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Thread: Spirituality - "spiritual but not religious"? "atheist spirituality"?

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Spirituality - "spiritual but not religious"? "atheist spirituality"?

    Who's Afraid of Faith-Based Charities? | Free Inquiry
    Around 500 C.E., the West resembled a big failed state. Civil society lay in ruins. Because no other institutions could, the church did everything. From education to diplomacy, banking to architecture, all that needed doing got stuffed into organized religion’s “job jar.”
    He then talked about how literacy, art, and diplomacy fell out of it, and the main thrust of his article was that that is happening to charity work also.

    I'm speculating here that spirituality is doing likewise. What is it?

    It's not very well-defined, and it includes some of the practice of mainstream Western religious sects. But spirituality outside of organized religion means that one can get that feature of it without it. From Psychology Today,
    Spirituality can mean different things to different people. For some, it's primarily about participation in organized religion. For others, it's a non-religious experience that involves getting in touch with their spiritual selves through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or time in nature.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    From the UMN site, spiritual questions include
    • Am I a good person?
    • What is the meaning of my suffering?
    • What is my connection to the world around me?
    • Do things happen for a reason?
    • How can I live my life in the best way possible?

    Develop Your Spiritual Resources | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing
    • Cultivate empathy and compassion
      • Listening deeply.
      • Taking others’ perspectives into account.
      • Look for the good.
    • Identify (and live by) your beliefs and values
      • What matters most to me?
      • What drives my actions?
      • What do I believe is right?
    • Find a spiritual community and friends
    • Practice forgiveness
    • Seek transcendence through nature, art, or music
      • Spend time outside.
      • Allow yourself to get lost in music you enjoy.
      • Sit with a piece of art.
    • Be good to yourself
      • Exercise regularly
      • Eat a nutrient-rich diet
      • Treat yourself with compassion
    • Make contemplative practice a part of your everyday life

    Seven Spiritual Needs | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing
    • Experience the healing and empowerment of love—from others, self, and an ultimate source.
    • Experience renewing times of transcendence—expansive moments beyond the immediate sensory spheres.
    • Have vital beliefs that lend meaning and hope in the midst of losses, tragedies, and failures.
    • Have values, priorities, and life commitments centered in issues of justice, integrity, and love to provide guidance in personally and socially responsible living.
    • Discover and develop inner wisdom, creativity, and love of self.
    • Develop a deepening awareness of oneness with other people, the natural world, and all living things.
    • Have spiritual resources to help heal grief, guilt, resentment, unforgiveness, self-rejection, and shame and deepen experiences of trust, self-esteem, hope, joy and love of life.

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    From the UMN site, spiritual questions include
    • Am I a good person?
    • What is the meaning of my suffering?
    • What is my connection to the world around me?
    • Do things happen for a reason?
    • How can I live my life in the best way possible?
    These are 'spiritual?'

    Huh. The only time i wonder if i'm a good person is when i pass a police car parked in the median.

    Shortly after i got out, after 9/11 and the invasions, the Navy started pushing a spirituality dipstick test. The stated goal was to ensure that service members had the resources available to deal with the stresses of military service during wartime.

    I never saw the full test, but some of the questions seemed really weighted in favor of organized religion. So it was possible to fail the test, not because you were overstressed or unable to cope, but because the copes you did employ weren't available on their multiple-choice questions.

    I would not have done well on the exam, and i would have done really poorly on their attempt to 'fix' me with one of the solutions.

    "•Have vital beliefs that lend meaning and hope in the midst of losses, tragedies, and failures."
    That sounds like something that would have been one of the goals of the Navy's program. But, what if i suspect that nihilism is right, and there is no hope? No plan? No externally sponsored meaning? Wearing pink tinted shades does not mean the 'lended meaning' is true. What then, chief?

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Atheists Can Be Spiritual Too | HuffPost
    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.
    Spirituality for an atheist - Rita Jónyer - Medium - after discussing death at length and about how horrible it seems for one's consciousness to end there, she continues
    How do I experience spirituality

    Spirituality without believing in any kind of Higher Being and Soul is kinda tricky, but not impossible.

