Songwriters such as Nick Cave (pictured) and the late Yolngu star Gurrumul have often drawn on the scriptures in their work.
In less than two generations, the proportion of Australians who never pick up a Bible has leapt to seven out of ten. But a robust biblical literacy can help us decode creative works and understand the past.
Evangelist Billy Graham.
AP Photo/Nell Redmond
In the 1950s, religious language found its way into government and politics, due in no small part to Billy Graham.
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?
Loneliness (feeling alone) and solitude (being alone) are not the same thing.
The long, dark days of winter can be a particularly lonely time for some people. But hermits, in many religious traditions, often found joy in being alone.
‘In God we Trust’ on dollar bills.
President Trump claims that America is a nation based in faith. A scholar says, it's more complicated.
Why Jerusalem matters to evangelicals.
Many American evangelicals believe that the establishment and protection of Israel set up a chain of event for the return of Jesus. What were the origins of this narrative?
Immaculate Heart College Art Department c. 1955.
Photograph by Fred Swartz. Image courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles.
In the '60s, a Roman Catholic religious order, the Immaculate Heart Sisters, created a new vision of a religious community. Meghan Markle, engaged to Prince Harry, attended the high school founded by the nuns.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File
When people feel discriminated against because of their religion, they can feel threatened, triggering feelings of social isolation that can perhaps increase prejudice toward others.
Most religions are populated by an impressive cadre of ghosts, gods, spirits and angels.
Luther’s 95 Theses.
Ferdinand Pauwels, via Wikimedia Commons
On the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, two scholars explain how Luther's personal and spiritual life contributed to his success.
Pope Francis talks with bishops during the Liturgical Week at the Vatican in August 2017.
AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis
A liturgy expert explains that until the 12th century local bishops made decisions on Catholic liturgical practices even though the Catholic Mass was celebrated in Latin until 1970. How did that change?
A 1932 photograph showing the minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri, Mosul.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
As Mosul rebuilds, its history is a reminder that people of many faiths lived in cooperation in the city. In the city was the Tomb of Prophet Jonah, venerated by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.
What makes ‘Game of Thrones’ so popular?
A scholar argues that like many sacred books, the popular television show encourages men and women to reflect on their lives and choices.
Barack Obama on a 2013 visit to South Africa.
Barack Obama may have chosen Mandela's words for his tweet precisely because they offered some distance from the political space in the US.
Religious opponents of assisted dying laws most often appeal to the sanctity of human life.
Christianity's long tradition of compassionate care for both the dying and the dead means it brings some wisdom and experience to the voluntary assisted dying issue.
What justifies keeping some books out of the hands of young readers?
As Harry Potter turns 20, a scholar says protesters who try to censor books do not trust young readers to discern the difference between fantasy and reality. But why?
Why do people need cash in churches?
ATMs began appearing in churches providing a way for people to come up with ready cash to give to God and their church. But why was cash necessary?
Adam and Eve, created by Albrecht Dürer, 1471-1528.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Christian sexuality websites present evangelicalism as a sex-positive religious tradition. At the same time, they also reinforce conservative ideas about same-sex marriages.
An Egyptian Muslim woman holds candles in front of the Coptic Christian Cathedral in tribute to the victims of a bomb attack in Cairo on Dec. 17, 2016.
Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
Among the Christians of the Middle East, the largest number – some eight million or so – is of Egypt’s Copts. Here's their story.