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Sister Frances Carr, left, and Brother Arnold Hadd of the Shaker Village sing during a rehearsal on Sept. 13, 1995. AP Photo/Adam Nadel

Why the legacy of Shakers will endure

The Shakers prioritized harmony and a simple lifestyle. They were among the earliest proponents of gender equality.
A mosaic of King Roger II: we should celebrate his 12th-century example of inter-cultural collaboration. Matthias Süßen/Wikimedia commons

What can the medieval King Roger teach us about tolerance?

A new production of the opera King Roger will open this week. At a time when Europe was charged with fear of the 'Muslim threat', this 12th century king collaborated with an Islamic scholar on an extraordinary project.
Some Christians interpret Biblical teachings to say that women are essentially equal to men, but should be submissive to male leaders in the church and home. Shutterstock

Explainer: why some churches teach that women are ‘separate but equal’

Complementarianism is the view – held by some Australian churches – that men and women have separate and divinely ordained roles: men are 'spiritual leaders' while women are 'helpmeets'.
Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December? Adoration of the shepherds (1622) by Gerard van Honthorst/WIkimedia Commons

How did we come to celebrate Christmas?

Before Christmas became child-centred, Father Christmas was the personification of a mid-winter feast of merrymaking for adults – and he brought no presents.
Shin'ya Tsukamoto (right) and Andrew Garfield in Silence (2016). Cappa Defina Productions

Scorsese’s Silence and the Catholic connection to the atomic bomb

Martin Scorsese's new film Silence will be shown to an audience of priests at the Vatican today. It tells the story of persecuted Christians in 17th century Japan - an event still remembered by Nagasaki's Catholic community.
Was persecution a consistent imperial policy, and what types of punishments were inflicted on Christians? The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883)/Wikimedia Commons

Mythbusting Ancient Rome – throwing Christians to the lions

The image of cowering Christians being thrown to the lions by Roman emperors is a grisly staple of popular culture. But how accurate is it?

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