The Freedom of Naturalism

Naturalists, myself included, believe that humans are part of nature, no more important than other species and, compared to some like fungi and photosynthetic plants, far less vital to the health of natural ecosystems.

Unfortunately, our large brains have convinced most humans that we are superior to other life forms, created in the image of a deity and immune to the predator-prey relationships that govern the lives of plants and other animals; indeed, many religious individuals are loath to classify humans as animals and strongly oppose the "theory" that we evolved from other primates.  Our numerous similarities to other mammals, including anatomic, biochemical and behavioral traits, are overshadowed by the intelligence and imagination that our large brains afford.

Of course, those who believe that humans are unique among life forms, endowed with spirituality and intimately tied to their divine creator, must live with the guilt and fear that stem from that belief.  Naturalists, accepting the fact that morality, unrelated to religious doctrine, is ingrained through evolution to enhance social cooperation and survival, are free to live without the threats imposed by a vindictive and manipulative deity.  We cherish our time on Earth, knowing that death will come but soaking in the heavenly rewards of life while we can.