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What Is Natural Religion?


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#1 hazelm

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 04:41 PM

Every once in a while I read the phrase "natural religion".  I get a feeling from its usage that it has a meaning for something other than the religion we think of as in church.    I know from Michael Gazzaniga's new book, "The Consciousness Instinct", that it fits into the study of psychology of the mind.  Can anyone explain what is meant by "natural religion"?  Thank you.


Edited by hazelm, 09 June 2018 - 04:43 PM.


#2 Moronium

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 08:05 AM

According to wiki, the term has different meanings.  One it this:

 

Natural religion most frequently means the "religion of nature", in which God, the soul, spirits, and all objects of the supernatural are considered as part of nature and not separate from it.

 

 

 

Even though it says that is the "most frequent" meaning, I suspect that when you hear the phrase the intended meaning is something else.  Here's another definition from wiki

 

It is also used in philosophy, specifically Roman Catholic philosophy, to describe some aspects of religion that are knowable apart from divine revelation through logic and reason alone (see natural theology and Deism) for example, the existence of the unmoved Mover, the first cause of the universe.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia...atural_religion

 

Wiki goes on to give other definitions.  These days I think the phrase is often used to convey something like this (again, from wiki).  Think of fervent activists like Greenpeace.

 

A reverent form of nature worship, embodied in a statement by Frank Lloyd Wright: "I put a capital N on Nature, and call it my Church."

 

 

Using my own words, I think it is most often intended to mean a set of morals or values derived purely from "natural" (as opposed to supernatural) foundations.  Unlike Deism, it posits no God, because there is no God, only nature.  Also called things like "humanistic naturalsim:"

 

Humanistic naturalism is the branch of philosophical naturalism wherein human beings are best able to control and understand the world through use of the scientific method, combined with the social and ethical values of humanism. Concepts of spirituality, intuition, and metaphysics are considered subjectively valuable only, primarily because they are unfalsifiable, and therefore can never progress beyond the realm of personal opinion.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia...stic_naturalism


Edited by Moronium, 10 June 2018 - 08:09 AM.


#3 hazelm

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 09:31 AM

According to wiki, the term has different meanings.  One it this:

 

 

 

Even though it says that is the "most frequent" meaning, I suspect that when you hear the phrase the intended meaning is something else.  Here's another definition from wiki

 

 

https://en.wikipedia...atural_religion

 

Wiki goes on to give other definitions.  These days I think the phrase is often used to convey something like this (again, from wiki).  Think of fervent activists like Greenpeace.

 

 

Using my own words, I think it is most often intended to mean a set of morals or values derived purely from "natural" (as opposed to supernatural) foundations.  Unlike Deism, it posits no God, because there is no God, only nature.  Also called things like "humanistic naturalsim:"

 

 

https://en.wikipedia...stic_naturalism

Gee whiz!  A very broad term.  I tried to find Gazzaniga's use of the term but never did.  Only remember that it fell into the "new study" of psychology.   I'll keep an eye out for its use again. 

 

Thank you for the Wiki references. 



#4 wiseshopper

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 07:51 AM

Natural Religion relates to the existence and characteristics of God.  



#5 LaurieAG

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 01:49 AM

Don't forget that 'pagan' in Latin means rural, i.e. country as opposed to city/town.



#6 hazelm

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 06:18 AM

Don't forget that 'pagan' in Latin means rural, i.e. country as opposed to city/town.

I did not know that!  Now, with my runaway imagination, do you suppose those "pagans" went out to the countryside to avoid the religion of the city fathers and pressure to conform?  Hence,  "Pagan = non-believer? 

 

Just a thought, LaurieAG.  What do you think?



#7 Vee

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 10:47 PM

it means you are naturally looking for something greater than yourself.



#8 LaurieAG

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 12:32 AM

I did not know that!  Now, with my runaway imagination, do you suppose those "pagans" went out to the countryside to avoid the religion of the city fathers and pressure to conform?  Hence,  "Pagan = non-believer? 

 

Just a thought, LaurieAG.  What do you think?

 

Nope, natural 'religion' existed before town or cities came into being.



#9 hazelm

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 03:54 AM

Nope, natural 'religion' existed before town or cities came into being.

Hmmm?  And where does that fit in with what we call superstitions which existed in ancient historic (or prehistoric) times?  Of course, one man's superstitions can be another's religion. 


Edited by hazelm, 23 June 2018 - 03:56 AM.


#10 Farming guy

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 04:24 PM

I did not know that!  Now, with my runaway imagination, do you suppose those "pagans" went out to the countryside to avoid the religion of the city fathers and pressure to conform?  Hence,  "Pagan = non-believer? 

 

Just a thought, LaurieAG.  What do you think?

 

Hmmm?  And where does that fit in with what we call superstitions which existed in ancient historic (or prehistoric) times?  Of course, one man's superstitions can be another's religion. 

It has always been my understanding that many early religions actually worshiped nature.  I believe that is much of what even modern pagans do.  



#11 LaurieAG

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 01:09 AM

Hmmm?  And where does that fit in with what we call superstitions which existed in ancient historic (or prehistoric) times?  Of course, one man's superstitions can be another's religion. 

 

Do you think that non rural people are not superstitious?



#12 LaurieAG

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 01:16 AM

It has always been my understanding that many early religions actually worshiped nature.  I believe that is much of what even modern pagans do.  

 

The ancient Romans had many of the same 'gods' as the ancient Greeks. They also associated their 'gods' with the 'gods' of all the people they conquered. Many people had 'gods' that were associated with their respective societies most important requirements such as a good harvest, fertility and the well being of their animals. Even Saint Patrick was reputed to have associated traditional pagan beliefs with his own religion to gain acceptance from the populace.