Atheist spirituality

 

Spirituality comes in many flavors. It can be flavored by a religious or philosophical tradition, it can emphasize belief or exploration, it can has a strong element of wishful thinking or be more aligned with reality and science, it can highlight head (insight, recognition), heart (warmth, compassion), or belly (emotions, body).

And it can also have an atheist flavor, picking up some of the attitudes and orientations of atheism.

These can include a generally skeptical attitude. Not accepting things just because someone said so or I wish it to be true. A science orientation. A pragmatic approach, looking at what works and what the effects of the different teachings and practices are. Wanting to test and explore for oneself. And so on.

What this does not neccesarily mean, of course, is adopting the more unfortunate and belief-based expressions of atheism. (Outright rejection of anything spiritual. Not acknowledging the healthy and pragmatic functions of religion. Overgeneralizing from one expression of spirituality to all.) As any other view, atheism gets weird when it is made into a belief and an absolute.

Since I was an atheist before getting into spiritulity (not by conscious choice), I recognize much of atheism in how I approach spirituality. It doesn’t mean that there are not other flavors. For instance, a strong Christian/heart centered flavor comes into the foreground at times, and I have a great deal of appreciation for and affinity with the insights and practices from Buddhism.

And yet, atheist attitudes runs through it all, for which I am very grateful.

Note: After writing this, I saw Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist in a bookstore.

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– spirituality in many flavors, also atheist

  • atheist spirituality
    • explorations flavored in any way
      • christian, buddhist, evolutionary, earth-centered, heart/head/belly emphasis, science oriented etc. – and also atheist
    • for me
      • didn’t ask for it/seek it, just happened – so colored by my earlier strong atheism
      • not much interest in/patience with the rituals, devotional aspects, adoration of teacher, airy-fairy/flowery “mystical” language etc.
      • more pragmatic approach, explorations, testing things out

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