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When God Is Gone, Everything Is Holy: The Making of a Religious Naturalist
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When God Is Gone, Everything Is Holy: The Making of a Religious Naturalist

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  173 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 148 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Sorin Books (first published August 31st 2008)
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Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Noted writer, naturalist, and Professor Emeritus of Physics at Stonehill College, Raymo is first and foremost a man of science. But unlike Richard Dawkins and those of his New Atheist ilk, Raymo has a soft spot for religion, specifically in the sensuous rituals of his own Catholic upbringing.

This book is a brief, humble manifesto on what it means to be a religious naturalist. Raymo does not believe in miracles or the supernatural. He believes, rather, that we should stop looking for God in exce
Sep 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jessica by: Amazon Vine
Shelves: non-fiction
My Amazon review: The middle of the road rating on this book is not a reflection on the author, who is obviously an incredibly smart and thoughtful man and a very interesting writer, but on the fact that I am very obviously not the target audience for this book and am honestly not sure how this book would rate when compared to others written in a smiliar vein.

That said, this is the heaviest 150 page book I've ever opened. By page 24 my list of people and words to double check on included Gerard
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think the publisher’s blurb and a few reviews here do this book justice - it’s a fine book, displaying ”spirituality that is consistent with the empirical way of knowing.” It is, in fact, rich with interesting references, including the simple complexity, if you will, of the 959-celled worm C.elegans, Deus absconditus, and Gerard Manley Hopkin’s poem “God’s Grandeur” - “The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil...”

The book offers an example,
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
2 1/2 stars

This guy's too much of a fence-sitter to warrant 3 stars. He presents excellent arguments for why science rejects the existence of "God" and miracles and an afterlife. (Zero proof, no reproducible results.) But he cannot seem to commit himself to one view or the other. He considers himself a true scientist, but then insists on calling himself a "Catholic agnostic." When I finished the book I was left without a clue as to what he'd hoped to show in writing it. I felt like the whole boo
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The title to this book is somewhat misleading, at least to me. The author isn't advocating the absence of the concept of god, but rather finding spirituality in the complexities of nature--that "the point of religion. . .is to celebrate the unfathomable mystery of creation" (4). It is a beautiful book, and the first spiritual book that has resonated with me in a long time. I borrowed this title from the library, but I'm definitely buying a copy for myself.

"I am an atheist, if by God one means a
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A concise and enlightening look into "religious naturalism." Raymo is poetic, crystal clear in what he has gained from his own religious upbringing (Catholic) and where he departs from it, and an eloquent and sincere voice for the scientific worldview (rather than harsh and sarcastic, as Richard Dawkins can be). Raymo says a lot in a slim volume. This is one that will stay with you.
May 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
Another book sent for me to review . . .

I am usually a very quick reader of books, as long as the subject matter isn't too dry or boring. Unfortunately, this book did not hold my attention very well, but that could be because I am not really interested in science all that much. At first glance I thought that this book would be about spirituality, in a sense of truly exploring one's existence with nature too -- but that wasn't the case here.

There are a few points I'd like to make about the author
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: esoteric, nature
I resonate with the message that the author is intending to get across with this book. However, the meandering style reduces somewhat the effectiveness of the delivery of that message. I love Mr. Raymo's Science Musing blog (, and find his style and content more impactful in those smaller, zen-like observational chunks.
Zach Rusk
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book outlines a spectacularly rational view regarding religion and faith. I appreciate the objectives highlighted that are determined to be important in a religion that won't cause war. Anyone interested in theology or free thinking would enjoy this immensely.
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
The ramblings of a "religious naturalist:" When God is around; everything is not holy

The author recalls and recounts his life experiences about his catholic upbringing, and his conflict with scientific and philosophical education. He calls himself a "religious naturalist," who does not believe in personal, transcendent God; yet feels religious and belief in Catholic sacramental tradition.

This is a potpourri of sociology and theology dictated by a certain level of morality required by Catholicis
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Chet Raymo (born September 17, 1936 in Chattanooga, Tennessee) is a noted writer, educator and naturalist. He is Professor Emeritus of Physics at Stonehill College, in Easton, Massachusetts. His weekly newspaper column Science Musings appeared in the Boston Globe for twenty years, and his musings can still be read online at

His most famous book was the novel entitled The Do
More about Chet Raymo...