Chapter 7: Case Study: Wilderness and Creation Spirituality

Chapter 7 Discussion Questions

Reflection Questions:

A. Take at least a full hour to “be quiet” in nature.  Find a “natural” place that seems inviting to you (maybe a wilderness area, maybe a mountain or hill top, maybe a field, maybe a forest, maybe your garden, maybe your back yard, maybe a park, or cemetery, or other green space…), and then simply “be” there for at least 60 minutes.  Contemplate. Observe. Meditate. Pray. Listen. Appreciate nature. Maybe draw a little, but mostly, just BE STILL and experience the place and yourself in it. For an hour. Naps don’t count. (Dress appropriately for the weather.)

Discussion Questions:
1. In which was has nature influenced your religious beliefs, or lack thereof?
2. Do you feel at home or out-of-place in natural settings? On an intellectual level, do you believe that you are a part of nature, or that humanity is disconnected from the natural world? Do your feelings about your place in nature match your thoughts?
3. Have you ever had a supernatural experience in nature? What happened?
4. Chapter 7.3 details several ways in which nature can be valued:
  • utilitarian (how nature can be used to accomplish our goals)
  • naturalistic (recreation, curiosity, and discovery)
  • ecologistic-scientific (how nature can be used to further science)
  • aesthetic (beauty)
  • symbolic (how nature can be used through metaphor to help one understand other concepts)
  • humanistic (how nature can bring people closer together)
  • moralistic (how nature might make one a better person)
  • dominionistic (how nature might foster toughness and survival skills)
  • negativistic (how nature might instill us with an awe and fear of the divine)

In what ways has nature been most valuable to you? Are there ways in which you value nature that are not on that list?

5. Does environmental exploitation stem from valuing nature too much or too little? How might efforts to preserve the planet benefit from wilderness spirituality?


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Religion and Environmental Values in America Copyright © 2019 by Gregory E Hitzhusen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.