I would like to hear people's views on the topic of spirituality. Some starting viewpoints to discuss and develop further. The first question I would ask is: is it possible to be an atheist and believe in some form of spirituality, however defined?

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Comment by Steve Armitstead on November 9, 2013 at 11:51am

I like all the attempts at an alternative to 'spirituality'. Is this the way to go?

Just one question; what are you attempting to define? 

Comment by Pope Beanie on November 9, 2013 at 2:40pm

Just one question; what are you attempting to define?

I'm still working on this, because it feels powerful, it drives people, and because science has been largely unable to explain it. The feeling itself must stem from real needs within each of us to understand, connect with, and predict possible behaviors of the material world and animals around us. Perhaps the concept of "higher power" stems from a social species' need to imagine a larger purpose that bonds the group, and that gives each member the drive to help fulfill the group's needs and bonds.

Animal emotions have been evolving for a half billion years (or so)! Maybe they're 99% of what drives everyone, with consciousness only recently evolving significant forms of prediction, environmental & social effect, self-reflection, and self/emotional-control?

We each develop a consciousness to influence our own future emotional decisions, also predicting its effect on the outside world, animals, and other humans with their own, wide range of personalities/consciousness. This is what makes us so different from previous animals.

Yet science is not only largely unable to explain these electro-chemical mechanics of mind, but I think too many "scientific" people just find it easier to deny the significance altogether of these mechanics of mind that drive every one one of us. Rather than try to incorporate emotional drives and feelings into comprehensive, scientific theory of behavior, perhaps too many scientists prefer to always discount their relevance to reality (and even "mind" and consciousness), in their pursuit of thinking as detached and purely unemotionally as possible.

So Steve, I think you've posed the right question. Although religion has focused on fulfilling our social-emotional needs, science isn't there, yet. For centuries, religion has been providing quick & easy answers to questions that science only now is starting to question and answer more comprehensively. There are no supernatural agents, and we have no supernatural abilities. They can feel supernatural, perhaps because such emergent feelings empower us to act in new, imaginative ways, especially in a social framework.

I've previously mentioned some emotional aspects of human nature that I think of when I think of spirituality, but we need a more comprehensive list and descriptions. After that, a scientific description of feelings of spirituality with its own word might come more easily. We should be able to bring a lot more scientific light to the subject than Chopra & Oprah!

Comment by Simon Paynton on November 9, 2013 at 3:14pm

Pope Beanie - I think you're talking about morality - a natural morality.  Spirituality means the worship, veneration and cultivation of this natural morality in my opinion. 

Comment by MikeLong on November 10, 2013 at 2:22am

" its own word might come more easily. We should be able to bring a lot more scientific light to the subject than Chopra & Oprah!"

Lol. You've suggested a bit of a nonsense word. How about a more serious attempt?

Despite the mouthful,  atheokinisis works well for me.

Comment by Steve Armitstead on November 10, 2013 at 7:03am

atheo=   doesn't believe in god

kinisis= Movement or activity of an organism in response to a stimulus such as light. [Greek k n sis, movement, from k nein, ...

 atheokinisis

I like the idea of 'moving in response to light'; I think that totally captures the subject.

Comment by Unseen on November 10, 2013 at 9:31am

Hey, folks, it's "kinesis" not "kinisis." 

Comment by Steve Armitstead on November 10, 2013 at 11:45am

Yes, -kinesis, from Greek "κίνησις", movement, motion, is a suffix that denotes movement. Ironically, modern Greek pronunciation of 'κίνησις' would be 'kinisis'. They now pronounce 3 of their vowels as 'i', 2 as 'o',  one 'e' and an 'a'!  All short, although they do have a few diphthongs. Innit?

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