To discover the meaning of life...consult Merriam-Webster.
October 30, 2009 9:51 AM   Subscribe

As an atheist, what sort of activities or practices (that don't involve New Age wankery) can I get into to increase my spiritual welfare?
posted by Christ, what an asshole to Religion & Philosophy (65 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Hm, it would help if you'd define terms like "New Age Wankery" and "spiritual welfare" - I'm not really sure what you're looking for.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:53 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by klanawa at 9:53 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Singing and chanting.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:55 AM on October 30, 2009

Stargazing. I also like going to lectures that blow my mind.

Some people report that taking mushrooms really expanded their spiritual capacity, but YMMV.
posted by muddgirl at 9:56 AM on October 30, 2009

What do you mean by "spiritual"?
posted by josher71 at 9:59 AM on October 30, 2009

If the phrase "spiritual welfare" is meant to be tongue-in-cheek for "expanding my awareness of the material universe" then you might get a lot out of TED Talks. I'm late to the party, myself (they've been fairly popular for a few years now) but I recently subscribed to the RSS feed and I'm enjoying watching the varied lectures on all manner of subjects. I feel that I'm becoming a more informed (enlightened?) person as a result.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:00 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Serve other people. Make that your mission in life - to ease others' burdens.
posted by Sassyfras at 10:01 AM on October 30, 2009 [10 favorites]

Study Buddhism.
posted by MrMulan at 10:02 AM on October 30, 2009 [4 favorites]

When I am out with my binos looking at birds, I am as in-the-moment as it gets, and I feel connected to everything.

But I don't know what "New Age wankery" or "spiritual welfare" mean (to you, anyway), so I have no idea if this is a helpful suggestion. Also, I'm not an atheist - more of an agnostic pantheistic heathen. Sort of.
posted by rtha at 10:03 AM on October 30, 2009

You probably need to define what "spiritual welfare" means to you before we can help you and before you engage in any activities. It would also be helpful to know why you want to attend to the welfare of your spirit. Obviously things that "feed your soul" don't quite apply here, so it's hard to pin down what you are looking to get out of anything that people may suggest.
posted by Kimberly at 10:03 AM on October 30, 2009

Learn to empathize moar, especially with people into new age wankery.
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:05 AM on October 30, 2009 [5 favorites]

Get involved in Ethical Culturism (or Ethical Humanism). It's the nice parts of being in a church (community, helping others) without the not so nice parts (which I leave for you to fill in).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:05 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Be nice to everybody. And go out of your way to smile with your whole face and to do so whenever there is no good reason not to be smiling.

I have a hard time reconciling your saying that you're an atheist and then referring to "spiritual welfare," but I'm interpreting it to mean your overall sense of well-being and psychological relationship with the world around you.

I know two or three people whose general demeanor is so affable and warm that it brightens up any room they're in. Their happy demeanor and seemingly-universal kindness is infectious. I don't think I have reached the point where I am one of those people. But I strive to be. Everyone, regardless of religious belief, should strive to be one of those people, in my opinion.
posted by The World Famous at 10:06 AM on October 30, 2009 [5 favorites]

Meditation and service of some sort (tutor, coach, mentor, eldercare, meals on wheels, etc.). Some religions have a high tolerance for non-theists and a strong service/activism component. Quakerism has been great for this agnostic.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:07 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Read "The Religious Sense" by Luigi Giussani.

It's about discovering the meaning of human life per se and it's the only book I know of its kind of liberality and fairness.

It covers all possible attitudes to "the meaning of human life" including the P.O.V. that "there is no meaning".

It will help you appreciate what you actually do (and don't) believe in - if nothing else, you will learn to appreciate the very best of modern religious thinking rather than the worst which gets way too much press - but from the starting point of everyday experience.

Ideally find someone who is willing to help you bring everything back to personal experience since that is the basis of real culture.

