The problem with the Bellah scholars on the Axial Age is the sterility of standard ‘secular’/Weberian thinking. http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_1.htm
Look at the complexity of the Axial Age: it won’t resolve to sociological explanation. And the errors of darwinian theory are the coup de grace. The evolution of religion is not explained by darwinism. In fact, the Axial Age gives us a hint.
Everyone discussing this question tends to be confused by the religious issue: but the Axial Age shows the roots also of what we would call ‘secularism’. These scholars fail to see how the case of Axial era Greece provides the ironic clue.
The stuck up scholars can try to dominate interpretation all they wish, but they will only make fools of themselves.