Why Atheist Spirituality?

‘There has been no human culture to date in which virtue has been predominant’ Terry Eagleton in ‘Reason, Faith and Revolution’.

The objective of this website is to provide an inclusive accessible forum for shared exploration of the meaning of human spirituality.

The emphasis is to explore spirituality from an atheist point of view, but this does not exclude anyone with religious belief. Indeed the site explores some surprising areas of harmony between atheism and religion.

The site is intended for those who are positively interested in the possibility of an atheist spirituality. Contributions to the site should therefore be generous and creative, not argumentative or hostile.

The site editor is Geoff Crocker. Geoff’s profile is set out under ‘Contributors’. To get the site launched, much of the original material has been posted by Geoff. As the site becomes established and attracts more interest, it is hoped that a much wider set of people will contribute posts. Andrew Milne is the site designer.

Why atheist spirituality?

Some might feel that the concept of atheist spirituality is a contradiction in terms. But a lack of belief in God does not necessarily rule out a recognition of human spirituality. Atheism does not necessarily imply a reductionist view that everything in our experience is only physical. And even if it is, even if everything is ultimately shown to consist of physical elements, nevertheless, those physical elements are the building blocks of our metaphysical experience of ideas, of feelings, of truth, of goodness. We might not know, either now or even ever, how the physical generates the metaphysical, but we know for certain that it does. It is this metaphysical dimension which the site explores within an atheist position.

Without a spirituality, personal life and the societies we live in have only a materialist option. And indeed, materialism has flourished as technology has allowed a widespread increase in material standards of living. Our identity comes to depend on what we have or do, rather than who we are. Questions of our inner life are rare, overwhelmed by concern about the brand of goods we consume, or other aspects of our ‘image’.

The core understanding of atheist spirituality for the site to explore is what kind of people we are and want to be, and what kind of society we want to develop. Whether we are or wish to be kind, merciful, generous, and how such values are established and worked out. Within our metaphysical life, the intellect is the arena of facts and ideas, the emotion is the arena of our feelings, and our spirituality is the arena characterising our virtues or vices.

Site organisation

The site is structured to try to avoid long lists of contributions which quickly become difficult to access or assimilate. As a start, contributions, both posts and comments, are organised under seven categories, ie

  • Think pieces some of which may be philosophical and others of a general nature
  • Virtues explores a range of virtues for life
  • Vices does the same with the antithesis of virtue
  • Literature presents and reviews relevant books and other resources
  • From religion interprets the religious contribution in terms of allegory, myth and meaning
  • Zeitgeist examines the nature of our age

On the home page, click on the tiles to enter each forum, or click on the headings at the top of the page. Pages then show posts and comments can be made to amplify the ideas of the posts. Once a post has been selected, the categories appear in a panel on the right hand side of the page, and can be used to navigate through the site content.