Much has been written about Robert Bellah’s new book, Religion in Human Evolution. It has mostly received very good reviews. Just to emphasize again the point of my last post and the Templeton Foundation, it appears that Bellah’s book was underwritten, in part, by the foundation. And it is exactly this type of work the foundation supports. Again, that is a good thing. From the review here, even though I haven’t read the book, I see much I agree with.
“Guided by the latest findings in the biological and social sciences, Bellah identifies the roots of the religious sense in human biology and culture—but by no means reduces religion to a mere expression of biological determinism or cultural preference. In fact, Bellah is all too aware that a big book with the words “religion” and “evolution” in the title will strike some as a culture-war bunker-buster. He says that both religious and atheistic “fundamentalists” mistakenly believe that both religion and science deal with the same kinds of truth claims and logical system.”
“In the 13 years he spent working on the book, Bellah, a practicing Episcopalian, experienced what he calls a “partial conversion.” He explains that in order to understand the religions he studied, and what human longings from which they emerged, he had to learn to see the world through the eyes of believers within those traditions and their stories.”
I’m sure it would also bother Carroll to learn Bellah is a practicing Christian. And Bellah’s a pretty smart guy.