The comments below were posted between 2005 and 2012 and are shown in chronological order from the oldest comment (top) to the newest comment.
Soren Sorensen (Spiritual Teacher) of Portland, Oregon (USA) says:
Yes, I am a Spiritual Atheist!
If "others" (innocently) mistake "God", the mythical/symbolic personification/representation of the universe itself, for something that exists outside of the universe (the external creator and ruler of the universe), I have no ethical choice but to declare myself to be a spiritual atheist (and equally a non-literal theist) who is aware of the intrinsic connectedness/wholeness/oneness of the universe, which is indeed mystical.
I do NOT believe in the existence of an entity external to the universe that supposedly created and rules the universe. I believe that this is a faulty (literal) understanding of the term "God".
I do, however, believe that the entire universe is in some way connected (even if only by infinite cause and effect at every scale) and, therefore, as we go about our lives striving to be healthy and happy, we should also be striving to help the world around us be healthy and happy. (aka "wholistic ethics")
But, ultimately, I believe that being spiritual means more than simply living according to what should be common-sense ethics; it also means balancing one's limited sense of self, self-knowing, and self-guidance with one's connection to the infinite universe itself. I believe we are one.
And I believe that to the extent that one is successful in balancing one's individual identity and significance with one's collective ("all that is") identity and significance, one's pain and fear will be replaced by authentic and unconditional acceptance and love. Love of all that is, all that has ever been, and all that will ever be.
In my opinion, love is the sign of true spirituality.
I also use the phrase "Spiritual Atheism". Spirituality comes from the human spirit, not from some fairy tale. The fact that an atheist can be spiritual points out that everyone has their own unique belief that can be applied to practicing spiritual principles. An Atheist that might believe in gravity and mathematics can practice humility along side someone who believes in a supreme being.
I truly appreciate your words and your willingness to share your ideas with others. You have given me some great insight and inspiration. Thank you!
Vicente of Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA) says:
To me, Spiritual Atheism naturally rejects the conditions of contrived Supreme Beings that step between us an our direct experience. Those who are Spiritual Atheist have come to the understanding that experience born of belief can only be experienced through the condition of that belief. Thus, without religious limitations and their brewed beliefs which the majority clings to for their identity, we can emancipate ourselfs of god(s), and uncover a reality that neither changes, nor will ever abandon us.
Unlike conventional atheists/Humanists/Brights, who tend to have a sciential, cerebro-centric belief in no god(s), Spiritual Atheism points to a sapiential, cardio-centric understanding (Gnothi Seauton) that is intimately gnostic in nature.
Rina of Brooklyn, New York (USA) says:
i have been an atheist and, for as long as i can remember, thought of myself as a spiritual atheist. it's exciting for me to find others who use this terminology. �my grandparents were ultra-orthodox jews, but my mom was an atheist. i have known many "religious" people who are far from spiritual in any shape or form. conversely, i have known many atheists who are the most compassionate, benevolent, and spiritual people i have met on the planet.
to me, part of the concept of spirituality includes acceptance, compassion, and connectedness with others, regardless of what they believe.
i tend to try to look for parallels and similarities in people's beliefs and to try to be sensitive to their philosophies.
thank you for creating this site. hopefully it will educate and enlighten many people on the concept of spiritual atheism.
Michelle of Seattle, Washington (USA) says:
Having let go of the theist views I was raised on, I still felt saddened by the lack of willingness that people have to understand themselves and those around them. I am encouraged by this site and believe that the concepts demonstrated give a more complete understanding of our existence and the connection to everything. I see this as a truely positive force in the world. Thank You!!
Anonymous (41, Day Care Provider) of Denver, Colorado (USA) says:
The concept of spiritual atheism is constantly evolving for me. It has meant everything from being aware and in tune with nature to being aware and in tune with myself, and currently a combination of both nature and myself as well as all others.
This concept includes the idea of a oneness with the universe without a specific creator or god (read white bearded man on a cloud). I feel a reverence for nature and life and a deep connection to everything.
I am certain that the concept will continue to evolve for me.
Sue Mendenhall (42, Insurance Sales) of Denver, Colorado (USA) says:
As an Atheist, I do not believe in a deity external to the universe. I do not believe that there is anyone or thing that is in control of any other. I do not believe in a creator. I do not believe that this life is a test... or a contest. I do not believe in "places" called heaven or hell. I do not believe this life will result in judgment, punishment or reward offered by another due to my beliefs or lack thereof. I do not believe someone will save me (or has). And possibly the worst sin of all, I do not believe in free will.
I believe in evolution, the constant changing state of all things.
As a deeply spiritual person, I believe the universe is everything, completely contained and inextricably intertwined. There is nothing separate, it is more than a connection, much more. We (not as humans, but as the totality of all) are all that IS. We (as humans) will first remember who we are (all that IS) at an individual level. We will first find love, peace, joy, and gratitude within ourselves. We will first find the truth that resides within, and then love (surrender to) it. Once we fully understand who we are, we will then begin to see others in the same way, as our mirror, as ourselves, for we are ONE.
John Clavin of USA says:
There has never been a supreme being, an afterlife, or God. The natural
universe is all we have and we study it with the scientific method.
With this knowledge I can look at the religions of the world and know
that they are wrong in their belief of a "supreme being" but observe
that they have attempted to engage in right humanistic behavior.
Spiritual Atheism to me is utilizing this right humanistic behavior
while engaging in the scientific method.
Eileen Regan of USA says:
Being spiritual to me means acting or thinking to connect myself to the world in a way that is helpful.
Thomas Blaylock of USA says:
The whole concept of spirituality rest inside of the individual only.
It cannot be judged by a second party on the outside of the individual.
Spirituality is an evolutionary process and todays decisions may be
superseded by tomorrows. No one finally arrives at spirituality. They
are only on the journey to that destination and many times without
knowing where they are headed. They are simply following the path of
compassion and truth. That is the attitude of spirituality.
