I get kind-of twitterpated when an atheist makes the news simply for being an atheist. I mean, God is all over the place--that's a given--and while I respect the religious nature of the world-at-large, I feel left out of that schema (but not necessarily out of the entire world). There will be no apologizing here, though. I am content to form my own guild of godless do-somethings.
This is what I'm getting at, I guess: Not having God in my life means that I have to fill that cavernous, empty void with either one or two large substitutes, or a helluva lot of small ones. No pun intended by the "helluva" by the way. So when I heard about Richard Dawkins and his ballsy endeavor, "The God Delusion," I paused to applaud the man and mentally thank him for giving a shout-out to those of us who don't subscribe to religion.
An interesting line of popularity has sprung up around the idea of "spiritual" atheists in the last few years. I wonder what in the hell that means (still no pun intended!). I guess that if it's considered "spiritual" to be into 1950's popular culture to the point that you buy a formica table and sport Jackie-O sunglasses, then there are plenty of spiritual atheists out there, me included. Popular culture is a sort-of mass-media religion in the sense that it has adherents who worship a deity ('that-which-looks-too-abso-fucking-lutely-cool-not-to-own'), collect artifacts that celebrate the deity (Jackie-O sunglasses and formica tables to name two, but please feel free to pick your poison), and go to church (ahem, ebay).
I don't mean to deny the possibility of so-called atheistic spirituality by labeling it as simple consumerism. I would
like to point out, though, that "spirituality" is a very nebulous term. What is spiritual to a buddhist is different from what is spiritual to a catholic, a biker, a wife-swapper. Yet people from all of these groups can be found to posses a similar zeal in their personal quests for non-material fulfillment. So why use the term, spirituality, at all? Isn't it a misnomer for people who operate under a set of life rules that run contrary to belief in God?
I get a dirty feeling every time I hear someone say something like, "Well, I'm not religious, but I am
spiritual." When I hear that line, I want to shout out, "Admit that you think there's a possibility of God, you...you...you...AGNOSTIC!" Because that's it in a nutshell. When someone who claims to be an atheist says that they're spiritual, what they really mean is that they are a closet [fill in the religion blank here], they are embarrassed to admit that the only thing they believe about God is that he/she is a delusion, or they are trying to sneak out of a potentially troubling conversation with their mother, father, or other zealot relative.
So like I said. I think it's nice when atheists come out of the closet, wholly, unapologetically. Why artificially soften a blow that needs to be struck? I hope that I'm a good person; I certainly strive to be--and that is the case even though I doubt that anyone's God is whispering suggestively into my ear. Being "spiritual" could mean that we just don't place a whole lot of stock in materal things, but that's just stupid. General Motors sells ninety-percent of its worst gas-guzzling man-traps to Christians; there's little to nothing spiritual about that.