Among sociologists of religion, few names are as revered–and controversial–as Rodney Stark. He has authored 150 scholarly articles and 32 books in 17 different languages, and never shies away from provocation. In 2010, for example, Stark wrote a book defending the Crusades as a “justifiable response to a strong and determined foe.”

Most recently, the Baylor University professor penned “Why God: Explaining Religious Phenomena.” He explains why faith is a universal feature of human societies, and he  argues against emerging theories that any system of belief about the meaning of life can be considered “religion.” That term must necessarily include a

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