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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What a great reply Barry. Like you I see the old religious guard on the defensive and trying to find ways to retain their members and have their members bring in new coverts. I see a trend of churches becoming more humanist in nature. I may be wrong though.

I've thought about the question of spirituality a lot. I think it can be as diverse as the number of minds in our universe. Spirituality to me is the reverence that I have for nature and the wonders of our universe. I feel more "spiritual" when I'm in the woods or watching a program about our vast universe, than being in any church.

What is the "spirit" in "spirituality." Is it along the lines of the "spirit" in "team spirit"? Otherwise, talk of spirit, spirits, souls, ghosts, etc., don't seem to have a place in an atheist group.

I don't believe in anything supernatural, but I'm not above discussing the subject. Supernatural is like super luminal. Like trying to see beyond the light horizon or event horizon. It can't be done, only postulated what lies beyond.

What's the point, if it's unknowable?

To use your imagination!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTn7xtVsE6U

(I couldn't' resist)

You owe me 47 seconds and a pint of AB negative blood. :)

Next time you think about doing this, please ask for auditions.....

I think you're technically correct to use the term Spirituality, simply because it the agreed-upon term in our language to describe the category of experiences that encompass awe and a feeling of sublimation into things greater than oneself.  It is an accident of history (albeit a predictable, perhaps even inevitable accident) that this term has such strong religious associations.  The very root of the word is based in the religiously-informed misconception about an immaterial Soul or spirit.  However, one should not be personally deterred from using the term just because of this.  There are plenty of other terms or labels which have long since grown out of the conventions of usage which spawned them.  Spartan, Indian, lesbian, sodomy, platonic... all great words that have little or nothing to do with their original derivations, but which we resist replacing because of their ubiquitousness and usefulness.  Similarly, you need not have any supernatural beliefs about 'spirits' or 'life forces' to have the kinds of experiences which most people describe as Spiritual; indeed, to try to invent and substitute another term for a specifically athestic spirituality risks compounding the illusion that spirituality is an exclusively religious-based experience.

I tend to use the term "spiritual" or "spirituality" to describe something larger than me.  It can be the universe in general, nature, even a sporting event!  I don't use it all the term, or even all the often, the term, but I feel like it can be applied to non-religious based events, though as one person said on here, the holdover from religious upbringing can be applied. To give you some background, I was raised in a non-theist household, my mother had a strict Roman Catholic upbringing and my dad Southern Baptist. My dad "found the church" later on in his life in his late 30s, but my mom had me believe in keeping an open mind as my approach to life. Mostly in reason and logic. 

Anyhow, I have friends, as an example, who are vegan to respect all walks of life, but they are also atheists...they believe in spirituality respect of animals, but I think spirituality may be a blanket term, lack of a better one, really.  I think that Val Wuthrich did say exactly what I was feeling, and what my conflict was.  It seems there are those of us who would do without the term, but those of us who are fine w/ it in a certain context. I'm ok with that! 

Thank you again for your welcome to the group.

So, spirituality is a sensation of weakness and inadequacy(?).

No, spirituality is an acknowledgement of human consciousness.  Weakness and inadequacy only comes from the acceptance of religion, which is fear based.  Spirituality frees the mind up and allows for great pontential to expand the mind in ways that logic and reason falls short - i.e imagination and artistic expression as well as the ability to perceive that all life is connected in a much deeper way than any mathematical expression or scientific theory could postulate.  There are times for one to think their way through a problem, and times for one to feel their way through a problem.  Spirituality comes from feeling and allows us to dream and perceive beyond ourselves, while logic is the tool that grounds us to reality.  Both are needed in this life, and neither are signs of weakness or inadequacy.  In truth, the only way for one to be weak or inadequate is for one to dominate the other or not allow to exist at all.  Balance is the key.

Why call it spirituality? 

Your so-called "feeling" one's way through a problem is actually still a thought process. It's a mental testing of alternatives. How do I know this? Because it's done by the brain. If you leave behind the spirit world of souls and ghosts, you're left with the brain controlling everything. 

If you think "logic grounds us to reality" you don't understand logic. Logic isn't substance, it's form. If being grounded to realitry can result in counterintuitive breakthroughs like Einstein's relativity, I have no idea what more so-called "spirituality" could add.

If you do believe in souls or spirits, then you're religious on some level.

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