Another question for atheists, spirituality

by IP_SEC 34 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • prophecor

    After work, last night, my wife picked me up and we took a ride out to Atlantic City. We had dinner with the King ( BURGER KING, That Is ) and as bad as was the weather, the fog was crippling coming home, we got there about 1am.

    I go there often to free up my heart and mind. A place of solace. There's nothing quite like looking at the ocean in the middle of the night. My wife knows how I am about the sea, that it calls me and I have to answer. I feel so at home when at the shore.

    We stood there as I watched in awe of the ocean. We were able to keep silent, with no speech required, as I am a firm believer in a heavenly caretaker, and the ocean to me, is like having access to God's back door.

    " I don't know how anyone can not believe in God ", was what I'd said to her as we were walking away from the Atlantic Ocean. I turned back several times for one final glance. The fog was overbearing, and in a nice way, overwhelming.

    I'll never be a practicing Jehovah's Witness or go to another Kingdom Hall as long as I live, but I will always believe in God. I cannot believe that we are all part of some kind of cosmic ecological accident. I also believe that he will make his will clear to me in my life, despite my no longer being a witness, in fact, I believe part of His true purpose was for me to find myself out of the organisation, in order that I might find out his true purpose my life. What that's going to be I'm anxiously awaiting. Life is becoming more and more revealing everyday. There's got to be something waiting for me around the corner.

  • ButterflyCharmer

    Spirituality for everyone is very different and personal. I would say that it is within me, to have love
    for myself, and have love and respect for others. To love and respect our earth, and treat others as
    i would want to be treated. The birth of my son was an amazing experience, its the point that i learned
    to love more deeply than i would have ever thought possible. For me and my husband, it suits us just
    to know that we are good people.


  • Sith

    Prophecor, I'm not gay or anything, but that was a beautiful post

  • IP_SEC
    SPIRITUALITY is one of those junk words without definition. It triggers inferences.

    Terry, I realize this, that is why I gave examples of what I specifically meant. And so what if someone draws inferences on what is meant by my use of the word, that's why I asked "what is it to you?" To SixofNine its bullshinto. Thats fine, that is the answer for him. This isnt a debate thread, it's just a thread asking for opinions. Are not opinions merely a personal point of view that can be taken from an inference?

    (edit) examples: The birth of your child... inspiration at a work of art... awe of the universe at large.
    When something can mean anything; it really only means nothing.

    If a cliche falls in the forest does it make a sound?

    Sith, I too told God (god) to go wax his pud.

  • tetrapod.sapien
    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.

    hey IP,

    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:

    a highlight:

    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.

    thanks IP,


    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.

  • SixofNine
    I tried to be an atheist. I told God to go fuck himself.

    I find that people who are truly atheistic (ie; not going thru a period of belief transition), are not people who are angry with god (at least not for very long). For myself, while I had a very short period of anger at god, atheism came to me simply as a default position because I don't see any evidence for God. I can't be angry at something/one that I don't really believe exist.

    I did go thru a (also short) period where I imagined that if a God exist, then he/she/it was not all-powerful, and therefor not responsible for the suffering in the universe. This got me beyond the angry-at-god phase; but that idea doesn't really raise to the level most people, myself included, hold as a definition of "GOD", does it? So, I ditched that thought fairly quickly.

    IPSEC, if you don't like well thought out replies to your questions, even if contrary to good personal ad material ("I'm spiritual but not religious"), this might not be the place to ask them.

  • JamesThomas

    Unfortunately the word "spiritual" is often equated with religious deities. However, these gods are small, man-like and easy to understand. Whereas the word "spiritual" is pointing to something far greater and indefinable.

    As has already been mentioned, there is an indescribable greatness and grandeur of existence which arouses awe and wonder; a dynamic aliveness within and around us that is infinitely beyond the mind to grasp. In those moments of awe, when the mind becomes speechless and the belief of ourselves as separate from what IS dissolves, we realize there are no real walls and we are one with this vast splendor of significance. This is what I feel the word "spiritual" points to; and it is our true and real nature.

    We don't need gods or religion to give us what we already are. (edited to add: religions may have originally used myth and stories to help point to this inner grandeur, but along the way we took the stories to be true, and rather than awaken and enlightened us, they blinded us and put us to sleep.) j

  • Midget-Sasquatch

    Awe and wonder with life, the cosmos, how it and we got here can make me very serene at times. Those emotions and thoughts are all refreshing and inspiring, so I see how many people would take that sense of connectedness to a vaster plane, as being a spiritual experience.

    I've never been moved to be a better person by any of it though. Appreciative of what I have? Yes..Nobler?...not really. But seeing strangers helping out other strangers in even the smallest ways, brings me out of my usual grumpiness and makes we want to be more involved, more of a positive influence and more conscientious. I'm more hopeful of humanity in those moments. I guess thats my take on what spirituality focusses on.

  • talesin


    I agree, and would take it a step further.

    That is a large part of what I call unconditional love. You see it, and it feels sooo good, doesn't it? I also see it in friends; when I know happy children, who have loving nurturing parents, brothers and sisters who love each other, partners who are still loving, 15 years later. Random kind acts of strangers are deeply touching as well.

    It's all forms of true love ... people who know and practice love as an action word in their daily lives (ie, my friends), move me to greater hope, too ,,, and the more at peace I feel, the more of those ordinary, but also extraordinary, folk are drawn to me.

    True, most of us here have our times of working thru rage, anger, coming to our peace (well, we were betrayed, and are dealing with our feelings), but some folks actually have loving families, and it feels good to soak it up when I'm around them.

    My friends are the bestest.

    I started with strangers, too. Well, first animules,,, and nature, then strangers. Some of those strangers became my friends ... and so on.



  • Jeffro

    tetrapod.sapien wrote:

    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)

    I agree strongly with that. The last convention I went to was an international convention, and at the of the last day, everyone was clapping for literally about 15 minutes. The clapping would start to subside a bit and then would start up again in gusto. That wasn't spiritual, it was just plain silly and something I couldn't participate in beyond what I thought of as 'normal clapping time'. I'm not really sure that I would call (my) awe of the universe 'spirituality' but it is probably as close as I get these days.
    I also agree very strongly with Terry that 'spirituality' is an extremely vague term that means different things to just about everyone. Even among people of the same faith, there is a whole spectrum of individual's understanding of aspects of spirituality.

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