What Spirituality Looks Like For An Atheist — My Latest for Ravishly


When I was a Christian, I thought the biggest threat to society was secular humanism. All the preachers told me a life without God only leads to moral depravity, bleak nihilism, and Social Darwinism. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world,” the Bible told me, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Eventually I did start testing God’s will, which is why I’m now an atheist.

I wanted to know if the unbelievers knew something I didn’t, so I began watching videos of Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Carl Sagan on YouTube to see what they had to say. It turns out the secular worldview was nothing like the preachers had described. In fact, I found more spirituality outside the church than I did within it.

There’s a lot of debate about whether one can be spiritual without religion, even among atheists. I can understand why because for many people, the word “spirit” in “spirituality” implies some sort of supernatural metaphysical soul that leaves the body at death. As someone who walks by sight and not faith, I, of course, don’t believe the soul exists because there’s no evidence that it does. However, some define spirituality as having a deep sense of awe and wonder about the universe, caring for one’s fellow human being, and maintaining inner peace. In that case, I am spiritual, because none of these require supernaturalism.

Read the rest here.

Comments

  1. says

    I really enjoyed this. I’ve been reading some Douglas Adams interviews and I love his take on this idea.

    For me, water seems to do it. Standing by or stepping into a large body of water just gives me this profound sense of the world’s immense age and how I’m connected to it all. And perhaps my memory is a bit faulty, but I don’t recall feeling like this until after leaving the Christianity of my childhood.

  2. John Morales says

    However, some define spirituality as having a deep sense of awe and wonder about the universe, caring for one’s fellow human being, and maintaining inner peace.

    So, according to some, unless one meets all three criteria, one is not spiritual?

    Oh well. I can’t find it in me to be sad about not being spiritual, according to some.
    Don’t need it, don’t want it.

    (Like religion, I see it as a crutch. Which I guess is fine for those who need it)

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