Atheists can be spiritual too

#31
I think that there are two somewhat opposing definitions of ''spirituality.'' One, having to do with religion and/or theist/deism, etc and the other having to do with the beauty, connection and resilience of the human spirit. There is a caveat in which the latter can also take on a metaphysical component in which one views the universe as living, and everything is ''connected.'' Personally, this has always left me a bit empty, because in the end, one is still left grappling with the fundamental existential questions.

If we are here by random chance, then why be spiritual? What does it do for a person to cling to the idea that we have a purpose, yet how we arrived here is random? Personally, once I started unraveling those ideas, I was left concluding that a higher power likely exists.
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#32
(Jun 30, 2019 06:30 PM)Yazata Wrote:
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.


Heck, they shouldn't care -- I certainly don't. Those descriptions and any imaginative pictures arising in people's minds of those relationships aren't even residents to begin with of the non-commonsense world which some extinctivists feverishly hump against (whether they're that in context of positivism atheism, philosophical naturalism, materialism, scientism... whatever).

What the heck could be inspiring or wonderfully emotional about an objective existence that is absent to itself both in terms of manifested phenomena and our invented conceptual descriptions (products of rational and technical expertise).

Material being as independent of a living brain's representations is essentially the same as the oblivion of death or not being born. Since both pertain to the conventional state of matter: Non-conscious arrangements of components which lack appearances and intellectual apprehension of themselves as anything. (Not even a presentation of nothingness, silence, etc -- as well as no classifying understanding of it as such.)

Any "awe" about -- what does one even call it? Scientism ontology? "Militant atheism" metaphysics? Materialism? ...would ironically rest in the manifested world, the latter outputted by the neural processing of information and its operating conjunctions with memory, transpiring within skulls (which the same former circle of thought endorses). Not the inferred normally invisible, non-described, non-comprehended version of existence (equating to again to oblivion) abstracted from those shown and cognized events, that is devoid of the emergent properties of brain or biological embodiment.
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#33
Quote:If we are here by random chance, then why be spiritual?

Because our meaning here in the universe isn't dependent on us having some purpose or destiny. We are not like hammers or wheelbarrows. We are not mere objects designed to accomplish some goal. We are as purposeless as the trees and the stars. The meaning of a tree and a star are in being a tree and a star. Likewise, all of our meaning resides inside of our being, in how we become who we are and in what we become. Our meaning is found only in ourselves, in the fact that we are and are innately of value. The attempt to impose purpose on human life is the failing of all religion. We are not the tools of some higher will. We are inherently meaningful in our own being.
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#34
(Jun 30, 2019 06:30 PM)Yazata Wrote:
(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: [picture of buddhist]


I addressed the sloppiness of "atheism" or its usages, particularly with regard to being applied to Japan and potentially other population groups here: https://www.scivillage.com/thread-7280-p...l#pid29582

Ordinary language carries the baggage of a word often having multiple meanings, both official and ideosyncratic. And the more constrictions a label loses the less value it has due to the rising ambiguity of what it even means. I'm not saying that's good or bad, since I'll exploit that freedom as much as anybody else for various reasons.

But many, if not most, prolonged scuffles on the web stem from one faction or individual objecting to another's use of a term or that exceeding what they consider to be its boundaries; or mistakenly conflating the intended meaning with a different meaning; or just the mountain of general confusing arising from the ambiguous nature of everyday language.

At least the technical nomenclatures of professions, disciplinary enterprises, and specific schools of thought try to avoid that by having each of their glossary items mean one thing and one thing only. Or at least in the past. That might be getting gradually goofed-up as everything else, via the runaway versions of social justice equally respecting or super-elevating all individual slash group eccentricities and creative deviations, semantic and otherwise. "Word definitions should be fluid and wandering all over the spectrum like every other human characteristic or artificial property should."
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#35
(Jun 30, 2019 10:13 PM)Magical Realist Wrote:
Quote:If we are here by random chance, then why be spiritual?

Because our meaning here in the universe isn't dependent on us having some purpose or destiny. We are not like hammers or wheelbarrows. We are not mere objects designed to accomplish some goal. We are as purposeless as the trees and the stars. All of our meaning resides inside of our being, in how we become who we are and what we become. Our meaning is found only in ourselves, in the fact that we are and are innately of value. The attempt to impose purpose on human life is the failing of all religion. We are not the tools of some higher will. We are inherently meaningful in our own being.

So, we determine our meaning? To whom, though? To ourselves? How do you know with certainty, that our lives have no objective purpose?
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#36
(Jun 30, 2019 07:28 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: 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.

No, it's not. Spirituality is not all about feeling good, like awe, connection, or being compassionate. That is self-interested gratification.
(Jun 30, 2019 09:06 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: 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.

spir·it·u·al·i·ty
the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.


It doesn't require a god, but it does denote a definite dichotomy from physical things.

