It comes from Heritage Foundation fellow Ryan Anderson, a Roman Catholic, who’s talking about how conservative Christians might react to that news:

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It’s Time to Abandon the Irrational Concept of a Soul

While religion itself has received plenty of criticism over the past several years, the concept of the soul often gets a pass. Maybe it’s because the belief doesn’t do much damage, but it’s no more rational than a belief in God. There’s no evidence for it, you can’t sell it (I promise), and it really doesn’t weigh 21 grams.

Julien Musolino, a cognitive scientist and Associate Professor at Rutgers, has finally written a book debunking this idea that so many Americans hold dear. It’s bluntly titled The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs (Prometheus Books, 2015):

In the excerpt below, Musolino explains why the soul is a topic worth discussing:

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