Earl Lectures workshop leader connects animism and science

January 11, 2010

“The basis of animism could be viewed as the first law of thermodynamics: Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed,” explains Amy Martin, executive director and president of the Dallas-based cultural events non-profit Earth Rhythms and workshop leader at this year’s Earl Lectures. “Hence, we are eternal, but only as a group energy, not an individual unit.”

Animism—viewing the divine as an animating force or energy that inhabits all existence—is the prevailing mode of thought among many of the spiritual-but-not-religious set. What’s more, animism resonates on a scientific level for many adherents.

“Biology is rich with spirituality,” Martin adds. “The idea that we eat sunlight by ingesting plants, that plants and animals depend on each other’s exhalations to exist, accentuates the idea of oneness and connection. And when you get down to an atomic level, there is no distinction between where my body ends and the chair I sit in begins.”

Martin will explore the scientific parallels to animism, among other topics, in her Earl Lectures workshop, “Animism: The Roots of Religion, the Future of Spirituality” (January 26, 11 am – 12:30 pm). A rich selection of workshops featuring leaders in theology, ministry, and education are offered through the annual Earl Lectures and Leadership Conference. Workshops are suitable for the general public, those in all walks of social change and ministry, and clergy. Registration for the Leadership Conference workshops is $125 after January 11, 2010. (There is no need to register to attend the lectures only, which are open to the public at no charge.)