David Sloan Wilson has a wide-ranging conversation with Robert Bellah, the legendary sociologist, about his book “Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age“. How did Bellah adopt an evolutionary perspective and what does it add to the more traditional study of sociology and religion? What does he think of the work of scientists studying religion whose primary training is in evolution? How about the New Atheism Movement? What does theology–as distinct from the scholarly study of religion–contribute to our understanding of religion from an evolutionary perspective? Can evolutionary theory contribute to theology? Bellah’s familiarity with multiple disciplines and his own panoramic vision reflects his definition of sociology as “the world and all its contents”.
The conversation took place at at a symposium on spiritual progress jointly organized by Princeton University’s Center for Theological Inquiry and the John Templeton Foundation.