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Keywords:

  • cosmology;
  • death;
  • immortality;
  • multicellularity;
  • planetary ethic;
  • religion;
  • religious naturalism;
  • sex;
  • sexuality

This article is composed of excerpts from the author's 1998 book, The Sacred Depths of Nature. The aim of the book is to present an accessible account of our scientific understanding of nature and then suggest ways that this account can call forth appealing and abiding religious responsesan approach that can be called religious naturalism. If religious emotions can be elicited by natural reality, then the story of nature has the potential to serve as the cosmos for the global ethos that we need to articulate. The author recalls the religious journey that has enabled her to enter into the authentic religious faith that lives in the context of the ancient premises and symbols, and has led her to ask whether religion can emerge in the context of a fully modern, up-to-the-minute understanding of nature. The book demonstrates how this can happen. The discussion in these excerpts focuses on sex and sexuality, in biological description of mechanisms and function and how these are related to multi-cellularity, death, and immortality. Beyond the biological descriptions, the author includes reflections that point to the religious significance of the biological phenomena.