Atheists can be spiritual too

#21
Quote:I think for many people who follow religion, or something that resembles it, an atheist considered him/herself to be ''spiritual'' really rubs up against their dogmatic beliefs of how spirituality should ''look.''

Just as there are spiritual atheists and humanists, so too are there non-spiritual religious adherents who merely use religion as a sort of ego inflation and soulless moralism to judge other people by. That sort of fanaticism and hypocrisy is very widespread and totally excludes any authentic experience of the spiritual. I imagine it is these types who go around judging other people's spiritual experience as invalid or false because it doesn't jibe with their ideals of moral purity and self-righteous prudishness that they secretly worship.
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#22
(Jun 30, 2019 02:07 AM)Magical Realist Wrote: I imagine ...

I'm sure you imagine a lot to bolster your self-gratifying beliefs. Rolleyes
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#23
(Jun 29, 2019 11:01 PM)Syne Wrote: Agreed, as Buddhism illustrates. But an atheist who always conflates simple awe for transcendence is confused about spirituality...usually in the direction that Westerns have bastardized Buddhism. It's like a virtue-signalling spirituality.
Sort of like a pseudo-spirituality. I see your point, but how about Einstein and others who didn't really believe in a ''personal'' god, but he was thought to be at most, a pantheist. Pantheism doesn't really seem theistic, but more of a philosophy. Yet, it falls under theism. What are your thoughts to those who hold such spiritual beliefs?
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#24
(Jun 30, 2019 04:01 AM)Leigha Wrote:
(Jun 29, 2019 11:01 PM)Syne Wrote: Agreed, as Buddhism illustrates. But an atheist who always conflates simple awe for transcendence is confused about spirituality...usually in the direction that Westerns have bastardized Buddhism. It's like a virtue-signalling spirituality.
Sort of like a pseudo-spirituality. I see your point, but how about Einstein and others who didn't really believe in a ''personal'' god, but he was thought to be at most, a pantheist. Pantheism doesn't really seem theistic, but more of a philosophy. Yet, it falls under theism. What are your thoughts to those who hold such spiritual beliefs?

Einstein was never truly religious, being from a non-observant Jewish family, so I would take his allusions to religion and spirituality with a grain of salt. He too seemed to conflate spirituality with simple awe. I agree that pantheism can hardly be classified as theistic, except insofar as it makes a weak reference to god. Is pantheism really spiritual? Or is it just, at most, a sort of appreciation for the sensation of awe? IMO, secularists tend toward hedonism, where their notions of spirituality mostly center around sensation. Like awe or the self-gratification (or often, just nonactive virtue-signalling) of helping others.

Now, whatever people find fulfilling is their own business. I'm glad if they can find some measure of inner peace or significance. But self-delusion is not healthy. When they conflate a simple awe of nature with much deeper things, I would be infantilizing them to pretend that they experience something they give no indication of understanding. It's like people who do yoga or meditate pretending they understand Zen koans. Ignoring, or worse encouraging, such can only hinder any progress they may be capable of.

And everyone is capable. Hell, MR is so close, except for his limiting beliefs. https://www.scivillage.com/thread-7200-p...l#pid29173
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#25
(Jun 30, 2019 06:23 AM)Syne Wrote: Einstein was never truly religious, being from a non-observant Jewish family, so I would take his allusions to religion and spirituality with a grain of salt. 

And Christ wasn't a Christian and Buddha wasn't a Buddhist either.
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#26
(Jun 30, 2019 02:53 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
(Jun 30, 2019 06:23 AM)Syne Wrote: Einstein was never truly religious, being from a non-observant Jewish family, so I would take his allusions to religion and spirituality with a grain of salt. 

And Christ wasn't a Christian and Buddha wasn't a Buddhist either.

Jesus was raised a practicing Jew, and the sources on Buddha's early life "are a variety of different, and sometimes conflicting, traditional biographies" (wiki).

And Einstein never founded a religion either. Dodgy
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#27
(Jun 27, 2019 07:19 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: Synonyms for "spiritual" in a non-theistic or secular context: existential, cosmic, transcendental, poetic, meaningful, mystical, archetypal, soulful, deep, profound. Proof atheists can be spiritual? Go thru all the quotations I have posted in the "Quote Of The Day" thread.

Seems like a reference to emotional feelings of a particular inspirational (!) sort. I agree most emphatically that one needn't be a theist, let alone a monotheist, to have these kind of experiences, or to value them or seek them.

