Hey everyone, I'm a first time poster. I've always identified myself as atheist, but I consider "spirituality" to be separate from religion.  Like, we all know that the universe is much bigger than an individual. Nature is much bigger than anything we could ever imagine.  You get my drift.

I just believe, personally, that spirituality is something separate from religion. Therefore, I believe that I can be spiritual as an atheist, but in the regards that I have respect for all walks of life, I'm a believer of living and letting live, and that the universe is much bigger than me, and I need a healthy respect for that.

Does that make sense?  Please feel free to let me know if I should use a different term. But I usually say "spirit" or "spiritual" because I can attach a separate definition to it outside of "g*d." 

Tags: atheism, nature, religion, spirituality, universe

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This is where you and I diverge.  I understand logic quite well.  Logic is a form - a form of understanding that allows us to rationally deal with the world around us - lest we be ruled by the lower brain like some animals.  This is what I mean by "grounding us to reality."  We are not ruled by the lower brain, but the higher brain which logic and reason exist - or performed.  At no point did I imply or say directly that logic was substance, you read into that incorrectly.

Also Einstein didn't just use logic and reason to develop his theory of relativity.  He used his intuition as well, and understood that human beings are not purely logical beings.  Intuition - spirit of the mind as I call it because it provides us with beliefs we cannot justify in every case - allows us to go beyond thought where logic cannot.  However, we can use logic to help guide our intuition as to what is more likely possible in reality.

As for your initial question, "Why call it spirituality?"  Do you have a better term for it? 

Believing in strictly science, rejecting subjectivity, and adhering to the phrase "Shut up and calculate," when it comes to life is also religious.  Experience does matter when it comes to understanding the world around you too.  If anything, maybe we can call "spirituality" "developing a higher level of consciousness.

I hope this makes sense.  We may have a communication disconnect.

This is where you and I diverge. I understand logic quite well. Logic is a form - a form of understanding that allows us to rationally deal with the world around us - lest we be ruled by the lower brain like some animals. This is what I mean by "grounding us to reality." We are not ruled by the lower brain, but the higher brain which logic and reason exist - or performed. At no point did I imply or say directly that logic was substance, you read into that incorrectly.

A lot of animals depend on higher brain functions. They figure things out and learn things. Lower brain functions are simply what we share with many lower life forms. Birds discover that dropping shellfish or nuts break them. They are experimental in a primitive way. Not logical but not using any sort of mystical power, either. In fact, the way a chimp learns to use a stick as a tool is basically the same way as Einstein figured out that space can be stretched and compressed by massive objects. By trying something out and seeing if it works in other words.

Also Einstein didn't just use logic and reason to develop his theory of relativity. He used his intuition as well, and understood that human beings are not purely logical beings. Intuition - spirit of the mind as I call it because it provides us with beliefs we cannot justify in every case - allows us to go beyond thought where logic cannot. However, we can use logic to help guide our intuition as to what is more likely possible in reality.

Can you define "intuition" in a way that makes sense? Einstein tried different possibilities on and stumbled on one that fit the facts and gave him a very simple and powerful formula. In other words he thought. He didn't tap into a spiritual dimension, nor was he visited by spirits who whispered the answer in his ear.

As for your initial question, "Why call it spirituality?" Do you have a better term for it?

Awe? Wonder? Incomprehension?

Believing in strictly science, rejecting subjectivity, and adhering to the phrase "Shut up and calculate," when it comes to life is also religious. Experience does matter when it comes to understanding the world around you too. If anything, maybe we can call "spirituality" "developing a higher level of consciousness.

I neither believe in "strictly science" nor in "rejecting subjectivity." We're kind of stuck with our perceptions, aren't we? But our senses are flawed and we need logic and more information and experience to sort out what's false and what's not. Anyway, reliance on subjectivity is notoriously bad when it comes to arriving at good conclusions with any kind of generality to them.

Can you define "intuition" in a way that makes sense?

Intuition is the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference, in other words: beliefs we cannot justify in every case.  Events, thought processes - the subjective nature of existence regarding the Self, these are all intuitive processes.

You are right about Einstein, and he started with intuition in his thought experiments.  Did logic later follow in helping him pick through the intuitive process that led him to the different possibilities?  Yes!

I think we are in general agreement, though - especially in reading your latest comment - just a different perspective.

I think that describes me in front of a naked woman: weak and inadequate.:)

To me, spirituality implies some sort of belief in a human soul that exists separate from the body, that can then pass into an afterlife after death. Lacking any religion, there is no need for spirituality in my life.

That being said, 'spirituality' is sort of a loose term that people use to describe many different things, so it's open to interpretation. If you are using it to describe your awe and wonder of life and the universe, I see no problem with that.

You believe in a soul? Why?

Yes, as Unseen asks, why believe we have soul? Isn't it just a human construct just as spirituality is?

Except that maybe "awe" and "wonder" express the same thing without the baggage.

Since the sense of the religious experience is inescapably evoked by the word, "spiritual," regardless of how it is meant, I would prefer another word.  The first one that comes to mind is "empathetic," but I think I can do better.  I'll think about it.

Very well put. Thanks

There is nothing wrong with using the word Spiritual as an atheist.

We've already stepped beyond the breach and admitted, accepted, and acknowledged that we don't believe in the supernatural. (wow, just looked at that sentence and shades of John Coltrane! Only one that's missing is "Pursuance" and I'll have the entire "A Love Supreme" album locked up… LOL… Which now that I think of it was a spiritual rebirth for Coltrane in that he arrested his addictions and found a higher power).

But using it doesn't diminish my atheism. Like has been stated we still use words who's definition is suspect in this day and age. I guess it all boils down to our individual definitions  for words that define our emotions and experiences.

As a recovering alcoholic I've leaned strongly to the words "Live and Let Live". And that holds true for my attitudes toward theist and non theist and atheist. We may not believe in the supernatural but there are a lot of people who do. Our non belief, I feel, is not absolute. Dawkins did say that we don't have enough proof to say that there is a god and so until we get proof we chose to not believe in the supernatural. But personally, I would never tell a believer that their belief's are crap. Told one friend that if his belief in prayer meant that it would bring him relief from what ever emotional or physical pain he was in then I would get down on bended knee an pray with him despite my atheism. Does that make sense to anyone here? Perhaps that's my definition of the word "Spiritual"...

Live and Let Live...

"Spiritual" is one of those words I raise an eyebrow at.  Some senses of it are fine (though perfectly capable of being handled by other words) and others aren't.  I have to wait until I get a better idea which is meant.

That having been said I suspect some of the more acceptable usages of the term are done so as to put a cloak of "respectability" in larger society for a "disreputable" atheist position, and that stinks.  "Hmmm I have this feeling of awe etc, even without god, so I will call it 'spiritual' so those theists will respect it."

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