27th February 2012

“There are people, including myself, who describe themselves as spiritual and atheist. Belief in a supernatural power that hears prayers, favors certain churches and intervenes in one's daily life is not the only route to spirituality, nor is it the only answer to life's mysteries.”

Richard Koral

11 Responses to “27th February 2012”

  1. R J Says:

    i KNOW the answer to lifes’ mysteries…….

    and i’m NOT TELLIN’ !!!!!

  2. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    “First off/right up front, violence and terror are against the teachings of Islam…”

    Has anyone noticed that every time a Muslim is interviewed on world affairs they begin by qualifiying Islam as antiviolent?

    I mean I think all religion is inherently violent, nothing against Islam in particular. It is all nonsense, but what does it say about your god that you would be willing to kill someone over a book? I have to believe the Prophet Mohammed must have been a scumbag of scumbags. I mean it is widely known he was a sick twisted pervert who regularly raped women but killing over a book? Yep that is very damning of a vile, crud, puke. Mohammed is worse than Jesus, worse than Moses, Mohammed is the absolute lowest smear of excrement and vomit on the inverrted lid of a septic tank. And believe me I’m going easy on him.

    I would describe myself as a very spiritual person and an atheist.

    My concept of spirituality has nothing to do with the supernatural and I think it is absurd to draw spirituality and religiosity into the same conversation. Rather I think it is yet another effort by the religious to hijack and invade legitimate meaning in the vernacular.

    Spirit is an element of character, a reflection of that which has converged within the psyche of a given individual over the course of time. We are all trapped up in time, trapped in a temporal experience and for that time we are here what constitutes our identity is our spirit.

    Spirituality is about sharing that spirit, it is about interacting with our experience, watching the sunset, smelling the rose, having a beer with a buddy, playing with the dog in the yard, listening to John Coltrane, basically finding out how you feel in the moments of your life.

    This simple minded misdirection of the true definition of spirituality by the “supernaturalists”, this idiotic notion that spirituality is some kind of mystical experience, some kind of transendance of nature to the sublime is foolishness of the very highest degree.

    No I will not partake in shadow stories on the wall of the cave because I’m afraid to exit the cave and embrace living. If I stand alone, I still stand in my own company and nothing would make me feel more alone than being by myself and finding that wasn’t good enough.

    To think I’d even want to rely on the presence of some fairy tale deity in that moment is an insult to my humanity.

    Religion is an insult to humanity!

  3. Atheist MC Says:

    Woah! I want some of whatever Sinjin’s smoking :)

  4. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Yeah AMC its all touchy feely I suppose, I wouldn’t lay that out there like some hippey guru type if not for today’s quote.

    Perhaps I’m relentlessly rationalizing, I don’t deny it. I think we can take a look at that which is often attributed to the supernatural and rephrase it in more natural language.

    And BTW, the stuff is good. Half the time I think the stuff I write here wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t periodically enjoy the goodness of nature: Spiritually that is.

  5. Dan Says:

    Spirituality occasionally comes up as a topic for a number of atheists, as Sinjin you acknowledge. I know that this isn’t uncommon. But why is it though that some atheists need to call this concept “spirituality?” It’s not belief in spirits or any such thing at all – such atheists (and I’m not talking specifically about Sinjin, his is just the current example) still usually believe in only time, matter and energy.

    It just seems like a strange word for it to me. For myself, I think I would agree with all of the descriptors for spirituality that “spiritual” atheists use, but I would never call myself spiritual.

    I mean, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say merely that we have passionate emotions for things, rather than calling it “spirituality?”

  6. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Dan perhaps I have to turn in my “man card” for today’s commentary but I don’t know if it is necessarily “more appropriate” to use two words “passionate emotions” instead of one “spirituality” for essentially the same thing.

    I mean I think you relate to what I’m saying and AMC, as you have, picked up on my perhaps “out there” means of expressing myself. My apologies if I sound just plain dumb.

