Human Religious Evolution and Unfinished Creation

Author: José Casanova

April 16, 2012

In "Human Religious Evolution and Unfinished Creation" José Casanova looking at how religion, societies, and cultures co-developed. First, Casanova addresses sociology's contradictory efforts to both criticize and adopt natural science's understanding of evolution, while avoiding the errors of Social Darwinism and Evolutionism. Casanova warns of the many issues that can emerge when using evolutionism in sociology, with racist, nationalist, and other ideological tendencies coloring many such studies. Casanova then proceeds to argue that socio-cultural evolution took the place of biological evolution after the emergence of the human species, with different groups developing unique narratives, cultures, and societies that are only now meeting again. Casanova argues that any single human narrative would require a large number of perspectives and voices. These perspectives are colored by shared languages, cultures, and religions that developed in three parts, from mimetic to mythical to theoretic. Casanova calls on sociologists to include different perspectives, not simply European ones, as many organizations, especially religions, have become global imagined communities. In addition, he warns that these ideas must continue to evolve in order to address issues such as nuclear proliferation and environmentalism. This essay was published as a chapter of The Spirit in Creation and New Creation: Science and Theology in Western and Orthodox Realms, edited by Michael Welker.

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