Tourists visit the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza near Cairo. Tourist numbers have plummeted this year with the political turmoil in Egypt. Now, some Islamist politicians are proposing rules that could discourage visitors. Jamal Saidi/Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Hell was much written and thought about in 2011. In this 18th century engraving accompanying Dante's Inferno, Virgil leads the poet past souls writhing in torment in the River Styx. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Jake Finkbonner, shown with his father, Donny, and mother, Elsa, nearly died after contracting a flesh-eating bacterium. His family and friends prayed for a miracle, and now the Vatican has declared that his recovery was considered a miracle by the church. Barbara Bradley Hagerty/NPR hide caption

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After 20 minutes of silent witness, the angels gather around a group of neighbors and pray with them for employment, for better living conditions, for salvation from sin, and for an end to the murders. Raymundo Aguirre for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Raymundo Aguirre for NPR

Christopher Hitchens, shown here in 2010, began a lifelong battle with a God he didn't believe in when he was just 9 years old. David Levenson/Getty Images hide caption

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A Hatzolah ambulance crew at the scene of a fire at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue in New York City last summer. Some Hasidic women want to form their own EMT unit within the Orthodox Jewish ambulance service to help women keep their modesty during emergency baby deliveries. Daniel Barry/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Daniel Barry/Getty Images