1. Joined
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    20 Apr '11 14:14
    I was recently listing to this podcast:

    http://www.pointofinquiry.org/spirituality_friend_or_foe_adam_frank_and_tom_flynn/

    Essentially, it is an interview with two atheists. Adam Frank is of the opinion that there is such a thing as 'spiritual atheism': essentially, the sense of awe and wonder we get when considering the natural universe in all its glory. Tom Flynn argues that although atheists certainly have this sense of awe and wonder, use of the term 'spiritual' is counter-productive since it gives the impression that we believe in spirits and the supernatural.

    I am very much with Tom on this: why use a word metaphorically when we know it can be interpreted in a way we do not intend and there are plenty of other words to describe our feelings without resorting to metaphor.

    The podcast is well worth a listen.

    Any thoughts?

    --- Penguin.
  2. Joined
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    20 Apr '11 14:43
    Originally posted by Penguin
    I was recently listing to this podcast:

    http://www.pointofinquiry.org/spirituality_friend_or_foe_adam_frank_and_tom_flynn/

    Essentially, it is an interview with two atheists. Adam Frank is of the opinion that there is such a thing as 'spiritual atheism': essentially, the sense of awe and wonder we get when considering the natural universe in all its glo ...[text shortened]... orting to metaphor.

    The podcast is well worth a listen.

    Any thoughts?

    --- Penguin.
    Although I haven't listened to the podcast yet (I intend to this evening). I will have to agree with Tom also. In a similar vain when Einstein and Hawking used "God" as a metaphor for nature (in particular, the weird stuff happening in quantum physics that we have yet to understand).

    It is what has caused many creationists to incorrectly figure that Einstein and Hawking admitted to a higher power.
  3. Standard memberblack beetle
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    20 Apr '11 18:42
    Originally posted by Penguin
    I was recently listing to this podcast:

    http://www.pointofinquiry.org/spirituality_friend_or_foe_adam_frank_and_tom_flynn/

    Essentially, it is an interview with two atheists. Adam Frank is of the opinion that there is such a thing as 'spiritual atheism': essentially, the sense of awe and wonder we get when considering the natural universe in all its glo ...[text shortened]... orting to metaphor.

    The podcast is well worth a listen.

    Any thoughts?

    --- Penguin.
    In philosophy "spiritualism" is the doctrine that the spirit exists as distinct from matter, or that "spirit is the sole reality" (for example check the Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English/ 2009, originally published by Oxford University Press/ 2009). Therefore the basic philosophical understanding is "the power of the spirit", and of course "the quality or state of being spiritual" (Webster 1913) -and this is exactly the definition I have in mind.

    However, most people are aware of its common definition ("a system of belief or religious practice based on supposed communication with the spirits of the dead, esp. through mediums", and in addition "...the doctrine, in opposition to the materialists, that all which exists is spirit, or soul -that what is called the external world is either a succession of notions impressed on the mind by the Deity, as maintained by Berkeley, or else the mere educt of the mind itself, as taught by Fichte (Webster 1913), and in addition (...a belief that departed spirits hold intercourse with mortals by means of physical phenomena, as by rapping, or during abnormal mental states, as in trances, or the like, commonly manifested through a person of special susceptibility, called a medium; spiritism; the doctrines and practices of spiritualists).

    There are another definitions yet, ie:
    1. a. The belief that the dead communicate with the living, as through a medium.
    b. The practices or doctrines of those holding such a belief.
    2. A philosophy, doctrine, or religion emphasizing the spiritual aspect of being (Answers com.)
    3. Belief that the souls of the dead can make contact with the living, usually through a medium or during abnormal mental states such as trances. The basis of spiritualism is the conviction that spirit is the essence of life and that it lives on after the body dies. A medium is a person sensitive to vibrations from the spirit world, who may hold meetings known as séances in order to seek messages from spirits. A "control" is a spirit that gives messages to the human medium, who in turn gives them to other people. Spirits are also thought to manifest themselves through such means as rapping or levitating objects. Some spiritualists claim powers of paranormal healing. Scientific study of spiritualist phenomena has been the focus of the Society for Psychical Research, founded in Britain in 1882 (Britannica)

    And finally there are also theological and theosophical definitions as wellšŸ˜µ
  4. Standard memberfinnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
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    20 Apr '11 19:121 edit
    Originally posted by Penguin


    I am very much with Tom on this: why use a word metaphorically when we know it can be interpreted in a way we do not intend and there are plenty of other words to describe our feelings without resorting to metaphor.

    --- Penguin.
    One reason may be that the word - Spiritual but not I think the rather different word Spiritualism - is currently in wide use to embrace topics which an atheist wants to discuss?

    Put another way, one problem with spawning different words for a common topic is that this disguises the differences which matter and makes debate more difficult. It is not helpful to use different words when talking about the same topic.

