Naturalism vs. Super-Naturalism
If y'all have discussed this topic elsewhere, please point me to the relevant thread!The question of naturalism strikes me as being the most divisive issue between theists and atheists. (Cue "Thank you, Captain Obvious" responses) Atheists, obviously, think naturalism is true, while the vast majority of theists think some sort of super-naturalism is true. So there is no confusion, allow me to define my terms. I would define a naturalist as one who thinks the natural world is “the whole show.” The whole, interlocking event we call Nature is just what there is. It would be possible to believe in some sort of god in this scheme. However, this god would still be part of the show—a naturalistic god, who must follow the laws of Nature, the same as anything else. But I think it safe to say most naturalists are atheists. A super-naturalist simply thinks something exists besides nature. (Or, it might be better to say “beyond” or “behind” nature.) This something is not part of nature. It is not caught up in the natural system; it is separate or other. I also think it safe to say most super-naturalists think this something created nature. Exactly how the super-natural relates to the natural is nebulous. Deists, for example, might claim that no interaction occurs between the natural and the super-natural. A Christian theist would argue that the Super-natural (i.e. God) can and does affect Nature. I think the question of naturalism causes much unnecessary friction. Consider the question of miracles. If naturalism is true, then no miracles could occur. We can rule out miracles from the start. If everything is a part of nature, then nothing can interfere with nature. Indeed, nothing exists which could possibly do a miracle. It would be pure nonsense to refer to an event as miraculous. So, an atheist thinks a Christian simply stupid for believing any miracle might have occurred, when really they simply have a fundamental philosophical disagreement. Finally, the point of the thread: 1) Are you a naturalist or a super-naturalist? 2) Why do you hold that position? 3) Do you agree with my categorization of your position? (E.g., if you are a super-naturalist, have I wrongly described your beliefs?) Thanks,Ryan P.S. This thread might go better in the philosophy forum. Please feel free to move it!
P.P.S. I suck at forum code! Sorry!
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton