Beyond Belief: Essays on Religion in a Post-Traditionalist by Robert N. Bellah

By Robert N. Bellah

Beyond Belief collects fifteen celebrated, largely ranging essays within which Robert Bellah translates the interaction of faith and society in concrete contexts from Japan to the center East to the us. First released in 1970, Beyond Belief is a vintage within the box of sociology of religion.

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Any particular personality or social system will be 10 BEYOND BELIEF determined in large part at any given moment by its history, for its learning capacity will be largely a product of the structures it has built up over time. However, if a system has managed to develop a broad and flexible capacity for rapid learning, and if it has a reserve of uncommitted resources, its reaction to any given internal or external situation will be open to a wide variety of alternative choices; in other words, it will have a high degree of freedom.

Any particular personality or social system will be 10 BEYOND BELIEF determined in large part at any given moment by its history, for its learning capacity will be largely a product of the structures it has built up over time. However, if a system has managed to develop a broad and flexible capacity for rapid learning, and if it has a reserve of uncommitted resources, its reaction to any given internal or external situation will be open to a wide variety of alternative choices; in other words, it will have a high degree of freedom.

Religious Evolution Although foreshadowings of the idea of religious evolution can be traced as far back as classical times, the first extensive effort in 15 THE SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION this direction was that of Giovanni Battista Vico in the eighteenth century. Elaborate schemes of religious evolution with copious empirical illustration were developed in the nineteenth century by Hegel, Comte, and Spencer. 84 It provides the natural link between the kind of theory of religion sketched in this article and the comparative study of religion.

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