Naturalistic Traditions: Were the Cynics and Stoics naturalistic?

“Live according to nature.” This was the motto of not one but two ancient Greek traditions: the Cynics and Stoics. Were these traditions naturalistic? After exploring their philosophies and concepts of nature, we’ll have a look at their religious practices to see if they can rightly be counted as ancient Naturalistic Pagans. [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were Epicurus and the atomists naturalistic?

If the universe is nothing but atoms, as modern physics proclaims, what place can there be for gods? None, some might say. Surprisingly, this was not the conclusion of the earliest atomists. Ancient Greek naturalists, far from rejecting religion, sought ways to understand religion in naturalistic terms. In short, they became Naturalistic Pagans. [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were the Classical Greeks naturalistic?

Last time, we discovered the world’s oldest Naturalistic Pagans* in the Ionian philosophers of ancient Greece. Yet, they comprised no more than a handful of intellectuals in a world full of theists. What was the effect of naturalism on the rest of Greece as it developed in the Classical period? Did it spread through the culture or remain isolated? [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were the Ionian philosophers naturalistic?

There are those who believe Naturalistic Paganism is but a modern thing, a young sapling in the forest of Paganism. In this article, the truth about its age is discovered. [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: Was archaic Greece naturalistic?

This series on the history of ancient naturalism began with an overview that tipped my hand: I think naturalism emerged first in Classical Greece.* So, what was so special about the Greeks? Was their archaic culture (roughly 800 – 480 BCE) already inherently pregnant with the idea of naturalism? [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were early agricultural peoples naturalistic?

Early humans depended upon nature for their very existence. However, nature religion does not equal naturalism, a worldview that sees all primary causes originating in nature. Yet agricultural advances during the Neolithic period suggest the possible development of a key prerequisite of naturalism. [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were early hunter-gatherers naturalistic?

Were early hunter-gatherer peoples naturalistic? It is difficult to tell. They were every bit as intelligent and creative as us, and could have created the first naturalistic traditions. Evidence suggests otherwise, however. [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: Modern Cosmology

It is surely strange to begin a history of ancient naturalism with modern cosmology. Nevertheless, starting with the present can help elucidate preconceptions before proceeding to the past. In so doing, a clear picture of current understandings can be developed, the better to distinguish our own assumptions and avoid projecting them onto ancient peoples. At the same time, a foundation in the underlying concepts under investigation can be established. [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: Exploring the Historical Roots of Naturalistic Paganism

Were there Naturalistic Pagans in the ancient world? This is the central question of a new series of essays exploring the historical roots of naturalistic ways among Pagans. [Read more…]

Naturalistic Traditions: All Things January

For places in the northern hemisphere with four seasons, winter has taken hold and the claws of cold grip the land. This month, we remember the Big Bang, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Chief Seattle. [Read more…]


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