In fact if I didn't already know that book was so useful for doing this, I would just say "look closely at your own experience every single day and judge for yourself, being totally honest and not ignoring anything, every experience and event and decide what truly makes you happy, and what it means, taking everything you know into account"...
posted by KMH at 10:09 AM on October 30, 2009

Honestly? Pick a personality trait about yourself with which you are not entirely comfortable, then work on quashing it, or at least placing it under your control.
posted by adipocere at 10:11 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

As an atheist, the list of activities which increase my spiritual welfare is virtually endless:

Listening to and making music.
Reading good books (and bad books come to think of it).
Laughing with my friends.
Eating good food, drinking good drinks.
Helping in the community (I'm a school governor, though not a parent).
Following the 'Golden Rule', and saying sorry on the occasions when I haven't.
Watching 'Lost In Translation'.
Watching 'The West Wing'.

That list manages to be amazingly vague while at the same time applying very specifically to me. Then again, your question is amazingly vague and really only you can answer it as the things on my list may well make you want to stick your head in the oven.
posted by jonnyploy at 10:14 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I am out with my binos looking at birds, I am as in-the-moment as it gets, and I feel connected to everything.

2nded. Get out and do some nature stuff. Just because we're atheists doesn't mean we can't appreciate mystery, wonder, and awe.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:14 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm an atheist, and to me that means I don't believe there is such a thing as "spiritual welfare." But if you mean to say, "What can I do to attend to that part of myself that others call spiritual," it's a great question. I suggest yoga, especially a practice (that is, a teacher) who emphasizes anatomical knowledge and is not too aggressive in wrapping the meditative components in "wankery" as you call it. Second, some intellectual pursuit that is hard to do and involves close thinking (reading poetry or philosophy). Third, get a dog.
posted by Mngo at 10:17 AM on October 30, 2009

I was just thinking about something similar yesterday and I came up with this; when having a bad day, make it a point to go out of your way to help someone else.

I've been doing this for years and the way I look at it is this; there is no prize at the end of this ride, so do what you can here and now. That means both when things are good and when things are bad.

As a plus, doing something to help someone else almost always improves my mood and ameliorates my bad day.
posted by quin at 10:20 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would recommend any sort of activity that has a genuinely positive effect in the lives of the less fortunate.

As a former-atheist-turned-Christian, I'm in a weird sort of agreement with Mngo. The concept of an atheist believing in something like "spiritual welfare" doesn't compute to me. Then again, I may be drawing too strong a link between atheism and materialism (not materialism as in "I want more stuff", but materialism as in "everything is just stuff and there is no spirit").
posted by DWRoelands at 10:24 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Answer the question "Do I wish to lead a purpose-driven life?"
If the answer is yes, then answer the question "What should that purpose be?"
posted by the Real Dan at 10:24 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by meta87 at 10:26 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

reading. philosophy. star gazing. wine drinking. pot smoking. yoga. meditation. sex. hugging. laughing. mushrooms. food. camping. music.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:27 AM on October 30, 2009 [4 favorites]

Contemplate the fact that as an atheist you have no need to attend to your spiritual welfare, in the same way you don't need to feed your invisible pink unicorn as neither unicorn nor 'spirituality' exist.

(If this is a question about philosophy, or living a good life, or any number of other things there may be different answers.)
posted by Coobeastie at 10:33 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not totally sure we're on the same page here, but trail running for a really long time does it for me. Helps me connect with the world. I also do yoga, which isn't all that New Age-y if you take the time to find the right class. And I am someone who has a fairly low tolerance for that sort of thing.
posted by smalls at 10:36 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could go to church.

There is the Anglican church which is very welcoming to all faiths and to atheists.
As my wife describes it, its a bit of beautiful singing (with a world class choir), a bit of theology in the form of parables and remarks about how to live ones life, and quiet contemplation.

You could also attend Quaker meetings.
posted by vacapinta at 10:43 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

You might be interested in the book Buddhism without Beliefs.
posted by scody at 10:51 AM on October 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

Contemplate the fact that as an atheist you have no need to attend to your spiritual welfare, in the same way you don't need to feed your invisible pink unicorn as neither unicorn nor 'spirituality' exist.

Atheism is the rejection of the notion of a primary mover(s). It as nothing to do with experiencing and cultivating a healthy sense of wonder and spiritual connection to the weirdness that is existence.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:51 AM on October 30, 2009 [6 favorites]

Try drum circles. On good nights, you'll find a magical place where you touch a spiritual place inside you. is good for hunting these down.

