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A best-selling 15th century work of fiction was The Tale of the Two Lovers, an erotic novel by the man who later became Pope Pius II.

In 1967, Picoaz, Ecuador, elected a brand of foot deodorant as the town’s mayor.

The word ‘fun’ does not appear in the King James Bible.

At least 109 journeys between adjacent London Underground stations are quicker to walk.

Apostasy, the abandonment of religion, is a capital offence in Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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Conversations: Doing Good for God


Lysandra
What about all of the good things people have done in the name of God? It is undeniable that many people of faith make heroic sacrifices to relieve the suffering of other human beings.

Helena
You’re right. But is it necessary to believe anything on insufficient evidence in order to behave this way? If compassion were really dependent upon religious dogmatism, how could we explain the work of secular doctors in the most war-ravaged regions of the developing world? Many doctors are moved simply to alleviate human suffering, without any thought of God. Continue reading

World History with the Pope


Scene 1. “Atheism has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice.” says the pope, quite emphatically.

Scene 2. “We will spread rational inquiry by the sword!” thus shouts an angry broadsword-wielding crusader on the burning field of battle, his devout chest adorned by the Darwin adaptation of the Ichtus fish.

Scene 3. “Denounce Creation Theory and you will die quickly.” grins a pointy-hooded sinister figure in the shadows, wielding the controls to a breaking wheel on which a spreadeagled naked man is barely coping with the blinding pain of his torture.

Scene 4. “Of course slavery is justified: we live in an amoral, godless universe!” thus yells a proud Confederate soldier, his eyes bulging with anger and indignation at the impertinent question that was directed at him.

Scene 5. “Praise Richard Dawkins!” hail the atheists who are about to crash a hijacked commercial jet into a tall New York skyscraper.

Scene 6. “Let’s read Nietzsche and cuddle.” says a sweaty elderly priest, trying to comfort an underaged boy with an embrace.


Adapted from a comic by Matt Bors (2007, December 12) “World History with the Pope” distributed by UFS. Inc.

Christmas and Mithras


Christmas is celebrated on 25 December because it is the birthday of the Roman sun god Mithras, whose stories bear a striking resemblance to the basic mythology of Christianity. Characteristics of the Mithras cult included:

  • Mithras being a saviour sent to Earth to live a mortal whom it was possible for sinners to be reborn into immortal life.
  • He died for human sins but came back the following Sunday.
  • He was born of a virgin on 25 December in a manger (or perhaps a cave), attended by shepherds and became known as the light of the world.
  • He had 12 disciples whom he shared a last meal before dying.
  • His devotees symbolically consume the flesh and blood of him.
  • Because he was a sun god he was worshipped on Sundays.
  • He is often depicted with a halo around his head.
  • Worshippers of Mithras gave each other gifts on 25 December.
  • The leader of the religion was called a “Papa”, and their headquarters was Vatican Hill in Rome.

As for December 25 being Jesus’ birthday, no-one is certain on what date Jesus was born – that is, should he indeed have existed. According to Islam, Jesus was born in the summer, while Jehovah’s Witnesses claim he born on the 1st of October. Speaking of which, according to the Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain, the Jehovah’s Witnesses must be right since presumably they were there.

“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? ” ― Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes

Limbo and Poseidon


‘Consider the recent deliberations of the Roman Catholic Church on the doctrine of limbo. Thirty top theologians from around the world recently met at the Vatican to discuss the question of what happens to babies who die without having undergone the sacred rite of baptism. Since the Middle Ages, Catholics have believed that such babies go to a state of limbo, where they enjoy what St. Thomas Aquinas termed “natural happiness” forever. This was in contrast to the opinion of St. Augustine, who believed that these unlucky infant souls would spend eternity in hell.

Though limbo had no real foundation in scripture, and was never official Church doctrine, it has been a major part of the Catholic tradition for centuries. In 1905, Pope Pius X appeared to fully endorse it: “Children who die without baptism go into limbo, where they do not enjoy God, but they do not suffer either.” Now the great minds of the Church have convened to reconsider the matter.

