To present another perspective on the “we are one with the universe” trope, here’s astrophysicist and science popularizer Neil Tyson, who is not a “reverend” so far as I can tell.
Watch on youtube: http://youtu.be/XLvh64sMrWY
According to Tyson, because of the Big Bang and the consequent commonalities among all matter, we and the rest of the universe are all from the same stuff, and this is supposed to make us reflect upon our oneness with the universe “with wonder,” i.e. in something like a religious sense.
So the leap here is from the astronomic facts to his claim that we are stardust “in the highest, exalted way one could use that phrase.” This is science, here, trying to say “you don’t need religion; we’ve got all your awe and reverence and oneness right here.”
If you watched the Stephen Nadler clip I posted, you’ll see what Spinoza, for one, has to say about this. Awe, for Spinoza, counts as an irrational passion, where some external object (what we’re in awe of) overwhelms us and makes us stand around drooling. So on Nadler’s interpretation, Spinoza is in no way mystical, and if Tyson is best characterized as a religious naturalist (i.e. this is why the youtube poster calls him “reverend”), then these don’t jibe.
While I appreciate the sentiment expressed by Karen Armstrong and others that we need something like the religious feeling, this awe in the presence of something beyond words, I guess I personally don’t get off on it. This “wonder” that folks speak of that is supposed to keep us childlike and alive and open to new experiences is a concept that I’ve never felt properly captures my own emotional experiences, whether religious, aesthetic, romantic, joyous, fascinated, or otherwise manic.