More broadly, I was in a similar place to you. I did enormous amounts of reading to find out what "path" worked for me personally. Try reading on lots of spiritual topics and see which ones resonate with you. The Eastern practice of Tantra happened to be the one that helped me center in my physical body, but also had a powerful spiritual component with no religious overtones.
posted by bprater at 10:52 AM on October 30, 2009

I've found Camus to be very helpful in conceptualizing and relating to a world without god, sacredness, or direction. Try The Stranger or The Plague and their wikis for background into existential philosophy.

2nding Buddhism Without Beliefs.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:02 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

It seems from your question that you have some interest in spirituality, so you might want to rethink the paradigm of its framing in human cultures.

Many religions imagine their supreme commander to have a human face. In light of the history of the planet, the concept that the generative force has a human face is clearly hilariously self-important on the part of human beings. It's an amazing world, but humans clearly did not generate it; we certainly seem to be intent on destroying our little miracle. I wish we were its caretakers, so that drives my spiritual acts and thoughts which largely take the form of service.
posted by effluvia at 11:04 AM on October 30, 2009

A good start might be to refrain from being blithely judgemental of other people's beliefs and spirituality in ways such as dismissing them as "new age wankery". I believe that would fall under The Golden Rule.
posted by Grangousier at 11:04 AM on October 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

Lutoslawski, I completely disagree. To say that there is something 'spiritual' is to invoke a religious language that assumes such things as a metaphysical soul.

This is not to say that one cannot seek wonder in the universe, but 'spiritual' is entirely the wrong word to use - it implies the acceptance of certain non-material concepts that tend to be intimately tied to theism.
posted by Coobeastie at 11:15 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

I am an atheist, and smoking pot puts things into wonderful perspective for me.
posted by sickinthehead at 11:19 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

A-theists can believe in a soul. Believing in a soul or an afterlife is not predicated on believing in a higher power. It's somewhat non-traditional but it's not an oxymoron.
posted by muddgirl at 11:20 AM on October 30, 2009

if reading philosophy is your thing, Spinoza is a fantastic spiritual atheist. the Gutenberg Project has a lot of his writing, and The Courtier and the Heretic is a good introduction to him.

and 2nding Camus. more for his fiction than his philosophy, though.
posted by spindle at 11:21 AM on October 30, 2009

Two things:
  • Do something selfless to help another person;
  • Read some philosophy - find a philosopher who addresses some question that's on your mind, and read his or her ruminations.
I have lately come to think that there's some fundamental, maybe biological part of us that can relax more and just be happier if we feel more connected to other human beings.

Viewing ourselves as helpful or "a good person", even if ultimately we think such self-beliefs are a little ridiculous in the larger scheme of things, is really fundamental to a positive self-esteem and a belief that others should like us. It's like programming yourself to expect people to be nice to you.

And as for reading (or hearing) philosophy: even if there aren't any real "solutions", just knowing that someone else is thinking about the same things that occupy you can help you feel more connected to humanity, and more sympathetic to it.
posted by amtho at 11:23 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could also attend Quaker meetings.

Or Unitarian services.
posted by Miko at 11:25 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Read about, think about, and stare into space.
posted by alligatorman at 11:27 AM on October 30, 2009

My father, who calls himself "agnostic" but is really just too old school to call himself an athiest has a saying - "The forest is my Church" He is a pipe smoking old conservative and in no way spends much time in the "forest" but the thrust of his saying is that he finds that an appreciation of nature (not the hug a tree type, but the go out and walk around in the woods type) is what gives him a sense of spirituality.

As an athiest myself, I tend to find the same thing. I feel closest to a sense of "spirituality" when I am in nature, usually watching a sunset. To this I would add regular meditation - simply sitting and focusing on breathing and trying to clear your mind. The degree to which you associate meditation with "new age wankery" is up to you.
posted by jnnla at 11:54 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by jefficator at 12:12 PM on October 30, 2009

The material universe is full of wonders, and so is the inner landscape of the mind that has produced a vast catalog of human-made wonders. I am often enchanted and emotionally elevated by what others might call spiritual contemplation; for me, it is secular, but no less uplifting.

