Can Atheists Be Spiritual?


Can atheists be spiritual?  Yes, I surely think so. 

My brother and I have been vocal atheistic agnostics since we quit going to Sunday school in our young teens.  Yet my brother is an avid mountaineer and I’ve seen his eyes fill with tears as he contemplates a high blue lake in the Rockies.  He tells me he feels “profoundly connected” to Nature and all of creation. 

My late father-in-law spoke the same way about the “beauty” of the links between different branches of mathematics.  For example, proofs in geometry can be expressed in algebra, and vice versa.

I know that the spiritual practice of Taoism has no “God.”  Instead, “The Tao” is translated into English as “The Way,” “The Path,” or sometimes “The Flow.”  I use those words in my own book, The Path of Continuing Creation, to name the interactions of all natural processes (including evolution) that produce and sustain our world.   

The Dutch philosopher and theologian Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) argued that God is Nature, including Nature’s laws. By Spinoza’s definition, my brother and I are followers of God. (For more, see my Essay, Forerunners to Our Path & Practice.)

A spiritual program consists of activities like contemplation, meditation, yoga, aerobics, learning, exploring, creative expression, building, healthy living, and sharing love.

– J.X. Mason.  Look for me on the Web!

2 thoughts on “Can Atheists Be Spiritual?”

  1. I’ve been a spiritual atheist (and a Taoist, too) for practically my entire life, so I know that this is possible! I am so pleased to find this website where I can explore additional ideas about this topic.

    I recently published a paper on the psychological experience of spiritual awe, which my colleague Dan Laidler calls “hagioptasia” (holy vision). The paper is available at , and I can provide a copy of the final version as it appears in the journal Personality and Individual Differences to anyone who is interested.

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