An Ecological Faith
Lloyd Geering (1999)
Soon we shall reach the year 2000.
It formally marks 2000 years of the Christian era.
Yet, ironically we are simultaneously coming to the end
of the Christian era. What was once called Christendom - the domain ruled
by Christ - no longer exists. We are nearing the end of the global
supremacy of the Christian west. We are even seeing the collapse of
At the beginning of the 20th century Christian expansion was still
enjoying triumphant success around the globe. At the end of the century it
is a very different story. We are suffering the loss of what we long took
to be the Christian certainties. We are caught up in a process of cultural
change more rapid, more deeply rooted, and more widespread than ever
before in human history. We stand on the threshold of a new era in human
We could call this new era secular, global and
ecological. It is secular because humankind is increasingly focusing on
this-world (and that is what secular, derived from the Latin saeculum
means). The other-world, the spiritual world of heaven, purgatory and hell
on which mediaeval Christianity fastened its attention and to which
traditional Christians still look has been slowly disappearing.
The Protestant reformers abolished purgatory in the 16th century.
Theologians in the 19th century began to reject hell on moral grounds.
This century the reality of heaven has been fading from reality. Even the
Pope has now declared that "heaven is not a place". That leaves
this-world, the vast space-time continuum, as the only real world. It
leaves life in this-world as the only life we ever live.
The new era is global because the current process of
globalization is causing humankind to move from a chiefly tribal form of
existence to one which is chiefly global. Humans the world over are
becoming increasingly interdependent - economically, culturally and
religiously. What were once independent societies are being drawn into an
embryonic global society.
This serves to intensify inter-tribal animosity. During the 20th
century human conflict has reached an intensity never before known, as
witnessed in world wars, mass genocide and mass starvation of the poor
while the affluent wastefully use up the world's resources. Humanity has
now become its own worst enemy.
As Carl Jung said, "Man himself is the origin of all coming evil".
Global society will have cohesion only if it can develop some kind of
global culture which provides an umbrella over the existing cultures. Only
the rise and spread of a new global faith and accompanying culture can
save us from ourselves. This global culture will rest on a shared view of
the universe, a common story of human origins, a shared set of values and
goals, and a very basic set of behavioural patterns to be practised in
The new era may be called ecological because during the course
of this century we have come to understand, as never before, the delicate
balances in the ecosphere (or envelope of life) surrounding this planet
and of which we ourselves are a part.
We are also coming to realise that we humans are not only at war with
ourselves but we are at war with the planet. The global culture will
evolve, if it evolves at all, out of the common awareness of the current
human predicament. It will grow out of an appreciation of humanity's
dependence on the natural elements and forces on the Earth from which it
evolved, and a willingness to respond positively in joint action.
A common response to secularity, globalization and ecology constitutes
the raw material of the spirituality of the coming global culture.
Can there be some global form of spirituality or religion which does
for the global culture what the traditional religions did for their
cultures? If so, it will not be based on any one ethnic tradition, as it
was in past ages. Nor will it emerge from some new divine revelation, as
in the Christian era.
To be consistent with the current secularity of our times, I suggest
the coming spirituality must be naturalistic and humanistic in origin and
form. It must possess its own inherent power to win conviction and appear
to be self-evidently true to all humans irrespective of their cultural
Yet such a spirituality will not start from scratch. It must evolve out
of the past traditions.
Since we are moving very rapidly toward one world, and a global
consciousness is already beginning to enter into us, none of the religious
traditions of the past can, in their traditional form, any longer meet the
needs of our new cultural situation. As globalisation forces the human
species to create a global culture or perish, it is for each of the
cultures and traditions to find out how best to adapt or transform their
basic concepts and symbols for use in the coming global culture.
Just as important will be the cross-fertilisation of cultures which
takes place in the globalising process. That has already been going on for
some time, and is most likely to accelerate. Many in the "Christian West"
have been attracted to the non-theistic and more humanistic character of
the Buddhist tradition, or to the deep mystical spirituality of the Hindu
tradition. Yet others have been attracted to the more physical practice of
spirituality to be found in Chinese tradition.
The modern secular world cannot be properly understood without
acknowledging all it owes to the culture of western Christendom, which,
however unintentionally, was chiefly instrumental in bringing the modern
world into existence. Much of the Christian past lives on in the
secularised modern world. The modern world is definitely not Christian in
any traditional sense, but neither is it anti-Christian, as many
traditional Christians assert.
