More Than Discourse
Symbolic Expressions of Naturalistic Faith
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Discusses the role of symbols in religion and suggests particular symbols appropriate to religious naturalism.
Religious life involves more than prosaically stated beliefs. It also encompasses attitudes, emotions, values, and practices whose meanings cannot be adequately captured in verbal assertions but require effective expression in forceful images, portrayals, and enactments of a nonliteral sort. Indeed, the world's religious traditions are each marked by rich and distinctive symbols. In More Than Discourse, Donald A. Crosby discusses the nature of symbols in religion and investigates symbols appropriate for religious naturalism or what he terms Religion of Nature. This is a religious outlook that holds the natural world to be the only world; it is sacred but without any supernatural domain or presence underlying it. Warning against a too-literalistic approach to any religion by either its adherents or its critics, Crosby discusses the nature and roles of religious symbols, how they work, and their particular kinds of truth or falsity. A set of criteria for evaluating the effectiveness and meaning of religious symbols is provided along with explorations of specific symbols Crosby finds to be highly significant for Religion of Nature.
Donald A. Crosby is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Colorado State University. He is the author of several books, including The Thou of Nature: Religious Naturalism and Reverence for Sentient Life; Faith and Reason: Their Roles in Religious and Secular Life; Living with Ambiguity: Religious Naturalism and the Menace of Evil; and A Religion of Nature, all published by SUNY Press.