In the Internet age, conspiracy theories are so widespread that when someone says the Moon landing was faked by lizard people who killed Princess Diana on September 11, we don’t even argue anymore. But there are some theories that never quite caught on. Hidden away on the Net are theories so crazy that they even made the lizard people–truthers a little skeptical.
America’s come a long way. The days of keeping slaves and forbidding women from voting have come and gone. Today, the people of the land of the free can take pride in living in a country where all people are created equal, and all people enjoy the same rights.
Almost all the same rights. If you still have a few prejudiced bones in your body, you can act on them all you want—just as long as you know the right circumstances.
Nearly 15 million Mormons are spread across the world, yet the rest of the population seems to know little about them or their beliefs. They seem like wholesome people, but what are their lives actually like? What rules are the Mormons supposed to follow?
It’s a question worth asking because it turns out that there are quite a few rules—and some of them are a lot weirder than you might expect.
Pope Alexander VI is often considered the most evil man ever to hold the papal office. He fathered seven children, helped his son Cesare invade Italy, poisoned his enemies, and held orgies inside the Vatican. Even his son and daughter were lovers.
Today, he and his family—the infamous Borgias—are viewed as one of the most evil organizations in all of history. And yet, this family is responsible for some of the greatest contributions to human society. There are people and works of art that changed society so drastically that a world without them is almost impossible to imagine—and we owe every one of them to history’s most evil Pope.
Every religion seems a bit strange if you’re not a member. The idea of worshiping an unseen god or a many-handed elephant can all seem a little bit odd if it’s not a part of your culture.
Those, however, are just the religions that caught on. There have been other things through history that people have decided to kneel down and pray to that never really made the same splash—and they might not be the things you’d expect.
Do animals have emotions? This is a bigger question than it might appear to be. When an animal feels and cares for someone beyond itself, it’s more than just a cute story to post on Facebook. It’s an insight into the nature of what they really are. Beyond even that, it might just be a glimpse into a redeeming part of our animal side that shows a basic decency that is built into the biology of life.
There are proven records of animals showing empathy. Several, in fact. Sometimes, animals take care of each other. Sometimes, they show outpourings of grief, and sometimes, they even take care of us. However they show it, though, there are several times when animals have shown empathy—and some of them are in ways that are so much like humans that they will shock you.
“I just wish I wasn’t so angry all the time!”
It was the type of self-reflection you’d expect to hear from a middle-aged man after his third or fourth divorce, but there it was coming from my four-year-old son. His face was down on his bed, his little fists clenched so tightly they’d turned red.
He’d just gotten in trouble for throwing a toy, and been told to go to his room. He’d struggled with the command. We could see the battle inside his mind playing out on his face – on one side, the desire to be a good boy; on the other, a furious sense that all of this was horribly unfair. In the end just he let out an animal scream, threw himself into the ground and broke down, punching and kicking the floor.
Now he was in his room – dragged there – and was stewing in his own fury, staring for the first time as the complexity of his soul and the nature of the beast within.
The question he’d asked was one my wife and I had asked ourselves more than once before, when his emotions overpowered his sensitivity and he burst into these fiery rages. Why was he so angry all the time? Was it our fault? Was it normal? Was it controllable? Or did we have a future serial killer under our roof, building up a fury that would one day explode?