Someone has observed that the first Christians went out preaching the
coming of the Kingdom of God - but what actually arrived was the Church.
Similarly we may say that in modern times Christians went out to bring the
nations of the world into a global Christendom but what has actually
arrived is the global secular world.
The traditional ways of expressing Christian faith are suffering from a
deep malaise. Since the beginning, the Christian message has been boldly
presented as the Gospel ('good news'). Today it is no longer widely heard
as any sort of news at all, good or bad.
The Christian churches on the whole are intent on trying to revive the
past rather than looking into the future with faith. They have been
reluctant to follow the lead of even their own liberal scholars. John Cobb
has gone so far as to say:
The church has lost the ability to think. Unless it recognises that
its healthy survival depends on the recovery and exercise of that
ability and acts on that recognition, talk of renewal or
transformation is idle.
During the twentieth century the mainline churches have become
the oldline churches and now find themselves to be the sidelined
churches (to use John Cobb's words).
We are coming to the end of orthodox or conventional Christianity -
that is, the Christianity which is Bible-based, and which affirms God as a
divine personal being and Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of the world.
But the cultural stream, which was for a period called Christianity,
still goes on even though it is changing. Traditional Christians view all
change with caution and even with horror. They speak of the danger of
"throwing out the baby with the bath water". The metaphor is misleading.
This is well illustrated by the debate between two forms of Christian
liberalism at the beginning of the 20th century. The Protestant liberal,
Adolf Harnack, looked for the permanent essence of Christianity. He was
criticised by the Catholic modernist Alfred Loisy who argued that
Christianity has no permanent and absolute essence. There is no "baby".
There is only the bath water, or what I prefer to regard as the ongoing
Judeo-Christian cultural stream. ("Christianity" is quite a modern term
So instead of focusing on Christianity as a thing with an unchangeable
essence which is to be preserved at all cost, we should try to understand
the more extensive and complex Judeo-Christian cultural stream. This
cultural stream is continuous in its flow but ever-changing. New elements
enter and others fall out of sight. It is free to go where the cultural
context leads it. Over many centuries, particularly from the 5th to the
19th centuries of the Christian era, there have crystallised within this
stream various rigid doctrinal and institutional forms. But they do not
constitute the whole stream.
The history and culture of ancient Israel was the chief source from
which this stream issued. But there were many other tributaries flowing
into it, such as Persian Zoroastrianism and Hellenistic philosophy. At the
beginning of the Christian era it was in a particularly fluid state and
divided into two parallel streams. The Jewish stream remained ethnic and
the Judeo-Christian stream became multi-ethnic.
Into the Judeo-Christian stream there flowed tributaries from the Greek
and Roman cultural streams. Through the centuries there have been added to
this stream the thoughts, feelings and personal experiences of countless
generations of people who were both shaped by the stream and contributed
to it. As we look back we can now discern various stages in the life of
the stream - the mediaeval synthesis, the Renaissance, the Reformation,
the Enlightenment, the Evangelical Revival, and now modern secularisation.
This ongoing Judeo-Christian cultural stream is once again in a fluid
state. It has broadened considerably, and is changing quite radically in
Along with all the other major cultural streams from the past it is now
flowing into a global sea. This new global sea of faith cannot help but be
continuous with the Christian past, as it is also with the other great
cultural traditions. The term "sea of faith", apart altogether from its
presence in Matthew Arnold's poem, is a particularly apt description of
today's multi-cultural situation world-wide.
However much the Christian West may be held responsible for bringing
the modern world into being, the Christian stream is not the only one
flowing into the Sea of Faith. All of these streams will have a
contribution to make to the spirituality of the future.
Thus there will not be "only one way" of being religious (as Christian
exclusivists love to assert) but a great variety of ways. There will not
be one exclusive religious organisation operating globally, but rather a
whole host of relatively small and somewhat diverse social groups, in
which the members are bonded to one another on a purely personal basis.
But if spirituality is to flourish in the global era, these groups must
learn to be inclusive. They must be ready to welcome anyone wishing to
join them and, even in their diversity, will need to acknowledge a very
broad set of common goals and values, such as concern for Earth's future.
Exclusivity, whether religious or ethnic, will be injurious to the
future of the human race.
