The New Animism has its champions, but I have yet to find an argument for the validity of animism as cogent as Gregory Sams'. His book Sun of gOd (2009) doesn't linger long on Sun as a deity, but he makes his point quickly: the earth and all of us puny humans would die without Sun's light, heat, and energy. In fact, Sun may be the progenitor of Gaia, herself. Instead of a litergy of Sun worship, the book builds a case for the probability of Sun's consciousness and intelligence, and in so doing, opens the reader's mind to the consciousness and intelligence inherent in all things. This foundational concept, put rationally and succinctly, builds the case for animism as a rational choice in a contemporary world.
The book takes a rambling route around its main point, touching on topics as diverse as the origins of religious institutions and a planetary tour of the solar system. I was delighted to find many of the questions that have troubled me articulated in the book. For example, in speaking of the crucifixion, "how can logic be so twisted as to propose that, in response to this ungrateful deed, gOd absolved us of all sins . . .?" I found ideas that I've also put forth, as in, "no particular ritual is required or more important than our simple grateful awareness" and the impact of chaos on our best-laid human plans. Just Sams' use of syntax in the word "gOd" as he attempts to distinguish the mono-gods from other gods, brings to mind our own struggle with the issue.
But the most important work Sams accomplishes with Sun of gOd is to call into question the culture's absolute faith in rationalist, materialist science. His critique of science stands well next to Vine Deloria's* as he describes creation evolving purposefully "from the bottom up" and the existence of what he calls "non-brain-based intelligence."
All in all, an essential read for New Animists. You can purchase the book and learn more about author Gregory Sams on his website.
Post Script: By the way, in the image above, the flowers are singing a hymn to Sun originally written to the Christian god in the 4th century: Phos Hilaron. Drop me an email if you're interested in the complete lyrics.
*See, for example, Deloria's: Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths.