Synopses & Reviews
The attempt to identify the emotional sources of religion goes back to antiquity. In an exploration that bridges science and spirituality, Robert Fuller makes the convincing case that a sense of wonder is a principal source of humanity's belief in the existence of an unseen order of life. Like no other emotion, Fuller argues, wonder prompts us to pause, admire, and open our hearts and minds.
With a voice that seamlessly blends the scientific and the contemplative, Fuller defines wonder in keeping with the tradition of Socrates - as an emotion related to curiosity and awe that stimulates engagement with the immediate physical world. He draws on the natural and social sciences to explain how wonder can, at the same time, elicit belief in the existence of a more-than-physical reality. Chapters examining emotions in evolutionary biology and the importance of wonder in human cognitive development alternate with chapters on John Muir, William James, and Rachel Carson, whom Fuller identifies as "exemplars of wonder." The writings and lives of these individuals express a functional side of emotion: that the very survival of life on earth today may depend on the empathy, compassion, and care that are aroused by a sense of wonder.
Forging new pathways between the social sciences, philosophy, and cultural history, Wonder deepens our understanding of the complex sources of personal spirituality and fulfillment.
About the Author
Robert C. Fuller is Caterpillar Professor of Religious Studies at Bradley University and author of ten books, including Religious Revolutionaries: The Rebels Who Reshaped American Religion and Spiritual, But Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America.
Table of Contents
"Fascinatinga must read for anyone who is curious about the human instinct to believe in the unknown."
Dean Hamer, author of The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes "This exciting, groundbreaking inquiry. . . . invites us to think about religion in a new way."
John Corrigan, Florida State University "The thesis of Wonder is a tight and telling one--it throws new light on a number of intellectual topics."
Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University "Clearly written, this convincing and compelling work makes a significant contribution to the understanding of human religiosity. Essential."
Choice "Fuller places his own book within the larger project to understand 'spirituality in the flesh'. He has earned the reader's esteem by the care with which he establishes his categories." Journal of Religion