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The Pew Research Center has been asking Americans for years whether they think someone has to believe in God in order to be good. The number who say God belief isn't necessary to be moral or to have good values has steadily risen and now makes up the majority. In October, Pew released data showing that 56% now say atheists are perfectly capable of being moral people with good values, up from 49% in 2011. This increase is not only due to the fact that more people identify as "nones;" across all religious affiliations Pew sampled, the number who acknowledged the possibility of goodness without God went up. Among black Protestants, for example, 26% now say it's possible, up from 19% six years ago. And the increase among white evangelical Protestants shot up from 26% to 32%.


Vice ran a story in December about a Canadian Catholic woman who procured the nearly 500-year-old severed arm (including hand) of Saint Francis Xavier from Rome and will be touring around Canada with it in January. It seems the Catholic Church has the entire body preserved and has removed various parts and sent them to a number of places abroad, including Japan.

The arm is kept in a case made of gold and glass, and the Vatican also gave the woman, Angele Regnier, a travel bag lined with foam and plexiglass for the tour. "It's like doing a road trip with a friend," Regnier said in a CBC Radio interview, to which Vice reporter Premila D'Sa opined: "This is a ridiculous comparison but it could also be the premise of a buddy road trip film that I would definitely watch."

Francis's body is considered a miracle since it hasn't completely decomposed. But miracles don't come cheap; Regnier has to book the arm its own seat on the plane. "When you can come closer you can see that there is meat on those bones, this is an arm," she told CBC. Let's just hope the air sick bags are well stocked for that flight.


A study published in November in the International Journal of Public Health looked at the psychological effects of nonphysical sexual harassment on high school students and found that boys and girls are equally exposed to unpleasant or offensive harassment.

Associate Professor Mons Bendixen and Professor Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Department of Psychology divided sexual harassment into two main groups: nonphysical harassment (hearing derogatory sexual remarks about one's appearance, behavior, or sexual orientation; unwanted sexual attention; being the subject of rumors; and being shown sexually oriented images) and physically coercive sexual behavior, such as unwanted kissing, groping, intimate touch, and intercourse.

Approximately 3,000 students responded to questions about sexual harassment and while researchers reported that 62% of both boys and girls had experienced some form of the nonphysical type in the previous year, girls were more negatively affected, experiencing higher levels of depression, negative body image, or low self-esteem. This suggests that boys whose wellbeing isn't negatively impacted by nonphysical harassment may be under the false impression that it's okay to harass others in a similar way.

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Publication:The Humanist
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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