Basics of Religious Naturalism
The attributes of Religious Naturalism proposed here are to support the development and advancement of this bold new paradigm. Discussion on it began in the mid-20th century and accelerated in the 1990's. There are now numerous books on it. The Epic of Evolution, the foundational narrative for Religious Naturalism, is the basis for current biological viewpoints.
Religious Naturalism is an emerging confidence founded on the three postulates that Nature is real, everything and lawful. The objectivity of rational thinking and the subjectivity of human emotions are combined to form this paradigm for living. Our conscious being is an amalgamation of factual and mental awareness. Both of these are necessary for completeness of our understanding of our being. This results in a valid spirituality that complements our wellbeing. Science with its ensuing technology provides for our physical progress and comfort.
In that Nature is everything (the All) means that it is reasonable to consider it the ultimate. Nothing exists that is more than it. Seen as the ultimate it becomes sacred. This is a tangible sacredness, not a figment of the imagination. The sovereignty of Nature contributes to its sacredness.
In that Nature is lawful (the Way) means it is reasonable to see that human society to function properly must be lawful too. Thus rules of social conduct (ethics) are used to guide human behavior.
Why base a belief for living on the claims of realness, sacredness, and lawfulness of Nature? Humans are physical and mental beings. Both are key, real aspects of our being and how we approach living. Religious Naturalism addresses both and more. It is a more tangible and perceptive paradigm than those of the past based on non-natural elements and ancient texts. It is based on what is, not what might be. It is not old stories but today's facts.
The core narrative of Religious Naturalism is factual existence and history. It has a morality or rightness to it that address real-life issues. It has tolerance for diverse thinking rather than sectarianism that may divide people spiritually and promote aggression. It promotes wellbeing in this real life, now, rather than a possible post life. Its spirituality is based in part on what can be seen and touched. Also on the inescapable mysteries that evoke the traditional religious feeling of awe, wonder, and mightiness. A Religious Naturalist has confidence in facts and what s/he understands, but not with a traditional religious certainty. S/he accepts uncertainty as part of life - one that adds richness to being, not fear. Mystery contributes to its sacredness.
Religious Naturalism is friendly to a naturalized god concept for those who want or need one. This acceptance is not a primary cornerstone but a personal option as god questions are not primary to this paradigm. Such a god concept may provide an entity more magnificent than previous beliefs and one with real substance. This concept does not provide the wishful benefits of some religions. Here too it takes a hands-off, tolerant approach.
Why a new concept? Today’s problems cannot be solved with yesterday’s answers. The discoveries of science over the last 150 years are at odds with old interpretations. These truths of reality must now be incorporated into a religious paradigm that can claim sensibility. If not now, when? When the dust from brewing discomforts settle? After the brewing religions wars are over? Humanity needs one now to unite it into a oneness and a delicious destiny. It is a modern concept to deal with a modern world. Religious Naturalism may not be a satisfying viewpoint for everyone. Religious fundamentalists most likely will not but some people these days are finding it sufficient. It avoids some of the drawbacks associated with traditional beliefs.