    I work on to be a better version of me, and view this as a Journey— I feel spiritual.

    I meditate, and view every session as one step on the Path of this Journey. I feel spiritual.

    I do yoga — a practice that is done for several thousand years by hundreds and thousands of people — I feel that I connect to something bigger than me. I feel spiritual.

    If I think about all the millions of possibilities that would result in me not being born I discover that the chances of me being here writing this article is close to zero — yet I’m here writing this article. When I think that against all odds I got the chance to live I feel gratitude in such extend that I feel kind of spiritual.

    “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” /Carl Sagan

    I’m part of never ending cycles of life: I’m born out of the connection of two living beings who were born out of the connection of other beings who are the product of million years of evolutional progress. I live, die and my body will give possibility for new life to grow: grass, trees, worms and such. I get recycled in this extremely complex ecosystem that has been on Earth for hundreds of millions of years, and hopefully will be here for several hundreds of millions more. I AM part of something bigger than me. I feel spiritual.
    Spiritual or atheist? More nonbelievers are saying ‘both.’ - CSMonitor.com
    A Jesuit priest had told the ensign he had convinced the famous physicist to believe in “a supreme intellect who governs the world.” The ensign was shocked, and he wrote to Einstein to offer a number of arguments against such an idea.

    In his reply, a letter that is up for auction at Bonhams in New York, Einstein dismisses the tale, saying that from “the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist.” The “anthropomorphical concepts” in religion are “childish analogies,” he wrote.

    ...
    We have to admire in humility the beautiful harmony of the structure of the world – as far as we can grasp it. And that is all,” wrote the physicist who changed the course of human history.
    It didn't go into much detail about what atheist spirituality might be, and it ended with
    “Spirituality is a term that I’m comfortable with, but not all of my colleagues are,” says Ms. Klaeysen, who has a doctorate in pastoral counseling and congregational development.

    “How I look at it is, I think of transcendence not as an out-of-body or other worldly experience, but more of, how am I making a real connection, a connection not outside myself, but kind of a ‘super connection’ if you will, whether it is with another human, or a community, or with music, art, nature – a sense that I’m fully aware of myself in nature or as part of the universe.”

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    "Spiritual" puts me in a funk, because the word is absolutely without meaning. Or it can mean whatever you want it to. And people who use it to self-identify use it with pride; it distinguishes them (in their eyes) from those who are flighty or superficial or materialistic (or, in some cases, from those who are orthodox and dogma-bound.) I want to say, "My spirits tell me that your spirits are full of shit." But that wouldn't be spiritual.

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    Can atheists be spiritual? Sam Harris reignites long-running debate - Religion News Service - from 2014 Jan 30 - he wrote "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"
    Last year Oprah Winfrey ignited a firestorm among atheists when, during an interview, she challenged distance swimmer Diana Nyad's claim that she is an atheist. But Nyad defended her perspective, arguing that she is both an atheist and a spiritual person.

    "I think you can be an atheist who doesn’t believe in an overarching being who created all of this and sees over it," Nyad said to Winfrey. "But there's spirituality because we human beings, and we animals, and maybe even we plants, but certainly the ocean and the moon and the stars, we all live with something that is cherished and we feel the treasure of it."
    Carl Sagan in "The Demon-Haunted World" wrote
    Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication in the word "spiritual" that we are talking of anything other than matter (including the matter of which the brain is made), or anything outside the realm of science. On occasion, I will feel free to use the word. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.
    Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism - Freethought in the light of the sun has written in In Awe of Everything - Daylight Atheism
    Spirituality is just another term for the human feelings of awe and wonder, which are common to atheists and the religious alike," Lee said in a recent interview. "Historically, religion claimed to be the sole source of these feelings, but atheists know we can also feel them from simply contemplating the mystery and vastness of the cosmos and the strange beauty of the world in which we find ourselves. The natural world is at least as good a source of transcendent bliss as any religious belief."
    But some others disagree. Austin Cline asked Can Atheism Be Compatible With Spiritual Beliefs?
    David Silverman:
    "Spirituality is one of those double-meaning words... It's no better than calling yourself 'religious,' because that's what religious people hear," said Silverman. "I choose to convey the truth. I am compassionate. I am empathetic. I am good. But I am not 'spiritual' in any way that a theist would interpret."
    David Webster considers the term "muddled", and asks whether one really needs to use that word.