Sammy (21, Student) of Canada says:
I reject the judo-Christian Islamic version of god, Why would a creator who fashioned a child so delicatley and intrinsically with thee utmost care and detail purge his or her spark of divinity - innocence and mercy. Into a monster called hell. No, heaven is a blissful state within one's self and hell is separating yourself from expressing your true emotions, a concrete example is never telling your parents how much you love them when they return to the earth. Forever concealing a deeply intimate idea never to manifest itself into words of gratitude. Spiritual atheism is the ability for humans to connect with others regardless of illusions of creed, sect, race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexuality and come to an understanding that we together as one race - the human race we can explore space both inner and outer together in peace forever. The authorities command you to fear the unknown and to remain in a static blender continuing its madness of rehashing trivial ideas of luxurious items at the cost of caring for others as your own. If anything the golden rule should be taught to our children. Our governments should in the great wisdom of Bill Hicks "instead of spending the trillions of dollars in nuclear defense should set out to see to it that not one person is left starving and to clothe and educate the less fortunate not one human excluded" Man should not look in despair at our past faults but with determination and hope and love to better ourselves as a whole, some say it is a grand utopia, but the betterment of society through the gradual handwork of each of us can make a better world than the one we left for our generations to come who carry not just our DNA but the families and the culture in their faces and it is in that manner we will be remembered so long as we are fortunate to grace this planet as the dominant species.
In conclusion the band called Rush summoned it up it a warning of the song Bravado " When the dust has cleared , victory denied, if we keep our pride though paradise is lost, we will pay the price but we will not count the cost,we will pay the price..."
Ceawake (46, MD) of Watford (UK) says:
I reject the God of books (Bible, Koran etc). These books refer to a 'He', an oddly angry entity who seems to get off on punishment, making weird rules that contradict oneanother then condemning those who falter. I do believe that there is a way of living in harmony, in the spirit of oneness and my struggle is to find this way.
Chelsey (16, High School Student) of Ohio (USA) says:
To me, being a spiritual atheist means rejecting the traditional model of a deity lording over our lives, judging our actions and controlling what happens to us, yet not rejecting that there is more to this universe than just what we perceive as reality.
Jonathan (34, Media Distribution) of Reading, UK says:
Sue Mendenhall says it beautifully. That's exactly how and what I feel. I am a Spiritual Atheist.
Anthony Davis (18, Student) of New Jersey (USA) says:
Being a Spiritual Atheist means that although I dont believe in god I believe in the Universal Spirit that is neither male or female but has masculine and feminine aspects like the yin yang tao.this spirit is found in all creation kind of like in star wars when they refer to "the force".
Bill (41, Human Being) of Scotland says:
I am a spritual atheist without capitals. I don't believe that the universe is in any sense the "real god". I just believe that the universe and reality is all that we have, and all of reality is part of that one universe including us. My own personal relationship with our universe is that I know I am part of it and I feel that deeply inside my head. I can't use the word god to describe what I believe in because of it's historical association with supernatural beings. I don't believe the universe to be supernatural, and I don't believe in a creation event because at the moment, Science has no explanation for it, and this would make creation itself a supernatural event. Until it comes up with the goods, I have a slight argument with science as it stands on the big bang. I believe the universe has no start or end. There is a possibility that it may have cycles as there are cycles throughout nature but that is up to science to discover.
Carmen (43, Teacher) of Spain says:
Being a Spiritual Atheist means living my life by my own rule book and trusting in my natural ability to distinguish right from wrong without looking in conventional religions for answers. I believe we as human beings are all deeply connected to the universe and our mission here on earth is to care for it and nurture it. As part of nature, we should also care for and nurture ourselves. I feel deeply connected to the earth and nature and see them as sacred.
Tulip (16, School) of India says:
Well Spiritual Atheist can be someone who is forced to worship God by his parents but he himself does not believe in any existence of God.
Yvette (41, Social Worker) of Canada says:
I am just beginning to understand and identify myself as a Spiritual Atheist. Thanks for this site and all the information available. I am working towards being confident in stating when asked, that I am a Spiritual Atheist and being able to define what that means to me.
Pomona Writer (my Second Life name) (66, Retired legal secretary, now Librarian in Second Life (virtual world online)) of Oregon (USA) says:
As a Spiritual Atheist, I fit well into Unitarian Universalism and feel comfortable there. UU's allow and encourage varying beliefs. About 10% of UU's self-identify as atheists -- spiritual atheist IS a better term for us. We like to question and discuss everything and to keep on learning and seeking.
"eye8and8vibe" (14, Student) of Pennsylvania (USA) says:
For me, being a spiritual atheist means believing there is no "higher" being. That we are all equal. It means being in touch with the awesome beauty of everything. It means that "holy" doesn't exist, because everything is at the highest state to be appreciated. There is not bowing down to anything because you are equal to it. There is also no being bowed down to. That would being saying that the equality that is the foundation of everything is nonexistant. My "gods" are consciousness, being, and balance. These are the driving forces of the universe. Yet, I have god is quotes because these driving forces are nothing without everything else, and are equal to everything else, and are part and parcel of EVERYTHING. I could go on about this all day, but to me being a spiritual atheist is existing, truly existing, and being aware of my awareness and being awared of.
Eastin of USA says:
Huge relief knowing the rest of the world isn't all crazy. This site is awesome. I googled spiritual atheism to see what would pop up because I felt like it described me well, and sure enough. The text here is dead-on. Probably about a year ago I realized I had to start asking people to define god before I could tell them if I believed in god. This beautifully defines exactly what I feel. Keep it goin' and growin'
Arika (37, Secretary) of USA says:
Being a Spiritual Atheist to me is, recognizing that I am a mind, body, and a spirit. These things are not connected as in three things that are separate from each other and then joined together somehow. They are all part of the same system. I do believe in prayer, but not to any deity. I believe all humans are inexplicably connected and our actions toward each other work like ripples through water. Any time compassion is chosen over ego THAT is divinity, and we all possess the ability to be divine.
