Can an atheist be spiritual?
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17-01-2012, 11:19 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(17-01-2012 08:27 AM)89ace Wrote:  Spiritual without the belief in God?

It depends on what you mean by the word "spiritual."

By the common meaning of that word, the answer is no, since spirit refers to something separate and distinct from physical nature.

By the new-agey meaning that gets tossed around, where "spiritual" means something along the lines of "connected to the universe", you could say you're spiritual, but I think that makes the word trivial. We are all connected with each other and the universe in many ways, and we can't possibly avoid it. We share a common origin, we breathe the same air, we gaze at the the same sky, we are stardust, the atoms from millions of people are inside your body right now, etc.
You're connected to the universe whether you like it or not.

I find the spiritual label gets used for two purposes. One is an elitist thing - you're just a physical lunkhead while I'm spiritual and engage the universe on a higher plane than thou. The other, as you touch on, is an intermediate step in letting go of god myths.

But to your real question - I see no reason why you can't be active in a Unitarian church as an atheist. You can do it while calling yourself spiritual or not - what's the difference? If you find it to be a welcoming community, and you're getting something out of it, why stop? I'm part of all types of activities where people reference the supernatural (from an opening prayer at a club meeting to someone saying "knock on wood" )and I just ignore it. Atheism doesn't need to cut you off from anything that you find to be of value.
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17-01-2012, 11:21 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
i think that theists often use this question to intentionally create a slippery slope that they can use to maneuver a careless response into a "gotcha" moment. The catch is all in how one defines exactly what is meant by the term "spiritual".

For example, one can say "the mountains are a spiritual place". You don't mean that there is anything literally incorporeal or supernatural there; you mean that for whatever reason, you have a strong emotional connection with the mountains. However, this isn't what theists mean when they ask this. They are thinking of "spiritual" in terms of the spirit/soul, spiritual values, religious authority, etc.

So for the former, yes, an atheist can be spiritual. For the latter, no. Disbelief in any and all gods precludes a "spirituality" that reference ecclesiastical authority or values.
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17-01-2012, 11:24 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(17-01-2012 11:19 AM)Jeff Wrote:  Atheism doesn't need to cut you off from anything that you find to be of value.

Well said.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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17-01-2012, 11:32 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
I'd like to say that ... i've got a spiritual connection with beer...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -- Voltaire
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17-01-2012, 11:40 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
If you believe in sprits then IMO you are not atheist.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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17-01-2012, 11:45 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
I would ask that spiritual be defined in order to answer such a question.

I could answer by stating emphatically that my orgasm is just as amazing as anyone else's, but quite frankly, mine is better because it happens to me.
Just thinking out loud. Blush

***
Another thought- I change/embolden one word from The Merchant of Venice -tribute is to steal only from the best:

I am an Atheist. Hath not an Atheist eyes? Hath not an Atheist hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.

***

A few lines later proceeds with a little Hitch slap: The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction."
... but that might be a whole other thread. Blush

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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17-01-2012, 12:52 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
No.

What's with all the tolerance going on here? Angel

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17-01-2012, 01:01 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(17-01-2012 12:52 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  No.

What's with all the tolerance going on here? Angel

Where you see tolerance, I see people asking for a clearer definition. The OP doesn't appear to have admitted to any belief in souls or spirits, just a vestigial activity from a former deism, or transitional stage on the way to atheism. But maybe I misunderstood.
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17-01-2012, 01:09 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(17-01-2012 01:01 PM)kineo Wrote:  
(17-01-2012 12:52 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  No.

What's with all the tolerance going on here? Angel

Where you see tolerance, I see people asking for a clearer definition. The OP doesn't appear to have admitted to any belief in souls or spirits, just a vestigial activity from a former deism, or transitional stage on the way to atheism. But maybe I misunderstood.


IMO spirituality is belief in spirits. So what is a spirit? A supernatural entity from the afterlife? If you believe in spirits then you must believe in god right? Making that person at the very least, a deist.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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17-01-2012, 01:19 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(17-01-2012 01:01 PM)kineo Wrote:  
(17-01-2012 12:52 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  No.

What's with all the tolerance going on here? Angel

Where you see tolerance, I see people asking for a clearer definition. The OP doesn't appear to have admitted to any belief in souls or spirits, just a vestigial activity from a former deism, or transitional stage on the way to atheism. But maybe I misunderstood.

I do not expect anybody to have my level of experience with this kinda thing, but that kite ain't flying. Big Grin

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