Spirituality After Darwin. Bron Taylor, Religion, University of Florida, April 30, 2015.
Spirituality After Darwin: ‘Dark Green’ Nature Religion and the Future of Religion and Nature
Thursday, April 30, 2015, at 4:00pm
Northrop — Best Buy Theater
The Roetzel Family Lecture in Religious Studies. Free and open to the public.
New religions come and go but some persist and become major global forces. In this presentation Professor Taylor presents evidence that, especially since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, a new, global, earth religion has been rapidly spreading around the world. Whether it involves conventional religious beliefs in non-material divine beings, or is entirely naturalistic and involves no such beliefs, it considers nature to be sacred, imbued with intrinsic value, and worthy of reverent care. Those having affinity with such spirituality generally have strong feelings of belonging to nature, express kinship with non-human organisms, and understand the world to be deeply interconnected. In a recent book Taylor labeled such phenomena ‘dark green religion’, noting that its central ethical priority is to defend the earth’s biocultural diversity. Taylor provides a wide variety of examples of new forms of religious (and religion-resembling) cultural innovation among those promoting such nature spirituality, from individuals (including artists, scientists, filmmakers, photographers, surfers, and environmental activists), to institutions (including museums, schools, and the United Nations). By tracking these, Taylor provides an opportunity to consider what such spirituality may portend for the religious and planetary future.
Bron Taylor is Professor of Religion, Nature, and Environmental Ethics at the University of Florida, and a Carson Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich Germany. His research involves both ethnographic and historical methods, and much of it focuses on grassroots environmental movements, their emotional, spiritual, and moral spiritual dimensions, and their environmental, cultural, and political impacts. He has been involved in a variety of international initiatives promoting the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. His books include Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (2010), the award winning Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2005), Civil Society in the Age of Monitory Democracy (2013) and Ecological Resistance Movements: the Global Emergence of Radical and Popular Environmentalism (1995), and Avatar and Nature Spirituality (2013). He is also the founder of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and editor of its affiliated Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture.
This lecture was made possible through the generous support of the Roetzel Family Lecture in Religious Studies, in honor of Frank E. and Myrtle D. Roetzel.
Cosponsored by the Departments of Sociology, English, Philosophy, and German Scandinavian & Dutch, and the Institute on the Environment. Taylor was also interviewed by the Bat of Minerva.