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When God Is Gone, Everything Is Holy
The Making of a Religious Naturalist
Author: Chet Raymo
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Imprint: Sorin Books
On-sale date: September 1, 2008
In what he describes as a "late-life credo," renowned science writer Chet Raymo narrates his half-century journey from the traditional Catholicism of his youth to his present perspective as a "Catholic agnostic." As a scientist, Raymo holds to the skepticism that accepts only verifiable answers, but as a "religious naturalist," he never ceases his pursuit of "the beautiful and terrible mystery that soaks creation." Raymo assembles a stunning array of scientists, philosophers, mystics, and poets who help him discover "glimmers of the Absolute in every particular." Whether exploring the connection of the human body to the stars or the meaning of prayer of the heart, these challenging reflections will cause believers and agnostics alike to pause and pay attention.
Raymo (professor emeritus, Stonehill Coll.; Honey from Stone), a former science columnist, is one of the most articulate and subtly elegant contemporary writers on science and spirit. Here, he offers a new kind of spirituality in the light of empirical science, writing candidly of his Catholic upbringing and his current agnosticism, poised "in the portal between knowledge and mystery, between the commonplace and the divine." He draws on sources ranging from Sigrid Undest to Saint-Exupery to depict a wonder-filled religious naturalism. In an environment characterized by the strident antireligionism of such writers as Christopher Hitchens, Raymo's eloquence should win many readers. Highly recommended.
"Funny, piercing, brilliant."
"Funny, piercing, brilliant, transcendent, eloquent. One of the nation's finest naturalists and writers pours out his heart on the roaring prayer of Everything That Is and the idiocy of arguing over labels and possession of that which is beyond our ken but not our celebration and singing, which is what Raymo does with stunning power and passion."
Brian Doyle, Author of The Wet Engine
"A magnificent book."
"This is a magnificent book, but not one for the faint of heart. In an age of militant atheists and strident believers, Chet Raymo dares to stand, where mystics and philosophers have always stood, in the place of mystery. Born of a lifetime of observing and reflecting on the physical universe and our place in it, this book offers a bracing, moving, sacramental vision of existence. Neither a defense of faith nor a denunciation of the possibility of belief, Raymo invites the reader to consider the endless beauty and grace of the physical world—a necessary spiritual practice for our age."
Douglas Burton-Christie, PhD
Professor of Christian Spirituality, Loyola Marymount University
"Chet Raymo has enriched and graced our lives with this wonderful book, steeped in wisdom, warmth, and clarity. A classic."
Ursula Goodenough, Author of The Sacred Depths of Nature
Purchase on Kindle.