Viewing Human History As A Spiritual Epic with Robert Atkinson, Ph.D.

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Robert Atkinson offers a deeply thoughtful view of conscious evolution drawn from the continuous wisdom of the world’s religions. He inspires hope as he traces love’s unifying power throughout history, and encourages us not to be distracted by seeming setbacks. This big picture view of human progress points to peaceful unity as our ultimate destination. How we get there depends on the stories we live by and the action we take. He says, “Love is the spiritual activism of our time.” Atkinson’s research shows that all the world’s religions are like branches of the same sacred tree, revealing the metaphor: “The sacred tree has many branches but is one tree that has the same source and is nurtured by the same source. New branches come along at a time when they’re needed and that’s the way it’s going to continue forever.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Robert Atkinson, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized authority on life story interviewing, personal mythmaking, and soul-making, and is professor emeritus of cross-cultural human development and religious studies at the University of Southern Maine. He’s the director of Story Commons. His journeys have taken him on a series of adventures, including: sailing on the maiden voyage of the Clearwater with Pete Seeger and his singing crew; attending the Woodstock music festival; living in a cabin in the woods near the Hudson River; visiting Arlo Guthrie at his farm in the Berkshires; having a synchronistic and fateful meeting with Joseph Campbell that became a mentoring relationship; being given a cell in a Franciscan monastery as a guest; and, returning to teach a course at Southampton College, all of which frame his memoir of that period, Remembering 1969.

Robert Atkinson’s books include:

To learn more about the work of Robert Atkinson go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How to look at human history as a spiritual epic
  • How the laws of the cosmos obey the same laws of nature as our own planet
  • How he met and traveled with Pete Seeger and was mentored by Joseph Campbell
  • How beneath our differences and diversity there is a unity
  • How the Golden Rule unifies all religions
  • What are the 8 precepts of the Bahá'í religion
  • How true religions are in harmony with science
  • How there is a spiritual solution to the world’s economic problems
  • Why we must accept the principle of the oneness of humanity even in its diversity
  • How love is the magnetic force that holds the universe together
  • How the world’s religions form the many branches of one sacred tree

Host: Justine Willis Toms         Interview Date: 4/8/2017         Program Number: 3605

Music Playlist

From Album: Immersion, Volume 1
Artist: Various
2006 Sounds True MM01065D

Opening Essay: Track 01 Chigumbo
Music Break 1: Track 07 Times to be True
Music Break 2: Track 03 Ostia
Music Break 3: Track 08 Moon's Lament