A Religion of Nature / Edition 1

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An eloquent case for regarding nature itself as the focus of religion—as the metaphysical ultimate deserving religious commitment.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Our world is being torn apart, on the one hand, by theistic religious fanatics who in the name of their transcendent God destroy cultures and cultural treasures, and murder those who disagree with them; on the other hand, our world is being destroyed by those who run secular enterprises and governments in which profits or political power are pursued without regard for the ecological damage that results. I can think of nothing more timely than a book that asks us to commit ourselves to a love for and a care of the natural order, which is the source of all creatures’ existence and of their capacities to contribute creatively to the good it is and makes possible.” — George Allan, author of The Patterns of the Present: Interpreting the Authority of Form

“I deeply agree with the general values and norms of this book, and I hope that it will carry a large group of those yearning for a religious home to the destination Crosby depicts.” — Frederick Ferré, author of the trilogy Being and Value, Knowing and Value, and Living and Value

Library Journal
Two dissimilar arguments on nature and religion are here offered by McGrath (theology, Oxford) and Crosby (philosophy, Colorado State Univ.). McGrath claims that humanity's vanishing sense of marvel or enchantment in nature results from scientific rationalism. He maintains that religion, specifically evangelical Christianity, urges humanity to cherish its divine origins and see in the beauty of nature not God but signposts that point to a transcendence wherein we find God. Alongside this, however, McGrath sustains a running quarrel with Lynn White's 1967 article "On the Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis" and Darwinian Richard Dawkins, taking a chapter to prove Dawkins's "strident antireligious advocacy." Not a primer on how to become reenchanted with nature, McGrath's book stands in danger of merely offering a cadre of evangelical proofs against a small, specific scientific community that fails to see nature as God's art. On the other hand, Crosby (Specter of the Absurd: Sources and Criticisms of Modern Nihilism) takes an admittedly atheistic yet blithely optimistic stance. Relying upon philosophers like Alfred North Whitehead and William James, he espouses a literal religion of nature: "we need not go any further than nature to probe the depths of our existence and powers that sustain our being." Seeing nature as metaphysically ultimate, he offers a systematic religious naturalism devoid of God, prayer, or spirituality beyond that found in the beauty and inherent goodness of the earth. Since nature is metaphysically ultimate, Crosby must admit that both good and evil consequently reside there. Thus, humanity's task becomes one of aligning with the good and struggling against evil and how that is discerned, defined, or done is never clearly delineated. Both books are academic in tone and plainly intended for a scholarly audience. Recommended only where religious interest warrants. Sandra Collins, Duquesne Univ. Lib., Pittsburgh Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791454541
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2004
  • Series: Psychoanalysis and Culture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald A. Crosby is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Colorado State University. He has published several books, including The Specter of the Absurd: Sources and Criticisms of Modern Nihilism, also published by SUNY Press, and, most recently, Religion in a Pluralistic Age (coedited with Charley D. Hardwick).

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Table of Contents


PART 1. Introduction

1. From God to Nature:A Personal Odyssey

PART 2. The Nature of Nature

2. Concept of Nature

3. Science and Nature

4. Values in Nature

5. Humans and Nature

PART 3. A Religion of Nature

6. The Nature of Religion and a Religion of Nature

7. Objections to a Religion of Nature

8. The Religious Ultimacy of Nature


Selected Bibliography

Index of Authors and Titles

Index of Subjects

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