Merkaba (23, Student) of England says:
To me, Spiritual Atheism is a rejection of the concept of 'higher beings' such as God, but embraces spiritual notions and practises (like meditation) for making oneself a wiser, more balanced and happy human being.
Mark (41, Computer Programmer) of Sweden (though I'm an American) says:
I don't see that spirituality requires the view that the universe is "connected". This is merely one form of spirituality available to atheists. There are others. "Spirit", to me, refers to one's natural psyche, and spirituality means an active concern for the growth of one's psyche and the improvement of one's perspective on the deep issues of life, in contrast to being concerned exclusively with other matters, such as material values. And so to be spiritual is an "inward focus" contrasted with the "outward focus" of materialism. In my view, we need both spirituality and materialism integrated together in healthy proportions. My personal spirituality (I am an atheist) is focused on the development of my personal potentials. I seek to flourish as a human being and as the unique individual I am. I seek a sense of connection to my ideal growing self, and I believe I get this through experiences of self-actualization. I also seek to grow in self-knowledge, wisdom, moral character, self-esteem, a benevolent regard for others, and a love of life. This is what being a spiritual atheist is for me.
Penny (18, Student) of USA says:
To me, being a Spiritual Atheist means that I am not not bound to a church or religious institution and I do not follow someone else's rules in the spiritual side of my life. Many of these rules have been formulated thousands of years ago anyway. It also implies that I have a spiritual side. Or rather, there is part of me that recognizes something grand about this existence. Also, I have the freedom to see the world as it is and have my beliefs evolve according that, rather than trying to alter the world in front of me to conform to my beliefs.
Being a spiritual atheist means I can love what's in front of me. I don't have to project my love toward a supernatural being in the clouds. I can project it toward the trees, the wind, the stars, the birds, my friends, my family, the world, the universe. It means I can truly live in the present without imagining a phony future in heaven. It means I am on a quest to make the most of this life here, because I know I will never get another.
It also means I have questions about everything and I can only come to those answers through self-discovery. To take someone else's answers would be the easy way out and would lead me down a path of meaninglessness. Consequently, being a spiritual atheist is incredibly challenging for me.
Yet, it is also simple. The universe is here and I am part of it. There is nothing to be more grateful about.
Spunion (20, Musician) of England says:
I do not believe in a higher power or intelligent external being who created the universe who requires worship and praise telling him how amazing he really is for doing all this, for what is the point of its creation if the lives we lead are wasted? The way I choose to live my life are by my morals, I do not need confirmation that my actions are right or judgement if my actions are wrong because I PERSONALLY should know if there right or wrong, and should take responsibility for MY OWN actions, we are (for the most part) intelligent beings, and looking at the big picture, thinking about the creation of the universe, life, galaxys etc its extremly difficult for me to (Even at the the stretch of my imagination) picture a being specifically creating us as in the case of adam and eve, its purely not logical.
Peter Schogol (57, Public Safety Telecommunicator) of Lexington, KY (USA) says:
I'm only coming around to Spiritual Atheism as a valid position. For me the "spiritual" part always led to theism but I was never comfortable as a theist. "Atheism" was a hard word for me as it implied denying spirituality altogether. Finding the two words together has been a revelation (if you know what I mean).
In telescopic sequence from macro to micro I consider myself a Friend (Quaker), a nontheist, then a spiritual atheist. I guess that's saving the most intimate for last!
Ken Driessen (I'm 52 years young today) of Wisconsin (USA) says:
Spiritual means a sense not normally defined as such, it has to do with perception and reasoning, a horse has spirit when it decides it does not want a man to ride it. In NYC, I was accosted by drug dealers because of the way I gazed at the sites like a tourist, then somebody told me to give them the look, don't stare at them, don't look away, don't say anything, just tell them with your mind that you are not interested, it works, they all left me alone after that. God is just a way greedy men control other men through their schizophrenic alliance with a mythical supernatural unquestionable buddy; people who do this are sadistic little alpha dogs. Atheist is non-theist, and theology has always been about power and manipulation of the many by the few. If I worship anything it is nature. Any chance of Homo sapiens ascending to an eternal immortal state will be a collective cooperative effort to discover the unified field within nature to become part of the first and last of the universe; one millisecond is eternity and a micron is the entire universe.
Marc Donna (32, science teacher) of USA says:
The concept of spirituality to me means living a life through the application of the senses,the mind and reason geared towards the quest for the living truth in life under the guidance of science in finding practical solutions to the problems of the world in which we find ourselves.This means one must be connected to the troubles or problems of others without any regard to nationality or race. Don't add religion, for that is simply a "tool of slavery."
Samwa'il (18, student) of Australia says:
To be a Spiritual Atheist, for me, is to consider that there is no God, yet to accept the Spiritual emotion and affect that can sometimes come with the idea of God. It is to consider the Universe as interconnected, if only through the fact that one action will have an affect on everything. For me, it is to see that an existence after death: simply that I am, means that what 'I' is will not cease to exist, as much as it does not cease from moment to moment.
Andreas (23, Student ) of Norwat (USA) says:
Im an atheist in every sence of the word. I deeply respect and cherish the scientific method. I also think think who you truly are lies beyond thought.. That being identified with thought is suffering. But this is NOT something to be belived in. Only something to be experienced. I also "belive" that we are all one, and this to is not something to belived, only experienced.
