Advisory Board

The Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society consists of an open number of individuals. It includes some of the most knowledgeable and active contributors to spiritual naturalist thought and practice. Advisory Board members come from a variety of backgrounds, and serve to advise on the overall direction and mission of the society. They may also be contributors to the materials and resources provided by the society.


Susan Blackmore is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She has a degree in psychology and physiology from Oxford University (1973) an MSc and a PhD in parapsychology from the University of Surrey (1980). Her research interests include memes, evolutionary theory, consciousness, and meditation. Sue writes for several magazines and newspapers, blogs for the Guardian newspaper and Psychology Today, and is a frequent contributor and presenter on radio and television. She is author of over sixty academic articles, about eighty book contributions, and many book reviews. Her books include The Meme Machine (1999), Conversations on Consciousness (2005), Zen and the Art of Consciousness (2011) and Consciousness: An Introduction (a textbook, new editions 2010 and 2011). Her work has been translated into more than 20 other languages. She practices Zen, campaigns for drug legalization and plays in her village samba band, Crooked Tempo.


Stephen Batchelor is a former monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He is the author of Buddhism without Beliefs, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, and several other books. Stephen considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas. He is a contributing editor of Tricycle magazine, a guiding teacher at Gaia House Retreat Centre, and cofounder of Sharpham College for Buddhist Studies and Contemporary Inquiry in Devon, England. He and his wife, Martine, live in southwest France and Stephen lectures and conducts meditation retreats worldwide. You can read more about Stephen Batchelor here.


stone1Jerome A. Stone is an author, philosopher, and theologian. His books include Religious Naturalism Today: The Rebirth of a Forgotten Alternative and The Minimalist Vision of Transcendence: A Naturalist Philosophy of Religion. Stone served as Adjunct Faculty of Meadville Lombard Theological School; is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at William Rainey Harper College; and is a member of the Highlands Institute of American Religious and Philosophical Thought (HIARPT) and the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS).


donald-crosbyDonald A. Crosby is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Colorado State University, where he taught for thirty-six years after a three-year position as Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Centre College of Kentucky. He is the author of ten books and co-editor of three. He has also written many academic articles, book chapters, and book reviews. His main areas of interest are philosophy of nature, American pragmatism, process philosophy, and philosophy of religion.



Owen Flanagan was born and raised in Westchester County New York. He received his Ph.D. in 1978 from Boston University. He taught for sixteen years (1978-1993) at Wellesley College as Class of 1919 Professor of Philosophy. In 1993 he came to Duke where he is James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy. He also holds appointments in Psychology and Neuroscience, and is a Faculty Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience and a steering committee member of the “Philosophy, Arts, and Literature” (PAL) program, and an Affiliate of the Graduate Program in Literature.


Jennifer Hancock is author of, The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom, Jen Hancock’s Handy Humanism Handbook, and The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Life Skills Course. She writes a freelance column about Humanism for the Bradenton Herald newspaper and publishes the Happiness through Humanism blog and podcast. She is also a speaker, specializing in Humanism, ethics, morality, and what motivates us to be better humans.  Jennifer Hancock describes herself as unique in that she is one of the few people in America who was actually raised according to Humanist principles. Her upbringing gives her a distinctive approach to the promotion of Humanism. This has led people like bio-ethicist and author Torben Riise, Ph.D. to claim that she is “one of the finest minds in Humanism” today.


Ted Meissner has been a meditator since the early 90’s, with training in both the Zen and Theravada traditions as well as more contemporary teaching methods.  He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, and host of the SBA’s official podcast, The Secular Buddhist.  Ted’s background in skepticism, science, and critical thinking informs his examination of the evolution of contemplative practice in modern culture, and he is a regular panelist on interfaith discussions regarding the complex issues facing our global society.


Tom Clark is founder and director of the non-profit Center for Naturalism and creator of Naturalism.Org, among the web’s most comprehensive resources on worldview naturalism, its implications and applications. He is author of Encountering Naturalism: A Worldview and Its Uses and lectures on science, naturalism, ethics, free will, consciousness, and related philosophical and social concerns. More about Tom is here.



Rick Heller facilitates the Humanist Mindfulness Group, which is sponsored by the Humanist Community at Harvard University. His writing has appeared in Buddhadharma, Free Inquiry, UUWorld, Tikkun, the Boston Globe, and Lowell Sun. He is the creator of Seeing the Roses, which presents videos showing how mindfulness can help us deal with behaviors that drive climate change.



Emeritus Members


Arthur G. Broadhurst has a B.A. degree from the University of Richmond and a B.D. and M. Min. degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School and a background in philosophy of religion and literature of the ancient world. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, he has served as Chaplain and Chairman of the Religion department at a college prep school in New Hampshire and minister of several churches associated with the Unitarian Universalist Association in Vermont, Connecticut and Florida. In later years he was active in business, retiring as President and Chief Executive Officer of School, College and University Underwriters, Ltd., a reinsurance company based in Bermuda. He runs the website The Christian Humanist and is the author of numerous publications including The Possibility of Christian Humanism, A Humanist Notebook and Stories, Folk Tales and Legends from the Bible. He lives with his wife Sue Hamilton Broadhurst in Florida.


Bernie Dehler is host of a local Portland Oregon cable TV show called That’s so Chratheist that promotes Christian/atheist dialogue on science/religion topics. His shows are also posted on his YouTube Channel. He is also a certified Humanist Minister, and occasionally writes for the Examiner.



B.T. Newberg is an author, editor, teacher, and husband. Since 2000, he has been practicing meditation and ritual from a naturalistic perspective. Upon leaving the Lutheranism of his raising, he experimented with Agnosticism, Buddhism, Contemporary Paganism, and Humanism. He now blends all these experiences into his life as a Spiritual Naturalist. After founding the community blog HumanisticPaganism, he currently writes the column Naturalistic Traditions at Patheos and contributes writing and course design to the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Professionally, he holds a master’s degree in education and teaches English as a Second Language. Having lived in England, Malaysia, Japan, and Korea, B. T. Newberg currently resides in the place of his birth, Minnesota, with his wife and cat. Also serving as Education Director of the SNS, he is responsible for the Society’s educational programs, such as course design and collection of supporting materials in both the archives and courses. This also includes helping to select and manage mentors.


In Memoriam


Michael Dowd (November 19, 1958 – October 7, 2023) was a religious naturalist, evidential mystic, and big history evangelist. He was the author of the bestselling book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World (Viking/Plume), which was endorsed by 6 Nobel laureates and other science luminaries, including noted skeptics and atheists, and by religious leaders across the spectrum. Michael and his wife, Connie Barlow, a science writer, devoted their lives to sharing the inspiring side of science in ways that offer practical tools for living and realistic hope for the future. Beginning in April 2002 they traveled North America and addressed more than 1,600 religious and secular groups. Michael and Connie’s work was featured in numerous national and local print, radio, and TV media, including The NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Discover, CNN, ABC News, Fox & Friends, etc. In 2014 Michael delivered a well-received TEDx talk.