Many people automatically, and wrongfully assume that as atheists, we are immoral, hateful, depressed, morbid people. I know that this is not true. I don't know if this issue's been covered. If not, I'd like to here from fellow freethinkers: atheists and agnostics and others on your views on this. What is spirituality, and how is it different from religion and its dogmas. Is it possible to be spiritual and an atheist?

Tags: agnostics, atheism, freethinkers, spirituality

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I've seen the question addressed here and there in atheist discussion groups, and also in person. The first approach to the question obviously would be: what do you mean by 'spiritual'? People use the word, especially nowadays, in ways that render it virtually meaningless. For my part, I can easily apply the word 'spiritual' to music, but not to much else. Listening to Coltrane--that's spiritual--otherwise, I'm not so much interested.
Naima, My Favorite Things, A Love Supreme, Stardust...Need I say more? Miles Bitches' Brew....
Thanks for your response. I totally can relate to your inner struggle with smoking. On Oct. 30th will be my 5th anniversary as a non-smoker. When I look back what hepled me was the brand of self-knowledge and self-understanding spirituality that you spoke of that helped me to finally quit after over 15 years of hard-core smoking. I feel your pain. I don't mind hearing and supporting you in your struggle. You are a part of our community here on the nexus. Keep your head up and don't beat yourself up. Essentially you are a non-smoker and the first step on any journey starts with the first thought.
The text book definition of Atheist, as I read it, is a belief that there is no existence of God or gods. the opposite of theist who of course believe in a God or gods.

I think that many people equate Spirituality with Religion. For me Religion is a set of rules and dogma that man has set up to control others based on fear, superstition and fairy tales. In order to be considered Religious one must ascribe to the doctrine and beliefs of the authority that set them. in the case of black people one can not even question the doctrine for fear of going to hell.

Spiritually for me would be defined as the recognition of the existence of something greater than physical self and the physical world and honoring that connection to the larger existence in your own unique way.

Religion has called it God and has tried to define an infinite force by finite terms in language and the limited experience of a physical being. Putting human Characteristics on an infinite force ultimately diminishes and degrades what I will term All-that-is. It is impossible for a finite being to grasp and understand an infinite force. To put it in the context of religious gods has been a deadly prescription for centuries. Religion makes God objective, meaning we all have to agree on what God is or is not.

Spirituality is recognition that your experience with the unknowable for is one that is uniquely personal and can not be defined by or for anyone else. Your experience is the most unique and relevant experience in the universe.

Can i be an Atheist or not believe in the God and gods of man and be spiritual? Absolutely!

Hello, I am new to the forum. I thought the question was a good one and wanted to jump in.
What you describe is often associated with mysticism. And sometimes mysticism renounces knowledge claims, but actually rather rarely, as even mysticism is institutionalized in all cultures. Our modern culture is different in that freelancing is one of its myriad possibilities, but still people haven't been too scrupulous about what they actually do believe in. I lived through the countercultures of the 70s and experienced every variety of nonsense that exists. But it's also the case that many people were interested in having certain experiences without believing in anything.
I am sure that someone can name or title what my beliefs are. Personally they are my own, I do not force them on others or demand that they should think as I do.

I do enjoy intelligent discussion as it does open the mind to new ideas which in turn can facilitate a growth in consciousness.:)
BTW, welcome to the group. I'm usually too busy to welcome each individual, but I'm glad to see we're now past the 200-member mark. I'm pretty harsh when I disagree with people, but overall you'll find this group congenial, I would think.
Thanks Ralph. I am actually an "old head" on Black Freethought. I am member #13. I just don't get too many times where I can contribute much to the discussions. You and many others in our community are really articulate and thoughtful. I just mostly sit back, observe, learn and chime in when I deem it necessary. I am also very happy to see us flourishing over the 200 member mark. BTW you cut like a sword when you disagree with folk so I mind what I say. But, it is all good. I love it. You give some really insightful views. Keep up the great work. Thank you for starting Black Freethought.
You hit the nail on the head with the analysis of religious people trying to define an infinite force and forces in a subjective manner which automatically diminishes The All; especially defining it with human characteristics and emotions reveals that their God concepts are totally human constructs of control, and fearmongering. Yes, I am Atheist and very spiritual in this sense. I am happy to be amongst fellow homo sapiens, sapiens with the balls to stand and refuse the obvious obsurdities in life.
Hello Khemisi,
I used to consider myself an Atheist. I don't believe in the God prescribed by man. it is entirely too limited. But over the years there were so many things that I experience that could not be explained by science, logic and reason that I had to step outside of the Atheistic box. With any thing that I study, I try not to slide to a view point of the contrarian. In other words i don't oppose something for the sake of opposing it. Kinda of like democrats and republicans do. one or the other can come up with a great Idea, but the other will oppose it just because the opposing party proposed the idea. I hate politics.

I say all of that to say this. With all the events that can occur outside of rationality and logic one has to be able to question whether or not there is more to our physical,logical and rational existence. If one only opposes ideas simply because they don't fit in the box, what about it is different than say, Religion?
Feelings and emotions are what makes us humans, I do understand your skidishness for not wanting to define youself as spiritual. Being spiritual has unfortunately been used to encompass a broad-spectrum of religious dogmas and doctrines that are in my humble opinion very antiquated, immoral, non-reasonable and extremely divisive.
Hi, I have been away for a while; anyway here is my take on this great question. I agree with Ralph, the meaning of the word is meaningless because of its ambiguous use today. Spirituality is most often connected to religion. In fact, most people today, as we all recognized, believe that someone must be religious to be spiritual. Nevertheless, this is what a modern dictionary describes the word spiritual to mean; according to The American Heritage Dictionary, spiritual means “relating to or consisting of spirit.” Does man have a spirit; that I certainly do not know. However, I do mediate, and as K Reverie, my spirituality, if it can be called that, is the connection I have with myself (my spirit if humans posses such a thing). In addition, if spirituality is an invisible connection to something outside oneself, then I am truly a spiritual person because I am always connected to my family, both past and present, physically and mentally (in memory), and definitely too good music

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