Kayla M. Abbott (17, Student) of Olympia, WA (USA) says:
Spiritual Atheism in my perspective means having faith in the universe and Humanity in a certian sense because faith can be taken into different categories. We are all one and we are the people that makes the universe glow whether it's our thoughts, actions etc. like a signal. What we are is from the "miracle" of science, what this universe is to its exsistence today is from the "miracle" of science. To me spiritual Atheism means so much but, i'll conclude with this. I cherish every day that i'm on this planet. I love the air the tree's etc. And i believe the universe (the world)is apart of me in a sense and that the universe is on my side when the good and bad happens in my life. The universe is great and the universe is what i have my so call faith in. I do not not believe in god i can honestly say i don't think he's exists or ever did. I used to go to church etc. but that's the past. As i said i don't believe in god or gods. I don't believe in heavan, hell, reincarnation etc. I am apart of the universe and the universe is apart of me. We are one.
Lauri (Student) of USA says:
I'm a first year graduating student of Ernest Holmes Science of Mind teachings. They seem to correspond with Spiritual Atheism.
Rain Johnson (15, Student) of SE NM (USA) says:
For three years now, I've been searching... Searching for my niche. I never felt the need to have a label, but I felt a little lost. I mean, "What am I?" is all I could think about. "I don't believe in deity but I do believe in a 'soul'... Doesn't that tie into a deity/afterlife/religious belief?" So I figured I must be a pagan of some sort. Even in paganism there was always a form of diety present or something silly like astrology, runes, or worship and prayers. Finding this site really set me free. I no longer felt I had to be anything but me. Atheist is an accurate term for my lack of belief in deity, and spiritual is an accurate term that describes my belief in a 'soul' of some kind. I feel like me, finally. Thank you!
David McKinn (27, Teacher) of USA says:
Spiritual Atheism seems almost synonymous with Pantheism, although I prefer the TERM "Spiritual Atheist" because it lacks the "theist" connotations, which have become extremely negative in the last several thousand years.
Summer (28, Researcher) of India says:
I believe that humans have a natural sense of spirituality that is hardwired into our brains - it is a sense of connection to each other, our world, something beyond ourselves. I think that to feel fulfilled it is important to nurture this part of us and develop a spiritual practice. That said, I believe that this is a psychological and social phenomenon and that there is no mystical truth underlying these feelings.
Steve Barker (47, Teacher in communication) of East Anglia (UK) says:
I have always been interested in different religious beliefs. Recently I attended a camp at which a range of different religious beliefs and practices were represented. Druidism, Native American, buddhism, Hare Krishna Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Then I had the thought that one belief was not represented - Atheism! I started to think about how there could be songs chants and paintings that represent the non existence of god. Since then, it is like a wonderful open space Has appeared around me, The fog has cleared Spirit without quality Pure and undiminished life energy No winning or losing But flowing And being
Mario (32, currently not employed) of San Antonio, TX (USA) says:
I had always been a bit of an agnostic. I believed in Jesus Christ but hated the concept of religious dogma. It took the disappointments of life in general to make me start questioning my beliefs, but I now feel like I didn't lose something that was never there to begin with. Reading people make posts in the forums I go to about the evils of Harry Potter and Halloween and seeing news articles about arranged marriages and the stupid things mankind tends to do in the name of religion only made me question some more. There are those in my friends and family that say that faith and religion shouldn't be confused, but I had a hard time separating the two. I couldn't reconcile the Christian belief of "People are good, but. . ." Yes I understand. Unless you follow the "proper" religion, you can be the most compassionate person on the planet and still be doomed to Hell. Once I cast off the shackles of faith and religion, my heart went through a brief period of emptiness. That has since disappear and I now feel like for the first time in my life I'm actually IN CONTROL of my brain! I don't feel any different than before. The only difference is now I expect the world to disappoint me, and without any worldly belief system to cling to, there is no illusion to shatter. But I'm not a pessimist. I still see the good in the world. I tend to think of it as realism.
Glen David (25, Disability Support Worker) of Leeds, United Kingdom (UK) says:
I dont believe in any Gods, heaven, hell, holy books. I dont believe there is any life after death. I believe death, if looked at with an open heart and mind can be a great teacher. I feel the Universe and the Earth we came out of and are fully connected to are a mystical thing, perhaps with no beginning and no end - just a constant change. As far as being spiritual, i think some elements of past religions can be used as a way of developing a deeper insight, a more mindful and balanced way of life - with mindful meditation and deep looking into human psychology. Much of the suffering humans face can be traced to inner turmoil we are all open to, anger, hatred and ill will. To look deeply and act with compassion in the world is to live a spiritual life for the well being of all.
Brian Bittner of USA says:
I love this site and the simple way it describes my understandings. This is definitely me. I have been describing myself as a spiritual atheist for some time now and have gotten into many deep discussions with friends.
Franz Giuseppe (20, Musician, Writer, Activist) of Philippines says:
I believe that being a spiritual atheist is drawing closer to the world, embracing it as yourself, being happy when others are happy, and celebrating every hour and every day of your life as time goes on. We are one people, and we share one planet.
Lauren S (24, ) of Australia says:
Im still unsure if I am a Spiritual Atheist. I reject the idea of a diety of any kind, and that there is a path set out for us or that a diety controls what happens in the universe. However I do believe that there is an energy that resonates within us and within everything, within nature, within the universe, and this energy connects us all to each other, to the earth and to the universe. Its niether benevolent or malevolent, but constantly 'powers' life and enables it to be created. This energy is some call our "soul" or "spirit", its what our emotions (whether they be love, hate, happiness, anger, positive and negative) are 'made out of'. I believe some people can 'tap into' this energy better than others, and find ways to cleanse and alter this energy within themselves (eg: through meditation, crystal and chakra therapy, acupuncture, etc) to help them make the energy work for them and effectively create happier lives. I dont know where this energy came from, I feel that it has always been there and is constantly pulsating through the universe, through the earth, including every grain of dirt, every blade of grass, every organism... and when we die, the energy within simply dissipates and dissolves into the rest of it.
