Spiritual atheist.

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This topic contains 75 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Dang Martin 1 year, 10 months ago.

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  • #1895

    Unseen
    Participant

    I think it would be better to find a word other than “spiritual.” A word without the word “spirit” in it because it has religious overtones, being many cases a synonym for soul or ghost.

    I often feel a sense of overwhelming wonder when I think about the universe, for example, or when I see some scene of astounding natural beauty, but I refrain from calling it spiritual because I’m an atheist.

    #1897

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    Sometimes I feel something similar to what I think spiritual people feel, and so I’m more interested in finding a way to communicate about “spiritual” things, in spite of my non-God, non-supernatural definition of it. I think it’s quite natural to feel we are and want to be part of something larger than ourselves, and in fact it must be an accidental outcome of evolution. Wolves howl in unison, and at the moon at times, and I imagine it’s not unlike people in church singing. I still get goose bumps listening to Ode to Joy; I didn’t even know at first its theistic theme. Good artists often tap successfully into the ethereal, metaphorical, “spiritual” feelings most of us share.

    I have no evidence that spirituality comes naturally, but I can think of no better explanation (than what I’ve touched on, above) for why it’s so extant.

    #1898

    .
    Participant

    One of the amazing things I’ve learned as I delve deeper into the sciences, and learn a very interdisciplinary approach to sustainable practices is the idea that we are all connected and that everything in the universe is connected. I find the cyclical nature of the universe very beautiful. I don’t define the wonder as spiritual because it has nothing to do with spirits. It’s the very essence of existence. To call it spiritual would put a religious spin on something much more amazing than anything any person could conjure up.

    I think people can call themselves whatever they want and believe whatever they want. One thing I’ve found is that many people use the word spiritual as a catch all phrase. It’s rare to find people who actually ponder the meaning behind what it is they are saying.

    I don’t consider myself a spiritual atheist. I think putting that sort of label on myself would be limiting. Science is really amazing, and there is plenty more to be discovered. Nothing needs a label of “spirituality” to be considered absolutely fucking amazing.

    #1907

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I consider myself a spiritual atheist, because I’m spiritual and an atheist. I’m a lot of other things as well.

    I think that the word “spiritual” isn’t an exclusively religious word, and even though it happens to have the word “spirit” in it, it’s OK to appropriate it for atheist purposes, if we put the word “atheist” in front of it to show the variety of spirituality we are talking about.

    @Winter Lily – if you want to know about Wiccans, people who do spells and rituals to try and change the world, etc, why don’t you investigate it? Try getting into it and see if you achieve any results that are better than chance. Personally I’ve found that behaving bravely and unselfishly is all that’s necessary to change the world, and to bring extra good luck.

    @davis was running an experiment to see what happens if you disrespect Tarot cards. I said it would bring calamitous bad luck, he said he would try it. I don’t know what’s happened about that, he hasn’t been around for a while…

    #1908

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @Winter Lily – regarding what you were saying before, I found this quote in “The Quest for a Moral Compass” by Kenan Malik:

    “For Hindus, atman and brahman [ground of being] are, at the most intimate level, identical. Atman is the pure, essential self, that part of the ground of being that is manifested in every individual human being. Moksha, enlightenment, is recognition of this identity.”

    #1919

    Davis
    Participant

    I consider myself a spiritual atheist, because I’m spiritual and an atheist. I’m a lot of other things as well.

    I think that the word “spiritual” isn’t an exclusively religious word, and even though it happens to have the word “spirit” in it, it’s OK to appropriate it for atheist purposes, if we put the word “atheist” in front of it to show the variety of spirituality we are talking about.

    @Winter Lily – if you want to know about Wiccans, people who do spells and rituals to try and change the world, etc, why don’t you investigate it? Try getting into it and see if you achieve any results that are better than chance. Personally I’ve found that behaving bravely and unselfishly is all that’s necessary to change the world, and to bring extra good luck.

    @davis was running an experiment to see what happens if you disrespect Tarot cards. I said it would bring calamitous bad luck, he said he would try it. I don’t know what’s happened about that, he hasn’t been around for a while…

    Oh sorry. I still have them with me. I even brought them with me to a wedding in Galicia. I haven’t destroyed them or pissed on them yet…but not to worry…this weekend is as good as any time. I’ll keep you updated.

    By the way Simon…could you speculate as to the mechanism behind how the tarrot cards will effect my imminent doom? Is it a sort of radiation that comes from the cards? Do the cards summon some gallactic space wind that then points daggers at me to help direct spirit monkeys to menace me?

    #1924

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @davis – it’s just a strong pattern that I notice, and that people remark upon. People who disrespect Tarot cards always seem to have something terrible happen to them soon after. Why, I don’t know. The cards seem to have some kind of dark forces associated with them.