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    I value non-ordinary experiences as alternative lenses through which to observe consciousness and what's in it -- like my relationship with my own experience and how attention shapes that experience and alters my sense of self. I find the quality of my relationship with reality to be malleable; it's wholly dependent on my mind.

    I take few things in experience as a given of how reality just plain and simply is. The qualitative aspects of reality are extremely important to me. So I don't simply endure reality, I shape it subjectively.

    From observing how they talk, I think secularists more usually have a more "this is just how I am" and "life's just what it is" attitude. They seem more extroverted at least in how the "factual" is more interesting than messing about with their interior experience.

    Because "secular" so strongly implies typical/ordinary/commonplace, and secularists tend to be dismissive, "secular" doesn't describe what I'm talking about any more than "religion" does. That's the reason for another category than either of those.

    I think this topic should be a concern for secularists - there should be a better response than being too quickly dismissive. Religion claimed non-ordinary experiences for itself and pretended you have to join their religion to have them. Too many secularists concede the point, saying in effect "well, if it's religious-like then have it!" But why concede to religion something that's an option to all humans if they want it? What if there are things of great value here?
    Last edited by abaddon; 02-13-2020 at 07:30 PM.

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    Spiritual is a very ambiguous term that really has no concrete definition, imo. I think one can use other words to describe the emotional high that we sometimes get from art or nature, or from feeling connected to other humans or animal species. I guess it's fine to use if one can't think of another word, but it is a bit confusing.

    I had to laugh when I read the OP, Because of something that happened last night. My husband and I went out to dinner with two younger friends. The wife is an atheist and she said her husband is trying to figure out where he stands when it comes to belief or non belief etc.

    After a brief discussion, I said to him, "I know. You're spiritual but not religious". I told him he could also be an apatheist, as in I don't know and I don't care. He's just a very kind, gentle man, who hasn't given any of this much thought until his wife managed to get him to think about it. I think those are the two choices for people who have no clue as to how they fall on the theist/atheist scale. But then, why do we even need a label?

    Many years ago, my niece told me that she was spiritual but not religious. The word still has a certain bit of woo to it, but I have no problem with how other atheists describe themselves. I think I prefer, "I'm good without a god". I can take or leave the humanist label. I like the philosophy, although it tends to be very idealistic. I'm not insulted if someone refers to me as a humanist, and sometimes I refer to myself that way. But to be honest, I've done it a few times to confuse Christians who have no idea what the term means.

    I would never refer to myself as a spiritual atheist, as it just sounds a little weird to me. I have adopted many of the cultural southern Christian words and phrases, like "have a blessed day", "I'm blessed", "bless her heart" etc. To me, those are just southern cultural phrases that don't really have a religious meaning, unless you want them to. But, the friend that I mentioned earlier, gets bent out of shape when she hears those phrase. Maybe some of us take our atheism too seriously.

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    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Spirituality was never the domain of religion, religion was the domain and vehicle for our spirituality. So yes, spirituality will continue existing where religion doesn't.

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    Formerly Joedad
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    I'm quite fond of spirits actually. Hey, someone had to go there!

    Is there a better word that captures the contentment, peace and fulfillment I experience that has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with no religion?

    It's that feeling you get when you give a poor soul a couple twenties, or when you first hold your new child, or when you're sitting under a canopy of old growth forest, or looking down on the desert from 9000 feet, or listening to wind move across the land? It's that feeling you get when you look at the moonless sky from your tent flap high and alone in the back country.

    Religion is just religion. Spirituality is more akin to having broken away from all that baggage.

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