Secular Spirituality

13 Mar

Atheists can be Spiritual in a Secular Context

I want to touch on this debate a little bit since it’s important both for considering ‘secularism‘ and matters of ‘spirituality.’  The problem with this whole controversy is at least two different things are being talked about in the discussion → the approach that’s taken to living life in the world, and two, the manner in which religions metaphysicalize about reality. … Two separate issues; they need to be handled separately, if that’s even possible.

Here’s the crux of the debate:  what is “spirituality” and does it necessarily imply the metaphysics of other-worldly spirits and spiritism?  If it does, then “spirituality” like “religion” is a non-starter.  But if “spirituality” has a different connotation from the etherealism of phantom-based metaphysics, then there’s absolutely no need to endorse a view of spirituality-as-spiritism.  None whatsoever.  And that means you can draw from religion its more relevant and worthwhile moral prognostications and character-building psychologies, while dismissing its more superstitious and phantasmic-oriented elements.  You wouldn’t be losing anything by setting the old metaphysics aside.

So if the work of Stephen Batchelor and Sam Harris has any bearing on this conversation, you don’t need to accept “etherealism” in order to embrace “spirituality.”

Atheists can (indeed) be spiritual in a secular context.


‘Religion for Atheists’: How to Get Past An Argumentative Impasse – Posted in General at 1:54 pm by nemo

My posts on Xtianity may sound like de Boton’s thesis, but my point is different. Atheism can be a spiritual context (consider Buddhism and Jainism). You don’t have to ‘borrow’ from religion in some negative opposition turned picky-choosy. I will have to read de Boton’s book, and his criticism of the new atheists is important.

But the attempt to borrow from religion, given assumptions that spirituality doesn’t really exist, doesn’t work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: