The Good in Nature and Humanity: Connecting Science, Religion, and Spirituality with the Natural World

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<p>Scientists, theologians, and the spiritually inclined, as well as all those concerned with humanity's increasingly widespread environmental impact, are beginning to recognize that our ongoing abuse of the earth diminishes our moral as well as our material condition. Many people are coming to believe that strengthening the bonds among spirituality, science, and the natural world offers an important key to addressing the pervasive environmental problems we face.<p>The Good in Nature and Humanity brings together 20 leading thinkers ...
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The Good in Nature and Humanity: Connecting Science, Religion, and Spirituality with the Natural World

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Overview

<p>Scientists, theologians, and the spiritually inclined, as well as all those concerned with humanity's increasingly widespread environmental impact, are beginning to recognize that our ongoing abuse of the earth diminishes our moral as well as our material condition. Many people are coming to believe that strengthening the bonds among spirituality, science, and the natural world offers an important key to addressing the pervasive environmental problems we face.<p>The Good in Nature and Humanity brings together 20 leading thinkers and writers - including Ursula Goodenough, Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan, Carl Safina, David Petersen, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barry Lopez - to examine the divide between faith and reason, and to seek a means for developing an environmental ethic that will help us confront two of our most imperiling crises: global environmental destruction and an impoverished spirituality. The book explores the ways in which science, spirit, and religion can guide the experience and understanding of our ongoing relationship with the natural world and examines how the integration of science and spirituality can equip us to make wiser choices in using and managing the natural environment. The book also provides compelling stories that offer a narrative understanding of the relations among science, spirit, and nature.<p>Grounded in the premise that neither science nor religion can by itself resolve the prevailing malaise of environmental and moral decline, contributors seek viable approaches to averting environmental catastrophe and, more positively, to achieving a more harmonious relationship with the natural world. By bridging the gap between the rational and the religious through the concern of each for understanding the human relation to creation, The Good in Nature and Humanity offers an important means for pursuing the quest for a more secure and meaningful world.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inspired by a 2000 conference at Yale University, this eco-spirituality reader explores the idea that "the root causes of modern society's environmental and spiritual crises cannot be understood nor effectively resolved until the split between religion and science, or, more generally, between faith and reason, has been effectively reconciled." Part One, "Scientific and Spiritual Perspectives of Nature and Humanity," comprises half the book and is loaded with academic voices that become slowly and steadily more lively. The book's substantive core, "Linking Spiritual and Scientific Perspectives with an Environmental Ethic," marries ideals to real-life situations via the voices of environmental and resource managers, plus the venerable Wendell Berry. Most of these practitioners have fashioned their own faiths by literally tramping in the woods, and their resulting down-to-earth revelations will reward readers. The final part, "From the Perspective of the Storyteller," is a disjointed but beautiful tail section with offerings by Terry Tempest Williams and Barry Lopez. The ghost of the "land ethicist" Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac), who graduated from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, rightly haunts most of this volume. Reading the book from beginning to end is like watching a noble and important bird of many colors escape from a cage to find soaring flight and final release on a mythical plane. The bird becomes different things to different people, but all can understand its vital message as one of hope. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559638388
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 277
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen R. Kellert is the Tweedy Ordway Professor of Social Ecology at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, author of Kinship to Mastery (Island Press, 1997) and The Value of Life (Island Press, 1996), and coeditor, with Edward O. Wilson, of The Biophilia Hypothesis (Island Press, 1993).

Timothy J. Farnham is a doctoral candidate at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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Table of Contents

Preface xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Chapter 1. Building the Bridge: Connecting Science, Religion, and Spirituality with the Natural World 1
Part I. Scientific and Spiritual Perspectives of Nature and Humanity 9
Introduction to Part I: Ethics and the Good in Nature and Humanity 15
Chapter 2. The Contribution of Scientific Understandings of nature to Moral, Spiritual, and Religious Wholeness and Well-Being 19
Chapter 3. Spiritual and Religious Perspectives of Creation and Scientific Understanding of Nature 29
Chapter 4. Values, Ethics, and Spiritual and Scientific Relations to Nature 49
Chapter 5. Religion and Ecology: The Interaction of Cosmology and Cultivation 65
Chapter 6. Gaia and the Ethical Abyss: A Natural Ethic Is a G[o]od Thing 91
Chapter 7. Religious Meanings for Nature and Humanity 103
Chapter 8. A Livable Future: Linking Geology and Theology 113
Chapter 9. Alma De'atei, "The World That Is Coming": Reflections on Power, Knowledge, Wisdom, and Progress 123
Part II. Linking Spiritual and Scientific Perspectives with an Environmental Ethic 137
Introduction to Part II: The Search for Harmony 141
Chapter 10. Work, Worship, and the Natural World: A Challenge for the Land Use Professions 145
Chapter 11. Leopold's Darwin: Climbing Mountains, Developing Land 161
Chapter 12. A Rising Tide for Ethics 175
Chapter 13. Hunting for Spirituality: An Oxymoron? 183
Chapter 14. The Idea of a Local Economy 199
Part III. From the Perspective of the Storyteller 213
Chapter 15. The Garden of Delights: A Reading from Leap 215
Chapter 16. The Mappist 231
Notes 243
About the Contributors 261
Index 267
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