God is all there is. Nature is all there is.
God is infinite. Nature is infinite.
God works in mysterious ways. Nature works in mysterious ways.
God is omnipresent. Nature is omnipresent.
You get the idea. And that's the simple essence of Richard Carrier's "Sense and Goodness Without God," though he takes 424 pages to explicate it.
I've read a bit over half of Carrier's book, which I was drawn to buy after reading (and writing about) his From Taoist to Infidel essay.
I'm enjoying it. A lot. Probably because Carrier thinks much like me, aside from the fact that he's much more knowledgeable than I am in many areas of science, philosophy, history, and what not.
It's easy for me to recognize wisdom in someone who believes in the same stuff I do. I also appreciate his self-publishing "Sense and Goodness Without God." It's a lot better than most of the crap non-fiction that populates the spiritual section of bookstores.
But since his book requires some thinking (gasp!), I imagine Carrier got a brush off from publishers who couldn't imagine that there's a market for spirituality minus other-worldliness.
Here's a taste of what Carrier's metaphysical naturalism is all about.
Given the lack of clear evidence for a god, and the fact that everything we have seen happen, which was not caused by humans, has been caused by immutable natural elements and forces, we should sooner infer the opposite: that immutable natural elements and forces are behind it all.
…For now, observe that the only things we have ever proven to exist are matter, energy, space, and time. Since we can explain everything by appealing to only those things and their properties, then (all else being equal) such an explanation is the most plausible one around – leaving no need and no sound reason to go beyond them and invent all manner of unproven entities, like gods and spirits and miraculous powers.
…It follows that no matter how you look at it, there can be no "ultimate" explanation in the sense people want. The very concept is a logical impossibility. Even the idea of an infinity of explanations would itself be in need of some inexplicable "brute fact."
…Thus the question for us really is: Where do we stop? What is the one, ultimate "brute fact" that needs no explanation? Certainly, most people say this is God, that God is self-explanatory, having no origin, that God exists necessarily as the one brute fact.
But that requires resting on a huge number of assumptions. Why not just stop with what we actually know – the natural world? Certainly this is just as viable. After all, if a god needs no explanation, then why does nature need one?
Excellent question. Which really doesn't require an answer. Just a brute fact: no explanation needed.