RNA Newsletter – May, 2021
Don’t forget the Stars Island Conference:
June 27, 2021 to July 3, 2021
Isles of Shoals, NH
Institute on Religion in an Age of Science: Naturalism–as Religion, within Religions, or without Religion?
Owen Flanagan – Duke University, Ursula Goodenough – Washington University, Sarah Lane Ritchie – Edinburgh University, Carol Wayne White – Bucknell University, James Ungureanu – Wisconsin-Madison
Description from conference website:
What are the consequences of science-inspired naturalism for religion? In this conference, we will explore and evaluate options available to those who take science seriously. Briefly, these could be characterized as replacement, reform, and rejection.
Some Good News
Amid all the doom and gloom we are facing these days there are some good things going on. One very good thing is the news on the energy front. A recent article on the Carbon Tracker website indicates that investments in clean energy are overtaking those in fossil fuels.
Investors are fleeing from fossil fuels, with the value of share offerings in coal, oil and gas companies plummeting by $123 billion in the last decade. Clean energy IPOs also overtook carbon-heavy flotations for the first time in 2020 with renewables raising a record $11 billion from public equity offerings. Carbon Tracker
In addition jurisdictions such as the U.S.A are making commitments to effect serious cuts to carbon emissions.
The Biden administration has become the last of the big carbon emitters to ramp up its climate goals, with a game-changing commitment to halving carbon emissions by 2030. This is a huge deal, kickstarting a decade of transformative industrial change. NYT
Could it be that we are on the verge of a real transformation in terms of worldwide energy use? Will we see a significant shift to the use of renewable energy sources in the near future. The quotations above indicate there is reason for hope. As religious naturalists we understand the importance of such a shift in the way we relate to the planet. It is part of a more general need for sustainable practices across all kinds of human activity.
Religious naturalism’s messages around ecomorality and interdependence support the kind of change in perspective that true sustainability requires. This is an important reason why spreading awareness of the religious naturalist orientation is so crucial at this time. As has been reported in previous newsletters, RNA’s Outreach Committee is in the process of hiring a Communications Consultant. We have received a number of worthy applications and are in the process of choosing the successful applicant. We will send out an announcement when the decision has been made.
Once a Communications Consultant is chosen we will be in a position to begin developing effective strategies for increasing awareness of the religious naturalist perspective as a possible way of being in healthy relationships with nature and with each other. Awareness of the Religious Naturalist Association as an organization will also be promoted. We are hopeful that as these strategies unfold they will have the effect of spreading a hopeful message at a time when it is sorely needed. Religious naturalism in general and RNA in particular have a lot to offer. This orientation offers practical and realistic ways forward that are grounded in nature and, therefore, in harmony with the ways things are.
We in the Outreach Committee are excited to see what specific plans we can create in order to spread awareness of the religious naturalist orientation to a wider audience. As these plans develop we will keep you informed. Onward!
The song of the month for the May RNA newsletter is “Heaven’s Here On Earth” by Tracy Chapman. A video of it is here: