Can you be both anti-theist and spiritual? I'm not sure what i believe. I'm not sure where i stand, but it seems that most people who call themselves Atheists also reject any form of 'world' beyond our perception. To put it another way, who here believes in Heaven?

Tags: atheism, belief, heaven, spirituality

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Well the term spirituality implies the existence of the human spirit. I am a naturalist, so I believe in the physical universe as the entirety of existence, so no afterlife. I do value meditation and karma in the secular sense. Meditation has proven neurological benefits, and I believe what one puts into the world causes a chain reaction which could eventually find its way back to that person, but I don't believe this connectivity is governed by god.

What evidence do you have for karma? Has there been even one peer-reviewed study indicating the existence of the chain reaction you describe? Isn't it more likely that karma, like all other dogmas, is a "noble lie" invented to stabilize societies? Haven't there been countless times that a person did something generous and received no commensurate benefit? Haven't there also been countless times that people have received undeserved fortune?

I know people who claim to be both atheist and spiritual, though they usual just mean that the don't believe in the Abrahamic god. I don't think it's a coherent position, personally, but they have come up with a pretty good rationalization for their tarot cards.

But anti-theist? I apply that label to myself to mean that I take a rather hard line stance against all of that nonsense. In that sense, I don't know how you can take an active stance against the spread of non-physical or supernatural beliefs and maintain an active set of spiritual beliefs.
It is quite possible to be anti-theist and still believe in the supernatural. Up until about 10 years ago that's how I would have described myself. I had rejected all formal forms of religion as being man made, ridiculous and harmful. There was no 'god' in my view, but still believed in the soul and afterlife, reincarnation even. I actually had my own 'theory' about souls becoming part of a god-like collective (too much Star Trek maybe?) and being able to reincarnate at will. LOL It was certainly not the most logical position, it was completely emotion for me. I still had the need to believe in an afterlife and a soul. Over the years though I just found I had no need for that anymore.

To confuse the issue, I have also heard of atheists referring to themselves as 'spiritual' but not meaning supernatural. Using the word to describe the a strong emotional connection, typically to something natural. Watching a sunset for example can be a 'spiritual' thing. While I understand the sentiment, I find that use of the word confusing. Awe/awesome is a better choice but it's impact is watered down by the frequent use of awesome to describe things that are anything but awesome.
Then why not stick to something like "strongly emotional" or "touching"? :)
I don't see spirituality and atheism merging well together... because for me, claiming to be an atheist is to take a definite stand to deny everything which can be related to a metaphysical plane of existence. This means spirits, ghosts, other sort of forces, may it even be a sort of "force of good". Anyway, it doesn't ring well in my ears. Spirital atheist. I could fall into that definition, but pagan suits me better and defines me better too imo. I never claim to take a definite stand in the issue, since I am more for subjectivity than objective truths.
Oohh, I like this question! Really made me think of how exactly I would define my 'beliefs'.

I think, like some of the others that have posted, I steer clear of using the word 'spiritual' because of it's religious connotation. For me, after leaving the church (christian) and in the intrum before I fully embraced atheism, I would answer the religious with the standard " I'm not religious but I am spiritual". It was my way of easing out of a terribly fear based indoctrination, it was a transitional word that gave me time to strengthen my critical thinking skills (something antithetical to all religions) and to find MY ground. I needed that word for a time.

Now, I find, I would describe myself as 'worldly' (lol..a word xians use as derogatory) in that, this world as I know it from my senses (experiences in and of themselves) and the constant discoveries in the sciences ( ie...quantum mechanics, cosmology, technology...) have become my the inspirations.

As to the vocabulary of heaven, hell, spirituality, etc... it just does not translate to my world view any longer and I assign that language to a different culture...while I understand it, it can no longer convey my experience.

~Bats :)
I agree with some of the other replies here in that the word "spiritual" is too close to a religious or belief in a supernatural idea. As an atheist I do not believe in heaven or hell or an afterlife. I do not believe in anything supernatural. However I do admit there are many mysteries that get even myself wondering about. Anything that people would call supernatural can and will be explained in a natural way. These explanations could set believers and non-believers to re-think their whole concept of life and the universe. For now I prefer the atheistic approach as it is far too simple to say god is the reason for anything that we do not comprehend.
I don't have "faith" in science. I am well aware that scientists are sometimes wrong, or perhaps offer an incomplete picture. Scientists themselves I think relish the opportunity to be proven wrong.

Knowledge and understanding of the universe are dynamic. New discoveries are made. Evidence is presented, reviewed, tested.

How is this in any way similar to religious faith?
I have read just recently that even what we consider objective truths in science is limited in our language and how language creates our world. Our language use itself will never make anything truly objective, for good and bad.

It's a huge subject and me rambling will not clarify much I guess, but if you are interested in doubting today's science, I suggest you look it up. It actually suggests that our scientific view is all limited to the language we use. Of course, quite ironically, this theory was also written in the language scientific theory is based upon: English.
This is an appeal to ignorance, and a false assumption. Some of "us" are aware of the scientific evidence existent to support a conclusion. Have you ever heard of peer review?
I don't believe in Heaven for the same reasons that apply to my non-believe in God.
Beliefs based on blind faith are completely arbitrary and therefore not usefull.

So I guess that also makes me an aheavenist, and -yes, you can be an atheist and still believe in a lot of weird stuff. But why would you want to do that?

On the other Hand - and while I don't like the term Spirituality because of it's supernatural connotations - I don't doubt that atheists can and do have spiritual experiences. I'm not really sure because I don't remember spiritual religious experiences from my former halfheartedly religious life as a christian (only boring experiences, a LOT of them), but from what I've been told they do not seem to be too different from what I experience when I'm in awe of the beauty of nature or when I'm enjoying music or other arts.
(This of course excludes the "you should really go see a shrink" variety of spiritual experiences religiuos nuts sometimes claim to have)

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