I marvel at: the way that soap, air, and surface tension conspire to make bubbles possible; the amazing convergence of so many evolutionary moments to allow a thinking thing to walk upright and study its own evolutionary history; the stars that are also a part of me; the Fibonacci series. Mathematics alone --- oh my! --- holds constellations of wonder that I can hardly begin to explore.

I remember reading about some well-known scientist and speaker (Dawkins? doesn't matter who, or even if the story is apocryphal) in a gallery, viewing a series of photos of spiderwebs and marveling that simple and complex shifts in physiology could produce a spider, make it capable of creating such intricate and effective traps from the stuff of its own body. He wa standing there thinking, "How could anyone see this and not believe in evolution by natural selection?" Just as he thought it, the stranger next to him burst out, "How could anyone see this and not believe in God?" We all see different things when we look at the material world, if only because we see what we are expecting to see.

For me, it is in no way reductive or simple to understand that the wonders of the world are materially derived, that there is no supernatural entity guiding them. This revelation makes the complexity and the beauty of the universe more humbling, more touching, more astonishing, if only because I am boggled by the simple fact that the animal who is me is able to see it, to catalog it, to contemplate it.

Here's Neil DeGrasse Tyson speaking of the wonder of the universe. He concludes, "Not only are we in the universe; the universe is in us. And I don't know any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me."

This is my version of transcendent practice, of emotional and intellectual (if not "spiritual") elevation. I can think of none finer.
posted by Elsa at 12:30 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

As a fellow atheist/agnostic I can tell you that what blows my mind is our world and how amazing it is, which I think I have in common with'em religious folk. It's just that they enjoy thinking that an omnipotent entity created everything and that is what gives them meaning, and I find meaning in the fact that I have no clue how any of this came to be and I'm just perfectly content with my ignorance.

So, to speak pragmatically: I love watching the stars. I've started getting into a habit of bringing with me a map of the current month's sky and trying to find constellations, and then I feel connected to the history of everything as well. I love waking up at 5am (even though I am very much a sleep-loving person) and enjoying the softnes and calmness of that hour of the morning.

I love wading into the sea at night, just up to my knees and then sitting down, so I'm still in a safe zone, and then looking at how huge the sea is. I can literally feel Italy across the pond.

I love being connected to the cultural history of people from all different periods of time, by reading literature and poetry and mythology and just general history books. Unfortunately I don't do it nearly as often as I would like.
posted by alon at 12:35 PM on October 30, 2009

This book was written for you.
posted by K.P. at 12:46 PM on October 30, 2009

nthing Buddhism. At root it is really just a philosophy of life and "A-theist" in the sense that it doesn't rely on god for the cosmic order to work... though depending on the tradition Buddhist texts do make reference to gods and god-like Buddhas and such, they are not essential, just ways of expressing the ineffable (you DO still believe in the ineffable right?)
posted by DetonatedManiac at 12:59 PM on October 30, 2009

Lutoslawski, I completely disagree. To say that there is something 'spiritual' is to invoke a religious language that assumes such things as a metaphysical soul.

Well, not to get into a debate on terms, I don't think there is anything inherent in the definition of the word 'spiritual' that presumes any sort of dogma w/r/t souls, religion, etc. Atheism is not the same thing as materialism, and spirituality most certainly has a place in atheism.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:13 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Go for a walk. A long walk. In the fog, in the early morning, by a river.
posted by sandraregina at 1:23 PM on October 30, 2009

hermitosis has me convinced of the secular, meditative benefits of tarot. Without getting all "ouiji board" it's possible to read tarot cards, contemplate the symbols and use them as a meditative tool in your life.

I'm pretty tightly wound, and that leaves me with a lot of thoughts on even the most mundane subjects. Tarot doesn't offer answers for me in the metaphysical sense. There is no "you will meet a tall dark stranger on a blustery Tuesday afternoon - and he will CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER!" But tarot offers me a routinized process for looking at things. Traditional tarot readings ask you to contemplate issues like your current situation, the current issue you are faced with, your temporal path from past to future, your subconscious motivations, your environment, and both idealized and realistic outcomes. And then for me offers the equivalent of a middle-school writing prompt using universal symbols meant to inspire internal dialogue on the issue at hand.

