The Promise of Nature: Ecology and Cosmic Purpose
The ecological crisis faced by our planet may have the effect of transforming religious ideas. Religions were born and took their distinctive shapes by the need of people to find harmony in their internal and external worlds. In our day that harmony is being challenged by a breakdown in the relationship between human beings and their global environment.
Do the religious views held by most believers today provide an adequate basis for interacting with nature? Theologian John Haught believes they do not. Nor, he says, do stereotyped religious attitudes about the natural world enable believers to dialogue with physical scientists, many of whom are nonbelievers. To make the dialogue work we need a common language about nature and how it works.
Haught maintains that process language will not only assist the ecological dialogue but help to transform religion itself. Nature is "holy" not because it originated at the hand of a creator or because it transparently reveals God now. It is holy primarily because of its direction: it is promise. This "future dimension" of nature lets us deal intelligently with the present crisis without forsaking the mysterious power that nature has for us.
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Religious and Ecological Integrity
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adequate adventure Alfred North Whitehead allow anthropocentrism apologetic argue aspects beauty biblical religion Christian faith contemporary cosmic homelessness cosmic pessimism cosmic story cosmology cosmos creation creation-centered theology creativity culture death destiny divine dualistic E. O. Wilson earth ecological concern ecological crisis ecological ethic ecological theology environmental crisis environmental theology eschatology especially evolution evolutionary example existence experience fact feeling fundamental gious God's Gordon Kaufmann hope human indifferent inherent interpretation intrinsic living logical look matter means ment moral mystery mystical myth natural environment natural world nature's ness notion objective immortality ourselves perishing perspective physical present preserve process theology promise purely question reality relation relationship religious traditions sacramental scientific materialism scientific skepticism scientism and materialism scientists seek sense silence simply soul spirituality Stephen Jay Gould symbols teleology theme theologians things Thomas Berry tion transcendence ture ultimate universe vision Whitehead