Sunday, June 5, 2011

Scientific Secular Spirituality!

It's in the news, people! I'm not the only one...

Article on recent survey of atheist scientists and their spirituality

Look for acknowledgement that mystery, awe, beauty and connection to something great than oneself still exist, regardless of God.

My one concern: There's an appreciation of secular spirituality as something highly individual, and thus free from communal authority figures. While I see that spirituality tends toward the personal, I would love to find a way to create communal spiritual principles, expressions, and celebrations that draw their authority from the community.


  1. Thanks! I think your point about authority (individual or communal) is very interesting. What does authority look like when you take away a holy book, or the Magisterium, or an individual's personal relationship with God? Does humanism need any sort of authority, any sort of canon, communal or individual? I think your interest in finding communal spiritual principles resonates with the value that I place on community, but I'd be curious to know how you would explain why you want practices with authority from the community, and whether that is because of a commitment to community on your part or something intrinsic to what it means to be an atheist or humanist.

  2. Excellent question. I realize that I have yet to fully flesh out what I think humanism is... and when I begin to do so, I often realize that I use "humanism" as a code word for my own political perspective, be it feminist, liberal, or crunchy-anarchist. But anyhow, to speak from within my perspective, I think authority coming from a community of equal seems to be a very 'humanist' idea... insofar as it respects both individual and collective integrity, over against any kind of external authority. How's that?

  3. Thanks for your answer! I like the idea of authority that respects both individual and collective integrity, but I'm curious to hear more about what that looks like in practice. Is one or the other held to be more ultimate? If it's a balance between the two, who discerns what the balance will be- the individual or the collective?

  4. That's a question as old as any and every Greek tragedy. Think I'll need to hone my own theory of humanism (and of human good) before I answer it.

  5. Every question of spirituality revolves (or evolves if you like) around Governance. Yes a principle is unchanging, but in your life you need a determining methodology to discern the Will Of God for you in any given moment or choice. The true 'inspiration' happens when your individual attention becomes enlightened by your connection with Source. This experience is uniform in the spirituality of all the great religions, but is not limited to them. Rather secular spirituality is an umbrella that promises to unite in understanding everyone who is sincere in their Seeking. I would invite you to invest 5 minutes in a simple guided meditation at Thanks for your sincerity. May you practise what you preach. Paul Keetley