    I think of the word as having to do with my perceptions of my experience: personal, often emotional, and frequently puzzling.

    As in I can accept the unknown without having to pretend some supernatural actors are secretly running the show from behind a reality veil and still bask in the feelings of interconnectedness with humanity at large. Spirituality without mysticism.

  7. Dan Says:

    Sinjin,
    First off, you don’t sound dumb. So don’t sweat it.

    I guess the difference is that for what you’re describing, I wouldn’t call that spiritualism. Even if it’s not how you intend it, the word itself is simply too loaded to me.

    But to cite what you said exactly, you said:

    Spirit is an element of character, a reflection of that which has converged within the psyche of a given individual over the course of time. We are all trapped up in time, trapped in a temporal experience and for that time we are here what constitutes our identity is our spirit.

    Okay, so you’re using “spirit” in a figurative or metaphorical sense. In the same way, you might believe in a “god” in a figurative or metaphorical sense. Heck, I accepted until adulthood the notion that it was okay to believe in gods – not because I actually believed in any god, but because I thought that a God was an acceptable metaphor for non-theistic values and convictions I did actually believe in. And also I suppose that I believed in a God in the way that Einstein and Spinoza did.

    To me, that’s what you’re doing with belief in spirits. And as with a God, so to with spirits: I just don’t see the value any more of believing in metaphors.

  8. Jeff Says:

    Sinjin,

    I know that we don’t often look back to prior day’s discussions, but the comment I just left at the bottom of 25th might interest you.

    BTW – You didn’t sound or look dumb in your comments today. It’s just that the words are so loaded with quasi-religious overtones, that it’s hard to use them without coming off, well, spiritualist.

  9. Atheist MC Says:

    It’s a genuine dilemma I think. Even the Hitch had a problem divorcing the numinous from the religious and as someone with pounds shillings and pence in a non currency based context as part of their narrative I feel it too. The problem is that theists will see this as evidence for “someting out there” when it is clearly a phenomena of physical conciousness and not god. Alternative useful terminology would be useful…?

  10. Atheist MC Says:

    Apologies for the tautology, you know what I mean :)

  11. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Thank you Dan, Jeff, and AMC! Forgive my use of the word dumb. Perhaps I’m fuming over the hijacking of meaning that religion is so very guilty of that has motivated me to misuse the word dumb.

    It unnerves me a little more than I care to admit. Dan of course you are correct in your analysis and as I’m reading presently David Richo’s Shadow Dance it appears I have slipped into a metaphorical rut:

    From his website :He combines Jungian, poetic,
    and mythic perspectives in his work with the intention of
    integrating the psychological and the spiritual.”

    Jeff upon the reread my reply does smack of a bitterness that wasn’t intended: I apologize. It is interesting to think about how events in a person’s life spill over into other things.

    For instance: Last week I received a bonus, normally a good thing, but in this particular case it was unexpectedly far less than I believe it should have been. I wouldn’t say I’m the type to carry a grudge or harbor pent up frustration but the evidence doesn’t agree with that, at least in this case.

    What contributes to a person’s thinking: Well my Dad, a man who doesn’t necessarily believe devoutly in god, does blame God for everything that ever goes wrong. Perhaps I’ve picked up a hostility vent, for growing up under his roof, to direct my hostilities toward religion. (I admit that openly though I’m sure our believing friends will pull it out when it suits their purpose/remind me)

    Jeff also thank you for supporting what Dan was saying about the use of “loaded” words. It is a pet peeve of mine, the hijacking of language by religion. When I think of quasi-religious loaded words like worship, sanctuary, spirit and spirituality, confession, testimony being “off the table” because of their hijacked religious meanings I become a little indignant.

    AMC I agree, our believing friends, will never offer up any vulnerabilities as we can. I prefer to see that as our strength of character, intellect, and psycho-social well being.

    Logan five’s “sanctuary” has always had a greater appeal to me than the Pope’s.

    Great stuff all, thank you.