Can an atheist be spiritual?
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18-01-2012, 03:07 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 01:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  Define spiritual. There seem to be several understandings of 'spiritual' - almost as many as there are posts in this thread.Big Grin

Do I get feelings of awe and wonder when contemplating nature? Yes.
Is that spirituality?

I don't believe in any spirit, soul, or any kind of dualism.
Is that non-spiritual?
These don't look like criteria of spirituality, so let's try these:

Do you live your life with a meaning? Do you feel as a part of humanity or some other greater whole? Do you want to live harmoniously with others and to manifest your potential? Are you scared of death?
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18-01-2012, 03:28 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 03:07 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(18-01-2012 01:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  Define spiritual. There seem to be several understandings of 'spiritual' - almost as many as there are posts in this thread.Big Grin

Do I get feelings of awe and wonder when contemplating nature? Yes.
Is that spirituality?

I don't believe in any spirit, soul, or any kind of dualism.
Is that non-spiritual?
These don't look like criteria of spirituality, so let's try these:

Do you live your life with a meaning? Do you feel as a part of humanity or some other greater whole? Do you want to live harmoniously with others and to manifest your potential? Are you scared of death?

You've not answered my questions.
What does fear of death have to do with it?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-01-2012, 04:08 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(17-01-2012 05:18 PM)Luminon Wrote:  I am a spiritual atheist. Watch and learn Wink

Good post. Wink

Spirituality does set off the woo-alarm, however. Just looking at the term, the mind visualizes the psychic at the table with the crystal ball performing a seance... Tongue

I've got faith; I know that term also sets the whistles to blowing... there's one thing we have in common. Anticipating validation in the science. Wink

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18-01-2012, 04:19 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 04:08 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
(17-01-2012 05:18 PM)Luminon Wrote:  I am a spiritual atheist. Watch and learn Wink

Good post. Wink

Spirituality does set off the woo-alarm, however. Just looking at the term, the mind visualizes the psychic at the table with the crystal ball performing a seance... Tongue

I've got faith; I know that term also sets the whistles to blowing... there's one thing we have in common. Anticipating validation in the science. Wink

Moderators: We really need an "I think I Like" button for HoC's posts.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-01-2012, 04:31 PM (This post was last modified: 18-01-2012 05:01 PM by Luminon.)
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 03:28 PM)Chas Wrote:  You've not answered my questions.
What does fear of death have to do with it?
I thought these questions were rhetorical. I believe spirituality is not a single specific thing or belief. It is more like a principle, results may vary depending on a time, culture and personality.

As for this principle, I believe it has to do with a degree of relatively heightened awareness compared to humanity in a given time. Awareness of your surroundings, of your inner workings, of real and potential relationships between you and something greater, like the world.

A relatively heightened awareness might cause different events in history of humanity. Often quite opposite events. For example, deep in history an advantage of awareness might help our ancestor find a way to achieve an ambitious and bloody victory over the enemy and build an empire, or discover and ingeniously exploit natural resources, like coal. Today, heightened awareness compels us to make peace with our enemies and stop exploiting the natural resources, exactly the opposite thing.

As for death, quite often it's no big deal for spiritual people. They frown on theatrical wailing, tearing hair, jumping into grave, ash on forehead, decorating the grave, preserving the corpse, sacrificing property and animals for the burial rituals and throwing widows on a dead husband's bonfire. They also aren't especially scared of death, as self-important people are.


HoC: In a sense, if spirituality is about greater awareness, then people think it is also about awareness of subtle worlds, like astral. But I said spirituality is an abstract principle, not any given form. Old forms of spirituality are not spiritual anymore, they're anachronistic.

In this case, I believe astral awareness is a primitive skill stemming from our animal evolution and connected to primitive parts of nerve system. It was a good thing in times of shamans and gypsies with crystal ball, but it was later sacrificed for the sake of development of intellect. You can't use your own brain properly when your dead ancestors tell you what to do, as if they would have any relation to your situation. So most of this sub-culture of psychics and channeling is one big anachronism. It's so old that it's peddled as something new, and yet it comes so easily to many people precisely because it's a part of our past (animal) evolution. We have this big shiny new brain, but people can easily override it and start talking in tongues or talk to their ancestors.

For common man or woman it is now spiritual to seize control of his or her emotional nature through intellect. Of course it depends on their personality, but I'd say for many intelligent men in general it is spiritual to see through the Cartesian mechanistic worldview that divides things and discover that which unites.
Hell, one could say (and did) that the whole spirituality is about progress, or development or anything that supports human awareness and quality of life. One could say that whatever acts against this direction of development, stops it or slows it down is the best definition of evil. But I couldn't throw such a vague statement right away.
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18-01-2012, 05:09 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 04:31 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(18-01-2012 03:28 PM)Chas Wrote:  You've not answered my questions.
What does fear of death have to do with it?
I thought these questions were rhetorical. I believe spirituality is not a single specific thing or belief. It is more like a principle, results may vary depending on a time, culture and personality.

Sorry, I'm just saying that unless we define spirituality, the OP's question is not answerable.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-01-2012, 06:24 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(17-01-2012 05:18 PM)Luminon Wrote:  I think we can pretty much agree on the above.

Nope. Way too much woo.

(17-01-2012 05:18 PM)Luminon Wrote:  But now I crank up the craziness engine.

You already had it in 4th gear, now you're just headed for overdrive.

(17-01-2012 05:18 PM)Luminon Wrote:  Plus somewhere down on quantum level there is a perfect invisible random generator of "white noise" of events, that statistically covers all sorts of random stuff happening and therefore there are many coincidences in the world, but from which we can't derive any meaning whatsoever, that would be crazy and superstitious.

OK you're going 95 and there's a steep downhill ahead - hold onto that steering wheel

(17-01-2012 05:18 PM)Luminon Wrote:  Well, and a spiritual person may very typically think, that the universe is only partially Cartesian. In fact, such people rather think that the non-Cartesian part of the universe is like 95% and the Cartesian part is like the cold, hard, flat surface of your CRT monitor. It's right in front of you, it's visible, tangible and impenetrable. But it's the universe of effects, not of causes. The universe of causes is beyond. You can either stay a plaything of pseudo-random output on the Cartesian surface, or you can try to get beyond the layer of coincidence and act in the universe of causes, so that the output of events that comes is tilted in your favor.

Welcome to Pseudoscienceville! Please pull around to Lot A and ignore the lines while parking.
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18-01-2012, 06:26 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 05:09 PM)Chas Wrote:  Sorry, I'm just saying that unless we define spirituality, the OP's question is not answerable.

Exactly.






....I'm pretty sure this was addressed by myself and others on the first page of the thread.

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18-01-2012, 07:12 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 01:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  Define spiritual. There seem to be several understandings of 'spiritual' - almost as many as there are posts in this thread.Big Grin

Do I get feelings of awe and wonder when contemplating nature? Yes.
Is that spirituality?

I don't believe in any spirit, soul, or any kind of dualism.
Is that non-spiritual?

It's your call. At least that's my point.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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19-01-2012, 02:21 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 07:12 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(18-01-2012 01:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  Define spiritual. There seem to be several understandings of 'spiritual' - almost as many as there are posts in this thread.Big Grin

Do I get feelings of awe and wonder when contemplating nature? Yes.
Is that spirituality?

I don't believe in any spirit, soul, or any kind of dualism.
Is that non-spiritual?

It's your call. At least that's my point.

OK, then I'm spiritual. But don't freakin' tell anyone - it'll ruin my reputation.Dodgy

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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