Up until this post I have battled the good fight for us spiritual agnostics. Wow people would say, How can you be spiritual and agnostic? Well you can’t is the answer I have come to.
There is no God, I have pretty much believed that but I have held onto an irrational belief that there must be something beyond us, well as far as I can tell there isn’t, so therefore I am now an Atheist. There I said it. I have battled long and hard in “coming out” so to speak. Why? Well I was worried that I would somehow remove the awe and wonder that is this universe, but I heard a great comment the other day that stunned me into atheism. “We are the universe made self aware”.
I would also like to thank Cecil Adams, the Dopers, Point of Inquiry [great podcasts], The ABC Science Show, Skeptics etc etc. but the biggest contributor to my skeptical outlook are the fucking stupid creationists and people pushing bad science, it’s not even science it’s a bunch of people using crap to back up crap.
So to all you literal bible bashers, thank you for opening my closet door.
I know this is not GD, so I only offer this in the spirit of MPSIMS. I agree with you that one cannot be spiritual and agnostic in the framework of the Abrahamic religions, but the eastern philosophies are much more accommodating. I consider myself mostly Buddhist which I view as secular philosophy, with a strong dose of Taoism, which I view as a non-theistic ‘religion’, and dashes of Hinduism (which does have atheist sects) and animism.
I have been confronted with the same question - when someone asks: “how can you spiritual and agnostic ( or atheist)?” Answer: “Mu!”
My interpretation of the Tao is probably mine alone, but I consider it the equivalent of Nature - a non-sentient force that binds us all together (or rather the holistic synthesis of all the forces we know - and a few we don’t know.)
To live a spiritual life is to live in harmony with Nature or the Tao. And while meditation is a great personal practice to harmonize oneself, physics and the other hard sciences are much more effective in determining what those forces that bind us all together actually are and how they work. So a tree is a great expression of the Tao. And so is a computer. Both are manifestations of the forces of Nature/Tao at work.
And for myself, becoming atheist and accepting my personal mortality has only increased my sense of awe and wonder of the universe, and increased my respect for life and our self-awareness. It becomes something truly special and rare when one realizes that it was not created, but that we are accidents of the universe. Even if we discover that life and sentience are common throughout the universe, it does not diminish the special circumstances under which it can exist and that it should be cherished when it does occur.
Hopefully the above does not count too much toward witnessing. I only want to show that spirituality and atheism are not mutually exclusive.
And I am still uncertain on the status of lesser beings such as devas and demigods. I’m still an Agnostic Pagan. My Pascal’s wager is burn a stick of incense to whomever may care and to ask that they don’t screw with us too much.
For me, the awe and wonder came after I stopped ascribing it to, essentially, a more powerful person I just happened to call God (other people have different idea of what God or god or gods are. Mine was almost like a big brother who could do magic tricks).
For me, it’s these lines: “The cosmos is also within us; we’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”