Spirituality for the Atheist?

There are a large and growing number of metaphysically challenged individuals who claim to embrace a spirituality devoid of a soul, immortality or divinity.

Many of these individuals are scientists, others philosophers and broadly learned professors who claim that they are proponents of naturalism as opposed to supernaturalism. To my way of thinking, they are misusing the concept of spirituality.

They believe that their metaphysical perspective allows them to appreciate the beauty and mystery of the universe around them despite the fact that they see existence as a chance occurrence. There can be no higher purpose for existence since everything can be explained by natural phenomena.

Fine with me.  Enjoy the mystery, the beauty, the awesome quality of existence–just don’t use another term for what you desire to describe.

Until about nine years ago, I would have eagerly embraced this notion myself.  It would have adequately described by metaphysical perspective on reality.  What changed me have been the extraordinary experiences of otherwise ordinary and sane indivduals.

I have consistently referred to those experiences in all of my writings and lectures. They remain the stubborn if unexplainable fact which cannot be ignored or denied. The impossiblity of explaining them by ordinary logic or science does not diminish their metaphysical reality.  And no one who honestly considers them, then walk away unchanged by their implications.

Whether they fall into the category of after-death communications [ADCs] or near-death experiences [NDE], or medium experiences, or reincarnation experiences, they cannot be dismissed as fabrications, hallucinations or delusions.

Once someone has taken and time to seriously consider them, they can no longer assume a naturalistic attitude towards existence. Or can they? 

I reserve the possibility that all of those experiences point to a higher level of being which may someday be understood in more ‘scientific’ terms.  For instance, the electromagnetic specturm, which is basic science for many, may turn out to be one of an infinite series of energy spectrums.  Perhaps our souls will someday be understood as existing in one of those spectrums.

In that sense, natural and supernatural may become one. But the main point is this–the reality of this other dimension brings with it truly spiritual implications such as 1] the existence of the immaterial soul, 2] a level of intelligence and being which far surpasses our own, 3] a purpose for our existence and even suffering, 4] a notion of love which surpasses human understanding.

My point is simply this–let’s continue to discuss these issues openly and rationally. If my assumptions are incorrect, please advise my how and why I am wrong.  Until then, I will question the spirituality of atheists.

One thought on “Spirituality for the Atheist?”

  1. There’s a valid naturalistic, non-dualistic spirituality, consistent with science, that affirms our real physical and causal connections to the cosmos. It doesn’t provide us with a soul, or ultimate meaning, but instead re-enchants the physical world, as for instance manifested in the very consciousness that seeks enlightenment. Nature might be enough to ground an authentic spirituality, one that finds itself complete in this world, now.

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