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Dancing With The Sacred : Evolution, Ecology and God -  Peters

Dancing With The Sacred

Evolution, Ecology and God

By: Peters


Published: 1st August 2002
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Karl Peters has created an astonishing new dialogue between science and religion. Using insights from evolutionary biology, process theology and the range of world religions, he proposes that evolution can provide a key to becoming religious. "Dancing with the Sacred" weaves together three themes: how the sacred can be understood as the creative activity of nature, human history and individual life; how human beings might understand themselves in ways that motivate them to live more in harmony with the rest of life on planet Earth; and how people might live meaningfully in a world in which suffering and death are creatively intertwined with life. Peters fashions new insights into morality, ecology and religion. He describes a model of God based on the Darwinian ides of random variation and natural selection. He suggests that God is a process that includes the emergence of new possibilities in nature, human history and personal living. God is like a dance, he says, and by participating in this creative process we are dancing with the Sacred.

Peters argues convincingly that it is important for us to think not only of our phenomenal self (the self that appears to our senses) but also of our big self the selves that reflect our interrelation with the rest of the evolutionary process. Dancing with the Sacred has much to commend it Peters s theology here provides a[n] intriguing account and exciting way of thinking about God. I find Peter s emphasis on our big self as an expression of our interconnectedness with culture and cosmos to be a helpful antidote to an excessive individualism and anthropocentrism that can endanger not only the environment but people in need as well. Peters s recognition that the creative process includes suffering and death saves his big-self view from being unduly romantic Dancing with the Sacred is helpful, stimulating, and challenging, especially for those concerned for the intersection of faith and science. --Roger E. Timm "Currents In Theology and Mission " "Taking ideas from evolutionary biology, process theology and world religions, Peters proposes a new way of thinking about God as a creative process, or a dance and describes a new model of God that is based on the Darwinian ideas of random variation and natural selection." -Science & Theology News "Karl Peters uses an approach that might be called "natural theism" to write about "evolution, ecology and God" in Dancing with the Sacred (2002). Taking ideas from evolutionary biology, process theology and world religions, Peters proposes a new way of thinking about God- as a creative process, or a dance - and describes a new model of God that is based on the Darwinian ideas of random variation and natural selection." Science & Theology News, February 2004 "Karl Peters, culminating a lifetime of leadership in the science and religion dialogue, offers a rare combination of both theory and practice, the learned and the existential. Here is an exemplary role model of participating in the creative process what Peters metaphorically calls dancing with the sacred. He creatively couples evolution with ecology, nature with culture. His insights are especially of value when, with his "naturalistic God," the music is in a minor key."--Sanford Lakoff "Dancing with the Sacred" is a sensitive analysis of the problems facing humankind in the realm of ecology and evolution. It is written from a religious perspective but in a way that should be of interest and appeal to all. Highly recommended!" Michael Ruse Lucyle T Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University--Sanford Lakoff "In this book, Karl Peters makes his greatest contribution to the growing body of important work that goes by the name "Empirical Theology." Both his method and his wisdom deserve careful attention. Most of all, he offers an honest theology, and in so doing he speaks to the hearts, as well as the minds, of his readers." Philip Hefner, Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, July 8, 2002--Sanford Lakoff "Lutheran School Of Theology At Chicago " "There is much wisdom in this book. In a careful thought-through and beautifully written presentation of a faith-stance for today, Karl Peters shows the profoundly religious meaning of modern scientific understandings of ordering of life on Earth into which we humans must fit ourselves. As he makes clear in his careful exposition - in straightforward non-technical language dotted with good illustrations and striking quotations - thinking of God as the creativity manifest throughout the cosmos (instead of as the Creator apart from the world) opens up resources for rich religious reflection and profound experience; and it provides significant guidance for life in today's world. Highly recommended for college classes and for others interested in the issues the modern sciences pose for religion." Gordon D. Kaufman Mallinckrodt Professor of Divinity, Emeritus Harvard University--Sanford Lakoff "In a much-awaited volume, Karl Peters has given us an insightful, sensitive, and personal look at evolution and the nature of Fod. The result is a milestone a highly readable and warmly recommended work that reveals a lifetime of thought and action at the interface of religion and science." Eric Chaisson author of The Rise to Complexity in Nature--Sanford Lakoff "In this inspiring theological meditation, Peters, a former editor of Zygon, proposes a fresh version of theological naturalism. He is trying to find out what credibility religion and theology might have in an age of science, especially now that the ideas of cosmic and biological evolution have become preeminent...Even though some readers will question aspects of Peter's theological naturalism, they will be deeply moved and challenged by this informed, disarming book." John F. Haught, Theology Today, April 2003--Sanford Lakoff "Here is a readable, engaging presentation of the author's naturalistic theism, a version of the burgeoning theological movement known frequently as Religious Naturalism..The religious traditions supply the wisdom by which to live emotional and moral orientation and ritual. Moreover, since our cultural life is a continual process of innovation and selection, religious praxis and theory are continually winnowed by our scientific understanding..Karl Peters is a religious naturalist for all seasons." Noreen Herzfeld, for Theology and Science, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2003--Sanford Lakoff "This is an engaging and readable statement of a naturalsitic theism, a version of the emerging theological movement often known as Religious Naturalism. It is the fruit of a lifelong wrestling with the issue of being religious in a scientific and pluralistic age by the co-editor of Zygon: Journal of Science and Religion. It deals with how to live responsibly and find meaning in today's world. The writing is given extra intensity by the disclosures of the author's grif and triumph as he lived through his wife's terminal illness This book is one of the clearest, intellectually rigorous and emotionally compelling statements of religious naturalism Karl Peters is a religious naturalist for all seasons." Harvard Square Library Review- Volume 1, October 2003--Sanford Lakoff "Page after page revelas the sense of struggle, and ultimately the sense of joy, that Peters has experienced in terms of making sense of his own life and that of friends he observes Peters shows in sensitive detail why supernatural treatments have not worked for him, why he thinks (accurately, in my opinion) that they have not worked for large segments of modern persons, and most importantly how a more natural approach can and does work I will predict that many readers will find this book to be the most exciting thing they have ever read." Michael Cananaugh, President of the Institute on Religion in a Age of Science, for Harvard Square Library Review, Volume 1, October 2003.--Sanford Lakoff

Thinking about God in a New Wayp. 1
Science and Societies in the Emerging Global Villagep. 7
Peril in the Global Villagep. 14
Sacred Centersp. 22
Creative Mysteryp. 30
To Err Is Divinep. 38
Darwin and the Dance of Taop. 45
Divine Dynamics: Spirit and Wordp. 52
Our Natural Familyp. 60
Our Social-Ecological Selvesp. 68
Morality and Meaning for Our "Big Selves"p. 74
The Development of the Earth and the Quality of Lifep. 83
Seeking Our Sacred Centerp. 92
In Harmony with Cruciform Naturep. 102
From Life to Lovep. 113
Forsaken by Godp. 119
At Home in the Universep. 126
Earth: A Child of Godp. 136
Notesp. 145
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 155
Indexp. 161
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781563383939
ISBN-10: 1563383934
Audience: BAC
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Published: 1st August 2002
Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 14.0  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Number: 1