How much or how little of the traditional religious symbols, myths and
ritual and terminology is retained and transformed in the new religious
forms we cannot predict. That will depend on those who are practising them
and how ready they are to respond to the new religious parameters and to
reshape their spiritual inheritance to that end.
In the coming global era new terms and concepts will be created, along
with new rituals and patterns of social behaviour. As Don Cupitt quite
rightly says, "We do not yet have any global religious vocabulary". This
does not mean that there will be just one uniform and "religiously
correct" language for use in the global era. Rather, because of the
diversity and richness of our past cultures, we should not expect a
completely uniform set of symbols and concepts.
Each culture must be free to draw from its own past tradition, but
always in such a way as to direct it towards the needs of an ecologically
sensitive global society. In this way some of the concepts and terminology
of the past may well be adapted and redirected.
There is no religious symbol or concept of the past which it is
essential to use to express the religious dimension of the global society.
All languages and all symbols are humanly created. They have no
permanence. They come and go and are continually changing. So it is with
concepts and the religious symbols of the past.
Since most of us have been shaped by the Christian stream it is for us
to ask how this stream can help the emerging global society create a
global spirituality which will give global society an identity and
cohesion. It will require a radical re-appraisal of the traditional
Let us start with the most basic symbol - God - which we share with the
Jews and Muslims.
If the term continues to be used, it can no longer be taken as the name
of an objective spiritual being. But it may remain an important religious
symbol. As the theologian Gordon Kaufman has pointed out, this symbolic
word "God" serves a very useful purpose as "an ultimate point of
reference". It enables us to unify and order our experience of reality in
the mental world we construct for ourselves.
This leads him to say in his book In Face of Mystery,
To believe in God is to commit oneself to a particular way of
ordering one's life and action. It is to devote oneself to working
towards a fully humane world within the ecological restraints here on
planet Earth, while standing in piety and awe before the profound
mysteries of existence.
That is why it is possible for the word "God" to continue (for a time)
in the spirituality of the future. It will symbolise the values we find
compelling, the goals to which we aspire to find fulfillment, and the
meaning we are seeking in human existence.
From the New Testament itself we have learned to say that "God is
love". All that is of lasting worth to us is, in fact, our God. That is
why we can readily speak of the "God within us", just as much as the "God
in our neighbour" and the "God in the mystery of the universe". The
God-symbol refers to the sum-total of all that concerns us most. It can
call forth from us the same gamut of emotions of awe, wonder, gratitude
and obligation as it did in the past when our forebears had a very
different view of reality.
To worship God in the global era would mean, among other things:
- to stand in awe of this self-evolving universe of which we are a
- to marvel at the living eco-sphere of this planet;
- to value life, both in our ourselves and all other creatures;
- to value what it means to be human - our capacity to feel, to love
and be loved, to show compassion and selfless sacrifice, our capacity to
think and to be engaged in the quest for what is true and meaningful;
- to be grateful to the successive generations of our human ancestors
who have slowly created the various forms of human culture which have
enabled us to become the kind of human beings we are;
- to accept in a responsible and self-sacrificing fashion the burden
of responsibility now being laid upon us for the future of our species
and for the protection of all planetary life.
Whether the word "Christ" has a future is another matter.
Already by the end of the first century Christians had radically
changed the meaning of this word. It originally meant Messiah - the one
anointed to rule over the Jews as the divinely appointed successor to King
David. The Gentile Christians had no use for that meaning and turned
"Christ" into a proper name - the name of a supernatural being, the second
person of the Holy Trinity and the exclusive Saviour of the world. The
word even often displaced the word Jesus with which it was originally
The word "Christ" is unlikely to play any role in the spirituality of
the future. It has become too identified with supernatural power and
exclusivity. But the man Jesus may certainly have something to offer.
Already for some time Christian scholars have been engaged in the process
of deconstructing the glorified figure of Christ and returning to the man
Jesus, the Galilean Jew, whose words, deeds and continuing influence
brought a new dimension to the Jewish cultural stream.
But it is not a mythical Jesus who is of relevance to us, but Jesus the
fully human person. While traditional Christians have deplored the demise
of the mythical Christ, the recovery of the human Jesus is actually
turning out to be a great gain. It is he, and not the heavenly Christ, who
shared the tensions, enigmas and uncertainties that we now experience
concerning the present and the future.
