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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Where God dwelt | Aeon
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History of science

Where God dwelt

For hundreds of years, Christians knew exactly where heaven was: above us and above the stars. Then came the new cosmologists

Stephen Case

The lethal act | Aeon
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Ethics

The lethal act

The Buddha taught not to kill, yet his followers have at times disobeyed him. Can murderers still be Buddhists?

Martin Kovan

The imperative betrayal | Aeon
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Religion

The imperative betrayal

The mystery of why Judas forsook Jesus goes to the heart of Christianity. A newly translated gospel offers a new view

David Brakke

An unholy alliance | Aeon
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Politics and government

An unholy alliance

Authoritarian leaders who play the religious card are not mere hypocrites. There’s something far more troubling going on

Suzanne Schneider

Blue-eyed Buddhist | Aeon
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Religion

Blue-eyed Buddhist

The story of a working-class radical from Ireland who became a celebrated monk and challenged the British Empire in Asia

Laurence Cox

Sisters in dharma | Aeon
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Religion

Sisters in dharma

In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, Parwati Soepangat pioneered a Buddhist feminist theology with deep roots

Jack Meng-Tat Chia

The Calvinist conquest | Aeon
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Religion

The Calvinist conquest

In the 17th century, Dutch proselytisers set out for Asia, Africa and the Americas. The legacy of their travels endures

Charles H Parker

Buddhist missionaries | Aeon
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Religion

Buddhist missionaries

Buddhist monks have mostly escaped the label of proselytisers, but they’ll still spread the word to those who seek them out

Brooke Schedneck

The meaning of Purgatory | Aeon
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Religion

The meaning of Purgatory

Think less of a holding pen for Heaven and more as a flow of love from the living, and the weirdness starts making sense

Magnus Course

Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden of Earthly Delights | Aeon
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Art

Grotesque imagery meets religious conservatism in Hieronymus Bosch’s art

51 minutes

Bacon and God’s wrath | Aeon
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Values and beliefs

How a God-fearing Jewish woman found atheism – and bacon – in her later years

9 minutes

Stray in Kars | Aeon
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Animals and humans

What the ancient city of Kars looks like from the perspective of its stray dogs

9 minutes

East of Zionism | Aeon
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Nations and empires

East of Zionism

In 1900 my grandfather’s generation imagined a modernising Arab world, multireligious and progressive. What happened?

Ussama Makdisi

The legend of Annapurna | Aeon
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Religion

How the Hindu myth of Annapurna, goddess of food, connects sustenance with spirituality

5 minutes

A brief history of the devil | Aeon
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History of ideas

The devils you know – how Satan became a versatile stand-in for all manner of evil

5 minutes

EXCLUSIVETarikat | Aeon
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Rituals and celebrations

Dissolve into the immersive, entrancing rhythms of a Sufi chant

17 minutes

Machine in the ghost | Aeon
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Computing and artificial intelligence

Machine in the ghost

Can a robot pray? Does an AI have a soul? Advances in automata raise theological debates that will shape the secular world

Ed Simon

EXCLUSIVEPing pong Sufi | Aeon
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Values and beliefs

‘I’m just measuring myself with myself’ – ping pong as a route to Sufi spiritual practice

11 minutes

Fiddling while Rome converts | Aeon
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The ancient world

Fiddling while Rome converts

A generation of pagan bureaucrats amassed wealth and status while Roman emperors Christianised the world around them

Edward Watts

Stone cut | Aeon
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Architecture

Surreal, audacious, unfinished – the Sagrada Família remains a divine work in progress

6 minutes

Shelter in place | Aeon
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Human rights and justice

Lockdown is a way of life for the US asylum-seekers living in churches

15 minutes

Open to the world | Aeon
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Cosmopolitanism

A pop-up charity shop in a luxury department store melds art, commerce and justice

10 minutes

Islamic sexology | Aeon
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Sex and sexuality

Islamic sexology

Popular stereotypes of Islam as a prudish religion ignore rich traditions of freewheeling, explicit erotica and advice

Mark Hay

The church forests of Ethiopia | Aeon
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video

The environment

How hundreds of small ‘Gardens of Eden’ guard against total deforestation in Ethiopia

9 minutes