Religious Naturalism Today

The Rebirth of a Forgotten Alternative

By Jerome A. Stone

Subjects: Religion, Theology, Philosophy, American Religion, Environmental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791475386, 273 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475379, 273 pages, December 2008

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Looks at the history and revival of religious naturalism, a spiritual path without a supreme being.


Previously a forgotten option in religious thinking, religious naturalism is coming back. It seeks to explore and encourage religious ways of responding to the world on a completely naturalistic basis without a supreme being or ground of being. In this book, Jerome A. Stone traces its history and analyzes some of the issues dividing religious naturalists. He includes analysis of nearly fifty distinguished philosophers, theologians, scientists, and figures in art and literature, both living and dead. They range from Ursula Goodenough, Gordon Kaufman, William Dean, Thomas Berry, and Gary Snyder to Jan Christiaan Smuts, William Bernhardt, Gregory Bateson, and Sharon Welch.

Jerome A. Stone is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at William Rainey Harper College. He is the coeditor (with Creighton Peden) of both volumes of The Chicago School of Theology: Pioneers in Religious Inquiry, and the author of The Minimalist Vision of Transcendence: A Naturalist Philosophy of Religion, also published by SUNY Press.


"…Stone's book offers landscape as well as portrait, for behind the particular figures in focus there is a wide range of religious naturalisms depicted in clear perspective and considerable depth of field. As theologian Philip Hefner observes in the foreword, Stone is an expert guide and companion to this broader landscape … Stone's latest book belongs on any current reading list in religious naturalism and would make a fine centerpiece for an academic course or a book group on the subject." — American Journal of Theology and Philosophy

"…Stone has pointed toward religious naturalism's connections to and critiques of other types of religious scholarship. He opens possibilities for dialogue with the work of thinkers in many fields, including religious humanism and ecology, along with the ethical questions these fields raise. Stone's work is an excellent introduction to the renewal of religious naturalism that invites the reader to join the discussion." — Religious Studies Review

"The strength of Religious Naturalism Today is its descriptions of early religious naturalists." — CHOICE

"This is a timely contribution to contemporary theology. I know of no other book that provides such a clear yet nuanced account of the origins, development, and contemporary forms of religious naturalism. Stone's achievement ensures that religious naturalism will again be a major contender in theological debates." — Mary Doak, author of Reclaiming Narrative for Public Theology