Atheism isn’t anything special, and it really shouldn’t make up someone’s entire personality — nor should it hinder you from exploring different philosophies and ideas in your lifetime. It also shouldn’t compel you to constantly live in a negative headspace or actively fight against exploring topics that might be considered paranormal or “unknown” in nature. There is nothing wrong with healthy skepticism — but there is also nothing wrong with expanding your own horizons and trying new things. That especially includes exploring different spiritual practices — even as an atheist. You don’t have to believe in gods and goddesses to be a spiritual person — and you can certainly live a magical life without the notion of their existence.
Atheism isn’t what everyone thinks it is
Atheism is nothing more than an absence of belief in gods. It is not the absence of belief in spiritual concepts. It is not the rejection of “anything woo,” and it is not the lack of belief in personal enlightenment. Nonetheless, there are people who believe that in order to be an atheist, one must believe in only the things that can be proven by science. There are people who believe that atheism means you don’t believe in the supernatural. It’s confusing that these types of people try to make rules and dogma to being atheistic — therefore making it look like a religion — but they are just one of many types of atheist. Not all of us are the same.
There are several types of atheists, because atheism is just an umbrella term that describes an entire spectrum of “nonbelief.” The most strict-minded atheists tend to be skeptics and antitheists. These are the types who not only reject the existence of deities, but they also reject anything that seems remotely spiritual, religious or showing any kind of belief in the paranormal. They have these staunch, rigid beliefs because they tend to believe that spirituality or any belief in “woo” is bad for society. There are also agnostics who don’t profess to know one way or the other, and there are atheists who literally don’t think about any of this stuff, or care for that matter. There are several different philosophies under the atheism umbrella.
There are even religious atheists such as Buddhists and some Jewish people, as well as people who follow Jainism. These are somewhat similar to how atheist witches exist in that they don’t believe in gods and goddesses, but they also have their own spiritual beliefs. The difference is that atheist witches aren’t often religious at all, but many do enjoy researching and exploring different religious philosophies.
So while there are atheists who don’t believe in anything at all, there are also atheists who are more lenient and open with what they’re willing to consider as far as spiritual belief goes. Neither of these types of atheist are incorrect in how they believe — until they start trying to attach their own personal beliefs to the overall definition of atheism in general. In other words, just because you might not believe in something like ghosts and astrology — doesn’t mean that ghosts and astrology are defined as “god” in the general definition of what atheism is. It’s actually a pretty simple concept to grasp once you put 60 seconds of thought into it!
Spirituality and religion are not interchangeable concepts
One doesn’t have to believe in gods or be a member of some organization to be spiritual. Spirituality and religion are not the same thing, and are not interchangeable terms. The differences between the two concepts are clear and obvious — but neither of them rely on whether or not you believe in deities.
- When you wake up in the morning and light some incense while you drink your coffee (or tea) and watch the sunrise while deep in thought, you are being spiritual.
- When you wake up in the morning and crack open a bible and say a prayer you’ve been conditioned to say every day of your life, you’re being religious.
- When you sit by yourself and meditate to relax after a stressful day at work, you’re being spiritual.
- When you rush to church on Sunday morning because that’s just what you have to do? You’re being religious.
- When you use tarot cards to gain insight — whether it be literally or metaphorically — you’re being spiritual.
- When you rush out to buy every book by Richard Dawkins because you hang on his every word? Religious.
The differences between the two concepts are obvious.
Life is not that serious
You’re allowed to be a spiritual person, and you do not need anyone else’s validation or permission to be spiritual. You do not need to follow made up rules on what you’re allowed to believe, and you don’t have to fall in line with some status quo. If you are comforted by ritual, and your life is improved by the concepts of meditation and manifestation — then that is your prerogative, and you are more than allowed to live your best life as both spiritual and atheist.