The Promise of Religious Naturalism

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9780742562615: The Promise of Religious Naturalism

The Promise of Religious Naturalism explores religious naturalism as a distinctly promising form of contemporary religious ethics. Examining how religious naturalism responds to the challenges of recent religious transformations and ecological peril worldwide, author Michael Hogue argues that religious naturalism is emerging as an increasingly plausible and potentially rewarding form of religious moral life. Beginning with an introduction of religious naturalism in the larger context of religious and ethical theories, the book undertakes the first extended study of the works of religious naturalists Loyal Rue, Donald Crosby, Jerome Stone, and Ursula Goodenough. Hogue pays particular attention to the ethical components of religious naturalism in relation to religious pluralism and ecological issues.

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About the Author:

Michael S. Hogue is associate professor of theology at Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary. He is the winner of the 2008 Templeton Award for Theological Promise.

Review:

The Promise of Religious Naturalism has binocular vision: (1) it offers readers a searching comparative study of several of the leading contemporary exponents of religious naturalism, and (2) it tests the very notion of religious naturalism for its ability to support religious inclinations and moral imperatives in a time of social and ecological disarray. (American Journal of Theology and Philosophy)

Hogue takes important steps in [the various concepts of transcendence] here. (International Journal for Philosophy of Religion)

Michael Hogue promises and delivers an appreciative yet critical reading of this movement....It is extraordinary to behold this combination of academic rigor and existential vibrancy. In the end, this may be the lasting contribution of this book: it consistently unites measured passion with scholarly expertise and refuses to subordi- nate one to the other—and that is truly rare. (The Journal Of Religion)

Michael Hogue’s assessment of The Promise of Religious Naturalism is especially valuable because it embodies a “critical appreciation” of various responses. His book invites further consideration of various concepts of transcendence, as well as of the many possible “worlds”—some deeply mysterious—that naturalists can discern within this one natural reality. I am intrigued by his brilliantly suggestive rendering of “religion” as an attentive and transactive “reading again and again”. It resonates with Goodenough’s portrayal of the practice of mindfulness as a semiotic exercise, that is, as a development of our awareness that things in nature can mean “something more” than what a narrowly scientistic view would reduce them to being. Workable solutions to the ethical questions that Hogue raises in this book may require the glimpse of transcendence that such a reading can provide, not a window onto the supernatural, but a penetrating vision of this Jamesian “more” that shapes our deepest human experience of the natural world. (Springer)

Michael S. Hogue, who is now an Associate Professor of Theology at the dominantly Unitarian Universalist Meadville Lombard Theological School, published [a] valuable book in the broad area of science, ethics, and religion. . . . The Promise of Religious Naturalism in 2010. (Tradition & Discovery)

Michael Hogue's The Promise of Religious Naturalism is an ambitious attempt to defend a naturalistic approach to religion. ... Hogue is. . . successful in describing the content of religious naturalism in his analysis. ... The book is very strong in exhibiting the promise of a religiously naturalistic viewpoint, both in the depth of Hogue's own exposition of the points of view of his four thinkers and in the articulation of his own naturalistic viewpoint. ... He skillfully shows that rich forms of religious naturalism are being developed today. His work demonstrates that there truly is a promise of religious naturalism today that goes well beyond nineteenth- and twentieth-century versions. The reason is that these positions, including Hogue's, bring a depth of philosophical and theological sophistication to bear on religiously naturalistic viewpoints that was largely lacking in the earlier period. This is a very good book, and Michael Hogue is to be commended for it. (Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science)

Michael Hogue's The Promise of Religious Naturalism is an incisive diagnosis of two of the most pressing challenges facing humankind, religious change and ecological vulnerability. Not only does Hogue delineate, with power and passion, the scope of the challenges that we face at this moment in history, but he brings to our awareness an emerging resource, a new and vital form of religious ethics that can help us live into these challenges with integrity, rigor and creativity. In this eloquent and erudite book, Hogue makes a compelling case that religious naturalism is a complex form of religious ethics that can help us see the ways in which religious change generates new possibilities for addressing immense ecological moral challenges. This book is a gift to the heart, mind and imagination, an invitation to a morally responsive life of seeing clearly, thinking critically, and acting boldly. (Sharon Welch, provost at Meadville Lombard Theological School)

Michael Hogue has given us a philosophically sophisticated, historically insightful, and rhetorically lucid appraisal of the emergent phenomenon of religious naturalism. An indispensable guide, The Promise of Religious Naturalism represents constructive intellectual criticism at its very best. (Loyal Rue, Luther College)

With enviable historical and philosophical learning, Hogue identifies religious naturalism as a live religious option today and as a theoretical approach to the understanding of religion. This will be one of the most widely cited studies in the field of religious studies in the next decade. (Robert Cummings Neville, professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology, Boston University and author of Realism in Religion and Religion in Late Modern)

Michael Hogue's new book is well timed and exceptionally useful. Religious naturalism is on the rise and there is no more theologically perceptive analyst of its variations and ethical implications than Hogue. If you are looking for a book from an expert guide to help you chart the territory of religious naturalism, look no further. (Wesley J. Wildman, Boston University)

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