It is the Jesus who could look both appreciatively and also critically
at his cultural past who can now inspire us as we in turn look back to a
receding Christian past and forward to an unknown global future. It is
Jesus the teller of stories which shocked people out of their traditional
ways of thinking and behaving, who can free us from the mind-sets in which
we become imprisoned.
The Jesus most relevant to us is he who, far from providing readymade
answers, prompted people by his tantalising stories to work out their own
most appropriate answers to the problems of life.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, struggling to understand what he called
"religionless Christianity", started to speak of Jesus as "the man for
others", we can now legitimately speak of Jesus as the "man of wisdom".
Robert Funk has said, not only that "Jesus is one of the great sages of
but that "Jesus is also a secular sage. His parables and aphorisms all but
obliterate the boundaries separating the sacred from the secular"
It was Jesus the secular sage whose long-term influence did so much,
even by an indirect route, to bring the modern secular world into being.
The rediscovery of this secular sage can continue to shake us out of our
complacency, as he did long ago. He can challenge us to think for
ourselves, spur us to act in faith, and then to take full responsibility
for our actions.
It was this man Jesus which the first Christians glorified and elevated
into heaven. They tried to retain his humanity by the doctrine of the
incarnation. Instead of abandoning this doctrine we need rather to extend
it to its logical conclusion.
This is exactly what Ludwig Feuerbach did in his epoch-making book of
1843, The Essence of Christianity. With a tour de force, Feuerbach
rediscovered in the coming of the modern secular world the culmination of
the very essence of Christianity. The real meaning of the Incarnation,
Feuerbach asserted, was that, in mythological terms, it reversed the
ancient myth by which our human forbears had unconsciously projected all
of their highest human values into a supernatural personal being they
The reason why Christianity is true, Feuerbach claimed, is that it is
able to restore human beings to wholeness, by reconciling them with their
highest values. "God" as love could once again live within the human
condition where God belonged.
Thus the coming new world was rightly envisaged in Revelation 21.3,
where it says "the dwelling of god is within humanity". This meant, of
course, that the mythical throne of heaven was now left empty. Feuerbach
took the crucifixion of Jesus to symbolise in dramatic form the "death of
God" and the end of theism.
In other words, the restriction of the incarnation to one human person,
namely Jesus, was to miss its full significance. The incarnation of God
applied to the whole of humankind. The essence of Christianity, as
Feuerbach saw it, was to acknowledge that the human race should manifest
the virtues of love, justice and compassion, so long regarded as the
attributes only of God. It further meant that the human race is
increasingly to play the role of "God" with regard to the sustaining of
life on this planet.
Feuerbach was thus one of the first in the West to understand the
absolute importance of religion even when understood in naturalistic terms
and as a human creation. Further, he led us back to the primitive nature
religions as the base from which religion must start once again. As
Feuerbach asserted in his later book, The Essence of Religion
that upon which human beings are fully dependent is originally,
nothing other than Nature. Nature is the first, original object of
The most pressing concerns of our dependence upon nature are very
basic. They are largely the same as those we share with the other animals:
the need for air, drink, food, shelter, survival, and the regeneration of
the species. Built into every species, including the human species, are
the instincts to survive and to procreate.
These basic needs and animal instincts were the starting-point from
which our primitive human ancestors set out slowly and unconsciously to
create human culture and all the various forms in which they expressed
We too must go that far back. The need for pure air, clean water,
healthy food, adequate shelter, the regeneration of the species and the
overcoming of all threats to human survival have once again become the
central issues to which we must devote ourselves. They are genuinely
In spite of all our modern sophistication, scientific knowledge,
technological expertise, philosophical wisdom and traditional forms of
spirituality, it is from these basic instincts for survival and
regeneration that the new spirituality will arise.
Sallie McFague in Super Natural Christians (1997) sets out to
reconnect the Christian tradition with the natural world. Thus the
spirituality of the future will draw not only from the more ideological
and intellectualised faiths such as Christianity and Islam, but from the
nature religions which preceded them.
Surprisingly remnants of them still survived in spite of frequent
efforts to eliminate them. Interesting examples of this are to be found in
the image of the "green man" tucked away unobtrusively in so much of
mediaeval church architecture.
