Nature - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

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Nature: Worship of Nature

What is ordinarily spoken of as "nature"—the physical world, including all living beings beyond the control of human culture—often appears to the religious consciousness as a manifestation of the sacred. Through nature, modes of being quite different from the specifically human reveal themselves to the religious imagination. The sun, the moon, and the earth, for example, can symbolize realities that transcend human experience. Throughout the history of religions, "nature" frequently is perceived as initiating a relationship with humankind, a relationship that is the foundation of human existence and well-being. In large part, this relationship is expressed in forms of adoration, a response of the total personality, or of an entire religious community, to the phenomena of nature.

The worship of nature underscores the fact that the sacred can appear in any guise. The religious person is confronted by the...

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This section contains 3,518 words
(approx. 12 pages at 300 words per page)
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Encyclopedia of Religion
Nature from Encyclopedia of Religion. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.