Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rodney Stark on Religious Studies

Rodney Stark provides a great quote about Religious Studies in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, many in Religious Studies were predicting an end to religious denominations.
Perhaps the most remarkable fact was that all these assumptions about religious change were based on the impressions of "experts," none of whom had seen any data on what people in the churches did or didn't believe. Worse yet, these"experts" were mostly based in the elite, very liberal divinity schools, where they were isolated and insulated from ordinary believers. All they knew for certain was what they no longer believed. (Rodney Stark, What Americans Really Believe [Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2008], 4.)
I have seen little to indicate that Religious Studies has changed much in the intervening half century.