Spirituality and Atheism.

Are these two mutually exclusive?

Spirituality – the recognition of a spirit greater than our own at work in our lives and the world around us.

Aoife MacAodh

Atheism – the recognition that there is no intelligent design behind our lives and the world in which we live.

Aoife MacAodh

For the benefit of this argument I have listed the definitions as I see them. Different definitions will produce different results.

To fully appreciate the arguments we must all come from a place of accepting differences in opinions and cultures.

Wars have been fought over less difficult subjects and many violent disagreements have taken place.

Spirituality has been used as an excuse for centuries and millennia to attack and destroy neighbours and/or distant cousins in the name of a particular god or deity. Spirituality has always been owned by the ruling power class and used to wield power over their own subjects and certainly the reason to inflict damage on neighbours.

How then, can we define spirituality as a belief system that confers responsibility on the individual to adhere to the “rules” rather than a show of force to make all around them to adhere to those same “rules” that they themselves are not prepared to.

My definition above does not give anyone the right to overpower, overthrow or in any way bully those with differing views.

What of the atheist?

There is no difference between spirituality and atheism in the practice of the two belief systems. They have both been used as excuses to wage wars, arguments and a reason to gain some sort of advantage in a given political situation. In short spirituality and atheism are simply two sides in a political debate.

Aoife MacAodh

The understanding of the spiritual person should not be upset with the atheist. A belief system based on the knowledge of a greater spirit at work in the world around them should not be frightened nor offended by alternate views.

If those of spiritual beliefs are offended it is a sign that their beliefs are immature and no amount of political bluster will change that.

In the sense of some sort of moral argument the two sides are simply point scoring as there is no underlying difference to their arguments. They are the same thing, neither spiritual nor atheist, just trolls having an argument without worrying about the basis of their beliefs.

Can any spiritual person prove the existence of a greater spirit at work in the world? No.

Can the atheist prove that there is not a greater spirit at work. No.

If it is proof that you need to have a faith journey then that journey will never begin. If you are always looking for proof you will never understand what spirit is.

If we do find proof, what will it look like. If we met it on the street would we recognise it.

The answer is again very simple.

The answer will always be a personal one. It is to determine our own spiritual life and faith journey that leads us to the actions we take as individuals.

The argument can never be used as a political weapon to create political advantage as then both sides are clearly wrong.

We, each and every one of us, has the responsibility to make our own defining rules of belief and behaviour.

Blessings to you all

Aoife