IRAS-RN is an ‘Interest Group’ of The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science. The group usually holds a workshop at the annual IRAS conference ( 2009 IRAS Conference ).
One of the goals of IRAS is to explore ways that science can help religions state their doctrines in ways accessible to all peoples regardless of their culture. Thus the RN interest group explores ways that Religious Naturalism can meet that goal. IRAS itself contains many viewpoints including theistic viewpoints and viewpoints informed by other world religions, and this annual meeting also gives us a great opportunity to learn from all of those viewpoints and consider how to modify our own beliefs to incorporate other viewpoints where appropriate (see the Big Tent comments as well).
In IRAS generally and in IRAS-RN as well, there is a scholarly respect for differences in viewpoints that range from theistic to atheistic, creative to pragmatic, and idealistic to realistic, as well as for differences that may arise from the differences between science and religion. We are not only willing but eager to step outside our own beliefs and listen to other perspectives, all the while searching for the consilience of religious viewpoints which we believe is now critical to the future of humanity.
IRAS-RN includes scientists, theologians, and philosophers as well as many other disciplines and laypeople, a very remarkable and unusual amalgamation. Such a composite is needed today to address the historic conflicts between the physical and metaphysical aspects of human thinking. It is a union of people that recognizes that humanity needs a more sensible and conciliatory world view.
Religious Naturalism is 'an idea whose time has come'. There are emerging numerous other organizations with very similar goals. Some of these are listed on our Links page. The goals of those organizations are not quite the same as ours, but are naturalistic in their fundamental viewpoint. It id hoped that some sort of alliance of efforts could be in our future.
This website and two email groups serve as communication tools for IRAS-RN (see below).