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Nature is Enough: Religious Naturalism and the Meaning of Life Paperback – 2 Jul 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (2 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438438001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438438009
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,305,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Loyal Rue is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Luther College. He is the author of Everybody's Story: Wising Up to the Epic of Evolution, also published by SUNY Press, and Religion Is Not about God: How Spiritual Traditions Nurture Our Biological Nature and What to Expect When They Fail.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Important book on Religious Naturalism 3 Dec. 2012
By Michael Dowd - Published on
Format: Paperback
Loyal Rue is one of the more important thinkers of our time. It's unfortunate that so few people are familiar with this work. My wife Connie Barlow, a noted science writer, and I consider Loyal to be the most helpful philosopher of religion alive today. We both consider his previous books, Amythia: Crisis in the Natural History of Western Culture, Everybody's Story: Wising Up to the Epic of Evolution (Suny Series in Philosophy and Biology), and Religion is Not About God, to be required reading. This book, Nature Is Enough, is a direct response to my friend and colleague John Haught's (and others) contention that some form of supernaturalism is necessary to live life fully and meaningfully, love the life you live, die peacefully, and leave a sweet legacy. It's not. Nature is enough. Reality (evidentially understoood) is enough.

As an evidential mystic and religious naturalist myself, I found this book to be both inspiring and practically useful. It deserves a wide readership.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This book is a work of philosophy. 3 July 2014
By C. A CAVE - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I do wish that I had not spent my time on this book. I wish that I had known that Loyal Rue is a philosophy professor and that the reason for the book was to answer, with philosophical argument, a theist named John Haught. I wish I had known that the entire book would be a case in philosophical argumentation--which I really do dislike. I had the hope that the book would help bring me closer to nature in new, meaningful ways. Instead, it forced me to consider that nature might actually *not* be enough. Which is depressing, yes?

I don't have time to cover my disappointments here, so I'll just touch on one. I'm an atheist and a devoted "naturalist." But I'm also a biologist. He says, "...the working definition of function in biology is explicitly teleological: a function is what a *supposed to do*. (Italics are the author's). " And, "...the teleological language remains: functional traits are there because in the past they served the *goal* of reproductive fitness. Natural selection provides powerful tools for explaining specific modifications in living systems, but it doesn't offer a complete explanation for the origin of life. Evolutionary theory *assumes* the teleological nature of living systems."

Evolutionary theory does no such thing. Living things are here today because their ancestors managed to reproduce. There is no "goal" of fitness. Neither is a heart "supposed" to function as a heart--it just does. There is no "teleological nature of living systems." We have the ability to feel discomfort and comfort, acquired through evolution. We flee discomfort and seek comfort. Not because there is some "goal" or "tele" but because that's how we evolved. Hunger hurts and eating feels good, so you know we're going to eat when we're hungry. We don't walk in lava. Not because we have a "tele" to survive, reproduce and so on, but because all the people who have walked in lava because they were too stupid, couldn't feel heat, had poor reflexes or lacked appropriate caution and/or fear have died.

His claim that naturalism will fill our social needs is unsatisfying as well. In today's world it is just not realistic.

Most of his thoughts about nature and "God" are ones I have already had. The difference is that by reading this book I was treated to the thought processes of a philosopher. Which frankly I didn't have time for.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Book 2 Mar. 2014
By Curtis Grindahl - Published on
Format: Paperback
My introduction to Loyal Rue was through his book Religion is Not About God. Of course, I knew he is a professor of religion and philosophy at Luther College in Iowa, but it was not until I read the final chapter of this book titled "Confessions of a Religious Naturalist" that I learned he is of Norwegian heritage and grew up in the embrace of the Lutheran Church. It seemed a wonderful serendipity since I too am Norwegian with early immersion in the Lutheran Church. I'm still recovering from the painful experience of repeating a confession of faith each Sunday that said "I am by nature sinful and unclean." Needless to say, much of my life journey has been spent in finding a relationship to questions raised so succinctly in this book. Although I had come to a spiritual life that includes a reverence for nature, I was unaware of "religious naturalism" until I encountered Professor Rue. Subsequently, I've read a number of wonderful books that demonstrate I'm in good company.

I know from experience within my family that turning away from the faith with which we were raised can be frightening. One cousin has been horrified by my lifelong inquiry, attempting each Christmas to bring me back into the fold. But Christianity asks too much of me while nature eternally feeds me. As Professor Rue describes his attitude and experience and as Andre Comte-Sponville speaks of his relationship with nature in the inspiring book The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, there is great inspiration and solace to be found simply by opening to the majesty of this world, a majesty in no way dependent on supernatural forces. Religion is not about God and nature is not about God. As Professor Rue says in a the concluding sentence in this book "... if you are able to affirm life despite its defeats, and if you are open to radically new possibilities, and if you can manage to take to heart things more excellent, more beautiful and more sacred than yourself, then you know perfectly well that life is full of meaning."
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A foothold for the Naturalist. 5 Jun. 2014
By george steele - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book was really detailed in explaining an atheist viewpoint. A must read for naturalist and all persons seeking to extend their knowledge on religion.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Nature is Enough is Enough 28 April 2014
By barbarakinsey - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazing and well crafted! Rue's grasp of the discourse about reality over the past 2500 years is beautiful and compelling.
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