For me, the benefits of tarot are not that it offers me answers. Rather, it offers me questions that I might not have otherwise been capable of asking myself.
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:48 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

As a Buddhist, we're more along the AA "Higher Power as You Understand It" lines and not any specific "G-d" type being. (Yes, I'm also superstitious and leave out the vowel, just in case ze's a) there and b) cares.)

Buddhists talk of "practicing" Buddhism as opposed to worship. Typical daily practice usually involves meditating. While you can meditate anywhere and on anything, usually meditation is done on one certain topic or question and is done seated in a quiet place, often on a special cushion.

Meditating doesn't need any kind of spiritual pre-requisite at all. You just sit there. And do nothing. Which is way harder than it sounds. Just sit quietly and try to see what you are when your mind stops. Concentrate on the present and let each thought and sensation go. There are zillions of books out there on meditating - some more newagey than others, but the practice itself is as simple as it gets. No beliefs of any kind are actually required.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:48 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do something cathartic: get yourself a bouncy mini-trampoline and dance along with all thirty minutes of Najinsky's choreography of the Rite of Spring. Turn it up to eleven, take your clothes off, and go for it so hard you almost pass out--by the time it's over, you'll be sweating from every pore and your adrenaline and dopamine will be through the roof! Seriously, it's better than sex. Works for me!
posted by aquafortis at 2:36 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

forests, mountains, shorelines, vast expansive vistas
physical extertion
being nice to people
staying in the moment
combinations of the above
posted by runincircles at 2:56 PM on October 30, 2009

Go to Burning Man.
posted by m1ndsurfer at 3:04 PM on October 30, 2009

Carl Sagan's Cosmos -- free on Hulu -- because we are made of starstuff.

As a clinically depressed atheist, I'm highly invested in exploring the transcendent wonder of the universe, because I'd better be. Else, I am but meat delayed in its decomposition. Contemplation of the freedom of the stars, entirely absent from human heartbreak and petty struggle, is mightily calming and relaxing.

Geology is another intensely relaxing subject, because I can contemplate Deep Time. Biology is as well, but it is just as well not to contemplate, say, the ichneumon wasp before bedtime.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:57 PM on October 30, 2009

Geology is another intensely relaxing subject, because I can contemplate Deep Time.

Seconding this. Study the geological history of the Grand Canyon, and then go hike it rim-to-rim, closely examining and studying the geology of each layer that you hike through on the way down and back up. In addition to the general awesomeness of backpacking, seeing that geological history laid out in person will blow your mind regarding the scope of time in the same way that studying the vastness of the universe does for size and distance. People talk all the time about how mind-bogglingly big the universe is. But for an extra awesome dose of mind-boggling, go see firsthand how mind-bogglingly old the Earth alone is. And the Earth is just this teeny, tiny speck that's not even that old, comparatively. Then think about whether, in the grand (and I mean really, really grand) scheme of things, it's ever worth it to let some insignificant interpersonal nonsense ruin your day.
posted by The World Famous at 5:09 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Go to a church with really good music and go through the motions. If you do it a lot it will make you feel pretty awesome. Yeah, I know, they talk about God, but the ritual can really hit the spot.

Alternatively, take up some sort of masochistic hobby.
posted by kathrineg at 9:13 PM on October 30, 2009

Surprised no one's mentioned this yet, so I'll go for it: art museums.

The most spiritual moment in my life was when I recently went to the MoMA in San Fran. I had smoked beforehand, which always heightens my emotional receptivity, and it was also my first time in a proper art museum (New Zealand doesn't do culture).

By spiritual, I mean... I felt myself being unfolded by the power and emotion of the art, I felt myself letting go of all the pain and anger in my life, I felt myself being embraced by something greater and bigger than I could imagine. I will call it the 'human experience.'

As an atheist, I look back and think that must be what people mean when they talk about religious ecstasy.

So yeah, museums. I really believe that museums are the secular temple - they offer the a similar space to contemplate what drives us, what scares us, what makes us human and what connects us to the world and to others.

