The Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Seven Types of Everyday Miracle

By Donald A. Crosby

Subjects: Religion, Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438464602, 192 pages, January 2018
Hardcover : 9781438464596, 192 pages, April 2017

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Table of contents


1. Two Concepts of Miracle

Miracles in the Abrahamic Traditions
Miracles in Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism
Why Miracles Are Prominent in Religious Traditions and Outlooks
Miracles of a Different Sort: Quotidian Miracles

2. Passage of Time

Extent of Time
Time and Change
Time as Creation and Destruction
Time and Causality

3. History of Histories

Galactic History
Earth History
Life History
Human History
Rethinking the Concept of Miracle

4. Individual Consciousness

Materiality and Mentality
Creations of Consciousness
Conscious Freedom
An Ethical Implication

5. Spoken and Written Language

Abstraction and Selection
Public Communication and Private Cogitation
Speech and Speaking
The Miracle of Metaphor

6. Immensity of the World

The Extremely Small
The Extremely Large
Profusion and Diversity of Life Forms on Earth
The Role of Humans

7. Power of Imagination

Imagination and Natural Science
Imagination and Literature

8. Ideal of Love

Instinctive Love
Self-Love and Love for Others
The Friendship Aspect of Love
Love and Work
Love and Justice

Works Cited

Explores miracles as dimensions of everyday existence through the lens of religious naturalism.


Miracles are usually regarded as an intrusion of a supernatural force upsetting the normal workings and laws of the universe, but if one is attentive to the natural world, one can instead find miracles beneath the surface of everyday existence. This outlook is part of Donald A. Crosby's religious naturalism, which he terms Religion of Nature, a belief system that posits the natural world to be the only world, without any underlying or transcending supernatural being, presence, or power. In The Extraordinary in the Ordinary, Crosby explores seven types of everyday miracles, such as time, language, and love, to show that the miraculous and ordinary are not opposed to each other. Rather, it is when we acknowledge the sacred depths and dimensions of everyday existence that we recognize the miracles that constantly surround us.

Donald A. Crosby is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Colorado State University and the author of many books, including The Thou of Nature: Religious Naturalism and Reverence for Sentient Life; More Than Discourse: Symbolic Expressions of Naturalistic Faith; and Nature as Sacred Ground: A Metaphysics for Religious Naturalism, all published by SUNY Press.