Monday, January 2, 2012

What is Theistic Naturalism?

Theistic Naturalism represents an approach within the general movement of Religious Naturalism that appeals to the primacy of the sciences in reimagining what it means to be a person of faith in a scientific age. Their conclusions may vary greatly, yet all religious naturalists begin with the same general epistemological assumptions. Among the most important are:
  • The presupposition of the ontological unity of the cosmos over against dualism;
  • The evolutionary emergence of all biological life;
  • The primacy of the scientific method in understanding the world around us and our place in it;
  • The recognition of the limitations of the sciences in giving a full account for human judgments of value and aesthetics, as well as of our religious impulses.
The author of "The Science of Knowing God" assumes these general assumptions, while standing apart from other religious naturalists in affirming the uniqueness of God as ontologically distinct from the cosmos (hence, Theistic). The author also identifies as a neoclassical Christian, scrutinizing and reimagining traditional normative theologies in light of scientific progress. The following characterize the starting points for this position: 
  • A belief in the sacredness of all life, of which human beings are an interconnected and emergent part; 
  • The directional evolutionary emergence of consciousness and morality;
  • The priority of faith-event over creedal affirmations;
  • The priority of spiritual narrative, story and myth within the faith community over against historical reification; 
  • The pursuit of authenticity over against claims of interpretive or dogmatic authority;
  • The primacy of metaphor over against metaphysical speculation;
  • The pursuit of a Christocentric-anthropology over against Anthropological Exceptionalism.
"The Science of Knowing God" is a theological pursuit rather than an apologetic one. Grasping the distinction between an apologist and a theologian will go a long way in helping the reader to understand the bullets above. The author approaches all questions as a "Believing Thomas," looking into the holes and finding Christ.

Posts that may interest the reader:


  1. I think you really mean "Post-Christian."

  2. More like Post-Fundamentalist. But thanks for dropping by.