Our very earliest forebears stood in such awe of the forces of nature
on which they depended, and on which we still depend, that they created
concepts, symbols and a language by which to understand them. The concepts
they created constituted the raw material not only of their religion but
also of their "science" (knowledge). The basic realities they
conceptualised to explain the natural phenomena they called gods and
We now understand the natural world very differently and we have
developed a very different set of concepts. Where they talked about
spirit, we talk about physical energy. Where they explained the phenomena
in terms of gods and spirits, we do so in terms of electrons and quarks,
gravity and nuclear forces, DNA and chromosomes, immune systems and amino
acids, neurones and synapses.
For us these are the basic components of reality which explain the
nature of the world, the phenomenon of life within it, and even how we
human organisms think through our brains.
While this new way of understanding the natural world has been emerging
in the last two or three centuries, the traditional religious
superstructure is still in place to provide religious meaning to the
For others it leads to an inner conflict about how to reconcile the
competing claims of science and religion. Some choose to resolve the
conflict by abandoning traditional religion altogether, only to find that
the scientific knowledge of the natural world does not in itself provide
answers to the meaning of life.
The ancients came to believe that the natural world operated with some
degree of meaning and purpose because they unconsciously projected their
own thoughts and feelings into the supposed gods of nature, including
"Mother Earth" and the "Sky Father".
Our understanding of the natural world leads us to see it as completely
lacking any ultimate purpose. It operates according to both change and
necessity. The chief, and perhaps the only, area of the natural world in
which we find evidence of purposeful behaviour is in human activity.
In some respects the greatest mystery about the natural world is that
within it there has evolved the human species, creatures who have the
capacity not only to think but to ask questions, to look for meaning and
to create the worlds of meaning in which they live.
The chief mystery of nature is humankind itself.
There are now signs that we are beginning to recover some of the awe
which the ancients felt towards the natural world. But there is a
difference between us and them. We are recovering some of their sense of
dependence on the forces of nature. But we also recognise ourselves as a
part of nature in all its complexity. Moreover, we are a very important
part of nature (so far as this planet is concerned), for it is in us and
in our culture that meaning and purpose have become an explicit component
To use the term coined by Teilhard de Chardin, over and above the
biosphere which surrounds this planet we humans have both created, and
been shaped by, the "noosphere" - the invisible but very real sphere of
human thought and self-critical reflection.
Many of the particular aspects of nature which ancient humans found
awesome can be readily explained by us in quite mundane ways, but they
have been replaced in our new picture of the universe by other aspects
which are just as awe-inspiring.
We know extremely little about what takes place in the rest of this
universe. We have no idea, and we may never know, whether there is life
anywhere else within it. Life on our planet has apparently evolved over
some three billion years. Our human species emerged out of a myriad of
evolving living species. It did so only very recently, relative to the
story of the Earth, and more by accident than by any design.
There is no obvious reason why we have evolved as we have, or even why
there should be any life at all on this planet, since none of our
planetary neighbours shows any signs of life.
The origin and purpose of human existence is itself a mystery.
The modern study of ecology is also helping us to understand the
awe-inspiring way in which all life on this planet forms a complex,
interdependent whole. All living creatures are organisms or living
systems, made up of components such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and
oxygen, which are lifeless. All living organisms not only constitute an
internal living system but, along with their environment, form a larger
living system, which could be called a "life field".
The continuing life of each species depends upon the preservation of a
delicate balance between the organism and the environment which supports
it. Each organism contains self-regulating mechanisms which help to
preserve that balance. When one or more of those systems has its balance
disturbed and can no longer function (as, say, in diabetes) our health or
"wholeness" suffers. We become ill and, if the balance cannot be restored,
The earth has provided certain basic conditions which must be met by
all earthly creatures if they are to survive as a species. Humans have
evolved within those parameters. For humans to be healthy they must be
able to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, eat adequate food, and live
in an environment not too different from that in which they became human.
The more the environment changes from that in which a species has
evolved, the more the health and behaviour of that species will show
maladjustment. Its health will deteriorate and then it will die. A full
appreciation of the whole eco-system has led some to describe the earth
itself in terms of an organism. The biosphere is living skin of the earth
in the same way as bark is the living skin of the tree.
In learning more about the ecology of all planetary life, we have been
discovering to our horror how much we are now upsetting the delicate
balances in the living systems of the eco-sphere. Humanity has had no
intention of wrecking the biosphere.
