Christianity

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Anglican Dean of Brisbane Dr Peter Catt is leading a sanctuary offer to asylum-seekers facing deportation to Nauru. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Sanctuary for asylum seekers is an offer with ancient pedigree

In offering to open church buildings across Australia as places of sanctuary for asylum seekers, church leaders are appealing to an ancient notion of how we should treat people in need of protection.
Andrew Mayovskyy/Shutterstock

The story of Silent Night

The carol 'Silent Night' has been translated into 140 languages and renditions have been sung by everyone, from Bing Crosby to Chewbacca. This is the story behind its success.
In the Netherlands, the tradition goes that Sinterklaas lives in Madrid, wears a red clerical robe and a bishop’s mitre, and has servants called ‘Zwarte Pieten’ (Black Peters). from www.shutterstock.com

Schnapps, whipping and sacks: how Christmas traditions evolved around the world

The celebration of Christmas has distinct variations around the world, with many of these local traditions arising from particular historical circumstances.
Jesus, Stained Glass Detail Of The Church St Etienne Fecamp, Normandy, France. Mamjodh/flickr

What did Jesus really look like?

We all know his name, but the face of Christ remains frustratingly elusive ... doesn't it?
Catch those z’s. Tilo G/Shutterstock

Why everyone should embrace their inner sloth

The clocks going back hold the tantalising promise of an extra hour in bed. But the modern attitude towards that champion of indolence, the sloth, shows that sloth is still very much a deadly sin.
Evidence to support the idea of a married Jesus is about as minimal as it ever has been. mnd.ctrl

The Gospel of Jesus' Wife can’t be taken as gospel

The Gospel of Jesus' Wife, once thought to be authentic, has been revealed as a fraud. How did critical scholarship uncover the truth, and how can it further biblical studies?
A protester outside the US Supreme Court of Appeal objects to gay marriage. An incident at a Cape Town university has raised issues of religious freedom. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

In free speech debates, consider Christianity’s history of liberalism

The furore around freedom of sexual orientation vs religious freedom at a South African university should lead to deeper thinking about Christianity's historical role in promoting liberalism.
The method used, until recently, by a large proportion of scholars of the New Testament and Christian origins, is flawed. Roberto Urrea

Getting the gist of a ‘historical’ Jesus: the Jesus Seminar 30 years on

Traditions about Jesus cannot be separated out into the categories of early and late, primary and secondary, authentic or inauthentic, fact and interpretation. One might as well try and unscramble an omelette.
In elevating the status of animals, the Pope looks back to Francis of Assisi’s example and looks ahead to the prospect of environmental catastrophe. Flickr/Enrique López-Tamayo Biosca

Endorsing the salvation of animals, Pope warns of Earth’s end

In suggesting the ultimate restoration of all creatures in his recent encyclical, Pope Francis is breaking with the weight of Western philosophical and theological tradition.

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