Atheists can be spiritual too

#1
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.


https://www.huffpost.com/entry/atheists-..._b_1316619

"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?

German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote about how all of philosophy amounts to mere language games and that we become the proverbial fly caught in the bottle as our thoughts become trapped by our language. He said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world” (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, proposition 5.6). When talking about spirituality, that is exactly the problem.

Ironically enough, it was Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman, who best secularized the term, “spirituality” in my opinion by summarizing two Jewish theologians. 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.

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.

Dr. Lawrence Krauss observed when talking about his book, “The Universe from Nothing“:

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics. You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded. Because the elements, the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars. And the only way they could get into your body is if the stars were kind enough to explode. So forget Jesus. The stars died so you could be here today.”

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.

There is no secular term for our sense of profoundly deep connection and interconnection. The only term that our overly religious society understands is spiritual. While we obviously don’t believe there are any actual spirits involved, the term still seems to fit and in this sense many atheists, and dare I say it, most atheists are spiritual people."
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#2
Quoting others is no proof of spirituality. And your supposed synonyms aren't synonymous.
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#3
(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.


The Center For Spiritual Atheism: For Spiritual Atheists, being "spiritual" means (at the very least) to nurture thoughts, words, and actions that are in harmony with the idea that the entire universe is, in some way, connected; even if only by the ... flow of cause and effect at every scale.

[...] So who is a Spiritual Atheist? A spiritual atheist is self-aware, compassionate individual who is looking for deeper connection with other beings and nature. A rationally minded and yet subjectively aware person, who practices meditation, contemplates consciousness and at the same time rejects the dogmas and superstition surrounding these very experiences. A spiritual atheist, then, is nothing less than the tip of a new wave: someone who isn’t afraid of going deeper within and exploring the different aspects of being and consciousness. They might practice yoga and mindfulness without the need to believe in an all-powerful God. Something tells me we are going to see more and more of these new breed of beings amongst us midst.


So aside from that classic stripe of "cosmic awe and connected with the universe" stuff and "going out and painting the stars when I feel the need for religion"... It seems to also hover around psychonautics territory. Which includes mood altering rituals, dreaming, meditation, hypnosis, trance-inducing dances, prayer, biofeedback, guided imagery and music, fasting, etc -- not just anachronistic psychotropic drugs or entailing drugs.


Leary's version sounds almost like a bit of early 1960s transhumanism, too... A kind of "Childhood's End" artificial apotheosis of humans to godhood.

The Divinity of Humanity - Timothy Leary and God: Atheism, as it turns out, more so than most religions, comes intellectually closer to tapping into the truth about our divine heritage because, like many Eastern philosophies insist, the atheist refuses to bifurcate reality. [...] What, then, of Leary’s exclamatory claim — “You are a God, Act like one!”

[...] Leary’s activist theology inspires: “God is defined in terms of the technologies involved in creating a universe and engineering the obvious stages of evolution. ... Formed from mud, synthesized inside the magma of hot stars, and evolving along an unbroken chain of bioelectrical transformations, humanity is reaching a pivotal moment in its existence of now being able to engineer and create new life forms, to correct malfunctioning genes, to affect DNA repair, to understand and manage the genetic signals which cause aging and death. We are, in scriptural language, learning that “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” In effect, humanity is awakening to its divine, immortal potential.


How LSD Went From Research to Religion: "Lander notes that [Timothy Leary] labeling his work religious could be seen simply as a ploy to avoid legal consequences for his drug use and advocacy. He writes that Leary’s statements on the subject could be confusing and self-contradictory at times. But, clearly, spirituality was a major part of both Leary and Alpert’s public personas.


Back to wrangling over the word "spiritual" for presumedly lesser psychonautic experiences and goals than Leary's, Lily's, and Huxley's...

Jerry Coyne: I have no hopes that we can find neologisms to replace the words “spiritual” or “spirituality.” They seem too ingrained in our discourse. But you know the problem: the words have a smell of religion about them [...] Yet many diehard atheists would claim that they have “spiritual” experiences. Mine come when I’m in some awesome place, like at the foot of Mount Everest, or when I find out some amazing way that natural selection has operated, like making parasites take over the brains of their hosts ...

You know the problem. Accommodationist and religious people ... take advantage of the “religious” angle of spirituality, making it seem that, after all, there’s not much difference between religious people and atheists who claim “spiritual” experiences. We have common ground, even though that commonality is pretty much bunk. After all, you can have an “out of self” or “I’m-just-a-speck-of-dust-in-the-universe” experiences without having to believe in any supernatural beings. I used to have them all the time in college, prompted by the ingestion of organic substances.

In a short new post, “On spiritual truths,” Sam Harris discusses this issue. Having spent years in meditation, he seems to imply, at least in his title, that there are spiritual truths, although he’s not explicit about what they are. What is clear is that Harris has repeatedly experienced feelings of transcendence. But he clearly distinguishes these from any experience that would enable the faithful...
--We need a new word for spirituality

Sam Harris: I have no quarrel with Hitch and Sagan’s general use of the word to mean something like “beauty or significance that provokes awe,” but I believe that we can also use it in a narrower and, indeed, more personally transformative sense. Of course, “spiritual” and its cognates have some unfortunate associations unrelated to their etymology—and I will do my best to cut those ties as well. But there seems to be no other term (apart from the even more problematic “mystical” or the more restrictive “contemplative”) with which to discuss the deliberate efforts some people make to overcome their feeling of separateness—through meditation, psychedelics, or other means of inducing non-ordinary states of consciousness. And I find neologisms pretentious and annoying. Hence, I appear to have no choice: “Spiritual” it is. --Defense of spiritual
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#4
Quote:Yet many diehard atheists would claim that they have “spiritual” experiences. Mine come when I’m in some awesome place, like at the foot of Mount Everest, or when I find out some amazing way that natural selection has operated, like making parasites take over the brains of their hosts ...

