“People deeply need membership in a group”
“It’s just so validating to know
that we’re not alone in this way. . .”
Religious naturalists do not have the types of communities that have long been common in Western culture. No meeting houses stand in prominent locations in towns, with weekly services and other activities. Instead, people are spread widely among many nations and states, and the main ways of coming together are in online conversations and occasional conferences, talks, and small in-person gatherings.
While many are happy to have religious naturalism mainly as a personal orientation, some also want to be part of an active community. Approaches currently being used include . . .
Group websites provide information and links that can contribute to exploration of religious naturalism. Some, including the Religious Naturalist Association, also include active online conversation, where people can ask questions and receive information and opinions, or share tips about interesting websites, articles, videos, books, and events. Some group members participate regularly, some may comment occasionally, and others mainly listen-in.
Also blogs, which often begin with ideas posted by individuals, can become a focus for online group discussions.
Some religious naturalists are occasional or active members of churches or temples, where – in congregations that are comfortable with non-literal interpretations – they can appreciate ideals in teachings and mythic value in age-old stories, and enjoy the social connections of being part of an in-person group.
Spiritual involvement in non-religious groups
Some religious naturalists are active in groups that are not overtly religious, but provide venues for spiritual activities. Examples include groups that organize nature walks, canoe/kayak trips, or other ways of enjoying spending time in natural settings, or working with others to advance social justice or ecologic initiatives, or help maintain public gardens or work in food pantries, aid the elderly, or contribute to other community services.
In each of these settings, available roles include leaders, contributors, and occasional followers or observers.
Also, beyond what may be done in gathering together with people who have similar beliefs, marking life events (such as weddings, funerals, the birth of a child, and coming of age) are occasions when family and friends – of various religious orientations – gather together in joint appreciation or celebration.
Links above connect to pages with additional discussion of potential benefits, drawbacks, and available outlets for each approach.
Some additional articles include:
Taking Nature to Heart
A worldview grounded in science that provides a foundation for a way of being in the world that is both inspiring and personally rewarding.