2015

Nature as Sacred Ground: A Metaphysics for Religious Naturalism

Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Nature as Sacred Ground explores a metaphysics for religious naturalism. Donald A. Crosby discusses major aspects of reality implicit in his ongoing explication of Religion of Nature, a religious outlook that holds the natural world to be the only world, one with no supernatural domains, presences, or powers behind it. Nature as thus envisioned is far more than just a system of facts and factual relations. It also has profoundly important valuative dimensions, including what Crosby regards as nature’s intrinsically sacred value. The search for comprehensive metaphysical clarity and understanding is a substantial part of this work’s undertaking. Yet this endeavor also reminds us that, while it is good to think deeply and systematically about major features of reality and their relations to one another, we also need to reflect tirelessly about how to respond to metaphysical concepts that call for decision and action.

http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Sacred-Ground-Metaphysics-Naturalism/dp/1438459297

2014

More Than Discourse: Symbolic Expressions of Naturalistic Faith

Albany, NY: State University of  New York Press.

Religious life involves more than prosaically stated beliefs. It also encompasses attitudes, emotions, values, and practices whose meanings cannot be adequately captured in verbal assertions but require effective expression in forceful images, portrayals, and enactments of a nonliteral sort. Indeed, the world’s religious traditions are each marked by rich and distinctive symbols. In More Than Discourse, Donald A. Crosby discusses the nature of symbols in religion and investigates symbols appropriate for religious naturalism or what he terms Religion of Nature. This is a religious outlook that holds the natural world to be the only world; it is sacred but without any supernatural domain or presence underlying it. Warning against a too-literalistic approach to any religion by either its adherents or its critics, Crosby discusses the nature and roles of religious symbols, how they work, and their particular kinds of truth or falsity. A set of criteria for evaluating the effectiveness and meaning of religious symbols is provided along with explorations of specific symbols Crosby finds to be highly significant for Religion of Nature.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1438453744/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

2013

The Thou of Nature: Religious Naturalism and Reverence for Sentient Life

Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Humans share the earth with nonhuman animals who are also capable of conscious experience and awareness. Arguing that we should develop an I-thou, not an I-it, relationship with other sentient beings, Donald A. Crosby adds a new perspective to the current debates on human/animal relations and animal rights—that of religious naturalism. Religion of Nature holds that the natural world is the only world and that there is no supernatural animus or law behind it. From this vantage point, our fellow thous are entitled to more than merely moral treatment: protection and enhancement of their continuing well-being deserves to be a central focus of religious reverence, care, and commitment as well. A set of presumptive natural rights for nonhuman animals is proposed and conflicts in applying these rights are acknowledged and considered. A wide range of situations involving humans and nonhuman animals are discussed, including hunting and fishing; eating and wearing; circuses, rodeos, zoos, and aquariums; scientific experimentation; and the threats of human technology and population growth.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1438446705/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

2011

Faith and Reason: Roles of Faith in Secular and Religious Life

Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Few words are as widely misconceived as the word “faith.” Faith is often set in stark opposition to reason, considered antithetical to scientific thought, and heavily identified with religion. Donald A. Crosby’s revealing book provides a more complex picture, discussing faith and its connection to the whole of human life and human knowledge. Crosby writes about that existential faith that underlies, shapes, and supports a person’s life and its sense of purpose and direction. Such faith does not make a person religious and being secular does not mean one rejects all forms of faith. Throughout the book Crosby makes the case that faith is fundamentally involved in all processes of reasoning and that reason is an essential part of all dependable forms of faith.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1438436149/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

2008

Living with Ambiguity: Religious Naturalism and the Menace of Evil

Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

In this book Donald A. Crosby looks at how a religion based on the sacredness of nature deals with the problem of evil. Further developing and defending the vision of religious thought and life elaborated in his previous work, A Religion of Nature, Crosby explores how such a vision can enable us to interpret, respond to, and cope with the diverse forms of evil in the world, arguing that an ambiguity of goods and evils in human life, in nature as a whole, and in any conceivable or desirable realm of existence is inevitable. It is therefore futile to seek recourse in powers, presences, states, or realms thought to wholly transcend a combination of goods and evils or to be entirely devoid of evil. This being the case, the central problem of an adequate religious faith is how to live a constructive, meaningful life in the face of this intractable ambiguity. Religion of nature, as it is laid out and explained here, confronts this problem and offers a comprehensive, sustaining, and fully adequate way of conceiving and living a religious life.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0791475204/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

2002

A Religion of Nature

Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

The beauty, sublimity, and wonder of nature have been justly celebrated in all of the religious traditions of the world, but usually these traditions have focused on beings or powers presumed to lie behind nature, providing nature’s ultimate explanation and meaning. In a radical departure, Donald A. Crosby makes an eloquent case for regarding nature itself as the focus of religion, conceived without God, gods, or animating spirits of any kind, and argues that nature is metaphysically ultimate. He explores the concept of nature, the place of humans in nature, the responsibilities of humans to one another and to their natural environments, and offers a religious vision that grants to nature the kind of reverence, awe, love, and devotion formerly reserved for God. Crosby also shares his personal journey from theistic faith to a religion of nature.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0791454541/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

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