In 2012, one of Germany’s highest courts ruled that people cannot formally quit a church with the status of a public corporation and still remain a member of that religious community. Catholics who formally quit their church, and thus pay no tax, yet continue practicing their faith may be barred from Communion, confession, positions of office, and possibly even a church burial.
A study of the world’s religions revealed that people who profess “no religious affiliation,” although not necessarily atheists, now number 1.1 billion. They were third in number after Christianity with 2.2 billion and Islam with 1.6 billion. Hinduism was fourth, with about 1 billion.
Japanese scientists have shown that receiving “praise activates reward-related areas of the brain,” inducing a “feeling of happiness.” The finding appears to validate the notion that giving praise is a good way to motivate people to improve.
In late 2012, Bolivia conducted a national census. So that the census would be accurate, Bolivians were required to remain at home on the day in question. Additionally, private traffic was forbidden, borders were closed, and alcohol consumption was banned.
In one survey, Italians said that, on average, they played with their children for 15 minutes a day. “Only 1 parent in 5 thinks that playing is educational,” says La Repubblica. Through play, parents help their children develop their imagination and a “sense of rules,” says Andrea Angiolino, a professional designer of board games.