I have spiritual experiences of the universe all the time, some having to do with nature or the weather, while others are inspiring thoughts I have maybe triggered by a quotation. By spiritual I mean deeper than the usual physical reality we tend to be occupied with most of the time. It's a deeper more eternal level of meaning dealing with metaphors and ideals and aesthetic qualities such as beauty and majesty and profundity. Ironically I do believe in the supernatural, but that realm doesn't enter my spiritual experience as it does for the theist. Spirits and other beings are real to me, but just don't figure into the soulful aesthetic aspect of my experience. I do feel a sense of awesome connection when a synchronicity occurs though. Maybe the supernatural enters my spiritual experience in that way.
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#5
(Jun 28, 2019 05:14 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: I have spiritual experiences of the universe all the time, some having to do with nature or the weather, while others are inspiring thoughts I have maybe triggered by a quotation. By spiritual I mean deeper than the usual physical reality we tend to be occupied with most of the time. It's a deeper more eternal level of meaning dealing with metaphors and ideals and aesthetic qualities such as beauty and majesty and profundity. Ironically I do believe in the supernatural, but that realm doesn't enter my spiritual experience as it does for the theist. Spirits and other beings are real to me, but just don't figure into the soulful aesthetic aspect of my experience. I do feel a sense of awesome connection when a synchronicity occurs though. Maybe the supernatural enters my spiritual experience in that way.


Looks like a label narrowly or specifically indicating not having "Abrahamic beliefs" would instead be the ticket for some people traditionally calling themselves atheists. Due to indulging in so many things that have paranormal resonances, an Eastern flavor, or don't necessarily exclude the possibility of all types of (lesser and non-supernatural) gods.

An alternative like "secularist" doesn't work due to it pertaining to a broad political policy orientation rather than just personal preference. With adjectival "secular" as used in a personal context seeming to rigid-definitionally denote a stance of practice which avoids all wafting religious, mystic-occult, and spiritual confetti in one's life. 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.
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#6
Cute.
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#7
(Jun 28, 2019 05:14 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: I have spiritual experiences of the universe all the time, some having to do with nature or the weather, while others are inspiring thoughts I have maybe triggered by a quotation. By spiritual I mean deeper than the usual physical reality we tend to be occupied with most of the time. It's a deeper more eternal level of meaning dealing with metaphors and ideals and aesthetic qualities such as beauty and majesty and profundity. Ironically I do believe in the supernatural, but that realm doesn't enter my spiritual experience as it does for the theist. Spirits and other beings are real to me, but just don't figure into the soulful aesthetic aspect of my experience. I do feel a sense of awesome connection when a synchronicity occurs though. Maybe the supernatural enters my spiritual experience in that way.

Have you read Emerson's argument for nature, MR?

"Both nature and art, all other men and even my own body, must be ranked under this name, NATURE.

Nature: an essence unchanged by man. Art: a mixture of man's will with the same, a house, a canal, a statue, a picture, but his operations together are so insignificant, a little chipping, baking, patching, and washing, that in an impression so grand as that of the world on the human mind, they do not vary the same result.

In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says,—he is my creature, and in spite of all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me."
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#8
(Jun 29, 2019 04:56 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
(Jun 28, 2019 05:14 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: I have spiritual experiences of the universe all the time, some having to do with nature or the weather, while others are inspiring thoughts I have maybe triggered by a quotation. By spiritual I mean deeper than the usual physical reality we tend to be occupied with most of the time. It's a deeper more eternal level of meaning dealing with metaphors and ideals and aesthetic qualities such as beauty and majesty and profundity. Ironically I do believe in the supernatural, but that realm doesn't enter my spiritual experience as it does for the theist. Spirits and other beings are real to me, but just don't figure into the soulful aesthetic aspect of my experience. I do feel a sense of awesome connection when a synchronicity occurs though. Maybe the supernatural enters my spiritual experience in that way.

Have you read Emerson's argument for nature, MR?

"Both nature and art, all other men and even my own body, must be ranked under this name, NATURE.

Nature: an essence unchanged by man. Art: a mixture of man's will with the same, a house, a canal, a statue, a picture, but his operations together are so insignificant, a little chipping, baking, patching, and washing, that in an impression so grand as that of the world on the human mind, they do not vary the same result.

In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says,—he is my creature, and in spite of all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me."

No I hadn't heard of that. That's really good. I'm adding that to the quote of the day and my FB page. Tks.
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#9
(Jun 29, 2019 05:41 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: No I hadn't heard of that. That's really good. I'm adding that to the quote of the day and my FB page. Tks.

It's just a few lines from his essay. I altered a few words to make it easier to read. You might like it.

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

See you later, MR.
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#10
Secular people playing at spirituality. Rolleyes
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