I'm not talking about deeminz and gawds, or the supernatural here, just the state of being spiritual.
Do you have it? What is it to you? What accounts for it in the evolutionary model?
Muchos Gracias Amigos. (edit) examples: The birth of your child... inspiration at a work of art... awe of the universe at large.
you already have the answer in your question: "awe of the universe at large." this is exactly what my sense of spirituality is. i am not offended by the word either, and yet also agree with terry, that it is just a space filler of sorts.
my sense of spirituality is really a sense of profound awe and wonder at nature and the cosmos. i feel more spiritual looking at online photos from the Hubble space telescope than i ever did on the last afternoon of a convention (which is where i always did as a dub).
but saying: "a sense of profound awe and wonder at nature and the cosmos", gives the wrong impression of me being separate and looking in. but the profound awe comes from the feeling of being part of it. the feeling from looking outward, and looking inward.
my appreciation at nature has been heightened a thousand-fold since learning the theory of evolution by natural selection. i never thought i could hold nature in such reverence as i do know. scientific understanding is simply the program. the output is the awe i feel.
i had a look around at some of my favorite atheist web sites. and the essay that i found that explains how i feel the best, is this one. i highly recommend that anyone even curious about atheism read it. this guy is brilliant, and i could not describe it better myself:
When I contemplate these things, this is when I experience wonder. We are stardust, part of the cosmos that is our home. We are, in a sense, the universe examining itself. From our tiny and remote corner of the cosmos, we have gazed across the light-years, unraveled the natural laws that hold on the very largest of scales, and traced our own origins all the way back to the Big Bang. How can such profound understanding not instill in us a sense of awe?
The truth is far more inspiring and powerful than religious mythology. Knowing that the cosmos was not made just for us opens up whole new vistas of wonder and mystery - it makes it all the more surprising and amazing that we are here regardless. Our own existence, and our consciousness of that existence, is a thing so incredible and strange that it alone qualifies as the greatest miracle in our experience. Our life is a glorious mystery, and only by living with our eyes on the ground can we ignore this fact. When one truly understands this, one stands in awe of everything - and that is the spirituality of an atheist.
i do not really like the words: spirituality and god. but if forced to use them, i always use them in reference to nature with the greatest reverence and wonder.
PS- in the evolutionary model, we can easily demonstrate by observation that humans are wired for spiritual thought process. a lot of it comes from the right temporal lobe. and spirituality held many tribes and societies together in our long dark history.
as far as i am concerned regarding an evolutionary perspective, and i know i am not alone, spirituality in the classic sense really comes from ignorance and credulity. humans wanting to explain things they did not understand, and then feeling a sense of awe and fear at the god they made in their image. that's why really starting to understand the universe and nature via science, inspires such a true sense of awe and wonder in people who take the time to learn it.