Friday, March 14, 2008

A Little Angst - What the Heck Does it Mean to Be Spiritual?

This has confused me for some time. Lots of people will say that they are spiritual, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus on what this means. Some “spiritual” people tell me that they believe in ghosts, others laugh at the idea; some tell me they know how many kids I’ll have based on the lines on my hands, others say that’s a bunch of hogwash. Some say they can feel good energy and bad energy; others say there is no such thing as good or bad energy, only how you use it. According to Sam Harris’ understanding of ‘spiritual’, I’m spiritual; according to the guy in the coffee shop, I’m not. The only thing that seems to be consistent with the “spiritual” people I’ve met (Sam Harris likely excluded) is that they all seem to treat me with the same attitude – “Oh little atheist, you’re young. You just don’t understand. Eventually you’ll come to know what I know, and then you’ll be spiritual too”. Well, okay. I’m listening. Quit condescending and help. What should I learn? What is the sweet, young, misguided atheist missing? Because I’m starting to think that people who are “spiritual” (Sam Harris excluded) use this as a blanket term for “I believe in woo, and being spiritual involves believing in the woo that I believe in.”

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