Atheism and Spirituality
Spirituality without Religion
This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by rhonjon 1 month ago.
February 22, 2023 at 5:04 pm #47036
An atheist is a person who doesn’t believe in God. Anything else a person may or may not believe in is ancillary to the term atheist. So, yes, an atheist can still be spiritual. We have unanswered questions but are not satisfied with religions unquestioned answers.
I have had experiences in my life that I cannot honestly dismiss as coincidence or hallucination. For instance, I have over 300 songs playing at random on my Windows Media Player. Several times a song has come on that exactly matched what was happening around me. I walked a friend to his car and it was raining. When I came back inside the song In the Rain was playing. I was going through a stack of old papers. Because of my vision impairment, I use a special reading device. Bob Marley started singing “I Shot the Sheriff. I picked up the next piece of paper and put it under my reading device to see what it said. It said “There’s a new sheriff in town.” You know the saying. If it happens once, it’s an accident. If it happens twice, it’s a coincidence. If it happens thrice, it’s a pattern. This thing with the music has happened so many times. Yet no agent has come forth to claim responsibility or show me what it means.
I often wonder what it will be like when I die. I can’t shake the feeling that it’s going to “be like” something. Some part of me will still be aware. I lean toward Einstein’s view of the divine as the sun total of all that makes up the universe. Think of a lightbulb. When we are asleep it is as if the light is turned off. When we die it is as if the light bulb has blown. The energy that once traveled through the light bulb still exist as part of the universe, but it will never flow through that particular bulb again.
What evidence do I have for this? The same evidence scientists have for the existence of dark energy. Yet, if I become dogmatic and insist that others believe, think, and feel as I do, then I have bid fare well to spirituality and moved into religion.February 22, 2023 at 6:06 pm #47038
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
Hi rhonjon – I often wonder what it will be like when I die.
It will feel the same to you as the year before you were born does now.
How many songs have you heard that never had the sensation of being coincidental to what you were currently doing? I think we overestimate the amount of times something like that happens to us.February 23, 2023 at 7:11 am #47051
I don’t see anything wrong with going with the flow of those feelings. Feelings of one’s connectivity to the world are in themselves essential motivations to keep making and celebrating new connections.
Do you ever get goosebumps from music? Sometimes I do, and it proves to me that something deep within me is stirred. Although I’ve rarely ever thought of goosebumps as having an outside source, even when the music itself is from an outside source.February 24, 2023 at 1:15 am #47056
I often wonder what it will be like when I die. I can’t shake the feeling that it’s going to “be like” something.
The problem with wondering what something is like is that you need something else to compare it to. “Langostinos taste a lot like lobsters,” for example.
At the heart of trying to comprehend death is to accept the fact that, as I sometimes say, “Dying is an experience. Death is not.” Death, in fact, is the complete and total absence of experience because you can’t experience nonexistence.
However, you can come to some understanding of what that means if you’ve ever been put under general anesthesia for an operation. The anesthesiologist injects something into your drip feed or puts a mask over your mouth and nose asks you to count backward from 10, somewhere between 6 an 4 you suddenly are awake and the operation is over.
That missing time, while your operation took place, was like death, because the anesthesiologist basically made you brain dead.
That missing time between the counting and the waking up, you were in a relevant sense, dead.
I think that’s the best I or anyone can do to help you with an analogy.
Death is not like anything because the only thing you can really compare it to is itself.
February 24, 2023 at 6:28 pm #47064
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Unseen.
General anesthesia is a perfect analogy. The brain is part of the physical body and once it’s dead, it’s dead. Because I cannot undo my experiences, I can’t know if my feelings of something beyond my physical body may just be a result of decades of Christian indoctrination. If I’d grown up in a Buddhist society, I might interpret my dreams and unexplained emotions as memories of past lives. When asked for his gut feeling, Carl Sagan replied that he was not in the habit of thinking with his gut.February 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm #47071
General anesthesia is a perfect analogy. The brain is part of the physical body and once it’s dead, it’s dead. Because I cannot undo my experiences, I can’t know if my feelings of something beyond my physical body may just be a result of decades of Christian indoctrination. If I’d grown up in a Buddhist society, I might interpret my dreams and unexplained emotions as memories of past lives. When asked for his gut feeling, Carl Sagan replied that he was not in the habit of thinking with his gut.
You could take some speculative refuge in a many worlds theory in which there you are in other realities parallel to this one. Maybe an infinite number of such realities.
Of course, those yous live in separate consciousnesses you can’t access. Likewise, those yous may consider your existence merely a theoretical possibility.
Of course, when we (you and I) die, we may discover that somehow our consciousness goes on in ways we can hardly imagine from this reality.
Only one way to find out.February 24, 2023 at 10:42 pm #47073
We won’t find out. We can’t even remember the early days of this life. Being slapped by a doctor while we hung upside down. Letting go of the coffee table and taking out first step. Once we cross the river Stix in another existence the most we’ll have is the same choice between unfalsifiable spiritual hopes and cold reason.February 25, 2023 at 1:32 am #47075
We won’t find out. We can’t even remember the early days of this life. Being slapped by a doctor while we hung upside down. Letting go of the coffee table and taking out first step. Once we cross the river Stix in another existence the most we’ll have is the same choice between unfalsifiable spiritual hopes and cold reason.
When you become old like me (76) some of your earliest life experiences are imprinted. My earliest memory is sploshing (that’s onomatopoeia and not a misspelling) in a tiny pool in the yard of the house we lived in at the time with my mom and her sister present. At the same time, I forget details of recent experiences often. Example: forgetting the definition of a word I looked up yesterday.February 25, 2023 at 11:21 am #47079
It happens to the best of us.
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