Spirituality can be a very vague term and has many unique definitions depending on who you ask. It is often assumed to be connected to religions, but some might disagree. Spiritual atheists aren’t religious at all but instead, believe in “spirit” by another definition.
To put it simply, a spiritual person is someone who is not concerned with material matters. They are concerned about the universe itself and use this feeling to navigate their days. This can be called an “energy”. We all have our own energy, as does the universe. Energy can be a feeling, an emotion, or just a “vibe”.
What Is a Spiritual Atheist?
A spiritual atheist is someone who, unlike a religious person, does not believe in any “God”. Instead, they believe in a higher consciousness that cannot be represented as a physical being. They believe the universe governs itself through actions and intentions.
This spirit flows amongst us all and connects everyone and everything on every scale, from minor coincidences to major global changes. Spiritual atheists believe each person has a soul that should be tended to, and a hard to define spirit which flows amongst us, similar to the energy, but more personal and unique to the individual.
Spiritual atheists believe in ideas like Karma, which govern us through consequences equal to our actions. If you put good into the universe, you will have a good life in return. This contrasts with the religious idea that God decides our fate.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson considers himself a spiritual atheist and in one famous quote, explains why the universe connects us all and why our lives are more meaningful than they might seem at times.
He says: “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. And to the rest of the universe, atomically.”
In our modern times, religion is becoming less popular, especially among young people. The advances in science can make religion seem unappealing, and yet still, we crave meaning. Spiritual atheists find meaning in their lives through devotion to the universe, others and themselves. Their purpose is to improve, nurture and learn in order to reach their true path.
The Butterfly Effect
Spiritual Atheism can be linked to the Butterfly Effect – both a spiritual and physics-based theory. Spirituality and science are becoming more linked, and this is no exception.
The butterfly effect tells us that the tiniest of actions, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, can have massive impacts. It may be far in the future or far away, but every action has a reaction.
In spiritual terms, this means a spiritual atheist is more compassionate and considerate of the world around them as well as themselves. They are aware of their actions and behave intentionally to influence the world in their chosen way.
How Does a Spiritual Atheist Think?
Spiritual atheists are more aware of their thoughts and mental state than others. They may practice meditation to help them understand themselves and discover their true purpose.
They are deep thinkers and often philosophers. It means that they seek to answer the most important questions in life without relying on the idea of a physical God. Instead, they take responsibility for their own lives.
Spiritual atheists govern their own lives using their own rules, which typically develop around their core values and priorities. These tend to include matters such as kindness and compassion for other beings.
These values dictate their behavior in order to create positive karma for themselves and add positivity to the world around them. This differs greatly from religion, where the rules they must live by are dictated in scripture.
The beliefs of spiritual atheists are similar to those of the Buddhists. Buddhism is a path to enlightenment and living life well. It is often misunderstood as worshiping Buddha, but true believers will note that the intention is to follow in his path, not pray and devote themselves to him.
Why Spiritual Atheism Makes Sense
Ultimately, being a spiritual atheist is a way to add meaning and value to your life without relying on the structure of religion and debating the rules it sets. For matters such as the clothes we wear and even the food we eat, religion can feel outdated. Spirituality allows us to stay connected to the universe and each other without the obstacle’s religion brings.
The issue of an all-powerful and almost supernatural “god” choosing who lives or dies or suffers and succeeds is widely debated. With spirituality, we understand that we are in charge of what happens to us.
Through matters like Karma, the butterfly effect and responsibility, we dictate what happens to us. It also brings comfort to the suffering we don’t feel we deserve, by explaining that the universe cannot always be predicted.
We put faith in the idea that everything happens for a reason, even if we can’t see it yet. Each moment of our lives is connected, and one tragedy could change our lives for the better eventually.
Why It Encourages Self-Improvement
Spiritual atheism encourages self-betterment, while some complain that religion does not. Instead of reliance on an external God to “guide us”, we take responsibility for our own actions and the consequences involved. This encourages compassion for our fellow beings, the desire to work on ourselves and more self-awareness.
Spiritual atheism can seem to be a complicated concept and may differ in the mind of each person, but it is simple at heart. It is the belief that the universe is connected and that our actions, thoughts, and intentions have an impact on ourselves, others and the world around us.
Spiritual atheists believe in being positive influences on all scales to better themselves and the way they live. They work towards enlightenment, which will allow them to discover their true purpose on this Earth.
Between this and their values and morals, a spiritual atheist will devote their lives to achieving these goals and living as fully and as well as possible.
I remember I used to call myself “miscellaneous” to define my “religion” back in high school since it was a hodge podge of whatever practices I liked and felt resonated with me. That was until I coined the term “philosophical atheist” for myself a couple of years later when the friends I was making at university were all pretty staunch atheists. My thing was: I dont argue the existence of God, but the definition of one.
Thanks for writing the article. I feel validated. LOL