Jeanine of USA says:
I have been doing some soul searching the past month and I know I'm not an atheist, but I've read the contents of your website and I agree with all of it.
Galaxidi (40, ethical clothing retailer) of UK says:
I don't believe that there has to be some mysterious connection between everything in the universe. However, I would say I am a spiritual person which to me means attending to my own capacity for those "spiritual" moments of awe, wonder, peace, joy, strength etc. I am an atheist.
Peter Gore Seer (60, retired) of England says:
I am a psychic of paranormal in all its forms and see touch smell and feel it. It comes normal to me. I do not have a choice. I feel the forces which is a living power.
Miss Skully (26, Student) of Kansas City, Missouri, USA (USA) says:
I've checked out your site, and I have to say it seems I fit under the title of "spiritual atheist". I consider myself a spiritual person. I work with magic (I leave the "k" off on purpose). I also have psychic abilities. I believe in spiritual beings. However, I do not believe in God, gods, or goddesses. I think they are man made ideas put in place to explain human behavior and natural phenomena. I think I may also be a panentheist and am going to be looking into that further, as well. Thank you for this website.
Scotty Pleune (44, Factory worker) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) says:
First, I really appreciate the site. I am very active in Atheist groups and causes. I know that a lot of Atheists do not like the word spiritual. They associate spirituality with fuzzy and irrational thinking. I understand and appreciate the veiws of these Nonspiritual Atheists. However, I do find value in the concepts of spirit and spirituality. I will go as far as to call myself a Spiritual Atheist. My spirtuality comes in the form of attempting to fully engage myself with life. I try to fully understand, appreciate, and impact my areas of influence. I care deeply about life and my effects upon other life. I seek to create a better more capable world, at the same time as I try to make myself more capable. In the words of my favorite writer, Robert Green Ingersoll (many of his writings are available for free on-line), "Be free, give yourself sometimes to negligence, drift with wave and tide, dream, and then feel the rythmic beating of your fearless heart, then rouse yourself go boldly for the ideal, and do all useful things." Best wishes and efforts, Scotty
Maria (36, student, joint head of household) of Oregon, United States (USA) says:
I really resonated with the comments by Bill, a Human Being, from Scotland. And I'm so glad to find this site!
I'm just tonight accepting that I can continue to use the term "atheist" for myself, and add "spiritual." Somehow, I was trapped in thinking the terms were mutually exclusive.
Now, I do allow for the possibility of something outside our universe creating us. However, if anything outside did create us, I'd figure it was more like: a scientist in another universe got carried away while working on their own version of the Large Hadron Collider. Whoops... Now, that doesn't really count as a god, in my opinion.
Wouldn't surprise me if there are universe bubbles within universes, as well as randomly abutting them. It would be interesting to know how the universe(s) emerged, what caused it, and to have those great questions answered, but any real answer is painfully beyond anyone's current reach (I still so long to *know*). But no belief in god will sate that thirst.
So what does it mean to be a spiritual atheist? I'm a human being, and I have spiritual feelings, a desire to feel transcendent sometimes. Being atheist does not preclude humanity!
It seems to me that science answers so much more than religion can -- with better accuracy -- and understanding our universe on a technical level can foster a sense of connectedness, comfort and awe. And through the wonders of critical thinking, we weigh our own observations as our guide in life.
Belief in a god and religion are, in their way, a form of art: a classic, well-loved myth. Good for our brains to experience, to a point. Don't some of us regret letting go of the fantasies of our childhood? Personally, I miss believing in fairies. But belief in god or other mythical creatures seems to be a fancy slipcover over the real deal.
Chenin (26, Student) of Michigan (USA) says:
To me, Spiritual Atheism means a lack of the restrictions that are naturally imposed by religious beliefs. I am very agnostic in the fact that I feel that I cannot "know" anything, and that the very word "know" is extremely arrogant since all things experienced are inherently subjective. I don't need people telling me what to believe in or how to live my life or laying down "rules" that I have to follow or else I'll burn forever, no matter how much kindness or compassion or goodness I have in me.
I also, like most here, like to think of myself as one with the universe, and a part of the universe. To me, religion puts me "above" all other creatures but "below" god, and I don't like to think of anything in existence being better than anything else, but rather everything is equal. I like the idea that consciousness is a kind of energy that permeates everything and that all people are connected while still maintaining individuality. I like to think that "I" or "me" or my "self" is something eternal and that some part of that "I" will survive death, even if it is in a very different form than that which I experience now.
John Elkins (54, unemployed) of Rubidoux (USA) says:
I didn't come into this world; I grew out of it. I am more than my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am more than the content of my life. My identity lies beyond my ego. I am life. I am the space in which things happen. I am consciousness beyond time. I am...
Emmanuel (23, Technician) of Malawi says:
Being a spiritual atheist to me means having trust or beleif in oneself and not in deities or God(s). Having full awareness of good ethics that i must go for as a human being and to the surrounding Community.
Roger T. (57, Carpenter and Farmer) of California's beautiful Central Coast (USA) says:
I feel driven to do good things. For me, being spiritual means being concerned about goodness. I don't believe in god, but I do believe in good. I think the confusion is based on a "typo": one too many "o"s. This solves nothing, of course, but I believe it orients the discussion in a more productive direction. Do you want to be good, or do you want to be godly? One you can act on by direct reference to your own feelings, the other requires reference to vague archaic writings of questionable authorship and sincerity. Boy this stuff is hard to write about! You think you know what you want to say, but it never seems to come out just right. Brings you back to relying on sound fundamentals. In Good we trust.