Can we even conceive of a project more intellectually forlorn than this? Just imagine what these deliberations must be like. Is there the slightest possibility that someone will present evidence indicating the eternal fate of unbaptized children after death? How can any educated person think this anything but a hilarious, terrifying, and unconscionable waste of time? When one considers the fact that this is the very institution that has produced and sheltered an elite army of child molesters, the whole enterprise begins to exude a truly diabolical aura of misspent human energy.

The conflict between science and religion is reducible to a simple fact of human cognition and discourse: either a person has good reasons for what he believes, or he does not. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe. Everyone recognizes that to rely upon “faith” to decide specific questions of historical fact is ridiculous—that is, until the conversation turns to the origin of books like the Bible and the Koran, to the resurrection of Jesus, to Muhammad’s conversation with the archangel Gabriel, or to any other religious dogma. It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail.

While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society. Religion is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about. It is telling that this aura of nobility extends only to those faiths that still have many subscribers. Anyone caught worshipping Poseidon, even at sea, will be thought insane.'[4]

[4] Truth be told, I now receive e-mails of protest from people who claim, in all apparent earnestness, to believe that Poseidon and the other gods of Greek mythology are real.

Harris. S. 2006. Letter To A Christian Nation p. 21-22

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In Britain, it is illegal for a political party in an election to call itself ‘None of the Above’. This is to prevent the words appearing on ballot papers; presumably, there is a fear that the NOTA party would win by a landslide.

Michael J Fox’s middle name is Andrew.

Karaoke means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.

In the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the word ‘sponge-cake’ is attributed to Jane Austen.

The first treaty Adolf Hitler ever made as a dictator was with the Vatican.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Doing Good for God


‘What about all of the good things people have done in the name of God? It is undeniable that many people of faith make heroic sacrifices to relieve the suffering of other human beings. But is it necessary to believe anything on insufficient evidence in order to behave this way? If compassion were really dependent upon religious dogmatism, how could we explain the work of secular doctors in the most war-ravaged regions of the developing world? Many doctors are moved simply to alleviate human suffering, without any thought of God. While there is no doubt that Christian missionaries are also moved by a desire to alleviate suffering, they come to the task encumbered by a dangerous and divisive mythology. Missionaries in the developing world waste a lot of time and money (not to mention the goodwill of non-Christians) proselytizing to the needy; they spread inaccurate information about contraception and sexually transmitted disease, and they withhold accurate information.

While missionaries do many noble things at great risk to themselves, their dogmatism still spreads ignorance and death. By contrast, volunteers for secular organizations like Doctors Without Borders do not waste any time telling people about the virgin birth of Jesus. Nor do they tell people in sub-Saharan Africa—where nearly four million people die from AIDS every year—that condom use is sinful. Christian missionaries have been known to preach the sinfulness of condom use in villages where no other information about condoms is available. This kind of piety is genocidal.[1] We might also wonder, in passing, which is more moral: helping people purely out of concern for their suffering, or helping them because you think the creator of the universe will reward you for it?’

Harris. S. 2006. Letter To A Christian Nation p. 12-13

[1] If you can believe it, the Vatican is currently opposed to condom use even to prevent the spread of HIV from one married partner to another. The Pope is rumored to be reconsidering this policy. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care, announced on Vatican radio that his office is now “conducting a very profound scientific, technical and moral study” of this issue (!). Needless to say, if Church doctrine changes as a result of these pious deliberations, it will be a sign, not that faith is wise, but that one of its dogmas has grown untenable.

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Berliner Luft is a dessert cream, liqueur, and canned air – a famous Berlin souvenir – a small can filled with air supposedly from the German capital.

Camels store fat in their humps, not water.

One day on the Moon is 29 1/2 Earth days. This rotation coincides perfectly with its rotation around the Earth so that we always only see one side of the Moon.

On 11 February 2013, confirmed Pope Benedict XVI would resign the papacy on 28 February 2013 as a result of his advanced age, becoming the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415. The move was considered unexpected. In modern times, all popes have stayed in office until death. Not only that, Benedict will be the first Pope to have resigned voluntarily since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

In the Eon Production James Bond films, the third actress to play Miss Moneypenny was called Samantha Bond.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts