Last week after publishing Of Science and Spirituality I received comments from a fellow blogger heliopolister (who writes some of the most beautiful invitations to awaken the spirit I have ever read.) I simply could not reply to in less than 300 words. I can see where it might be supposed that by saying . . .
If a person denies the importance of spirituality in today’s world then “From where,” I must ask them, “do you derive your morals and ethical beliefs? If you throw away spirituality then how do you know that deceit, thievery, rape or murder are wrong? Is this not the basis of the now popular line, “It’s only wrong if you get caught.””
. . .that I think people who do not espouse a spiritual belief are without morals.
Rather I was attempting to explain that in my experience I have yet to meet a person, whatever they may say they believe spiritually, whose morals, when examined did have roots in spirituality. In other words, I think you have a spiritual belief whether or not you say you do.
I do know Atheists who have the highest morals, that is why I mentioned Humanitarianism, to show that Atheism and Humanitarianism are not incompatible, nor do I see Atheism as not being spiritual. Buddhism is highly spiritual but does not require a belief in God. It requires the belief that all life is sacred. Is not the belief that all life is sacred a form of spirituality? Here is where I made my mistake, in looking up spirituality as well as Humanitarianism, I find that there is not a clear definition for either.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines spiritual as:
1 of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things: I’m responsible for his spiritual welfare | the spiritual values of life.
• (of a person) not concerned with material values or pursuits.
Where spirit is defined as:
1 the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul: we seek a harmony between body and spirit.
• such a part regarded as a person’s true self and as capable of surviving physical death or separation: a year after he left, his spirit is still present.
• such a part manifested as an apparition after their death; a ghost.
• a supernatural being: shrines to nature spirits.
Therefore when I use spirituality as a noun I mean anything which is meaningful to the nonphysical, true self which is capable of surviving death.
As for Humanitarianism, wikipedia defines it as:
a moral of kindness, benevolence, and sympathy extended to all human beings. Humanitarianism has been an evolving concept historically but universality is a common theme in its evolution. No distinction is to be made on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race, caste, age, religion, ability, or nationality.
I continue to suggest this as code of morality to all people I meet no matter their religious affiliation. However I do realize that the roots of Humanitarianism are not only highly spiritual but also highly religious. For they stem from the moral maxim known as the Golden Rule which is a
As for Atheism there is the same potential for corruption as in any belief system that becomes popular. In fact, it is the popularity of a belief system that tends to corrupt it. No matter the religion, once it connects to enough other people to be used for personal gain its spiritual sanctity is jeopardized, for where there was once only spiritual value in the religion now there is the temptation of material gain. This more than anywhere else is where Atheism gets a bad reputation, for nowhere can we see the result of its corruption better than in its use in communist countries. Communism, like Atheism, started as a good and moral ideology but both have been corrupted due to their lack of a clearly stated axiom regarding the spiritual rights of each individual person. While other religions such as Christianity and Islam have been corrupted to serve cruel and murderous people, scholars who study their texts can revive the true and loving heart from which these religions were born. But I do fear it may be much harder to cleanse an ideology, that lacks any maxims of spirituality, of corruption. That is why I urge you to look to the roots of all religions (including Atheism) to find the common principles of spirituality.
Again I apologize for any offense or misunderstanding, but I must speak as I find. Dark as well as light must be acknowledged in order for truth to be revealed.
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