Another Human (40, Taxi Driver) of USA says:
Spiritual Atheism to me is surrendering to the emotions of unity, the gratefulness, and humbleness of being able to observe the universe from a single-point perspective for a short lifetime. The emotions of compassion towards all life forms, the ability to see life thru the perspective of the other. and most of all the beauty of Nature, the human condition, bio-diversity. The non-violence towards all lifeforms is an impulse
The act of feeding an elephant a peanut becomes a spiritual meditation that our two evolutionary paths have crossed together for a moment in time, that we share the same ancestor, that I have reunited with a long lost friend as we both travel our individual evolutionary paths for millions of years.
When I walk around I feel encompassed by a familiy of life forms where we are all struggling for a common goal of survival. and the strange reality that we must also eat each other to survive.
I feel a sense of community while I walk thru the forest... from the worms under my feet to the birds in the sky. to the millions of dustmites I sleep with everynight.
I watch the clouds in the sky and am amazed at the knowledge that those water molecules also have an epoc journey of billions of years. Who knows I may be looking at water molecules that may have at one point in time been consumed by my ancestor.
I look at my arm and realize I at one point in time my carbon was made during the lifecycle of a star. The pressures of supernova explosions fusing particles together to create Carbon.
Everything is connected, we are one
Each to each the looking glass.
Reflects the other as we pass.
Nick (20, Student/Mystic) of Midwest (USA) says:
Spiritual Atheism for me is the disbelief in a personified God or gods. The spiritual aspect comes in to play (for me) because I DO believe in a central source which as a force controls the events of this world through a complex system of cause and effect. However, I do not believe this source is conscious, but is like any other force (like gravity).
Rich (35, Writer) of Los Angeles (USA) says:
I'm really intrigued by the notion of spiritual atheism, but I can't get past the notion that this is something of an oxymoron. I believe this has more to do with nomenclature more than anything else; namely, the use of the word "God." To be spiritual, to me, posits that there is something beyond the veil, something more than the material universe and atheism is strictly a materialistic philosophy. The problem comes from the typical concept of "God" that most people hold in their minds. If we can think of God as an energetic force and not as a judgmental being in the sky with a set of very human-like values and attributes, then the problem of a "spiritual atheism" is resolved. In other words, you can be spiritual without believing in the standard conceit of "God" - we can "be", just as this energy force simply exists "as is", a force that may or may not even be aware of itself. Words can be dangerous things and I think that we as a species need to start stripping away loaded words like "God" from our vocabulary as they create a filter that prevents true objective measurement of the physical world and beyond.
Seeking peace (51, Healthcare) of Orange County CA (USA) says:
Believing that we are all connected and that doing good, helping other, living a meaningful like, does not require religious beliefs.
Carla Beaudet (43, engineer for radio astronomers) of West Virgina (USA) says:
After many years of seeking out my actual beliefs though yoga practice and meditation, I'm trying on the words "spiritual atheist". Our consciousness is intimately dependent on the substrate of our physical selves; if you alter your brain with drugs or food, or meditative practices, your conscious experience changes. I reject any god-concept that requires disembodied consciousness, because I have no experiential basis to support it, and furthermore have experienced how relatively easy it is to find bogus evidence for anything one wishes to believe. I accept the scientific method as the best tool we have for understanding the physical world. But the spiritual world - the world of consciousness and anything that is an expression of that - all culture, essentially - may be better understood in other ways. Spiritual atheism is, perhaps, an alternative to deity-based mythology for understanding this world.
Name Withheld (I do not want my students to Google me lol) (33, Physics Professor) of Los Angeles, California (USA) says:
I am open to being a spiritual atheist. And being connected to the universe. I believe that religion was an important step in the evolutionary process for us human beings. And also believe that once Religious institutions grew too powerful and began going against human knowledge; that atheism is also a very important step in human evolution.
But I feel that it will loop around. And that is not a bad thing. Reading "The Selfish Gene" I was struck by how similar Dawkins ideas of selfish genes and then the idea of conquering those genes, as being very Biblical. The book could almost be read with the title "The Sin Gene."
I am also fascinated that while human logic and thought lead us from the development of Philosophy as a way of understanding the Gods (The Greeks saw the mind as connected to the divine) to the realm of nihilism. But again, from the ashes of nihilism came existentialism (and Nietzsche himself said that nihilism was something to be overcome) and the evolution of this idea of a cosmic consciousness.
Perhaps we needed to destroy religion to get back in touch with "God." Whatever that may be. The answer may be too complex to fathom or it may be so simple it is staring us right in the face.
Sarah (17, Student) of Pennsylvania (USA) says:
Spiritual Atheism for me has been a process of shedding the belief in a personified god and growing to embrace the irrealizable universe. As humans and as a part of the universe, our conscious' are intertwined, constantly working as one with each other and the cosmos.
I attended Catholic school for 9 years of my childhood. Though my mother encouraged me to believe in what I wished, those nine years were a sort of brainwashing. I struggled with religion and the belief in "God" for a couple years after I finished my Catholic schooling. Finally I realized the similarities of most religions, and the common thread throughout: the personification of the natural laws of the universe. I felt freed by understanding and began a process to bettering myself and my universe.
Though it is uncommon for traditional atheists to believe in an afterlife or the idea of "soul", I am unwavering in my belief of both. These things are not transcendental nor are they singularly part of a world where God exists: they are a part of nature.
Alan (38, Computers) of Seattle, Washington (USA) says:
I am not a spiritual athiest, but much of what I've read here fits well with my beliefs. I was raised Christian and while I consider myself to still be a Christian, I doubt my beliefs would be accepted by many Christian churches.
I believe God to be the root of creation. Our universe came from somewhere. That somewhere came from something else. The chain of sources ends somewhere. I define the end of that recursion as God.
I believe God is intelligent. If God is not intelligent, then our intelligence evolved randomly. If our intelligence evolved randomly then his could too. And he has had much more "time" to do so.
