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SpiritualityWhat It Is and Why It Matters$
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Roger S. Gottlieb

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738748

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738748.001.0001

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Spirituality and Nature

Spirituality and Nature

(p.147) 9 Spirituality and Nature

Roger S. Gottlieb

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the critical role of spirituality in the human relationship with nature. Different forms of connection (nature as sacred in itself, nature as the word of God, nature “spirits”) are described as are the particular experiences and virtues to which our connection to nature gives rise. The difference between traditional senses of nature and the contemporary sense of ‘environment’—nature assaulted and wounded by humanity—is discussed. The particular relevance of indigenous and ecofeminist spirituality is stressed, as are the social questions of needed ecological change. The chapter concludes by questioning the relation between love of nature and love of people; what can be considered a reasonable level of consumption; and what happens to our concept of the sacred when the sacred is vulnerable and poisoned.

Keywords:   spirituality and nature, ecofeminism, religious environmentalism, indigenous spirituality, consumption, domination of nature, restraint, environmentalism, environmental crisis

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