Sacred Nature – Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong; credit Michael Lionstar

Event details

Wednesday 23 March 2022


About the talk

We are now all aware of the gravity of climate change and know that we have to change our behaviour. But we also have to change our attitude to nature. That, however, is difficult, as we no longer regard the natural world as sacred. Our discussion of nature has become scientific and abstract. We hear about emissions and the damage to the ozone layer, but this increasingly alarming discourse does not move us to creative action.

In her talk, Karen Armstrong will examine a number of ways in which we can relate to the natural world at a deeper level by adopting attitudes that were assiduously cultivated in the religious traditions of China, India, Greece, and, interestingly, Islam, which has a much stronger emphasis on the sacrality of nature than the other two monotheisms. It is not a question of changing beliefs, but of adopting practices that will change our minds and hearts. 

About our speaker

Karen Armstrong is one of the world’s leading commentators on religious affairs. She spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun, but left her teaching order in 1969 to read English at St Anne’s College, Oxford. In 1982, she became a full-time writer and broadcaster.

She is the author of over 16 books, including A History of God, which became an international bestseller. Her new book – Sacred Nature: How Can We Recover Our Bond with the Natural World – will be published by Bodley Head in June.

A passionate campaigner for religious liberty, Armstrong has addressed members of the United States Congress and participated in the World Economic Forum. In 2013, she received the British Academy’s inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for improving transcultural understanding. In 2017, she was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences and an OBE.

Prokhorov Lectures

We host several lectures by world-leading academics and public intellectuals each year.

The Sheffield Prokhorov Lectures are open to academics, students, and the general public and are supplemented by a range of further activities such as master classes and panel debates.


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