Lewis Carroll’s poem The Hunting of the Snark has as its subtitle An Agony in Eight Fits. Agony: struggle, violent and painful contest, the pangs of death. Many think of confrontations over naturalism and religion as a struggle, to be or not to be. Others think the situation is not that bad. Perhaps religion and naturalism may co-exist. Some even speak of ‘religious naturalism’. In the poem, the hunt for the snark fails. The hunters do not know where to look, nor what to look for. Do we know how to understand the key terms, naturalism, religion and religious naturalism? This exploration serves to introduce the articles in a thematic section in Zygon, drawing on the 2021 conference of IRAS. Its title, “Naturalism – as Religion, within Religions, without Religion”, asks about the way naturalism might function, as a replacement of religion, as an incentive for reform, or as a reason to reject religion.
- religious naturalism