I believe that God is really all that exists. Everything in our universe is part of God that he/we have separated from himself/ourselves to explore what is possible. Constraints like the speed of light and entropy were put in place to make the game more interesting.
When we die we can choose to rejoin God or remain apart from him. Choosing to remain separate can be a form of self-rejection. Hell is the rejection of self, and in the process, the rejection of God. I still consider myself a Christian because I believe Jesus's message. I believe his message was one of forgiveness so that we would not reject ourselves and prevent our reunion with God.
I do not beleive that being an athiest or any other religion will result in God's rejection. In fact I believe that the greater diveristy of beliefs is extremely valuable. I do believe that God created the universe and is the universe. I don't believe that he manifests as a discrete entity within the universe. I believe God is an active watchmaker. I believe he set up the laws of physics and still tinkers with the system. I don't believe that God is completely knowable or understandable by humans. I also recognize that many of my beliefs stem from my Christian background and have little basis in rational logic.
Matt (41, Social Work) of UK says:
Atheism is about what I believe:-
- There is no God
- There is no supernatural only astounding, breathtaking, mindblowing nature
- Science is the best way to equire about and establish the facts of our universe
It's all very left brain!
Spirituality is about what I do:-
- Practices, such as meditation, concious compassion and conversation which help me to know myself and appreciate my connection with other people and the universe of which I am part;
I don't believe it, I feel it, it's more right brain!
Spiritual Atheism is the meeting of my left and right brian and the appreciation of all that I am!
David (Friend of Daishonin) (32, Currently McDonalds singing "ding fries are done" and attending College for Music.) of Illinois (USA) says:
I have been referring to myself as an atheist that believes in prayer for some time now because I am a Nichiren Buddhist. I know other Buddhists who it seems this term makes them uncomfortable. One of my friends who is a Buddhist calls the universe god but to me this term is misleading. God in any sense has sentience. The Law of Cause and Effect does not(and if anyone has never heard of Nichiren Buddhism our whole belief system centers on the Law of Cause and Effect, and any "gods" in our scriptures are considered manifestations of this insentient law). I dictate what the Law of Cause and Effect or if you prefer the Law of Attraction is doing in my life by the causes I have in my life whatever they may be. Cause and Effect sometimes acts very much like it has the kind of intelligence or sentience that Christians believe there god has, but then again so does the computer that I am typing this on. If I click on an icon on the screen and the computer does what it is supposed to do then the right set of circumstances were present for the causes that I put into motion by clicking the icon to manifest as effects. On the flip side if something is not working right then the computer won't do what is supposed to do and those are the effects that I will get. I believe that is exactly how reality works and not by the whims or will of some omnipotent god. By definition, I do not believe in God and therefore am an Atheist. I say if the shoe fits then I should just wear it-and I wear it well.
CES (26, registered nurse) of the Philippines says:
Spiritual atheist means that I regard everything equal as me. I respect other peoples's perception on their religion but I'm not attaching myself with any of its structural form. For me, a real GOD is something or someone innate of us. A real god is so sure of itself that it doesn't need to prove of it's existence, doesn't need affirmation from the people, doesn't need worship, doesn't judge. It is both positive and negative, both good and "evil". I don't believe in people's description of evil..but what i believe is that goodness can't exist without the other and vice versa. With crises arises, good things happen to people like we end up seeing compassion, strength and etc.We can't do great things or can't accomplish growth if there is a constant nurturing. A true god don't create something just so we can praise and adore how great he is..that is a god full of ego! A true god isn't insecure and is ok if we can become co creators. I am deeply connected to all things.All things are perfect as of the moment but is constantly upgrading / updating. Good thing on being a spiritual atheist is that I've become more loving, more open, happier and sense the presence of LOVE so much. As opposed by most people, dying for me is not an issue coz i know I remained in you/ them. Most importantly, I BECAME A BETTER PERSON.
Ryan Ani (20 , student) of Bangladesh says:
As this web site says, "I believe that the entire universe is, in some way, connected; even if only by the mysterious flow of cause and effect at every scale." It could be soul , mind reading power , etc...., we all are one ....
Nick Basson (18, student) of Australia says:
For a long time I believed in God but now I don't. Horrible things happen to us all in this world and the excuse we receive is that it's all part of God's plan, that God has a plan for us all. I got sick of hearing this. If Gods plan is for us all to suffer than he succeeds every day. That's not something I wanted to believe in anymore. Yet I still believe in spirits. How could death really be the end. Our souls must live on. Is there a heaven and a hell? Who knows. All I'm sure of is that we aren't alone here. Spirits are everywhere , good and bad. They are always with us, whether or not we like it and whether or not we believe. When you leave your heart and mind open to the idea your whole world can change. Suddenly it's not all about the physical aspects of the world that we see and understand. It can be frightening at times but it can also be amazing. If you only listen, keep listening and then listen some more.If you really want to, you can hear them. You can sense them. And the more you believe, the more unbelievably incredible the experience becomes. You're never alone. Don't ever doubt it.
Rich (54, between carrires) of USA says:
It means something like meditative atheism..
It means if you do good works it comes back to you
like but not nessesarly the same as karma.
and oh yes (it is something known inside ones brain)self beilief in a logical way.
Gil Gaudia, (82, Professor of psychology) of Eugene, Oregon (USA) says:
I am an atheist, scientist and anti-theist (meaning I believe traditional religions do more harm than good). I understand and applaud your view but find the use of the word "spiritual" to be unnecessary and confusing because of its connection to superstition and religion. In fact, in some respects it invokes concepts of Buddhism and so I am aligned with you "conceptually" but choose not to use the word "spiritually." Given your commendable motivation, why try to squeeze an ancient word (with all kinds of spooky entanglements with ghosts, demons and haunted houses) into your philosophy, which the denigrates it?
Is faith in God more prduoctive than faith in yourself? As an atheist this is often a question that interests me.
