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?
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.'
What does it mean when public figures say sorry?
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Public apologies are a type of performance before a larger audience, and they are to be understood in terms that are different from a private apology.
Samuel Brownback appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
America has been promoting religious liberty abroad since its founding, but there has always been disagreement on what exactly it means.
Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, Seattle, Washington.
Only a few parts of Buddhism's much larger practice were transplanted into American soil in the late 19th century. Here's how Buddhism changed when it migrated.
The tomb of Abelard and Héloise.
Alexandre Lenoir, via Wikimedia Commons
An affair between a philosophy professor and his teenage student became the subject of ballads in the streets of Paris in the 12th century. A scholar asks: Why wasn't it called sexual harassment?
Nearly one of every four people in the US is religiously unaffiliated.
Prazis Images via www.shutterstock.com
Nearly one of every four people in the US is unaffiliated, which has prompted speculation that this would increase support for liberal policies. A scholar provides some lessons from history.
Martin Luther King Jr.‘s message of love matters today.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of love was not sentimental. It demanded that individuals tell their oppressors what they were doing was wrong.
Worshippers depart a church service at the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in Garden Grove.
California megachurches played a significant role in how millions of people - Christian or not - understand Christianity.
Art_Photo via www. Shutterstock.com
The Massachusetts Medical Society recently reversed its long-held opposition to physician-assisted suicide. A psychiatrist notes many physicians are painfully conflicted about participating.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands during a service at the International Church of Las Vegas in Las Vegas in Oct. 2016.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
Trump embraced evangelicals in his first year as president. Here, scholars provide historical context to how the religious right has shaped American politics over the past decades.
Walter Dendy Sadler via Wikimedia Commons
For those wondering whether it is sinful to drink, even moderately, a scholar goes into the history of alcohol and its distillation to show how early monks and priests contributed to it.
Hanging church courtyard tile mural showing holy family traveling.
Daniel Mayer (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Family is not a clearly defined structure in the story: It isn’t biological or reflective of some 'norm.' It is instead a choice to stick together, come what may.
Hanukkah was instituted in 164 BC to celebrate military victory, but the meaning has changed over time with the circumstances of the Jewish people.
Cardinal Bernard Law in Rome in 2011.
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
The passing of Cardinal Bernard Law is another moment to revisit the issue of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and why it remains a challenge.
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?
Director Bernardo Bertolucci, left, discusses a scene from “Last Tango in Paris” with leading actor Marlon Brando and actress Maria Schneider.
The important lessons from one of the most notorious cases of sexual manipulation took place not off-screen but right in front of the camera.
Clearly, the kids have been good.
Santa reportedly rewards children who behave with more presents than their naughty peers. The data suggest the real world isn't as clear-cut.
President Barack Obama, right, meeting with leaders of large Jewish organizations in 2011.
Theology and history help explain why US Jews give more to charity than people who observe other religions or are not religious at all.
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.