Document Type

Contribution to Book

Title

African American Religious Naturalism and the Question of the Human

Source Publication

Handbook of Religious Naturalism

Publication Date

2018

Editor

Donald Crosby and Jerome Stone

Publisher

Routledge

City

New York

Edition

1st

ISBN

9781138292079

First Page

156

Last Page

168

Department

Religious Studies

Abstract

I introduce an African American religious naturalism that features a naturalistic view of humans, which becomes the focal point for challenging exclusionary and outdated conceptions of humanity embedded in the logic of white supremacy. I present humans as highly complex organisms, owing the lives we have to the emergence of hierarchies of natural systems. Rejecting any notion of a supernatural reality beyond nature, I rely on current developments in science studies to help describe humans’ processes of transformative engagement with each other and with the more-than-human worlds that constitute our existence. In doing so, I augment the potential of religious naturalism to challenge viral constructions of “isms” rooted in problematic and alienating self-other differentiations. This African American religious naturalism encourages readers to act in ways that promote the flourishing of all life, and to urge other humans who may be less aware of our interconnectedness to do the same.

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