- This topic has 6 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 8 months, 1 week ago by tfindlay.
March 25, 2023 at 7:56 am #28107JuneParticipant
Hello all! I have been reading posts on the old google group for over a year now, and finally decided to take the plunge and introduce myself. It turned into a brief memoir, but to know my past is to know my present.
My name is June. I’m a married middle-aged mid-western mom of 4 adult children (and a son in law and other special people too). I have a BS in nursing and was an RN for awhile, then full-time mom, then school lunch lady, now a paraprofessional with special education preschoolers.
I was raised in a family that deeply valued learning. Public school and the home encyclopedia played a part for sure, but also included was regular family travel for state, national and provincial park camping (which had mandatory visits to the interpretive center and ranger talks). We also had copious time for outdoor play, piano lessons and classical music on the record player, and spent weekends on Grandma’s farm. PBS programming, National Geographic magazine, and TimeLife science and nature books were forefront in the home. A layman’s learning across many disciplines was a big part of my upbringing.
Alongside all that was our family faith as stoic Scandinavian Lutherans. You betcha we were in church every Sunday and learned that small catechism for confirmation class! I value the faith tradition of my upbringing, but then I have regrets about being duped into a more conservative campus ministry when I was in college, and regrets about raising our kids in an Evangelical church. Yet again, I also have good memories from more recently participating in a liberal and progressive Methodist church. There was meaning and positive life experiences in them all, but also a questioning and yearning for something else within me for decades. Something viscerally connected to my childhood experiences with the earth, air, fire and water. Something simple and profound at the same time. Something more basic yet beyond a deistic faith.
I believe that religions are ways that humans have historically created understanding and meaning for their experiences. For me, that understanding and meaning is now fully found in nature, through scientific discovery, through modern explanations of how nature and all life is interconnected. For me there is no need for a belief in any deity. I transitioned my self imposed label from christian to agnostic in 2021, and to atheist in 2022. I am now glad to call myself a religious naturalist.
I found religiousnaturalism.org in December 2021 by way of google searching something like “nature and spirituality”, or “religions valuing natural elements”. When I started reading the descriptions of the key concepts, I simultaneously giggled and shed a tear out of both relief and excitement. I am not alone! After the 10+ years of deconstructing my christianity and searching for something else through reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts, watching youtube lectures and interviews, spending countless hours pondering and journalling, I have finally found that others think like me and have organized those thoughts in a resourceful website. I am not alone!
I have learned much on the philosophical side from Loyal Rue’s book “Nature is Enough”, and I am happy to be learning biology again with fresh views from Ursuala Goodenough’s second edition of “The Sacred Depths of Nature”. I am looking forward to learning even more from all the information found through the website and the interactions with other religious naturalists here on the forum.
WE are not alone!
March 25, 2023 at 9:16 am #28119tfindlayKeymaster
Welcome to the RNA Forums June. Please feel free to post questions, ideas, and comments. RNA Forums is a friendly place to chat with other RNA members.
March 25, 2023 at 11:16 am #28122wheelerrjParticipant
Thanks, June for your bio and current thinking. I have a similar family background with 90+ years of studying “ultimate concerns,” and have reached similar ideas. Like Loyal Rue I do not rely on any divine help or explanation, but I don’t think nature is enough. History shows that humans have always had need of a superhuman to provide explanation and sustenance for existence, a cause, hero, and moralizer. Quantum physics and cosmology now support such mystical concepts with “many worlds” wave collapse and “multiverse” emergence. It may be an aspect of nature not yet discovered, but I think we have to be open to possible alternate reality that may contain some form of deity. Anything is possible but we have to live in the world that presents itself to us. Not everything is probable.
March 25, 2023 at 11:36 am #28123UrsulaParticipant
So does the fact that there might be an alternate reality that contains some form of deity influence your life in some religious way or do you just harbor it as a concept?
March 25, 2023 at 11:48 am #28124wheelerrjParticipant
No and yes, which is where RN comes in: we must live with our view of nature recognizing it has a sacred depth that opens the door to reverence and mystery.
March 26, 2023 at 2:14 pm #28135Nat44RelParticipant
June, I want to respond to your excellent post, but first I’m wondering how one uses this forum to start a new topic. For example “Is Nature Enough?” What I’m really wondering if how a set of introductions like June’s can be separated from, or perhaps elaborated into conversations like the “Is Nature Enough”” one. For example could there be links from the first mention of it here to a longer conversation elsewhere?
Now June, I just loved the recitation of your journey. When I was RNA secretary I loved hearing from new members because the so often had similar stories, though marvelously specific as well. In your case the report of your childhood just seemed so wonderful, and I found myself wondering where the tension came in that led to your current worldview. I gather it was in college, and did not necessarily cause tension with your family of origin?
My own path was quite similar, but I guess I should start a post called “Introduction: Michael” which should be in a bigger folder called Introductions? Terry, help!
March 26, 2023 at 3:24 pm #28137tfindlayKeymaster
How to Create a New Topic
Go to the Forum in which you would like to create a related topic. Scoll down to the bottom of existing topics to the New Topic area. Enter a title for your topic and add your comment, question, or other entry.
The topic “Is Nature Enough?” might fit in one of the Forums in the Science category or in one of the Forums in the Philosophy and Ideas category. Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect Forum for your topic. Just try to find a Forum that seems appropriate to you.
Although it is technically possible to link a topic thread in one Forum to a topic in another Forum it is not really necessary since all RNA Forums members get notified of new topics and can look at them if they are interested.
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