The current damage to the eco-sphere is quite unintentional and occurs
mostly out of ignorance. The eco-sphere is suffering chiefly through our
sudden expansion in numbers and our rapidly growing technology. The first
of these is serving to exacerbate the second.
In the spirituality of the coming global society the forces of nature,
the process of evolution, the existence of life itself, and the ecosphere
which sustains it in all its diversity, will be the objects of respect and
Some steps towards acknowledging the sacred character of the Earth have
already begun. We no longer restrict the concept of "sanctuary" to the
church building or temple but are giving it back to the Earth, in bird
sanctuaries, fish sanctuaries and so on. The eco-sphere itself is in the
process of being re-sanctified.
The loving care of Mother Earth, and all which that involves, is to a
large extent replacing the former sense of obedience to the Heavenly
Father. In her book The Body of God, the theologian Sallie McFague
goes further, suggesting that the mutual influence of post-modern science
and Christian faith requires the construction of a new model in which we
see the universe as the body of God.
The universe itself is so vast and mysterious that it is more than
enough to induce in us that sense of awe and joyful gratitude which played
such a role in past religious experience. The religious rituals of the
future will celebrate the wonder of the universe and the mystery of life.
They will revolve around the natural processes which have brought life
into being and which continue to sustain it.
It is salutary to remember that the great annual Christian festivals
(most of which Christianity inherited from Judaism) all originated as
festivals celebrating the changing seasons of nature. The Jewish festivals
of Passover and Unleavened Bread, which later became the Christian Easter,
originated as early spring festivals celebrating the resurrection of
nature to new life after the death of winter. The Feast of Pentecost
originated as the early harvest festival. The Jewish Feast of Booths
originated as the vintage festival. Christmas originated as a New Year
festival celebrating the passing of the shortest day and the return of the
As humankind recovers full appreciation of how much our earthly life
depends upon the conditions and processes of the Earth itself, it will
re-create the appropriate nature festivals to celebrate it.
The new religious rituals will be based not only on our relationship to
the natural world. They will also celebrate everything we have come to
value in human existence, such as the importance of healthy human
relationships, and the rich inheritance of human culture.
This trend is already observable in the way Christians celebrate their
chief ritual, known variously as Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper or the
Eucharist. For some time it has been interpreted less as the commemoration
of a sacrifice offered on an altar to God and more as the sharing of a
common meal round a table to celebrate the rich and sacred character of
human fellowship. That indeed is how it actually began.
In a similar fashion, Christmas, which is just as popular as ever, is
already changing from being a commemoration of the birthday of the
supposed Saviour of the world to a celebration of family life. Much to the
chagrin of traditional Christian clergy, what still survives as the
widespread celebration of Easter are the Easter eggs and the Easter
bunnies which point back to the very ancient spring festival which long
preceded the Jewish Passover and the Christian celebration of the death
and resurrection of Jesus.
Our newly-emerging practice of devoting a particular day of the year,
whether nationally or internationally, to some special feature of human
society which is thought to need extra attention, is already a sign of the
coming trend for the creation of new and appropriate rituals.
The spirituality of the global era will motivate us:
- to celebrate the fact and mystery of life;
- to devote ourselves to maximising the future for all living
creatures whose destiny is increasingly in our hands;
- to place the needs of the coming global society before those of our
own immediate family, tribe or nation;
- to develop a lifestyle which is consistent with preserving the
balance of the planetary eco-system on which all living creatures
- to refrain from all activities which endanger the future of any
- to set a high value on the total cultural legacy we have received
from the past and which enables us to develop our potential to become
- to value the importance of the human relationships which bind us
together into social groups and which enable us to become fully human;
- to promote the virtues of love, goodwill and peacefulness.
These broad principles do no more than set the parameters of a global
spirituality. To flesh these out with more specific detail each culture
will need to draw upon its past and interpret that creatively. Such an
approach both allows for the universality necessary in a global culture
and the preservation of diversity which is desirable for the richness of
In today's sea of faith, with its complex potpourri of religious
symbols and interchange of ideas, concepts and values, it will be all too
easy for individual persons to feel lost and bewildered. The more personal
values found in human relationships and in our own family and local
setting will come to be appreciated all the more.
Just as we depend for physical existence on the forces and process of
the natural world, so, to find meaning and spiritual fulfillment in life,
we depend on our cultural inheritance and on what we receive from one
another and give back in return.
(1) Robert W. Funk. Honest To Jesus, Polebridge