    Something I was reading lately questions if atheism is a religious position. It suggested that if we define "religious" as the belief system of people who believe in God (say) then atheism is not included in that definition. But if atheists want to make a statement such as "there is no God" - then they are indeed making a religious statement, albeit in this case a negative one. Any serious discussion about religious belief which omitted atheist views would be incomplete and inadequate - it would fail to consider important religious questions from at least that critical point of view. Similarly, it would be inadequate to set out an atheist viewpoint which neglects to deal with the religious opinions which it must be competing with, again because it would be leaving wide open some strongly held contrary opinions that might, in principle, if undefended, be critical.
  5. Joined
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    20 Apr '11 20:41
    Originally posted by Penguin
    I was recently listing to this podcast:

    http://www.pointofinquiry.org/spirituality_friend_or_foe_adam_frank_and_tom_flynn/

    Essentially, it is an interview with two atheists. Adam Frank is of the opinion that there is such a thing as 'spiritual atheism': essentially, the sense of awe and wonder we get when considering the natural universe in all its glo ...[text shortened]... orting to metaphor.

    The podcast is well worth a listen.

    Any thoughts?

    --- Penguin.
    I suppose that saying you are a spiritual atheist can be counterproductive if it is likely to be understood as having belief in spirits and the supernatural, when that is not your intention.

    But on the other hand, telling theists you are a spiritual atheist (if you are) can be an entry point to an conversation that explains the use of the term, and may reveal that there is a shared sense of awe and wonder at the universe in all its glory.
  6. Hmmm . . .
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    22 Apr '11 00:10
    The hummingbird darting to and fro:
    how spirited his movements seem!

    Do I in my living any longer live
    with such a spiritedness?

    Or has my spirit become flabby and thick
    under layers of doctrine, dogma, and other insistences?
    Must I hang a label from my neck,
    or a girdle ‘round my mind,
    to gain admittance
    among some orthodox authorities, in charge
    of declaring the only proper “spirituality”?

    No! Let my spirit be as spirited
    as the hummingbird,
    darting to and fro…
  7. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    27 Apr '11 10:371 edit
    I like it,("spiritual artheism" ), its says to me "avoid extremes", and " the correct observation is in the middle", or something like that.

    While at the same time implying that to find "the middle" we must be aware of extremes.

    Then again you might confuse a lot of people too...

    Thnx guys, nice thread šŸ™‚
  8. Joined
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    27 Apr '11 12:20
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    I like it,("spiritual artheism" ), its says to me "avoid extremes", and " the correct observation is in the middle", or something like that.

    While at the same time implying that to find "the middle" we must be aware of extremes.

    Then again you might confuse a lot of people too...

    Thnx guys, nice thread šŸ™‚
    In other words, be vague to sound deep.
  9. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    27 Apr '11 12:28
    Originally posted by lausey
    In other words, be vague to sound deep.
    In other words, it's a fine line between one persons defintion of "deep" and the nexts'.
    Often, the most "deepest" people are percieved as fools by the "plebs".
  10. Standard memberPalynka
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    27 Apr '11 15:51
    Aren't certain branches of Buddhism clearly forms of spiritual atheism?

    As for awe and wonder, I'm not sure mixing literal and metaphorical uses of the same word is a good idea.
  11. Joined
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    28 Apr '11 08:24
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    In other words, it's a fine line between one persons defintion of "deep" and the nexts'.
    Often, the most "deepest" people are percieved as fools by the "plebs".
    True, but too often I have seen people use this as an excuse to use use exotic words to sound clever.

    For example, Deepak Chopra's "Quantum Mysticism". He is far from deep. A lot of what he says is completely meaningless. Many people do not want to question it because they do not want to appear ignorant and look like a fool. Followers do not understand what he says themselves and claim that they do, and say sceptics "do not get it".
  12. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    28 Apr '11 08:59
    Originally posted by lausey
    True, but too often I have seen people use this as an excuse to use use exotic words to sound clever.

    For example, Deepak Chopra's "Quantum Mysticism". He is far from deep. A lot of what he says is completely meaningless. Many people do not want to question it because they do not want to appear ignorant and look like a fool. Followers do not understand what he says themselves and claim that they do, and say sceptics "do not get it".
    Sure...

    I believe that great power comes from great humility, which is a requirement for any "spiritual growth" . Only a fool insists that they are enlightened when they are not.
    It takes a very wise person to realize that the god-seed is within every plebian. To realize that the Great Spirit manifests in all things , especially our fellow brothers and sisters.
  13. Standard memberPalynka
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    28 Apr '11 10:45
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    It takes a very wise person to realize that the god-seed is within every plebian. To realize that the Great Spirit manifests in all things , especially our fellow brothers and sisters.
    Are you a very wise person?
  14. Cape Town
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    28 Apr '11 10:51
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Are you a very wise person?
    Rather contradicts the 'great humility' doesn't it?
  15. Joined
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    28 Apr '11 11:02
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Are you a very wise person?
    Wise beyond his words.
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