I made the title of this a discussion a question and not a statement for a reason; I really don't understand why Naturalism hasn't become the default demographic descriptor for people of the same world-view as those that frequent the Atheist Nexus site (or any other similar site).
Whenever I am asked to give a single word description of world-view, if the choice is available, I chose Naturalism. It best describes the lens that I look at the universe through. But yet, most others with the nearly the exact same world-view that I have would pick either Atheist or Agnostic. I really don't understand that.
Atheist- Lack of belief in gods.
Agnostic (used in the context that I most frequently encounter it) - Can never be 100% positive that there are no gods.
OK, I agree with both the Atheist and the Agnostic. But so what? I have known people that describe themselves as either Atheist and/or Agnostic and yet they believe the book "The Secret" has merit or that homeopathy is a reasonable way to treat disease. So by knowing that I am an Atheist, you really don't much about me at all. Why has that label become a banner and not Naturalism?
When I say I am a Naturalist, I actually describe a great a deal about myself: I have reached a point in my life when I normally just disregard any supernatural explanation for a phenomenon, I believe the knowledge arts (science, mathematics, history, etc.) have reached a point where the consensus in those fields is the absolute closest thing to "Truth" we have (this is probabilistic), and I'm even telling you that if you want to convince me of something, it had better based on evidence and logic. And yes that entails that I do not believe in G(g)od(s).
So, given that Naturalism is much better descriptor of who I am than Atheist, why do I keep having to check Atheist (not that I'm ashamed, I check it proudly) on demographic questions?
Davey - I'm totally with you - I've told theists that I am a naturalist before - and then they ask me what that is - and I say simply that it means that I belief everything is natural and can be explained naturally. That's it - no mention of attacking their faith at all - just simple and straight forward. Usually that's all they ask - they don't seem interested beyond that - perhaps they've figured out where it might lead and don't want to go there :)
Regarding your last comment - "I believe that we have got to get back to basics if humanity will ever return to harmony." How can we return to harmony when we never had it to start with?
"…debugging is characterized by the systematic challenging of our assumptions." —Colin Moock, "ActionScript: The Definitive Guide"
as our identity is so much rapped up in our attitudes and beliefs - it is recommended that you do it step by step at a pace that you can handle.... so as to avoid identity crisis :)
I suppose it depends on how you define harmony :)
I'm not sure where you are going with that. On a personal level I have a good life. I have moments when I get annoyed and irritated. I express that. I move on. My aim is to provide well-being for all and attend to everyone's needs equally. It seems to work on the whole, everyone who lives in the house - 5 of us - get their needs met and are generally happy. Often unhappiness is related to needs not met - such as need for food, sleep, love, affection, acceptance, autonomy, privacy or greater control.
I think we need to do what works for us and not get caught by thinking that we can have a vision or a dream and make that ideal the reality.
I think part of the problem may be that many pagans use Naturalist as well. They use it as a term to go along with their beliefs,as many pagans will describe their beliefs as not supernatural, but as part of nature itself. So maybe it has more to do with personal interpretation of the word? And how it may apply to what they are? Just like the word agnostic. I've seen some theists use it as "Agnostic Theist" - I'm not sure what is there but I believe Something is there, kind of definition.
I like the term naturalist - I don't mind that some aren't so atheist as I am... I'm comfortable to clarify my position :)
It takes a large amount of intellectual courage to arrive at the Naturalist position, at least the one espoused by Thomas Clark. Maybe some eloquent speakers well versed in the naturalist position need to follow Hitchens et al, and get out on the debating circuit. The exposure could only be a positive thing.
I'm wondering if personality type might come into play. There's a certain hope for synchronicity that I've seen in pantheist circles... I think of deGrasse Tyson, who is more of a lecturer than debater... That might have something to do with it.
I think it's rather clear why naturalism hasn't gained momentum as a worldview. That's because a worldview generally refers to a system of beliefs that encompasses morality, i.e. some code of conduct for the just life.
Since Hume there is this divide between is and ought. And even after Sam Harris' attempt to conflate the former and the latter, the distinction stands unscratched. This is not to say that science cannot inform morality, it does so in many ways.
Further, I think it is correct to say that contracausal free will and naturalism don't go together, since this would require violation of the laws of nature. Other forms of free will might welll fit in though.
A lot of atheists are ex-religious, and calling them "atheists" rather than "naturalists" represents the ex-religious.
I like "naturalism" too. "Naturalist" has already been taken, as in Curious Naturalists by Niko Tinbergen, who writes about the habits of spiders and the like. It means an acute observer of plants and animals in their natural environment.
But calling nonbelievers "naturalists" works as an extension of this meaning.
I like "nonbeliever". Meaning, someone who looks for good evidence before believing something.
Actually a lot of religious people don't believe in their religion - they just hope it's true, talk as if it's true in their social circle.
Around here, someone would get a lot of flak if they talked about what "God is doing in my life" or "my journey with Jesus" - even if they kept on explaining that "God" is a metaphor and the "Jesus" in their imagination may exist only in their imagination. This describes a lot of religious people, and technically they aren't religious believers - their "religiousness" is just a matter of their social conventions and their mental world. But they would have a hard time on A/N.