Are Atheists Spiritual?
I know what you may be thinking. Why would I write about Atheism on a spirituality blog? And moreover, about a group of people who would likely think most of my beliefs are deeply rooted in bullshit?
Because Atheism is a type of spirituality.
Many spiritual folks believe they’ve found ‘the way’. No, no, no, no, no. You’ve found your way, honey. Not the only way.
Atheism is a valid spiritual path.
Read that until it sinks in.
With the rise of the ‘spiritual, but not religious’ label, we’re getting our wires crossed at times. Spirituality is not necessarily a belief in ‘the Universe’ itself or a power that supersedes a singular, Deified figure. It’s not a euphemism for being into yoga, meditation, Shamanism or other new-age practices. Spirituality is a personal practice of any kind that helps us to better understand our ourselves and decipher our interactions with the world. To me, that means it encompasses normalised therapies like psychology and hypnosis, as well as more fringe practices like occultism and Satanism.
Atheists still appear on the gradient scale of spirituality, regardless of the fact that many of them occupy the opposite end zone to myself and many of us reading here.
Being an Atheist just means you don’t believe in a God/deity of sorts. It doesn’t preclude an appreciation for the beauty of life or the stunning complexity of our Universe. In some ways, to believe that no benevolent God exists and this life is the only shot you get is a greater declaration of faith than the comfy, velvet-coffin feeling of trusting in an external force. [N.B. People often get atheism confused with nihilism, which it is not].
Atheism is not my belief but is still deserving of our air time. I didn’t build Straight Woo to reinforce only certain religions and spiritual practices, or to sell you on following mine (Shamanism). There’s more than enough of that on the web already. I created this site, at least in part, to crack through spiritual dogma.
And just like with the word ‘spirituality’, we’ve culturally misplaced the significance of the word ‘dogma’. Typically we correlate dogma with Catholic schools and social conservatives, but there is just as much dogma in the new-age scene.
In the case of nouveau spiritualists, dogma is rampant: there’s very little individuality and a LOT of ideological indoctrination.
Atheists still belong on the spiritual spectrum for all of the following reasons:
- They believe wholeheartedly in the life we are currently living, not a future perfect Heaven, or a past life Hell.
- Rigorous, mental discernment is a way of approaching and understanding the world, even if it is not my way.
- Rigorous, mental discernment should be a requirement in cultivating a meaningful spiritual practice.
- Richard Dawkins is a gift from God (note: irony).
So the next time this one comes up, remember…Atheism is maybe not your way, but it is a way.
Not your monkeys, not your circus. But a circus still.
I’m curious for the ‘spiritual but not religious folks’ – do you identify as Atheist or Agnostic? According to you, are atheists spiritual?