    My friend had a Tarot reading from the same lady I go to, and I heard the recording (about 1 hour). He told her virtually nothing, she told him all about his life as it is now and as she saw the future. We were sitting there laughing about it. Interestingly, the astrology parts and numerology parts seemed pretty random or “true for everybody” which is nearer the mark I think. The Tarot however was highly specific about his life. Of course, I’m not free to talk about it, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

    #1930

    Noel
    Participant

    I experience a sense of awe and wonder every night when I walk the dog and look up at the night sky. I experience it when I contemplate the vastness of the cosmos, the smallness of an atom, the power of an atom, the amazing mechanisms that make us humans, the mechanics of the human eye. I experience emotion’s akin to elation and euphoria when I gaze at my children and contemplate their amazing entrance into this world. But I just can’t call that Spiritual.

    The word spirit, to me anyway, just carries too much negative baggage. The word spirit, to latino’s in the Caribbean, brings up images of so called “Espiritista’s” who practice voodoo and chant spells in order to bring harm to other’s. I experienced this every Sunday morning as a child with my own step mother, who practiced this woo, and kept plaster saints and an alter in her bedroom. Not that I believed in it but it made it difficult to explore the real world with all that “Spiritual” nonsense going on at home.

    If calling myself a spiritual atheist brings me closer to defining my feelings and exploring the wonder of my existence without all the supernatural bullshit then I guess it’s not a bad thing. But I can’t erase those images I’ve carried with me since I was a boy and it’s just negative.

    #1935

    David McKnight
    Participant

    To my somewhat scientific and simple way of thinking \’spirit\’ an \’spiritualism\’ can be properly defined by the origins of the first of these.
    When there was a bump in the night, an apparition, an unexplained theft way back in the dark ages, after some discussion it must have been to easy to assign the cause to a \’spirit\’. In our terms it would be a substitute for \’Cause unknown\’ but in their terms it was a chance to dress up their conclusions by blaming everything on a supernatural cause with properties and skills way outside of anyone\’s experience.
    So when I hear the terms \’spirit\’ and \’spiritualism\’ I now substitute simply
    \’Cause unknown\’. Any other dressing up is unnecessary.
    When someone describes a spiritual experience then yes there has been a change inside them but they cannot explain it and probably no one ever will. However they prolong its effects by retelling and embroidering the basic facts, bestowing them with far more credibility than they are worth.
    A good spiritual experience IS worth having but only as a shake up of the senses and an good opportunity for more rational thinking. If you do manage to rationalise it that should make it easier to reproduce the experience even at will e.g. \’lucid dreaming\’.

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    #1967

    SteveInCO
    Participant

    Having read the replies, it seems like we need a new word.

    I use “spiritual” for this sort of thing, very, very, guardedly, amongst people who will either understand what I mean in the first place, or who will give me time to explain what I mean without going “whoop! whoop! whoop! He really believes in God deep down!!! He just said so!!! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!”

    I will sometimes use “soul” in similar fashion to describe whatever it is, the conscious process, that makes you “you” and not an oblivious bit of meat with no self-awareness, again with anti-“whoop! whoop! whoop!” precautions in place. Because as crappy as that word is, I don’t know a better one.

    I’ve found most atheists who know I’m one as well have little difficulty understanding what I’m getting at. We’ve mutually agreed to cross out the baggage.

    #1968

    SteveInCO
    Participant

    As a side note, looking @david McNights’s response, it’s probably a really bad idea to use single quotes on this board… every single one of them shows up as escaped with a backslash. I don’t know why that doesn’t happen to me when I use them as apostrophes.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  SteveInCO.
    #1984

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @davis – before you start dissing the cards, I believe it’s important to “personalise” them for a few weeks by doing readings for yourself and others.

    #1988

    David McKnight
    Participant

    Sorry it IS my first post. I suppose that I did see something was not just right before I posted it . I must have thought “gremlin” somewhere as I couldn’t figure out why one key press would give two symbols. So once again a human has failed to understand that there must be a logical reason for this happening ….

    OR maybe I was just jinxed!

    #1992

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    Ha, that’s interesting. I’ll bet a lone apostrophe fails as well, and maybe ones with a space in front of or behind it:

    lone ‘ .

    backed’ .

    um, in the ‘front.

    (Umar, if that screws anything up you can tell me to never do it again, because we’re unable to delete our own posts here at AZ.)

    @mcflewster I’m likely more of a jinx than you! I sometimes fall into that pit of knowing just enough to be dangerous.

    Hmm, no messed up ASCII… I couldn’t screw things up there even when I tried.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: inconclusive test results
    #1993

    SteveInCO
    Participant

    For some reason in the preview it shows backslashes in front of all apostrophes, but they *usually* don’t get into the post that way. You were just “special” I guess.

    It wasn’t intended as a criticism of you but rather of the forum software.

    Let me try an experiment, right here and now: ‘Because there IS no freaking doG!’ he said. (Intentional use of single quotes) and let’s see how that posts.

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