On "Religious" 02/05/2010
I would like to talk about the "religious" part of the name Religious Naturalism. This is inspired by a short article in the latest issue of Quest, the monthly newsletter of the Church of Larger Fellowship, Unitarian Universalists. I have encountered a misunderstanding that to be "religious," one must believe in something supernatural. I have countered the misunderstanding by citing non-theistic religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.
This article from Quest pointed out another common misunderstanding that Unitarian Universalists are often too non-religious. The author rightly points put that, in fact, Unitarain Universalists "take religion and religious concerns very seriously indeed. Too seriously to fake it, and sometimes too seriously to put into words."
The author goes on offer excellent definitions of the term "religious": "By religious I mean something descriptive of a primal attitude of reverence. By religious I mean an orientation sensitive to an unnamable sacred quality at the heart of our existence, that mystery that animates every cell in every living thing."
He further explains: "to be religious means paying attention to and having concern for the deeper questions of meaning and purpose and value in life. What are these religious questions? Theologian James Fowler identifies them as the basic questions of faith the world over, across time, across cultures, across the spectrum of our humanity. What commands and receives your best time and energy in life? What causes, dreams, goals, and institutions are you pouring out your life for? As you live your life, what powers do you fear or dread? What powers do you rely on and trust? To whom or what are you committed in life or in death? What are the hopes and purposes of your life?"
Yes, these are the questions Religious Naturalists ask, and they make Religious Nautralism undoubtedly religious.