Spiritual Seekers and Natural Theology

I find it fascinating that a great many spiritual seekers today are worshiping or praying to a deity who is essentially the embodiment of nature deified, or divinity naturalized. Much like the 17th-century Jewish Dutch philosopher Spinoza, theirs is a “natural theology” that views the divine as an immanent spirit arising naturally within the Universe.

This view works well for me and many others who live in an age in which discursive, empirical thought have become predominant and pervasive. This has made it (in the words of religious scholar Karen Armstrong) “impossible for us to be religious in the same way our ancestors were.” But of course, that does not mean we are not spiritual beings! It’s just that our spirituality is no longer necessarily tied to ancient supernatural creeds.

It may seem odd and self-contradictory to say in one breath that I do not hold supernatural beliefs and that I pray to Gaia. Yet there’s really no contradiction. I believe that prayer and intentional meditation are effective across the entire spectrum: from the most devout adherents of the revealed religions (such as Judaism, Christianity or Islam); to those who practice non-theistic religions (such as Buddhism or Confucianism); through all those who have no religion at all, yet maintain a spiritual practice. As I see it, praying to nature deified or the Goddess naturalized has the same efficacy as petitioning a transcendent being.


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