A Jewish Perspective on Religious Naturalism

Authored by: Dan Solomon

The Routledge Handbook of Religious Naturalism

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138292079
eBook ISBN: 9781315228907
Adobe ISBN:


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I grew up as a science buff and self-proclaimed “Jewish atheist.” Still, I attended religious school, studied Hebrew, and prepared for my Bar Mitzvah. I had doubts, but was blessed with a liberal, philosophical rabbi. I told him that I didn’t believe in God, though I felt a kind of religious awe for the beauty of the natural world and the laws of science. The rabbi replied, “Oh, you believe in Spinoza’s God, which is the same as Nature; so did Einstein.” At 12 years old, without having a name for it, I had discovered that I was a religious naturalist. Not finding the language of scripture and traditional worship relevant to my naturalistic worldview, I drifted away from congregational Judaism. I continued to identify as Jewish, celebrating Passover and Hanukkah at home, and studying Jewish literature as part of my broader philosophical education.

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