Quote:"A few years ago, author Sam Harris gave a speech at an atheist convention in which he talked about the need for spirituality within the greater community of reason. He got a lot of criticism for those comments and other comments from many atheists in attendance. The problem was that despite his valid point, the term “spirituality” is a religious term. There is no secular term that is synonymous with “spirituality.” What does the term “spirituality” mean anyway and can atheists embody that meaning?

I agree with all that. A more secular word that was in vogue with the German romantics more than 200 years ago was "the Sublime".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublime_(philosophy)

Quote:The problem is that spirituality isn’t one thing; it is two things. It is the feeling we get “when we are truly in relationship with others” and that “deep sense of incomprehensibility at the wonder of sheer existence.” To put it simply, spirituality is the feeling of deep connection we have towards one another and with the universe in general.

Yes. "Spirituality" differs from "the Sublime" in possessing that interpersonal-emotional aspect as well as the cosmic-emotional aspect. I would expect a 'spiritual' person to display compassion and humaneness to an extraordinary degree. A 'spiritual' person is somebody that I would just instinctively trust to do the right thing.

"The Sublime" is more like a reference to what the Wikipedia article calls "a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement, or imitation."

Quote:From Carl Sagan to Neil deGrasse Tyson, those who don’t believe in God have been quick to point out that we are all made of stardust and that the same stardust that is in you might also be in me.

In my mind I can still hear Carl Sagan's distinctive voice reverently chanting "Billions and Billions" like a prayer as the music swells and the TV displays beautiful photos of galaxies and nebulas. Despite being an atheist he obviously felt something and he was trying to communicate it.

I feel that way myself regarding the omnipresent cosmic mysteries. It's probably what motivates my interest in philosophy (and maybe my Fortean attitudes).

Quote:These are the realities of our world and they remind us of our deep connection not just to each other, but to the universe itself. This is spirituality without the superstition. There is no need to frame it in terms of New Age “transcendence” or “mysticism” or relate it to some sort of deity.

Except that noting that the universe is big or that our bodies contain atoms that once were in exploding stars, or even that many of our questions about reality remain unanswered, doesn't exactly justify the profound emotional reaction that these ideas elicit in some of us. Why should we care? Most people don't.

(Jun 28, 2019 06:58 PM)C C Wrote: Looks like a label narrowly or specifically indicating not having "Abrahamic beliefs" would instead be the ticket for some people traditionally calling themselves atheists.

Why not keep "atheist" but confine its meaning to what the word actually means?

Lacking belief in a monotheistic God or polytheistic gods needn't imply that an atheist must be a metaphysical naturalist, or a "skeptic" in the hard CSICOP sense. Admittedly most atheists seem to be, but it doesn't seem to be required or implied in any way by the failure to accept the reality of the deities.

Quote:An alternative like "secularist" doesn't work due to it pertaining to a broad political policy orientation rather than just personal preference.

The way I use 'secular' has nothing to do with politics. It refers to 'this-worldly' orientation and interests. In medieval times, the church and the life of the mind in the medieval universities sought transcendence, while the king and his knights concerned themselves with grittier matters down here. Let alone all the farmers, the village blacksmiths and all the rest.  

Quote:So it might have to be an invented neologism label, albeit Coyne and Harris disparage that route in general. Or uncovering an existing, but near-forgotten term of the past which could be recruited for the job.

Or admitting that 'atheist' is a bigger tent than many of today's "new" atheist militants want it to be.

After all, this person might technically be an atheist:


[Image: 326358-buddhist-monk.jpg]
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#28
The essence of the spiritual life is captured in this quote by poet Mary Oliver:

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”
― Mary Oliver

A spiritual experience need not always be awe-inspiring. It can also be a sense of deep connection and intimacy with nature, with animals, or with other humans, inspiring a generous and compassionate feeling of open-heartedness to all experience.
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#29
(Jun 30, 2019 07:28 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: A spiritual experience need not always be awe-inspiring. It can also be a sense of deep connection and intimacy with nature, with animals, or with other humans, inspiring a generous and compassionate feeling of open-heartedness to all experience.

Good point, I agree.
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#30
Quote:Or admitting that 'atheist' is a bigger tent than many of today's "new" atheist militants want it to be.

Exactly. There is a huge contingent of atheists who simply never think of God any more than they think about mermaids or unicorns. We can call these people secularists I suppose. Their interests are entirely consumed by the 10,000 things of this world.
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