Although John Muir spent his early life in a strict religious environment, his relationship with the divine appears to have been mediated almost entirely through his relationship with nature. He felt that a relationship with the divine was best found through a relationship with nature. Although he was able to quote almost all of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament (a legacy of his father’s early teaching), he talked about seeing more of God in “The Book of Nature”.
He believed that nature and civilisation were inherently in conflict, and saw his role as being to advocate on the side of nature. Some biographers have compared Muir’s approach as being analogous to that of John the Baptist, and have described the time he spent acting as a guide for visitors to Yosemite as him performing a form of ‘mountain baptism’. It is clear from his time with Theodore Roosevelt that his spiritual thoughts had a significant impact on those he shared them with.
Photo Courtesy Al Golub Photography
Presentation to Stanislaus County – Highway renaming “John Muir Highway”