Worshippers at Ash Wednesday mass.
AP Photo/Alan Diaz
Churches started to use ashes early as the ninth century as a symbol of repentance. In 1091, Pope Urban II ritualized their use to mark the beginning of Lent. Today, churches provide 'ashes to go.'
Relics of St. Valentine of Terni at the basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin.
Dnalor 01 (Own work)
Valentine's Day originated as a feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So how did the day become a celebration of love?
The nativity scenes celebrated each Christmas bear little resemblance to history.
The inn, the shepherds, angels and animals: pretty much everything we think we know about the Christmas story is historically wrong.
Many Australians celebrate Christmas, even those who don’t identify as being Christian.
If you're a non-believer, then staying away from Church may be the best thing for your psychological health this Christmas.
British author Philip Pullman.
In his new book, Philip Pullman, once again tackles religion as an oppressive institution. On another level, he continues the quest for explaining human consciousness.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu ‘s deep spirituality drove him to fight for freedom and justice.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is first and foremost, a spiritual leader, a man of deep prayer. This motivated his participation in supporting South Africa's liberation struggle.
Many religions see natural disasters as divine punishment. But, a scholar argues, it's not that simple.
A detail from William Blake’s God answers Job (c. 1804). The Gods of Moses in the Old Testament, Jesus in the New Testament and Muhammad in the Quran have a similarly complex and ambivalent character.
The founder of Islam, Muhammad, saw himself as the last in a line of prophets that reached back through Jesus to Moses, Abraham and Noah. But while the three religions worship the same God, he divides as much as he unites.
Does God exist?
There remain many mysteries that are beyond science. Does that mean that a God truly exists? A scholar gives reasons for this possibility.
Should you be digitally fasting this Lent?
Cellphone image via www.shutterstock.com
Digital fasting during Lent has become popular. Technology, in fact, can be good for religion.
Who really are America’s irreligious?
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston
Americans are increasingly choosing not to identify with any religious tradition. But this group of irreligious people is a complex one – with different relationships to religion.
The film is a powerful reworking of the novel by Japanese novelist Endō Shūsaku.
Jesus wasn't the only son of a god in ancient times. And, as you'd expect, divine offspring tended to be high achievers.
“I bless this business deal.”
No other nation has conjoined business success and piety quite like America has. Is Donald Trump's election a strange perversion of this tradition?
Leibniz’s 'great question' remains a central question in philosophy and science today.
50 years after Time magazine's famous 'Is God Dead?' cover, Church attendance numbers are tumbling. But that doesn't mean Christianity is on the way out.
Virtue and vice? Or just food?
Sugar and saturated fat aren't 'evil' and kale and avocado aren't 'good'.
Nick Lehr/The Conversation
The prosperity gospel – a uniquely American strand of Christian theology – creates a dilemma for its adherents.
With moralistic gods watching, it’s easier to be fair and cooperative.
For human groups to grow from small, intimate communities to the huge interconnected societies we know now, people needed to be willing to cooperate with strangers. Religion might have played a big role.
The discovery of Kepler-452b raises questions that go to the heart of religion.
NASA/AAP/ Artist's impression of Kepler-452b.
Kepler-452b's discovery last week has raised the perennial question: are we alone in the universe? While the find's scientific import is huge, it also poses questions that go to the heart of religion.