“What Naturalism Means to Me” by Mark Green

With the new year, we are starting a new series called, “What Naturalism Means to Me”.  It is an opportunity for our readers, like you, to share what Naturalism means for you.  We are looking for essays between 1000-3000 words.  Send your submissions to humanisticpaganism[at]gmail[dot]com.


Naturalism is the spirituality of the real. A celebration of this world, this cosmos, this humanity, this biosphere.

Naturalism is hope for the future, because it is rooted in truth rather than unreliable myth.

Naturalism means to me that I value the mind humans have evolved, with which we can analytically assess the nature of our world.

Naturalism means that I value the natural world—all of it, from galactic superclusters down to bosons. I find joy and wonder and delight and amazement in the ever-changing display of nature’s magnificence.

Naturalism leads me to honor those who have gone before me in discovery and exploration. I value the scientific method that is their precious legacy to us, and the great body of knowledge we have amassed as a result.

Naturalism means that meaning in this life is mine for the making, and that understanding humanity as science reveals it makes us a community with far more in common than separates us.

Naturalism means that the great works of humanity are even more marvelous to me than they might otherwise be: the art, the music, the dance, the literature, the culture, the rituals, the costuming. How incredible we are! How surprising in our colorful scope and diversity!

Naturalism leads me to want to be a cultural creator: to work creatively to inspire healthy paths of human living, complete with rituals and observances that help us to keep a sense of our place in the mighty Universe.

Naturalism conducts to me a solemn obligation to make efforts on behalf of a world more ecologically sustainable, more tolerant and peaceful, and more just.

Naturalism means that I am part of a movement: a recent, exciting upsurge in the number of people embracing the world as it actually is, and learning to celebrate and dance and better that world as they are able. It means I am a member of an international community of thoughtful, creative folk, who share in rough terms a vision for how humans can live healthily and happily, without delusion.

Naturalism means that I understand that the differences between us pale in comparison to our commonalities, and that hatred, therefore, is foolish.

Naturalism means that I understand that I am a small, temporary manifestation of the Universe. I will die, and when I die, all that I am will be gone save the fruits of my efforts during my life. This leads me to value living and to understand that the Now is of far greater importance than either replaying the past nor projecting the future.

Naturalism is about joy in what is rather than longing for what might be or might have been. It is about creating culture rather than retreading culture that is rooted in erroneous myths and outdated values.

Naturalism, ultimately, is about love.


About the Author

Mark Green is a writer, thinker, poet, musician and costuming geek who works in the public interest sector, primarily in environmental policy and ecological conservation. He lives in Sonoma County on California’s North Coast with his wife Nemea and Miri, the Cat of Foulness. For more information on Atheopaganism, visit Atheopaganism.wordpress.com, or the Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/godlessheathens.21.

See Mark Green’s Posts

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