THE NEW RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS by Charles Y. & Robert N. Bellah--Eds. Glock


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Something is happening, and you don't know what it is, do you Mister Jones?"" Well, Profs. Glock, Bellah, and some younger colleagues (mostly graduate students) offer a crash course to help out. Their collection of interrelated essays is the first fruit of a Berkeley project to determine sociologically the true import of the Sixties youth counterculture by probing its presumably most profound level, religious consciousness. Using qualitative and statistical approaches, the studies survey the bellwether San Francisco Bay Area. Three sections give sharp, mostly sympathetic analyses of new Asian-rooted religions (3HO, Hare Krishna, Divine Light), Western offshoots (leftist Jesus People, Catholic charismatics, Satanists), and quasi-religious movements (New Left, Human Potential, Synanon). Others examine the counterculture's impact on established religions and society at large, and a comparable religious ferment in 19th-century America. The editors venture tentative, but provocative, conclusions. The upshot: many aspects of the youth rebellion seem ephemeral, its movements waning or peaking; but the quest for alternatives to utilitarian individualism, for authentic leaders and spiritual experience will continue apace. What matters, then, is less the array of beliefs and practices discussed than the common quest of so many for a life more in tune with the full reality of the self and the universe. Alternatively zesty and bland, but refreshingly readable overall.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1976
Publisher: Univ. of California Press