A Religion of Nature

By Donald A. Crosby

Subjects: Environmental Studies
Paperback : 9780791454541, 212 pages, August 2002
Hardcover : 9780791454534, 212 pages, August 2002

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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

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


The beauty, sublimity, and wonder of nature have been justly celebrated in all of the religious traditions of the world, but usually these traditions have focused on beings or powers presumed to lie behind nature, providing nature's ultimate explanation and meaning. In a radical departure, Donald A. Crosby makes an eloquent case for regarding nature itself as the focus of religion, conceived without God, gods, or animating spirits of any kind, and argues that nature is metaphysically ultimate. He explores the concept of nature, the place of humans in nature, the responsibilities of humans to one another and to their natural environments, and offers a religious vision that grants to nature the kind of reverence, awe, love, and devotion formerly reserved for God. Crosby also shares his personal journey from theistic faith to a religion of nature.

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).


"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