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Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical

Volume 42, Issue 2, February 2016

Walter Gulick
Pages 8-24
DOI: 10.5840/traddisc20164224

Outlining a Religion of Nature
The Work of Donald Crosby

In five books, Donald Crosby has sketched out in some detail how nature, both as process and structure, can junction as the ultimate religious object. He understands nature to unfold in morally ambiguous ways, but argues accepting the necessary truth of ambiguity is no obstacle to existential religious faith. Such faith is given particular content through sensuous religious symbols. He distinguishes the religious rightness of ambiguous nature from moral rightness. Although the purposes of living things establish relational values in nature, moral rightness for humans must largely be established on grounds other than nature. My assessment of Crosby’s accomplishment in these books is generally appreciative, but I raise questions about his notion of religious symbols and suggest that for his Religion of Nature to become a live option, grounds of morality need to be more clearly folded into his metaphysical and religious framework.

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