Though I will continue to focus on spirituality regularly, I wanted to immediately address the oxymoron spiritual atheist and why I consider myself one. The easiest responses are, “Well, the word ‘atheist’ just doesn’t cut it.” or the slightly more facetious, “Atheists can have adjectives too.”
I do not, in any sense, believe in a higher power or essence. Likewise, I don’t think a person must be religious or embedded in religious tradition in order to understand spiritual themes. There are as many secular ways (art, philosophy, nature, etc.) to enhance spiritual thought as there are religious.
Painting by spiritual artist, Byron Tik.
I consider myself to be on the path of spirituality. I believe in balance, self-discovery, labor, tolerance, connectedness, and unlimited creativity. I want to grow in the direction of beauty, truth, and wisdom. In many ways, I share the goals of other spiritual people. I am on a similar journey. I have only taken a different path to meet them there.
All that being said, I do not believe that beauty, truth, and love are the children of any God, but rather humankind. To continue, for the sake of both contradiction and clarity, I do not behave entirely like the idealized spiritual person. I am too intense, too insecure, too inflammatory. Achieving stronger inner peace is a goal. Restraint is a practice. Dog-faced Atheist may, at times, read more like a pilgrimage than someone speaking from her destination.
We are surrounded by paradox. It’s part of what makes us human. To be humble and proud, to be rebellious and conservative, to be absolute and relative. Even traditionally spiritual people are in a state of paradox by seeking liberty through discipline. I am not nearly as interested in the acceptance or rejection of paradox as I am interested by its means of discovery and reception. I don’t think I mind the curious looks when I confide to being a spiritual atheist, because I prefer a life in paradox to a life of prejudice.