How many were spiritual but not religious before becoming Atheist?

I was already against religion for a long time before becoming Atheist, yet I held very strong spiritual beliefs. I was very much into New Age woo stuff: reincarnation, astrology, ascended masters, vortexes, crop circles, chakras, crystals, channeling, you name it.

When I became interested in science I found most of my beliefs handily debunked and after a few years, realized that I did indeed lack a belief in what I used to call "Spirit". It was how I referred to a non-dogmatic consciousness that I believed created the universe from itself. 

I'm curious how many other people had similar beliefs before becoming Atheist.

Tags: atheism, spirituality

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I was sort of a loose Christian before I became a full blown atheist. I rejected organized religion but still believed in the teachings of Christ. I still entertain the notion of reincarnation every now and again because it still makes some kind of sense to me.
Somebody PLEASE tell me what does spiritual mean?
Hehehe. I'm with you on that one. Yet so many people use it to define their subjective feelings.
'Spiritual" generally means supernatural beliefs that are not part of a religion. It's different than deist. Deist is belief in a god without dogma attached, but "spiritual" beliefs generally include a lot more than that. It generally is a mishmash of new age beliefs like those I listed in the original post. Hope that helps!
I was never really spiritual (whatever that means ;-)), but I was a good mixture of credulous and skeptical growing up. I regularly questioned religion, but was fascinated by anomalous claims. I read Charles Berlitz's book The Bermuda Triangle many times as a boy. I was delighted and amused to see James Randi tackle that very book and author in his book Flim Flam when I read it last year.

Science and Skepticism are king now.
I was raised amongst christians but never really accepted christianity. I told my parents I didn't want to be a christian when I was 12. I spent the next several years going through different levels of theism followed by deism followed by atheism. During the whole time I would say I slowly moved from not being spiritual at all, to being spiritual in the traditional sense, to following the spirituality of much of that same new-age type stuff, and then on to where I am today. I am a scientist and an atheist, but I also consider myself to be very spiritual. I use the term spiritual divorced from the actual belief in a spirit or soul as separate from an individual organic being. I think spirituality, for me, is my sense of awe at the beauty of the universe and the wonder of those things which are unknown.
I was always a skeptic so I managed do differentiate between rational and irrational but only when I truly questioned what I believed in. I think that the only irrational belief I had (which was not very strong and influencing in my life) was that God existed, though not as depicted in the Bible. I really wasn't a religious person as I didn't pray, go to church or act in any other way on my beliefs. Anyway, when I became a teenager I started to question everything, including God and even science. Well, I don't need to say who won and who... didn't.

I think that the fact that there are so many beliefs in so many different gods was an important factor in my realization that the god I believed in was probably as irrational as the others. But what I think was the most important argument against the belief in a god was evolution. Just realizing that some things are possible without supernatural explanations, even if I couldn't think of such an explanation before, was a real revelation for me.
Graham, what you describe sounds like pantheism... would you describe yourself as pantheist?

My facebook profile still says "spiritual but not religious," but I don't really know what that means for me anymore. I tried on a lot of new age ideas, but none of those really resonated with me... and I really, really wanted them to. I feel something with nature, a connection, that I also feel with people. It's a pantheistic leaning I suppose, although I don't believe god is all or that the universe is god.

This is a great topic William. I hope you don't mind if I start a similar one with a slightly different angle. I'd like to gather some information about spirituality and atheism for some research I'm doing for school.
I haven't actually read much about pantheism. I'm a scientist and an atheist, but I consider myself to be spiritual and very much a humanist. Like I said I don't know much about pantheism, but from what I understand it equates the universe to god but takes away the idea of a creator or supernatural deity from the word. I could be wrong about that. If someone wanted to label me that way, I wouldn't fully be opposed to it if that makes them happy. However, I don't think I'd ever really use that term to describe myself because I really do not have any need for a god of any sort. I find majesty and beauty in the universe and I believe we are only beginning to understand a little bit about who we are and why we're here, but I think the term god really in no way describes my viewpoints. If it's not a traditional god or deity than why call it such? But, like I said, I really do not know much about pantheism.
I've checked out the opening chapter of "The God Delusion". Dawkins described pantheism as "sexed up atheism" and deism as "dumbed down theism".

Pantheism: God is the workings of the universe. Not intelligent.
Deism: God is the workings of the universe. Intelligent but either neutral or indifferent.

At least that's what I gathered. Either way, both claim that God in either case doesn't require or doesn't force our worship.
That's a cool way to put it.
I think it's an interesting question and I'd guess that a number of atheists "explored" aspects of spirituality before formalizing their views. I have always been interested in religion/spirituality and describe myself as an "open-minded atheist." I don't presume to assert that I have a definitive answer about anything, but I don't believe anyone else does either. In my spiritual exporations over the years I was always drawn more to the Eastern/"nontraditional" belief systems (although I didn't subscribe to or adopt any of them either) because they seemed more accepting of a diversity of views, and seemed in many ways to be less dogmatic--more "open." Ultimately I decided that no organized--or disorganized for that matter--religion had beliefs, practices, or explanations that I could put my "faith" in. As a sociologist/anthropologist the subject of religion is fascinating to me, but as a scientist and as an individual the adherence to any religious dogma seems absolutely illogical.



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