Statesboro, GA, USA
Though Naturalism is not the same as Christianity, it is ever spiritual.††That is because Nature has Spirit too.
I was referring to the definition of naturalism which amounts to: nature = all of reality.
This means the denial of anything supernatural as the foundation for the existence of nature. In which case, "Spirit" would mean nothing more than a creative story, or subjective embellishment of nature in the human mind. Because, regardless of whether someone thinks nature is "spiritual" or not, nature would be just a fact of being and nothing more. Our commentaries would amount to nothing more than tags and titles, given by what (according to naturalism) is just a part of that same whole.
But if nature is derived from something beyond itself ... a supernatural origin and foundation ... then "spiritual" may be applied to nature without absurdity. In which case, I agree with you that nature is spiritual, and that what is spiritual manifests itself in what is natural. But only in schema which doesn't make nature everything there is. Which is not "naturalism" in the sense of the word I am using. You, Essorant, in that sense aren't a naturalist I think ... though I'm not sure. Sometimes you sound like you agree with traditional theism, other times like eastern pantheism. But you are definitely a "naturalist" in the sense of one who greatly respects and reveres the natural beauty and structure of the world around us. I share that kind of "naturalism" too.
God made Nature a path for all beings.††So that even if you can't read words, you may feel Spirit in natural things, and let that Spirit guide you to higher sense, and being and believing.
But according to Christian teaching, (and our experience as well), nature herself is like a good thing gone bad in many ways. Creation fell. Mother Earth turns out to be a step mother. Her cruelty and waste is equally obvious as her care and conservation. Obviously such an inconsistent guide is going to lead us right at times and wrong at others. That's where the need for revelation through words (in the bible) and historical happenings (in redemptive history) comes in. God has said and done something clarion, that nature could only muffle wimper and groan.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (10-26-2004 01:08 AM).]