Can an atheist be spiritual?
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17-01-2012, 08:27 AM
Can an atheist be spiritual?
Given the most recent video regarding pastors that do not believe, I am curious if an atheist can be spiritual at all. Are there any spiritual atheists? I would call myself an atheist, but I also attend a Unitarian Church by choice. Does this make me hypocritical? Seth had mentioned that when he left the church, he missed that sense of community, and I do too which is why I continue to attend a church. I just don't feel that sense of community from atheist organizations. My path to becoming an atheist began with me being raised Lutheran, then evolved into becoming a deist, and finally ending up an atheist. In retrospect, I'm sure that a reason that I attend a church still is due to that "deist" step in-between the Lutheran-Atheist conversion. There must be other atheists here that feel the same way or attend a Unitarian Church like I do. After all, the Unitarian Church does have a significant atheist/agnostic congregation base. Is the Unitarian Church a cop-out for atheists who don't wish to fully commit themselves to atheism? I'd hate to leave a welcoming community such as the Unitarian Church, but in terms of principle, can I be both Unitarian and Atheist? Spiritual without the belief in God?
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17-01-2012, 09:55 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
I guess I understand what you're trying to get at. Although I wouldn't call myself even close to spiritual either - i guess it's more of a personal satisfaction to think/feel connected to others
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17-01-2012, 10:19 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
Make some atheist friends and grab a beer everyonce in a while,
There was no fun mosque community where i come from, every street had atleast one mosque on it and
sometimes even 2 or 3... in the suburbs, The mosques didnt organise activities except religion lessons..
Every friday after the prayers the geezers would just hang around and talk politics for about 20 minutes and then just go away.

Something that could be done just as effectivly if u invite a neighbor or two over coffee. Most of them were assholes anyway
and none of them had any kids my age, so id just hit the mosque and go home to my facebook and videogames and meet up with
friends to go do something.

If you want community make one, make some nearby atheist friends, invite them over to your place for a beer or an activity
(games, movies, books, etc. take your pick) no need for all the imaginary friends.
you could also make Vlogs together on youtube, or be politically active with them if that's ur thing.
I imagine the community of a church would be nice, but imagine a godless community.
If you're into the hardcore stuff and have enough people, have some debates together or organise lectures and speakers
about important issues.

"Yeah, good idea. Make them buy your invisible apple. Insist that they do. Market it properly and don't stop until they pay for it." -Malleus
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17-01-2012, 10:23 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
A friend of mine posted this video on my Facebook wall today - it addresses similar issues.

http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton...-publisher

Not sure if I agree with his main points, but I understand what he's getting at...[/php]

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17-01-2012, 10:36 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
For me, my atheism only answers one question. Do you believe that a god or gods exist ? - My answer is no
Even if a being came down from the sky in all it's sparkly energy, supremely beautiful in sight and could do miraculous things that I couldn't explain, I still wouldn't believe that this creature was a god. It's something and it's doing what it's doing through a process that I am unfamiliar with, in much the same way if you brought anyone from the distant past into the future, they would look at hands free bluetooth ear pieces as AMAZING and not understand the technology behind it all.

When it comes to being spiritual, I can imagine a great many scenarios that could happen after death and in none of them do I have a god or a devil or any heaven or hell.
I come from the belief that I have lived several lives before this one because I have memories from those lives that I differentiate from memories in this life.
The things I know about other places has been proven to be true to my satisfaction.
Now for me this doesn't answer any question about if I have a soul or not. It does however create a question about how I obtained such information.
On that question, I don't know.

I think an atheist can benefit from meditation and self reflection while in those altered states of what we might call spiritual in nature.
When I think about the idea of entangled particles that seemingly communicate over vast distances from one another instantly, then I know that there are things about this universe, about this life we live that are a mystery to us at the moment. We will find the answers to our questions in time and I'm certain that none of these answers will be superstition or myth or magic.

In as much as a rainbow was once seen as a spiritual vision, we now know what it really is.
I believe in rainbows

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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17-01-2012, 10:45 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
Sure.
There is all kinds of spirit that has nothing to do with a god, or any kind of boss, or any kind of after-death nonsense.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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17-01-2012, 11:00 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
I am often confronted by theists with the argument, "but YOU are spiritual" because I feel a deeper-than-most connection with nature, I'm a "tree hugger", I find inner peace by interacting with nature (which some argue is a form of prayer), and many other "spiritual" things. What they fail to see is that I don't believe in "spirit" at all, at least by my definition. I feel these connections because I am close to nature, in that I recognize the role it plays in my survival and happiness.

I really don't think one can be "committed to atheism" any more than one can be "committed to drinking tea." If you don't believe god exists, you're an atheist. Not a full atheist. Not a partial atheist. Just an atheist. You can be an atheist and also believe aliens walk among us. You can be an atheist and also deny evolution. And you can be an atheist and also attend church. The real question I suspect you are asking is, "Am I a hypocrite for attending church and not believing in god?" My answer? Well, kinda. Do I fault you for it? No, not really.

The community you need in your life can be found at the church you attend, and by attending, you are fulfilling a need. I don't think that the church is nescessary to fulfill that need, but until you find something else to fill the void, I can't blame you for going. But when you wonder if an atheist can be spiritual, I suppose you first have to define what you think spiritual means. I fit many peoples definition of spiritual, but I am still an atheist. That's because some people choose to define spirituality as something that doesn't nescessarily involve the supernatural. So by their definitions I may very well be spiritual, as may you. I don't define it that way (nor do most "science minded" people) so by my own definition, I am not.

It's all about perception, and how you choose to define things.

If you get something from going to church, and no one gets hurt by you doing so, then I say, have at it.

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17-01-2012, 11:01 AM (This post was last modified: 17-01-2012 11:04 AM by kineo.)
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
I don't think anyone can tell you whether you should go to church or not except for you. While I'm not all that comfortable with the idea of promoting the ideas that atheists still need something from the church, or that atheists should hide their atheism by going to church, I think that it is important to maintain a healthy mind and that includes your emotions as well. We often refer to the aggregation of our emotions and mind as our heart, or our spirit.

I don't think that spiritual is the right word, because it's essentially owned by the religious. But for the sake of ease and for now I'll keep using it... Each person feeds that "spirit" in different ways- some through weekly communion in a variety of settings (church, a local pub with friends, card games with your buddies, a shopping excursion, hunting, etc.). Some people feed the spirit through meditation and time spent alone in peaceful quiet. Some do both. I think these types of activities are important.

I say continue going so long as it's healthy and not simply a habit for keeping up appearances. If you're getting something out of it and it's not harmful, then why should you stop?

From what I recall of the Unitarian Church, it's very liberal and doesn't necessarily push the Christian idea of God. Is that true?

Sidebar: I want to say my wife and I were married in a Unitarian Church. I'm not sure, we never asked and we picked the place based on location rather than faith. We only actually had a religious ceremony for my side of the family anyway.
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17-01-2012, 11:02 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
This is not complicated. The answer is..... Sure. Why not?

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17-01-2012, 11:12 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
Hamata,

I think that the only way this can be as simple as black and white is if there are steadfast definitions we all use for the terms. Even if one definition is the one and only correct one, we may still think that another is correct. (I'm not sayin either way).

In my above post I illustrated that with regard to the word "spiritual", but then I erred. I made the assumption that the word "atheist" has a steadfast meaning, and that is wrong. There are many, some of which are on this very forum, who do not define atheism as simply as I do. And some of those people not only have my respect, but have also made me re-visit my own definition for atheism.

So really, I think we need to know what the OP actually means by "spiritual" and "atheist" before we can truly form an opinion on the title question.

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