|Born||7 June 1944|
|Education||B.A., University of Minnesota|
M.Div., Luther Theological Seminary
Ph.D., Hartford Seminary
|Known for||Naturalist theory of religion|
|Fields||Philosophy of religion|
Loyal D. Rue (born 7 June 1944) is an American philosopher of religion. He is professor emeritus of religion and philosophy at Luther College of Decorah, Iowa. He focuses on naturalistic theories of religion and has been awarded two John Templeton Foundation fellowships. He has been for many years a member and lecturer at the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS).
Rue in his writings and teaching has been a proponent of religious naturalism and environmentalism:
Religious naturalists will then be known for their reverence and awe before Nature, their love for Nature and natural forms, their sympathy for all living things, their guilt for enlarging ecological footprints, their pride in reducing them, their sense of gratitude directed toward the matrix of life, their contempt for those who abstract themselves from natural values, and their solidarity with those who link their self-esteem to sustainable living.
In Religion Is Not About God, Rue proposed that at the heart of almost all religions and cultures is a story – a myth. This is due to humans being emotional, narrative beings. Religions use what Rue called "ancillary strategies" to promote and make flourish their doctrines. He named five strategies: intellectual, experiential, ritual, aesthetic, and institutional (pages 128–142). To these may be added participants, practices, teachings, and social behavior.
In the Epilogue of Everybody's Story, Rue wrote:
There is nothing in the substance of everybody's story to rule out belief in the reality of a personal deity. At the same time, such a belief is not an essential part of everybody's story. There will be theistic versions of the story, and there will be nontheistic versions as well. Those who take the theistic option will have at their disposal a range of images that may be used to arouse motivational systems. But I have confidence that everybody's story, unadorned by theological imagery, has the potential to arouse us to serve its imperatives. Let us see.
Edward O. Wilson said of Rue's Religion Is Not About God: "This book is an important step towards the naturalistic, hence truly general theory of religion. It harmonizes contemporary scientific understanding of the origin of human nature with a positive view of the centrality of religious culture."
The individual perspectives on religious naturalism of Donald A. Crosby, Jerome A. Stone, Ursula Goodenough and Rue are discussed by Michael Hogue in his 2010 book The Promise of Religious Naturalism.
Rue also served as co-editor of the volume Contemporary Classics in Philosophy of Religion, Open Court Pub. Co., 1991, ISBN 0812691687