Unfortunately it's hard to... force this experience. If I went back to MoMA today, I wouldn't be able to recreate that moment, that feeling. But that is part of the beauty!
posted by schmichael at 9:25 PM on October 30, 2009

I really feel you on this one. Being in nature is crucial, but I find myself desiring something more structured (or something) as well. I like tai qi, and when I was doing it I felt that my spiritual self was much better fed than it is now. I would also try yoga, or some of the less-religious meditative practices such as mindfulness meditation and see if any of these work for you. Just find a place that isn't too New Agey to take the classes.
posted by sumiami at 12:15 AM on October 31, 2009

I'd just like to take issue with the notion that atheism necessarily involves "rejection." It's difficult for one to reject what one is unconscious of. My parents raised me apart from the idea of higher power and until I became aware that others believed, I had no sense that I occupy a category that only exists in opposition to some other category. This is possible, and during my formative years, it was my reality.

This is relevant because rejection implies certainty, but one of the joys of atheism - skepticism, really - is uncertainty, which I find deeply liberating. Without the strictures of a formal religious doctrine or practice, you have the freedom to ponder, for example, origins and moral boundaries in ways that are - based on my experiences with them - terribly unsettling to many believers. You are not under surveillance, so you should have no fear of taking yourself down paths of internal inquiry that would be ridiculed or feared by others.

Take a very long walk. Leave your iPod at home. Don't simply pass through space. Actively observe the world around you and just... think about it.
posted by klanawa at 2:25 AM on October 31, 2009 [3 favorites]

Elements of the Hare Krsna concept of prasadam can be readily adopted by atheists (like me!) - just prepare a meal with mindful love, generosity and compassion for your loved ones rather than some deity.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:27 AM on October 31, 2009

I'm glad we didn't derail too badly on the issue of terminology, and I worried after my first comment that I came off snarky when I didn't mean too. I agree with Lutoslawski that atheism doesn't necessarily specifically mean materialism, but to me being an atheist means living without the very idea of spirit--so atheism leaves me, logically, with materialism.
I think this is a bit relevant to the OP, because of klanawa's point above. Unlike klanawa, I had to reject Christianity to become an atheist, and it's actually the challenge of living with the universe as absolutely natural (that is, not supernatural in any way) that takes that rejection away as the basis for my belief and leaves me with a "positive" materialist atheism, if that makes sense. It means when I go trail-running with my dogs at sunrise in the cold, my sense of wonder is full, and also a challenge to be met philosophically.
On a completely separate note, nthing the suggestions to be involved in or be around non-doctrinaire spiritual organizations or people. Knowing a lot of religious people who impress me frequently with their thoughtfulness and integrity is not just interesting, but helps me try to avoid the smugness that one hears sometimes from adamant atheists.
posted by Mngo at 11:36 AM on October 31, 2009

Seconding jonnyploy's suggestion of making music. An atheist I like and admire once said he had truly transcendant experiences singing choral music (which he noted was especially odd considering a lot of it was Christian music - Bach, for example - full of ideas he didn't believe).

From my perspective, many spiritual experiences have elements of awe, mystery, communion, service, or discipline (not necessarily all at once - birdwatching, for me, is just about awe). Performing music, especially with others, can involve all those elements.
posted by kristi at 12:02 PM on October 31, 2009

rejection implies certainty, but one of the joys of atheism - skepticism, really - is uncertainty, which I find deeply liberating.

This is really nicely put.
posted by scody at 1:11 PM on October 31, 2009

I really enjoy Radiolab's podcast for this. They're a science show but they discuss the meaning of life and ethics and identity and free will and death and lots of other "spiritual" stuff from a non-religious perspective. They often wrestle with the question of whether we are more than just our atoms or the span of years we're alive, and the hosts explore their different perspectives in a collegial manner.

If they offered potlucks, it would be a perfect church alternative. ;)
posted by heatherann at 6:50 PM on October 31, 2009

listen to Speaking of Faith.
posted by stray at 9:11 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

« Older What makes this lyric particularly "English"?   |   Help me protect my new bamboo floors. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.