Religious naturalism, for many, frames a personal way of being Jewish or Christian*.
Many who hold a naturalist worldview are active members of temples and churches. Others attend services infrequently but identify as Christian or Jewish. Although they do not believe in a personal God that may be active in the world, they can appreciate teachings, rituals, and community that are parts of established traditions. As Loyal Rue put it, religion is not about God and, with a naturalist worldview, perspectives from science and traditional wisdom may both be examined when considering religious questions.
Naturalist views are common in some denominations – among parishioners, and also in a number of rabbis, ministers, and priests – but these often remain private and unstated. Some prominent theologians have suggested interpretations of religious images that fit comfortably with naturalism. As these provide symbolic, rather than literal ways of viewing religious ideas, mythic stories can provide rich food for thought.
With this, those who left the temples and churches of their birth, and those who were never involved, can appreciate aspects of these religions, along with perspectives from the natural world, as part of a naturalist religious sense.
Ursula Goodenough. Our religions of origin.
Perspectives of theologians
Mordecai Kaplan (intellectual founder of Reconstructionist Judaism)
John Shelby Spong
Jack Cohen. The Case for Religious Naturalism: A Philosophy for the Modern Jew. The Reconstructionist Press 1958 (book review).
John Shelby Sprong. A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born. HarperOne 2002.
Karl Peters. A Christian naturalism: developing the thinking of Gordon Kaufman. Zygon. Volume 48, Issue 3, pages 678-591. September 2013.
International Society for Science and Religion:
…..Library Project. Judaism
…..Library Project. Christianity
- Religious naturalism may also be part of personal views for those aligned with other religions but, due to limited familiarity of webpage authors with non-Judeo/Christian traditions and with a desire to not make assumptions, the focus of this and other descriptions at this website are mainly in relation to Jewish and Christian traditions.