So...

I have been attending my local Unitarian Universalist church for some time ever since my friend Helen introduced me to it, I believe that there is wisdom, truth and knowledge to be found in all of the world religions and practices even if its just a small sliver of each and I enjoy engaging in and attending various ceremonies and celebrations when the church hosts them whether its the Christmas Pageant at the end of the year or a drumming circle or a Wiccan festival of lights.

I also have randomized ritual days where I spend the day doing various things such as reading, burning candles, incense and sage, spirit dancing, meditation, Yoga, walking on the beach, whatever I can do to connect to my Inner/Deeper Self better and of course Improve myself and also to connect to nature.

When I mention my so called spiritual ideas and practices to the church, they just say, well you are a spiritual Atheist, no big deal...when I mention it to the majority of my Atheist contacts they think I am either Agnostic or confused which I am neither.

I am not only a strong Atheist but I am also a skeptic and a materialist but coming from a Pagan background I do still believe in ritual to calm myself once a week (The whole day) and various tecniques to follow through on this idea and so I am confused as to whether or not I can be spiritual and an Atheist or rather whether I should be, because I know you can, I am but should I be, should I find a different term to describe myself?

do I sound like some kind of ...I dont know, what religion out there is non theistic and allows me to connect to my inner/deeper self and nature and engage in various ceremonies and practices, I have always just said I am Eclectic....

I explored Pantheism a bit but they believe in God and I dont. Semantics perhaps?

I dont know.

SIGH

Tags: Paganism, Pantheism, Spiritual, UU, Unitarian, Universalism

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I guess I'm what you could call a "spiritual atheist" as well. But I keep it to myself because it's a complex philosophy that I have created to work for me personally and I'm sure others would not understand it. The fact is that there are techniques employed by religion that do calm me and give me a centered perspective in life. I read Eckhart Tolle and mostly employ his techniques and philosophy. A lot of what he says is bs but a lot of it can be understood from a skeptical and scientific perspective. I really think the man is a genius. Changed my life.
Really, if it's working for you, why should you worry about what other people think?

I see no reason for you to try to give what you do a name. But as you asked, there are religions out there which practice spiritual beliefs whilst not holding a belief in a god or deity. Buddhism is the one that springs to mind most quickly. However, you said it yourself, you come from a Pagan background. As do I. There are plenty of grounds within Paganism for atheism combined with spirituality, particularly when dealing with practical magick. The spells that work are always the ones where you change something within yourself to obtain the required result. I found that during the last few years of my Paganism I was relying more and more on the positive aspects of "know thyself", and less and less on the deities I professed to believe in. Many of the long term Pagans I knew had similar beliefs.

Ritual is important, and so is time out. Whether it's prayer, meditation, fully fledged arcane circles, or simply losing yourself in the beauty of a raindrop on the edge of a leaf, it's giving you time to simply be. We all take that time, whether we realise it or not. You're doing the sensible thing, you're giving yourself that time deliberately.

Pick a tag which feels right to you, does it really matter in the long run if you call yourself a spiritual atheist, a strong atheist, a Pagan, or simply stick yourself down as "other"?
Sometimes I have 2 ritual days a week, sometimes none, its completely random and as far as doing nothing about stress, I dont have a lot of stress that isnt normal, I handle the usual stress by listening to music or meditating but the ritual days are designed to take an entire day away from stress, not just a few moments and have quality time to connect to your self and The Universe, its not so much about relieving anything as it is about connecting to your friend-YOU/Nature.

NO different than having a lover you live with, see every night after work and then having a day you spend together going somewhere like on a picnic at the beach.

To each their own
We may always be connected to Natutre but we dont always FEEL that connection and that is what Ritual days do for me among other things, Its all about emotion, I do not need to do anything for nature but to honor it and revere it is meaningful to me.

Really, ritual is only needed because I feel it is needed, I feel more connected and complete after I have spent a day connecting to myself (which I am also always connected to myself, am I not?) but when I say connection I do not mean it in the way you do, we can always be connected to something and feel disconnected from something so that is what is all based upon.
I agree with FunkQ here that your view on these rituals seem strange in promoting a feeling of connection. I don't need a ritual to personally feel connected because I know I always am, but that's just me. I do however agree that many people who probably mistake this feeling of connection and think it's a skydaddy when it's really just nature and life itself they feel wonders over :)
I understand what you are saying, we can never really be disconnected from Nature because all life is interconnected and we are always connected BUT you dont seem to get what I am saying, It is possible to feel disconnected from nature and Rituals help reconnect me.

They also help to replenish my energies, I am in terrible pain from work yesterday and all I did was sit here and talk to people and they drained what little energy I had, I am going to have to take a pain pill just to get through the day and if today could be a Ritual day that would be wonderful.

Also, A Major problem I think is that when you ask the average Atheist if they think anything is sacred or divine they will say NO, I dont believe that way, I see the Universe and Nature as divine and sacred and deserving of respect and reverence for the most part and so a day of ritual to realize that and to connect to the Divine in that way, to work to replenish my energies to honor who I am and to seek a better connection to who I am, to connect with a lover or a friend or a pet, to raise energies by spirit dancing or meditating, to do some visualizations or affirmations or to read and just relax are all very practical ideas.

Again, I see it as NO different than being in a loving marriage, seeing your lover every day and night but taking one day a week to replenish that love for one another by making them breakfast in bed, drawing a hot bubble bath, reading or watching a film together, etc, was it needed for such a strong, good marriage? No, but its nice to do, it shows you care about the other person enough to do something a little extra and if that makes me weird, fine.
Yes, and I see what you are saying too, I just have never felt truly disconnected :) I also don't need to take time for rituals because I think I do it automatically? I have a very lax attitude in the way I live, very similar to Indians and Thai (before they started to adopt to our Western timerush anyway). I just like doing things as they come and deal with it then, I have never fully understood why we work and live as we do, it doesn't seem very healthy on any kind of level.
An atheist is someone who has no belief in any gods. That's all it means. If you don't believe in gods, you're an atheist, no matter what other atheists may think of your spiritual practices.

James
According to the Greek definition yes, but not the common use here in the West.
See,
I have always considered Buddhism, Naturalistic Paganism, Pantheism, Taoism etc to be Atheistic.

Yet these people are HIGHLY spiritual in their beliefs, ideas and practices, I dont know, I was hoping for a clear answer to end my struggle but I guess i need to look deeper or somewhere else.

:(
The answer to your question lies in the defintion of the Greek word and how we generally use it in the West. Here, it means the total rejection of the metaphysical, the Greek word only says a lack of belief in any deity, meaning you can believe in the flying spaghetti monster if you want as long you don't consider it a god and worship it.

Maybe just the term atheist needs a revamp. By the way Ace, it's a lot simpler if you click on the Reply to This button, so we know to whom you are referring to.
I bet if you sit and think about it a bit, you'll find that "inner/deeper self" is really just a word that helps you separate thoughts into categories. It's all one; the separations are conveniences that we apply because thinking of ourselves in the gestalt is too challenging. Our minds can't get it. So we invent words to parse it into bite size bits that we can wrap our heads around. Humans like to socialize. We like to belong. We like to have fun together. We like to be good to one another. We like to agree about things. We like to reinforce the in-group. Go for it. Just leave the superstition out and we're all fine with it.

Oh, and it's nice if we don't tell others what to do based on what our group thinks is The Coolest. (You're not, Ace, but many do.)

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