The Religious Naturalist Association or RNA (pun intended) was incorporated in August 2014. Its goal is to bring together persons from around the world who self-describe as religious naturalists and to introduce this concept to those unfamiliar with it. This website will serve as a resource for writings and dialogue on the religious-naturalist orientation, where it is hoped that additional projects and activities will emerge over time. Clarifications as to what is meant by a religious naturalist orientation are offered below.
Information on the group is at the About RNApage (right-side menu).
Information on membership, which is free, is at the Join RNA page.
What is the common understanding of being religious?
Most traditional religions have a core narrative (a mythos, a large story), usually recorded in texts or oral accounts. Interpretations of each account are embedded in the mythos and elaborated by clergy, spiritual responses to the account are elicited via art and ceremonies, and moral/ethical edicts are built into the fabric of the narrative. A person adopting a traditional religion elects to believe in the mythos and its embedded interpretive, spiritual, and moral/ethical parameters and usually participates in a community of fellow believers.
Who is a naturalist?
Scientific inquiry has provisioned us with a mind-boggling new core narrative — the epic of evolution, the epic of creation, the universe story, big history, everybody’s story — where humans and human cultures are understood to be emergent from and hence a part of Nature. Naturalists adopt this account as their core narrative, with full recognition that these understandings will certainly deepen and may shift with further scientific inquiry. They adopt the story currently on offer and do not simply select features of the story that support preferred theories of Nature.
Who is a religious naturalist?
A religious naturalist is a naturalist who has adopted the Epic as a core narrative and goes on to explore its religious potential, developing interpretive, spiritual, and moral/ethical responses to the story. Importantly, these responses are not front-loaded into the story as they are in the traditions. Therefore, the religious naturalist engages in a process, both individually and in the company of fellow explorers, to discover and experience them. These explorations are informed and guided by the mindful understandings inherent in our human traditions, including art, literature, philosophy, and the religions of the world.