Can an atheist be spiritual?
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19-01-2012, 07:02 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(19-01-2012 02:21 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(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

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As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
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20-01-2012, 02:21 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
Too many posts to read them all now, so I will just comment on the OP...

An interesting subject I must say and yes, you can be an atheist and spiritual. That spirituality does not need to come from any God. In fact, God is what makes people less spiritual and more religious and I do not think those can be much similar. As you know, God has laws, laws written by people and it all does not sound very spiritual, in fact sometimes it is the opposite of spirituality.

But you can find spirituality in nature, inside yourself, in your heart, in your soul. You can find it in meditation, in martial arts, in sports. You can find it with your dog, while riding your horse across the grass field, while walking through ancient forest surrounded by nothing but nature, while diving in the depths of the sea where people are not meant to go, while climbing on the mountain that is not fit even for a mountain goat to climb...

Religious people see God in those things, atheists see nature and the miracle of natural beauty.

It all depends on the person and the experience of that person, as stated in the OP, even an atheist can go to church, not for the religious feeling, but for the company of others and the calm feeling that company gives them. It is not hypocritical, it is the spirituality and tradition that those people are searching.

I see religions as the opposite of spirituality, although there are people who found their spirituality in religion and God, so it is a very subjective thing, not something we can easily generalize.

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20-01-2012, 05:40 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
I think the more important question is, why do you want to label yourself as spiritual? What do you get from it?
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20-01-2012, 08:51 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(20-01-2012 05:40 AM)Jeff Wrote:  I think the more important question is, why do you want to label yourself as spiritual? What do you get from it?

Usually used in the hopes of getting some new-agey chick into the sack.Cool

"Ooh, yeah, I'm like so spiritual."

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-01-2012, 10:51 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(20-01-2012 08:51 AM)Chas Wrote:  Usually used in the hopes of getting some new-agey chick into the sack.Cool

In that case, I approve.Big Grin
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20-01-2012, 11:49 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
Chas - a man of faith. End times, peeps. Tongue

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20-01-2012, 03:40 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(18-01-2012 06:24 PM)Jeff Wrote:  Nope. Way too much woo.
Not woo, just psychology.

(18-01-2012 06:24 PM)Jeff Wrote:  
(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
I don't think you got it. This is a parody of what I think you think.

(18-01-2012 06:24 PM)Jeff Wrote:  Welcome to Pseudoscienceville! Please pull around to Lot A and ignore the lines while parking.
What I described may be a pseudoscience, it's more like a mindset or a way of living. And it's very interesting from psychologic and sociologic point of view. Interesting people are the sugar of earth.

(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.
Maybe it's as Jeff says, an experience is the answer, not a definition of it. An experience that is a definition in itself, otherwise undefinable due to lack of terminology that we haven't invented yet, because potential researchers demanded a definition before they would start a research on this.

(20-01-2012 05:40 AM)Jeff Wrote:  I think the more important question is, why do you want to label yourself as spiritual? What do you get from it?
For example, I get a clear conscience that I haven't lied about it. But that's not what you ask. You ask about how do people react to that label. I don't know. There are a plenty of religious folks around here, but those who THINK and TALK about it are seen as nerds. Most of people here are so ignorant and lukewarm to the subject, that they don't show any reaction to such a statement. Maybe in USA it's different.
Although in several rare exceptions, I had a long discussion or even a series of long private one-to-one lectures on spirituality, religion, science, all that together. Or discussions, but these are rare, they require solid knowledge on both sides, not just interest.
Needless to say, I absolutely love to do that. Lecturing and discussion. I love when people ask and I can answer them or when they blow my mind with something interesting. This is what I want from true close friends.

And Chas is right, the "spiritual" label may really attract the right person. I should try it, with the addition of "intellectual", "young" and "female". Although from my experience, a Yeti might show up sooner than this.
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20-01-2012, 05:34 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
I'm on my android at a gig so I can't do the quotes thing, but let me clarify my question on why you, or anyone wants to label themselves as spiritual.

This to me seems akin to people who have internally reached an understanding that there's no god, but they can't or won't admit it internally or externally, so they start re-defining what god is, to be able say they believe.

When I hear an atheist say they are spiritual I see it in a similar vein - an attempt to hold on to some magical thinking by contorting the meaning of spiritual through pseudoscientific jargon. To which I say, let it go. The more fuly you embrace atheism, the stronger you feel. The strength you get from clarity and reason more than makes up for whatever magic you give up. Come on in the hot tub, the water's fine.
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20-01-2012, 05:54 PM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
(20-01-2012 05:34 PM)Jeff Wrote:  I'm on my android at a gig so I can't do the quotes thing, but let me clarify my question on why you, or anyone wants to label themselves as spiritual.

This to me seems akin to people who have internally reached an understanding that there's no god, but they can't or won't admit it internally or externally, so they start re-defining what god is, to be able say they believe.

When I hear an atheist say they are spiritual I see it in a similar vein - an attempt to hold on to some magical thinking by contorting the meaning of spiritual through pseudoscientific jargon. To which I say, let it go. The more fuly you embrace atheism, the stronger you feel. The strength you get from clarity and reason more than makes up for whatever magic you give up. Come on in the hot tub, the water's fine.

That's true-ish.
But there is another way that it seems people use this word. It is used to describe the feelings of wonder, awe, amazement, astonishment at and of the universe.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-01-2012, 03:28 AM
RE: Can an atheist be spiritual?
Yeah, the word "spirituality" can have all sorts of meanings. For some being "spiritual" is to go to church and pray to God, others can feel that way when talking a walk with their dog in the hills near their house. The differences are huge, the meaning of the word changes from person to person. Some will put all sorts of pseudo-scientific meanings and explanations to the word, some will put God and Bible, some will use life and nature, some will use everyday tasks and habits, some will say it's the drugs, some will say it's sports. If I think about it, I think I had that "spiritual" feeling while I was in my Aikido dojo, while I was training Aikido. It is nothing magical there, we can not fly like in the movies, but the philosophy, the work out, the history and the traditions of something that ancient and different than I was used to, it made me feel spiritual and fulfilled. This is also closely connected with any sort of meditation, you do not need to see it as magical, but as a way to relax and free your mind, which meditation actually is, so the "spirituality" can be view as any number of completely different things and thus even atheists can be called spiritual, without messing their own atheism and disbelief in supernatural.

It is quite individual.

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