How did the universe come into being? What is the meaning of human life against the blackness of infinity? Religion and science have many answers to these and like questions, answers that sometimes meet but more often diverge.
In this book-length conversation, French Buddhist monk Ricard and Vietnamese-born astrophysicist Trinh explore how Buddhism and modern science address life’s big questions. Among the matters they touch on, sometimes fleetingly and sometimes in depth, are the illusory nature of phenomena, the guiding intelligence of nature, and the search for the mechanisms that drive planets and humans alike. Both authors, each conversant in the other’s medium, argue against reductionist views of nature. And both provide plenty of data that support Albert Einstein’s declaration that “if there is any religion that could correspond to the needs of modern science, it would be Buddhism.”
Do you feel a deep sense of belonging and wonder in a forest or by the ocean? Are you speechless with awe when you see the Milky Way strewn with stars? Do you find it hard to conceive of a divinity separate from the beauty of nature or the power of the universe? Then you are probably a pantheist.
The heart of Pantheism is reverence for Nature and the Universe. It offers a vibrant alternative to theism and atheism, with a joyful and accepting approach to life on this earth. Pantheism dates back to the very first Greek philosophers, and was the religious viewpoint of many famous thinkers and artists, including Marcus Aurelius, Spinoza, Wordsworth, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, Einstein, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
The dominant religious approach of the nineteenth century, pantheism is seeing a modern revival as the underlying world view of the environmental movement, of leading scientists, and of nature-revering paganism. This accessible, clear and authoritative handbook is the only available introduction to the history, theory and practice of Pantheism.
International award-winning author Dr Paul Harrison is the creator of the Web’s two largest sites on pantheism and the founder and president of the World Pantheist Movement. He is an environmental writer, and author of six books on environment, population, development and agriculture.
Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.
Graham Harvey is lecturer in religious studies at the Open University. He is the author or editor of numerous titles, including Shamanism: A Reader and The Paganism Reader.
Britain Recognizes Druidry As Religion -
Druidry, an ancient Celtic belief that worships deities who take their forms in nature, has been given the official status of a ‘religion’ in Britain. It is a form of neo-paganism, along with Wicca, Voodoo and Shamanism. Surprisingly enough the belief system is already provided with tax-exempt religious group status in the US.
The Druid Network in Britain, which has only 350 members, sought charitable status for “the advancement of religion for public benefit and no other purpose,” reported the BBC. They insisted theirs was no ordinary religion, claiming that it has no asserted dogma, and explaining that members associate their gods with the moon, fertility, rain, love and other forces.