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 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'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.
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.
I was a Pagan for about five years before I finally became an Atheist. Years before that I was a Christian. I got in to the more Witchy side of things as I had a love of nature and the seasons but hated the dogma of Christianity, but because there was no holy book telling me what to think I really had to start to work out what I did believe and why.
I couldn't work out if I was a pantheist, panentheist or all of the mass of ways of seeing the divine. I knew that I really did not believe in a abrahamic god as I don't believe any thing can be out side of nature. I got more satisfaction from scientific explanations for life than anything else I could be sure of. Then I went on a Atheist forum and someone said about the burden of proof and I knew it applied to me as much as a Christian or Muslim. Every thing I could ever say about gods and goddesses could so easily be explained with scientific explanations.

I then got to the point where I was getting more of a buzz with the universe as it was, the moon, sun as they are, take away the god nicknames and they are still the same old planetary bodies.

I then went on a trip to the Natural History Museum in London. I loved it, fact, evidence, reason. When I come home on the train I bought a New Statesman mag with a special Atheist addition and I agreed with a lot of the writers. At that point I could not honestly call my self a pagan anymore I had stopped believing the divine in all its forms and was now an Atheist.

To be fair I don't know how much longer it would have taken me to get to that point if had had not gone down a pagan path. A lot a study and self reflection not just on fluffy spell books, but on science topics, biology etc really got the mind ticking. I did not really go in for all the negative energy and silly fairies stuff. Spells just where a way of making me feel a bit more in control.
People are mostly accepting of science explaining the physical stuff of the universe and of the age of things, even though Bible literalists are still refusing to go away. However now we've reached the area of the intangible. What causes love? What is the first cause of all this? It's maddening because people still need to fill in these holes with deities, and now we've THE god, as if that changes the nature of the supernatural and lends the concept veracity.
I used to believe all sorts of paranormal things when I was a kid, but gradually came to see the ways they conflicted with reality and forced myself to be very skeptic about just about anything, because, frankly, I'm fucking gullible.

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