INTP (29, Market Data Analyst) of San Gabriel Valley (Los Angeles), California (USA) says:
A Spiritual Atheist is someone who believes in many of the metaphysical concepts out there, yet rejects the main principles of theology. I believe in "what goes around comes around". The universe somehow will always reward us when we do good deeds and will take care of us if we trust it to. How all this happens? I have no idea, but I know it does. (It's definitely not the deities in any of the ancient mythological religious books in the world.) So I believe there is some great unseen force that causes all this to happen, and at the same time unites us all.
Mike of USA says:
First I would like to say that before I found this website I was already calling myself a spiritual atheist. I reasoned within myself that while i do not believe in some supreme creator being that presides over my life and will judge me when i ''die'' i am spiritual because spirituality comes from knowing that you are part of a grand system of infinite and eternal life that is greater than yourself and acting in accordance with this realization by treating all beings and even inanimate objects with reverence and respect because you are everything and everything is you. I believe that you were always a part of this system even before you were concieved and born, you are part of this system now in your current form and when you take your final breath you will still be part of this system forever and always taking on one form or another therefore death is false therefore heaven and hell are obsolete. When I look at the tree's , at the birds, at other people, at inanimate objects, the stars, the sun, the moon, everything, i can not help but to see myself in all and as all and through all and all in me. There is no god just Life eternal and WE ARE LIFE.
Jack of USA says:
I have been a contemplative person for over 14 years, using prayer, and especially meditation to deepen my awareness of my spiritual self. Obviously, this is a journey within, looking for the meaning without. My assumptions regarding God have so dramatically changed that I am compelled to annouce my atheism but I could not renounce my spiritual self so long suppressed and so thoroughly fleshed out. When reading the standard atheism literature it was all based on pure scientific theory but even though I think that has a real place in our development it is the most sterile mechanism to explain our human behaviour and want for a better world. I was pleased to find your presence on the internet, and I hope it will provide support and further development of a better world.
Oh, wow....what a great find today! I thought I was the only one! I seriously was beginning to think something was wrong with me, lol. Atheist or Theist? Pick one, you crazy woman! It's so good to know that there is a group of people who define their spirituality exactly the way I do!
Michael (55, Consulting (Professional Services)) of USA says:
I am an Atheist, I do not believe in any god or gods or ghost or goblins or the bogyman, Santa Claus, or the tooth fairy.
I struggle with the term "Spiritual" because I know how most of the world interprets that word. Even those that say they are "Spiritual but not religious" typically believe in god or that humans have a soul that lives on after death or have some other supernatural belief. I do not know if I am a spiritual atheist or not, I know I am an atheist because I do not believe in god, but I cannot define spirituality in a way that makes sense to me. It is the spirit part of the word that I do not like, I do not believe in spirits and to embrace the word spiritualty would seem to imply that I did.
I can agree with much of what has been said in the comments preceding mine and in that sense I feel an affinity, which would imply that I view myself as a spiritual atheist but in the end, I can only say that I am a Atheist with some spiritual practices and/or tendencies. I like to meditate, not because I think that it gets me closer to an external force but because it gets me closer to me. I seek meaning in my life and that meaning is impacted by and impacts others. I am a believer in transcendence, in a purely secular way, that through knowledge we can transcend a non-working situation. I believe in meaning, albeit in an existentialist sort of way.
I'm sure it is evident that I am not yet clear on this topic but I will continue to try and live my life in a way that is optimal for not only me, but others and who knows, I may even find clarity.
Xenia S. (41, freelance writer) of Indonesia says:
We are lonely, aren'we? And we know there's nobody out there to unite us - it is OUR FATE that bound us together here... That fate is certainly not cast by god or something - it just happened to us humans on this earth - we will never be one, yet we always search for unity, we know that we live just one life in this one dirty planet - we try to survive, we hope for better living, for ourselves, for everyone... being atheistic also means spiritualistic to me... not to certain god or divinity - but to better humanity, it's what we fight for here and forevermore!
OsirisOnyx (27, Mental Health Case Manager) of Southern USA says:
I'm no longer a theist, but I am not purist humanist/atheist. Spiritual atheism well summarized my view of existence. It seems we have evolved some extra-sensory awareness (at least I have experienced this since childhood), and quantum physics and the behavior of photons and other subatomic particles seems to indicate that there is definitely some inherent interconnected workings among all the Universe. The mere fact that photons of light behave the way they do prevents me from fitting into the purist category of atheist. Rather, it seems that we are all individually gods, and collectively "god". Cause and effect, shared electron fields, shared everything for that matter seems to make us all a lot closer to each other than we think. Therefore, perhaps we are evolving into a conscious entity that shares a very personal experience called life, at a self-aware level, both individually and collectively. Is there a clock-maker? I have to say "no". Is there a super-ordinate being? Again "no". Are we able to create, destroy, judge, uplift, bless, curse, etc? Absolutely. We are the closest thing we will ever experience to "god". That is where I currently stand and for that matter consider myself a spiritual atheist. Thank you.
Emma (17, Student) of Ireland says:
In my opinion, page 127 of Arthur Golden's novel 'Memoirs of a Geisha' sums up an interesting philosophy which I believe to be spiritual atheism.
"I'd never understood how closely things are connected to one another. And it isn't just the zodiac I'm talking about. We human beings are only a part of something very much larger. When we walk along, we may crush a beetle or simply cause a change in the air so that a fly ends up where it might never have gone otherwise. And if we think of the same example but with ourselves in the role of the insect, and the larger universe in the role we've just played, it's perfectly clear that we're affected every day by forces over which we have no more control than the poor beetle has over our gigantic foot as it descends upon it. What are we to do? We must use whatever methods we can to understand the movement of the universe around us and time our actions so that we are not fighting the currents, but moving with them."