Spirituality and/or Religion? -
I have asked, “Is it possible to be a spiritual person without being a religious person?,” “Is it conceivable to be a spiritual person and not belong to an organized religion?,” and “Can a person be spiritual and at the same time be an atheist?” I submit that the answers to all of these questions is yes. The answers are yes, if we acknowledge that religion is man-made and spirituality is nature-made. George Vaillant declared that, “religion arises from culture; spirituality arises from biology.” (2008) Spirituality invites us to become awakened to ourselves and to the world around us. I maintain that each one of us has a life encapsulated in Nature, human nature, and our own nature. I announce that this awakening can happen without adhering to any religion. I recognize that for some spirituality can include religion, but it doesn't have to. Really, to be a spiritual person doesn't require a belief in a God. I view spirituality from the following two perspectives: 1.) Geistlich - spiritual matters with a religious view and God is part of spirituality. From the religious view our search is strongly guided from the outside by dogma, or 2.) Geistig - spiritual matters without a religious view where the Self is the bases of spirituality. From this view the awakening is a self-search of experiences strongly guided from the inside. I do value the following quote by Paul Bjorklund saying, “spirituality is an inviting word when it is understood. It invites us to discover our world of values and beliefs.” (1983) Please feel free to comment on spirituality and/or religion.
An atheist I know hates it when I use the word spiritual, but I feel a certain bond with other organisms just based on the fact that we share the same basic DNA.
I agree with you but it does not mean I am spiritual. Being spiritual has a certain ring to it with believers of every sort and it is generally taken to mean "I believe but in my own way." Most of the religious world believes but in their own way. This is why we need agnostic atheists to set the record straight.
Michael, Joan and Loren,
You all make some good points and have given me some things to consider.
I look at the night sky and feel a sense of wonder, especially as I seek information about what I see. Astronomy explains what I see and not what I feel.
I observe fossils in layers of rocks and feel a fascination with the stories embedded in stone. Geology explains what I see and not what I feel.
I give birth to twins and feel dumbstruck by realizing these two babies exist as scions of thousands of generations of survivors. Genealogy reveals their place on a family ancestry chart and not what I feel.
Some call these events as expressions of the spiritual, I don't. My feelings happen because I am a sentient human being, in tune with my emotions as it responds to the world around me. I have no soul, nor do I have a spirit. My mind and body link to give expression to what it means to be a human. There is no higher power, nor any magical energy, nor any god.
Very well put, Joan.
My problem with spirituality remains the same as it was back in October of 2015 when I opined regarding that word in my blog: the root word, "spirit." Spirit is a concept without concrete or at least consistent referent, and as such it is useless in terms of attempting to contribute to discussions regarding awe or wonder or numinous experiences. Worse, most of the vocabulary aimed at such experiences has been usurped by the religious community and given equally vague and unhelpful definitions. Certainly there are those who have at least attempted to correct this problem. Sam Harris is one notable example, but the problem persists regardless.
For myself, I am neither religious nor spiritual. I DO have a considerable sense of wonder for this reality (one look at a picture of the Eagle Nebula can do that for me!), and ages ago I felt things which clearly class with what would be called numinous. However, I assign no specious supernatural agency to those feelings. Whatever anyone experiences, whether normal or out of the ordinary, the origins of those experiences are exclusively PHYSIOLOGICAL. Being based in physical elements, they can be studied and understood for their objective quantities as much as they can be felt and appreciated for their subjective qualities. Any injection of metaphysics or religiosity only serves to muddy the waters, and I for myself can do without that noise.