Leaving home in a sense involves a kind of second birth in which we give birth to ourselves.
--Robert Neelly Bellah, sociologist and author (1927-2013)
(76:2.7-9) The death of Abel became known to his parents when his dogs brought the flocks home without their master. To Adam and Eve, Cain was fast becoming the grim reminder of their folly, and they encouraged him in his decision to leave the garden. Robert Neelly Bellah (1927–2013) was an American sociologist and the Elliott Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He was internationally known for his work related to the sociology of religion.
Cain's life in Mesopotamia had not been exactly happy since he was in such a peculiar way symbolic of the default. It was not that his associates were unkind to him, but he had not been unaware of their subconscious resentment of his presence. But Cain knew that, since he bore no tribal mark, he would be killed by the first neighboring tribesmen who might chance to meet him. Fear, and some remorse, led him to repent. Cain had never been indwelt by an Adjuster, had always been defiant of the family discipline and disdainful of his father's religion. But he now went to Eve, his mother, and asked for spiritual help and guidance, and when he honestly sought divine assistance, an Adjuster indwelt him. And this Adjuster, dwelling within and looking out, gave Cain a distinct advantage of superiority which classed him with the greatly feared tribe of Adam.
And so Cain departed for the land of Nod, east of the second Eden. He became a great leader among one group of his father's people and did, to a certain degree, fulfill the predictions of Serapatatia, for he did promote peace between this division of the Nodites and the Adamites throughout his lifetime. Cain married Remona, his distant cousin, and their first son, Enoch, became the head of the Elamite Nodites. And for hundreds of years the Elamites and the Adamites continued to be at peace.
Bellah's magnum opus, Religion in Human Evolution (2011), traces the biological and cultural origins of religion and the interplay between the two. The sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote of the work: "This great book is the intellectual harvest of the rich academic life of a leading social theorist who has assimilated a vast range of biological, anthropological, and historical literature in the pursuit of a breathtaking project ... In this field I do not know of an equally ambitious and comprehensive study." The book won the Distinguished Book Award of the American Sociological Association's Section on Sociology of Religion.
Bellah is best known for his 1985 book Habits of the Heart, which discusses how religion contributes to and detracts from America's common good, and for his studies of religious and moral issues and their connection to society. Bellah was perhaps best known for his work related to American civil religion, a term which he coined in a 1967 article that has since gained widespread attention among scholars.
He served in various positions at Harvard from 1955 to 1967 when he took the position of Ford Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. He spent the remainder of his career at Berkeley. His views are often classified as communitarian. A full biography of Robert Bellah, "the world's most widely read sociologist of religion", written by sociologist Matteo Bortolini and tentatively titled One of the Inhabitants of the West. A Life of Robert N. Bellah, is scheduled for publication with Princeton University Press in the fall of 2021.