Peter Berger to Speak on Pluralism and the Future of Christianity at Baylor Sociology Symposium

Nov. 17, 2014
Peter BergerPeter Berger courtesy photo.

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Nov. 17, 2014)—Celebrating the release of his new book, Peter Berger, Ph.D., distinguished professor of sociology at Baylor University and Boston University, will be the featured speaker for the Baylor University department of sociology’s November Symposium. Berger will present his literary lecture at 3 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the Baylor Club in McLane Stadium, Level 400 in the North Lounge.

“Berger is among the top 10 living sociologists of our time,” said Charles Tolbert, Ph.D., professor of sociology and chair of the Baylor department of sociology. “He visits Baylor frequently and always tells us about his latest book.”

Berger’s latest writing, “The Many Altars of Modernity,” addresses the issues of individual faith, interreligious society and the political order. In his work, Berger creates a platform for conversation around a new paradigm for religion and pluralism in an age of multiple modern ways of thought.

“Pluralism is very different views living peacefully in the same society,” said Berger. “Back when I first started in my field, many scholars believed that the more modern, the less religion. For the ordinary believer this is relevant because for most believers modernity and religion is not a question of ‘either/or’— it isn’t — it’s ‘both/and.’”

Traditional religion and modern lifestyles evidently have intertwined, Berger said, pointing to the overlap of the Sunbelt, a region of industry, and the Bible Belt, a region of religion.

“There are many devout—even conservative-- industry workers,” Berger said. “With modernity and religion, it’s not whether they can be combined but how those combinations are actually made.”

Berger hopes he can communicate the more complicated ideas in a way that is easily understood.

“I started as a preschool teacher. I like to take very complicated ideas and put them in very simple terms,” Berger said.

Following Berger’s talk, two scholars will respond to the assertions made in his book. James Davison Hunter, Ph.D., Baylor University and Labrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, and Roger E. Olson, Ph.D., Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics at Truett Seminary, have read advanced copies of “The Many Altars of Modernity” and will share their thoughts and analysis.

The book will be for sale at the symposium and a reception and signing will take place following.

McLane Stadium is located at 1001 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Waco.


by Sarah Czerwinski, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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