(Jun 30, 2019 09:18 PM)Leigha Wrote: I think that there are two somewhat opposing definitions of ''spirituality.'' One, having to do with religion and/or theist/deism, etc and the other having to do with the beauty, connection and resilience of the human spirit. There is a caveat in which the latter can also take on a metaphysical component in which one views the universe as living, and everything is ''connected.'' Personally, this has always left me a bit empty, because in the end, one is still left grappling with the fundamental existential questions.

I think the one having to do with religion need not include god, as in Buddhism. Spirituality is primarily concerned with, as the root word indicates, the spirit, as opposed to the material world. Beauty and connection are something anyone can find, without any need to label it something esoteric, like "spiritual". The need to co-opt such labels is a response to a sense of emptiness that people won't/can't allow themselves to fill other than superficially.

Quote:If we are here by random chance, then why be spiritual? What does it do for a person to cling to the idea that we have a purpose, yet how we arrived here is random? Personally, once I started unraveling those ideas, I was left concluding that a higher power likely exists.

I agree, but if we do happen to be here by random chance, the only other thing that justifies spirituality is the notion of an effectively immortal soul. A spirit that faces consequences beyond the term of a material life. Whether that be some ultimately attainable reward, oneness, or an ongoing learning process from life to life. Personally, I believe both, that we are not here by random chance and that we live beyond the material.

And I can't fathom how people justify the belief in things like ghosts while disbelieving in an immortal spirit. I guess just chalk that up to the human mind's ability to avoid its own inconsistencies.

(Jun 30, 2019 10:32 PM)Leigha Wrote:
(Jun 30, 2019 10:13 PM)Magical Realist Wrote:
Quote:If we are here by random chance, then why be spiritual?

Because our meaning here in the universe isn't dependent on us having some purpose or destiny. We are not like hammers or wheelbarrows. We are not mere objects designed to accomplish some goal. We are as purposeless as the trees and the stars. All of our meaning resides inside of our being, in how we become who we are and what we become. Our meaning is found only in ourselves, in the fact that we are and are innately of value. The attempt to impose purpose on human life is the failing of all religion. We are not the tools of some higher will. We are inherently meaningful in our own being.

So, we determine our meaning? To whom, though? To ourselves? How do you know with certainty, that our lives have no objective purpose?

Hence the hedonistic tendencies. What else is there to strive for, if our purpose is nothing but self-interested?
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#37
(Jun 30, 2019 10:32 PM)Leigha Wrote:
(Jun 30, 2019 10:13 PM)Magical Realist Wrote:
Quote:If we are here by random chance, then why be spiritual?

Because our meaning here in the universe isn't dependent on us having some purpose or destiny. We are not like hammers or wheelbarrows. We are not mere objects designed to accomplish some goal. We are as purposeless as the trees and the stars. All of our meaning resides inside of our being, in how we become who we are and what we become. Our meaning is found only in ourselves, in the fact that we are and are innately of value. The attempt to impose purpose on human life is the failing of all religion. We are not the tools of some higher will. We are inherently meaningful in our own being.

So, we determine our meaning? To whom, though? To ourselves? How do you know with certainty, that our lives have no objective purpose?

Objective purpose is being a tool for some other will. How do you know there is some higher will which human beings are the tools of?
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#38
(Jun 30, 2019 10:44 PM)Magical Realist Wrote:
(Jun 30, 2019 10:32 PM)Leigha Wrote: So, we determine our meaning? To whom, though? To ourselves? How do you know with certainty, that our lives have no objective purpose?

Objective purpose is being a tool for some other will. How do you know there is some higher will which human beings are the tools of?

Not if your own will is aligned with that purpose...usually by not being self-interested and gratification seeking. Then that purpose just becomes an extension of your own will and being. Or do you think you're just a tool of anyone you voluntarily ally yourself with? O_o
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#39
Quote:Not if your own will is aligned with that purpose

Aligning your will with some objective purpose for you is submission to slavery. There is no other name for it. It is the validation by oneself of the thing-like existence of yourself. The only authentic meaning for a human being is in being themselves without reference to any external purpose.
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#40
(Jun 30, 2019 11:09 PM)Magical Realist Wrote:
Quote:Not if your own will is aligned with that purpose

Aligning your will with some objective purpose for you is submission to slavery. There is no other name for it. It is the validation by oneself of the thing-like existence of yourself. The only authentic meaning for a human being is in being themselves without reference to any external purpose.

Funny how you ignore the question:
(Jun 30, 2019 10:53 PM)Syne Wrote: Or do you think you're just a tool of anyone you voluntarily ally yourself with? O_o
Very telling.

Do you really think that aligning yourself with the purpose of friends or other people is you submitting to slavery? O_o
Are you that much of a hermit loner that you shun allying yourself with anyone?

Quote:The only authentic meaning for a human being is in being themselves without reference to any external purpose.

Sounds like mental masturbation. Rolleyes
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