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  Seeing God everywhere—the sanctity of nature Back to the List of Slideshows
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In the essay “The Firmament Sheweth His Handiwork,” Harry Oldmeadow holds our modern mentality directly responsible for current environmental crises.  He exhorts us to re-connect with authentic spiritual traditions and to realize, in the true sense of the word, through the sacred rituals, the sacredness of the natural world:
The modern mentality characteristically looks for solutions to our most urgent problems in the wrong places; more often than not the proposed remedies aggravate the malady.  Various responses to the so-called environmental crisis are of this type.  Hardly anyone is now foolish enough to deny that there is something fundamentally wrong with our way of “being in the world.”  The evidence is too overwhelming for even the most sanguine apostles of “Progress” to ignore. Much of the debate about the “environment” (itself a rather problematical term) continues to be conducted in terms derived from the secular-scientific-rationalist-humanist world-view bequeathed to us by that series of upheavals which subverted the medieval outlook—the Renaissance and Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment.

Traditional cosmogonies necessarily deal with the relationship of spiritual and material realities, a relationship which lies at the heart of all religious understandings of nature.  Philosophically speaking, religions posit the existence of two “worlds,” one spiritual, immutable and absolute, the other material, mutable and relative, usually with an intermediary realm (which might variously be referred to as ethereal, subtle, astral and the like).  Cosmogonies affirm the primacy of the spiritual: the material world derives from a divine creativity, or, at least, from a divine plenitude.  In the religious context it is axiomatic that the material world did not and could not create itself; it is suspended, so to speak, within a reality which is immaterial and which is beyond time and space; the material world has no independent or autonomous existence.…

Humans are enjoined to play their part in the maintenance of the cosmic order, largely through their ritual life.  This idea, everywhere to be found in the archaic worlds, makes no sense from a materialistic point of view which now determines the prevailing outlook—one completely impervious to the fact that, in [Seyyed Hossein] Nasr’s memorable phrase, “nature is hungry for our prayers.”
A Buddhist monk
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