Are atheism and spirituality mutually exclusive? Is it possible to be spiritual without a belief in Spirit/God? And furthermore if there is a Spirit/God would he/she prefer adoration or a universe of spiritually motivated beings?
In essence I am writing about the difference between "spiritual" as it relates to a series of moral and ethical practices and "Spiritual" as it connotes a universe of nonphysical beings or Spirits. Perhaps we should use different terms for each.
The discussion also touches on the difference between religious individuals who feel drawn to and compelled to observe the tenets of a specific belief-system and claim belief and subservience to Spirit/God and an individual who follows the spiritual precepts of compassion, kindness, charity, mutual respect for others and the planet itself.
Prayers often abound with praise and adoration for God, Allah or any other Supreme Being. It seems as if the relationship with man to Spirit/God involves submission and subservience. It is as if Spirit/God will only grant life, success, victory over an enemy if one says the correct prayer, performs the correct ritual, eat the right food.
Buddhism, for instance, is regarded by some as an atheistic religion because of its doctrinal absence of discussion of a Spirit/God. Its appeal to many in the West is based on its understanding of human suffering as related to the content of our mind/consciousness. Its prescription for following the paths to liberation are immensely spiritual and yet have little to do with a Spirit/God of any kind.
I do believe that there is a Spiritual dimension to reality which transcends this physical plane. I am not sure what Spirit/God is but I do believe there may be a hierarchy of non-physical Spiritual beings of which we are one. I do believe evidence exists that we are Spiritual beings having an human experience.
My belief system, however, is not based on the specific teachings of religion but on the evidence offered by human beings who have had extraordinary spiritual experiences. My personal interviews with ordinary people who have had after-death communications or medium-based interactions leads me to weigh the preponderance of evidence. That evidence clearly points to the survival of the soul/spirit after death.
Having made that point, I can still more readily applaud the moral and ethical behavior of an atheist who follows spiritual principles than a hypocritical "man of God" who does not.
I believe that if humanity were more focused on spiritual principles and less on religious dogma and practices we would be doing "God's work" anyway–whether or not we believe in his/hers existence.
I believe that any Spirit/God worthy of the name would prefer a universe of spiritual atheists to one of hypocritical/unethical/ unspiritual believers.