Author Topic: A question of spirituality and atheism.  (Read 766 times)

fishkitten

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A question of spirituality and atheism.
« on: January 29, 2007, 07:10:30 AM »
"Religion is institutionalized spirituality." - Houston Smith.

Atheism, by definition, is the belief that there is no God or gods.  However, it doesn't, by definition, disregard spirituality as a whole or the idea of an afterlife, or what that afterlife might be like.  I was curious as to what fellow Atheists might think about the concept of spirituality and an afterlife, without a god dictating what these might be.  I know there are some who believe that after death, that's it, there's nothing.  The brain dies and that's the end, no afterlife, spirituality or soul evacuation.  I think that there might be more to death than the conclusion of life, I just don't know what yet.  Part of that, for me, is very exciting and part of it is very frightening.  However, I have this belief while consciously disregarding the possibility of any diety controlling this process.

As for the quote, the way I see it, spirituality can be a very personal thing--what religion seems to do is create a collective spirituality, a single spiritual path that tries to force many to follow without taking their own spiritual path.  I was just wondering what you thought about the quote, and what you guys thought about spirituality as it might pertain to atheists.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by fishkitten »
"I look at God behind his desk, taking notes on a pad, but God's got this all wrong. We are not special. We are not crap or trash, either. We just are. We just are, and what happens just happens. And God says, "No, that's not right." Yeah. Well. Whatever. You can't teach God anything." -Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 30

ImpaledSkier

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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2007, 08:08:36 PM »
I think death is just like pre-birth. You remember it I'm sure. It was good times. Yeah...I think it is nothingness...

But! I think dying is going to be a very interesting experience. We all get to do it but once. I must say I don't want to do it for a long time, but when it comes I'm going to be interested. And...I know lots of people want that quick instant death where they don't even see it coming, but I kind of want my 30 seconds to gather my thoughts and go, "Alright, let's do this." type thing.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by ImpaledSkier »
"Heaven's not a place that you go when you die, it's that moment in life when you actually feel alive. So live for the moment." -The Spill Canvas

MommaSquid

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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2007, 06:10:23 PM »
I don't believe we have souls.  After brain activity stops, that's it...no heaven, no eternity.  

Hopefully death will be like sleeping without dreams.  No consciousness, no awareness, no pain; we get enough of that in life.

Quote from: "fishkitten"
...what religion seems to do is create a collective spirituality, a single spiritual path that tries to force many to follow without taking their own spiritual path. I was just wondering what you thought about the quote, and what you guys thought about spirituality as it might pertain to atheists.


I agree that organized religion tries to force everyone into the same mold.  Believe this, pray like that, sit, stand, kneel, repeat.  That's no way to live.  I've always been one to question and challenge authority (just ask my parents!) so organized religion isn't for me.  Plus they all require you to believe in some form of invisible deity or magical power...no can do.

What is spirituality anyway?  If it is based on what you can see and touch, then I'm all for finding spiritual balance in life.  If it's based on fairy tales, then you're just fooling yourself.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by MommaSquid »

McQ

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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2007, 08:01:57 PM »
Quote from: "MommaSquid"
I don't believe we have souls.  After brain activity stops, that's it...no heaven, no eternity.  

Hopefully death will be like sleeping without dreams.  No consciousness, no awareness, no pain; we get enough of that in life.

Quote from: "fishkitten"
...what religion seems to do is create a collective spirituality, a single spiritual path that tries to force many to follow without taking their own spiritual path. I was just wondering what you thought about the quote, and what you guys thought about spirituality as it might pertain to atheists.

I agree that organized religion tries to force everyone into the same mold.  Believe this, pray like that, sit, stand, kneel, repeat.  That's no way to live.  I've always been one to question and challenge authority (just ask my parents!) so organized religion isn't for me.  Plus they all require you to believe in some form of invisible deity or magical power...no can do.

What is spirituality anyway?  If it is based on what you can see and touch, then I'm all for finding spiritual balance in life.  If it's based on fairy tales, then you're just fooling yourself.


Well put, MommaSquid. I would have to say that I am right in line with the way you look at life and death and spirituality.

In fact I believe that my "spirituality" is something within my control, to a great extent. The natural chemicals which we have already in our bodies can make us feel peaceful and tranquil, or frightened and alert. Endorphines kick in to make me feel very good. That's my kind of spirituality. No rules, or organized activity.

No magic to it, but I can still find peace, beauty, rest, and all the things that the hocus-pocus folks find, but without all of their hocus-pocus. No fear of what the "afterlife" is like, because there simply isn't one. I will someday just cease to be. No big deal (of course, I'm not inviting death or disaster upon myself!), but that will be it.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by McQ »
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Huxley

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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2007, 01:24:35 PM »
I think its harder to define Spiritualism. For many, its the appreciation of emotion, music, art and how we conduct ourselves with one another. Enter anything supernatural into the equation and it becomes just another way of believing BS.

So being spiritual, in the former sense is not contraindicated by atheism but one needs to remain sceptical about those say, who derive spirituality from crystals. As for me, I get a certain buzz; an awe of appreciation when I hold a 3.7 Billion year old rock with a creature frozen in it. Not a sense of mysticism but a better understanding of what it is to be a creature sentient enough to appreciate it's significance.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Huxley »

Mark_W

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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2007, 05:16:28 AM »
catfish, I'm a big fan of spiritualism, but I don't think we should direct our precious attention to an afterlife while we have life now. Because afterlife thinking, rather than providing comfort (ideas of heaven, etc), robs us of meaning in the life we are living now. Our real life becomes a little less important if we consider it partially a waiting room.
And thoughts of a pleasant afterlife, ultimately, do not even provide comfort because deep down we know that we just don't know what happens after death.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Mark_W »