The Center for Spiritual Atheism

I joined the Yahoo group, I intend to ask a few questions. My problem is how they define "God": "The personification of the infinite and eternal universe"

I follow the current scientific theory that the universe has a beginning, and is finite. So I sent the owner of the site an email asking if peope like me would be excluded according to his definition.

Anyways, what do you guys think?

Tags: atheism, spiritual

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I certainly think they are taking the word "spiritualism" on the wrong end, spiritual doesn't only mean believing in a god or equal, but spiritual merely means having a rich philosophical life to me, in lack of better terms. I am a highly spiritual person but I don't believe in a god, I do however believe in natural forces and I think you indeed should ask him to either change his group description or just leave the group entirely, as it is clear the leaders and most likely the members are not very well-read what spirituality means and probably just joined because it sounded cool or whatever (not sure on what grounds you joined on though ;) ).
The Yhoo group is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SpiritualAtheists/

Personally, I think "Spirituality" can mean many different things, and it all depends upon usage. I don't think that them choosing to define spirituality the way they do makes them uneducated or requires a change of description. They have every right to define spirituality how they want just as much as you have the right to define it your way. I mean, most theists wouldn't agree with your definition any more than you agree with these people.

From reading the groups discussions, there are some "spiritual atheists" who are complete naturalists, they just choose to equate "God" with the natural universe, in its entirety. These are just pantheists. I have acknowledged in the past that i am a pantheist.

I joined because I wanted to explore the concept by talking to those who hold the idea. I am not quite there yet (I need to research a little more) but I can see labeling myself as a spiritual atheist without a problem.
Well, I do believe there is a correctness when it comes to semantics; also, if we argue that we both are spiritualists only because we believe in the nonphysical but they do not, then there is a disambigution and we need to subcategories to seperate our beliefs. Maybe we will see such a thing arise in the times to come, but I think it is pigeonholing by narrowing down spirituality the way they do, as the term spirituality is more encompassing than what they described.

"A philosophy, doctrine, or religion emphasizing the spiritual aspect of being."

Taken from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/spiritualism . I am by no means claiming that this site is more correct when it comes to the use of spirituality, but dictionaries often try to pick out the most general uses of the term, and aside 1) which describes spiritualism as the dead being able to communicate with the living, I don't personally see anything mentionning that spirituality must necessarily encompass a sentient being, most basically I think, spirituality can be more than that.

Anyway, I get your point and there are certainly different uses of the term in more everyday speech, but as these people are trying to philosophically define what spirituality means and stand for, I think picking the most commonly agreed upon view is definitely more correct, regardless of personal belief. As you personally felt too, the group description shuts out a certain groups of people and I wouldn't personally want to join this group unless I found some really amazing discussions in it.

This is my opinion though, feel free to disagree how much you want :)
The universe is finite, it has a beginning and an end, we can measure how big the universe is and we know how much it grows every day. This would obviously not be possible if it was infinite. Also, the Big Bounce theory doesn't necessarily label the universe as infinite, but it's rather is cyclical. The current universe still has an end and a beginning, but our end means the beginning of something new, if using an old expression. I too, believe in the Big Bounce theory and I find it very feasible.
I can see how you can consider it this way. I disagree though :)
Here is a url that has many different followers explaining what the term means to them:

http://www.centerforabetterworld.com/SpiritualAtheism/f-spiritual-a...
The phrase "Spiritual Atheism" resembles the language scientists sometimes naively use when expressing reverence for the natural beauty of the universe.
The whole idea of connectedness, however, seems too vague to take seriously:
"Spiritual Atheists believe that the entire universe is, in some way, connected; even if only by the mysterious flow of cause and effect at every scale." Humans are connected by society and to the biosphere, that much is obvious. However, I have a hard time understanding how, beyond our planet, our actions hold any cosmic influence over the indifferent universe at large.

If their philosophy is about striving for the common good, we can simply call it "humanism", but calling it "spiritual" is a needless misnomer in that case IMHO.
Humans aren't connecting to, the universe is connected to US. We are a part of the universe, you overlook it from the wrong central view. These people don't regard much for humans, but rather prefer seeing the universe as a whole. I don't want to sound cocky when I say it but you actually fall into the philosophical trap Christianity lead us to believe that humans are in the center of the universe ;) I just felt the need to clarify that I doubt many of these people feel that humans are central in their views, because I share a similar belief with these scientists and nowhere are humans ever to be found important here. We are just a part of a greater whole.
Sorry, but I'm left scratching my head here, as there seemed to have been a breakdown in communication...You might have misread my remarks on the quoted material.

LeaT:
"These people don't regard much for humans"
A.Ou:
(By "they", I assume you're refering to the so-called "spiritual atheists.)
That's a big assumption, given that their web site explicitly states, "Spiritual Atheists generally feel that as they go about their lives striving to be personally healthy and happy, they should also be striving to help the world around them be healthy and happy! ('Wholistic Ethics')." The sentence makes it quite clear that they are concerned about the overall condition of humankind - a fundamentally humanist goal, since it implies people should help each other rather than depend on a non-existent entity called God.

LeaT:
"I don't want to sound cocky when I say it but you actually fall into the philosophical trap Christianity lead us to believe that humans are in the center of the universe ;)"
A.Ou:
Honestly, I'm not sure how my original post can be interpreted in that fashion. In actuality, all I simply said was that I had "a hard time understanding how, beyond our planet, our actions hold any cosmic influence over the indifferent universe at large" - meaning I disagree with the Christian notion of a deterministic universe whose fate is dependant on human conduct.

Maybe you could explain how you arrived at the conclusion that I had a Earth-centered universe in mind...?
"I have a hard time understanding how, beyond our planet, our actions hold any cosmic influence over the indifferent universe at large."

This lead me to the last conclusion, since you are actually saying that what we do here cannot affect anything else outside our planet, it is a form of a centralistic view to me. We still assume we are in a form of center, if you don't, then I am sorry for misinterpreting you.

"By "they", I assume you're refering to the so-called "spiritual atheists."
I was unclear, I was actually mostly referring to the "scientists" who "sometimes naively express reverence for the natural beauty of the universe." (Edit mine.)

Did we clear out the misunderstanding? :) Looks like neither of us were completely clear in what we said.
I must be missing something. I saw nothing on the site talking about "personification". Granted, some may ascribe self-awareness to the universe, but others don't. The thing the site makes sure to point out is "The goal of the Spiritual Atheism project is not to provide a specific spiritual philosophy (that is your own responsibility); but, rather, to unify all Spiritual Atheists, regardless of their particular philosophies and points of view."

As a materialistic Pantheist, I do feel like I would fit under the label of "spiritual atheism".
oh, my bad... forgot that little part... lol

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