If the burned-over summer of 2023 has taught us anything, surely it is that we human beings need to start loving the earth more. Or else.
As a Humanist, I blame the monotheisms for forging the destructive I/It thinking that is damaging the planet and threatening our species. However unfair my blame may be, I ask only this: Would pantheists have destroyed the planet? Would animists have destroyed the planet? How about Druids?
That’s why I’m enamored of the new-ish movement called religious naturalism (RN). It’s the oldest new idea around. Remaining firmly rooted in the natural world, religious naturalists embrace the findings of science and recognize nature as the ultimate reality. Just like the ancients.
In a nation riven by endless culture wars, religious naturalism views religion and science as complementary (and the supposed opposition as a false dichotomy). Science provides consensus facts about the world, and religious naturalism provides a spiritual context (the “Why?”) to those facts for practitioners. RN helps us to feel connected to the universe and to find purpose and meaning in our lives in the larger meaning and purpose of life and flourishing on our planet and in the cosmos.
Religious naturalism provides a thoughtful and inclusive path beyond “spiritual but not religious.” It’s not just a theoretical concept but a lived practice that can guide our actions, enrich our lives, and deepen our understanding of the universe we inhabit.
“Religious Naturalism: A Theology for UU Humanists” by Dr. Demian Wheeler