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Christian Naturalism | Emergence, Psychology, Religion, Jesus, Cosmology, Evolution | The EVOLUTIONARY TIMES

Christian Naturalism

by Michael Dowd

I am a Christian naturalist, not a supernaturalist. I do not deny the possibility of what some may call 'supernatural', but my focus and locus of inspiration is found in this cosmos and in this life. My understanding of the divine and experience of the gospel relate to this very real Universe, not merely to a mythic unnatural realm.  I do not value what is unnatural over what is natural. Indeed, the core concepts of my faith tradition—sin, salvation, the kingdom of God, heaven and hell, Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life—are real for me in a this-world, undeniable way (and in a way that non-Christians and the non-religous can appreciate too), as I discuss in several chapters in my book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World.

The idea of an eternal life-after-death without pain or struggle, yet with awareness of the everlasting torment of others (those who did not believe as I did), I consider hell, not heaven.



I no longer merely believe in God.  Thanks to the worldwide self-correcting scientific enterprise, I now know that facts are God's native tongue.  Evidence reveals God's nature, God's ways, and God's guidance far more accurately than could have possibly been revealed to the biblical writers.  This is in no way a dissing of scripture.  It is, however, honoring God as a truly divine communicator and lifting up scientific discoveries as revelatory.  Few things are more unflattering than imagining that God spoke more clearly to goat herders and fisherman in the distant past, through dreams and intuitions, than God does today through cumulative evidence discerned by the global community of scientists.

In an evolutionary context, theism is trivialized if it is thought to be solely, or even primarily, about otherworldly matters and unnatural entities.


Christian naturalism is an evo-theistic, or creatheistic, perspective that transcends and includes traditional notions of God that made sense when people assumed the earth was flat and the universe revolved around us.  Like Evolutionary Christianity, it doesn't reject the possibility of a supernatural realm.  But it does focus on, and primarily value, what is natural and unquestionably real.  And the fact that such a science-based way of reframing and celebrating the core insights of religion has been endorsed by 5 Nobel laureates and other leading scientists, as well as by religious leaders across the spectrum, suggests to me that Christian Naturalism has a glorious future.

ALSO SEE:

The Unnaturalist Fallacy
Imaginary gods vs. Reality/God: Part 1 and Part 2
God is NOT a Supernatural Terrorist
How and Why I'm a Pentecostal Evangelical
Traditional Religion's God Problem
Evolution as Meaningful, Inspiring Fact
The Great Blasphemy?

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