New book on religious naturalism

Jerry Stone, adjunct faculty at Meadville Lombard Theological School, and retired professor of philosophy at William Rainey Harper College in Chicago, sent this email message today:

“Friends — I have just found out that my new book, Religious Naturalism Today: The Rebirth of a Forgotten Alternative is now available from SUNY Press for orders placed in December for a 20% discount plus free shipping (WOW!). I apologize for the late notice. Orders can be placed at”

“Discounted price” means it’s US$60 instead of US$75. Big bucks for a book, but those who are interested in process theology (Bernard Loomer apparently looms large in this book), or contemporary humanism, or connections between religion and environmentalism, might want this book. I know my local library isn’t going to get it, so I just ordered my copy. (It’s also available in a downloadable version for US$20.)

If you want to know more about Jerry’s work in this area, try this article from Process Studies, or this article on the Meadville Lombard Web site, or my report on a 2006 lecture by Jerry. For those who might be interested, I’m placing Jerry’s abstract of the book below.

Abstract supplied by Jerry Stone

Religious naturalism, a once-forgotten option in religious thinking, is making a revival. 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. This book traces this story and analyzes some of the issues dividing religious naturalists.

Part One covers the birth of religious naturalism, from Santayana to Wieman. Chapter One deals with philosophers, Chapter Two with theologians. Chapter Three analyzes some of the issues debated between these early naturalists and presents a variety of attempts to develop a naturalist view of the mind. The Interlude between the first and second parts briefly explores religious naturalism in literature and art.

Part Two depicts the rebirth of religious naturalism following the publication of Bernard Loomer’s The Size of God in 1987. Over twenty current writers are presented. Chapter Four analyzes three different sources of religious insight among contemporary religious naturalists, including experiences of grace and obligation, nature both as appreciated and as the object of scientific study, and the hermeneutics of religious and literary traditions. Contested issues are discussed in Chapter Five, including whether nature’s power or goodness is the focus of attention and also on the appropriateness of using the term “God.” Chapter Six sketches the contributions of other recent religious naturalists. Chapter Seven ends the study by exploring what it is like on the inside to live as a religious naturalist.