Spiritual Apathy

I read this article in USAToday about the "spiritually apathetic" which I wanted to share with you.

There are many people who would label themselves as spiritually apathetic. They don't care one whit about the mysteries of the Universe, if God exists, or what will happen to them after they die.

My husband and I were both in this group. Friends, family, work, play, finances, what was for dinner,  all meant much more than such intangible and unanswerable questions.

I suppose some people just aren't deep thinkers and will never care, which is perfectly fine. For people like my husband and I, we lost our apathy and became atheist activists after 9-11 when the government got really heavy-handed and it was obvious that even if we didn't care about religion, many did, and those people voted according to their morals first and foremost, and made it clear they wanted to shove their theocratic lifestyle onto the rest of us.

Back to the article, I wanted to bring up some things from it:
The Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington D.C., [said] "We live in a society today where it is acceptable now to say that they have no spiritual curiosity. At almost any other time in history, that would have been unacceptable."

She finds this "very sad because the whole purpose of faith is to be a source of guidance, strength and perspective in difficult times. To be human is to have a sense of purpose, an awareness that our life is an utterly unique expression of creation and we want to live it with meaning, grace and beauty."
What I find fascinating, as a skeptical atheist, is that people can actually get anything useful out of faith, which gives you nothing substantial, honest or real. I'm like Carl Sagan, I'd rather have the hard truth rather than the comforting lie.

Also, yes, as humans we create our own purpose. To just read a book from 2,000 years ago and take the purpose from that is very sad indeed. We are not created by a flawed god who had to keep trying to fix all of his mistakes through barbaric means.

We are amazing, though, products of 4 billion years of evolution, and over 14 billion years of our atoms bouncing around the Universe.

Again, as Carl Sagan says, we are how the Universe can know itself, because we are conscious. To bow and scrape to an imaginary father figure who spent his early years thirstily demanding murder and blind obedience seems to me such a waste.

Most So Whats [don't want to push or be pushed about what they do or don't believe] says David Kinnaman, author of You Lost Me on young adults drifting away from church.
They're uninterested in trying to talk a diverse set of friends into a shared viewpoint in a culture that celebrates an idea that all truths are equally valid, he says. Personal experience, personal authority matter most. Hence Scripture and tradition are quaint, irrelevant, artifacts. Instead of followers of Jesus, they're followers of 5,000 unseen "friends" on Facebook or Twitter.
There's something to be said about this 'live and let live' attitude, but Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living, and there's something to that. To live such a shallow existence doesn't seem like it would feel very worthwhile, rewarding or satisfying.
" 'Spiritual' is the hipster way of saying they're concerned with social injustice. But if you strip away the hipster factor," says Kinnaman, "I'd estimate seven in 10 young adults would say they don't see much influence of God or religion in their lives at all."
I disagree with this definition of spiritual. In my experience I find people label themselves spiritual when they still believe in the supernatural and see it in their lives, but don't follow a religion. They usually believe in some type of creator or consciousness in the Universe, seeing it as benevolent, wise and positively acting in their lives to some degree. It seems very comforting to them, when they don't find religion and the regular gods that others worship to be meaningful.
"A lot of people just aren't on any spiritual path. They say, 'We are just focusing on the party.' Or they have no language for their spirituality so they just leave it out," Drouillard says.
As I said, this shallow focus in life can be problematic, in my opinion. Focusing on the party is narrow-minded and near-sighted and can lead to ennui, at the very least. Of course, we can fill our lives with our own meaning and purpose, which we discover for ourselves. We certainly don't need to turn to invisible friends.
This is a disaster for Christians, says Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, "If you're not worried about heaven, you won't notice or care if Jesus is essential your salvation. You're not thinking about any consequences," McConnell says.
Yes, we need deeper meaning in our lives, but I completely disagree that not worrying about heaven and hell mean you don't care about consequences. I look to myself as an example. I am good without god simply because it's the right thing to do, and I have my own principles that drive me to do good things and be a good person. I am not good just because it will get me a better house in heaven.

I am very keen on the consequences of my actions - and inactions - something that can be glossed over in the religious. A perfect example is how they will do nothing except pray when they want a given result, and still feel morally superior because of those meaningless prayers.

One pair of hands working does more than a 1,000 clasped in prayer.
But Rabbi Micah Greenstein of Temple Israel, Memphis, is not so alarmed. He sees people behaving spiritually — caring for each other and the world — even if they skip the label.

"Judaism teaches that spirituality is practical. When you see something that is broken, fix it. When you find something that is lost, return it. When you see something that needs to be done, do it. In that way you will be taking care of the world and fulfilling your role as God's partner, know it or not," the rabbi says.
I agree with the rabbi. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. This is strong among the godless because we know that no sky daddy is going to swoop down and do all the hard work for us. We are all we've got. Of course, I disagree that there is a God to be my partner. There's just no evidence for the supernatural of any sort.
Bill Dohm, who lives in Broad Run, Va., is more inclined to talk about goodness than Godliness.

"I try to live my life and do the best I can. I figure if I do good, good things will happen. I'm not at all worried about the afterlife. How could they turn me down when people do whatever they want during the week. They go to church all the time then they come home and they gamble, they party, they use God's name in vain. So either it will be like a switch turned off and it's done or, if there is a heaven, I'm going have to do some talking to get up there."
Good point, Bill. There is a fantastic quote attributed to Marcus Aurelius which I think most atheists can relate to:
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
Some atheists, myself included, wouldn't want to go to the Christian heaven even if it did exist. The idea of singing hallelujah to God for all eternity sounds like torture to me.

So while I don't think being spiritually apathetic is something to strive for, it certainly does work in the interim between being religious and being comfortable as a skeptical atheist. In my experience there is a process that many people go through, different stages, and apathy can be one of them.

In the long run, I think we can and do find meaning and purpose for ourselves, and that is very rewarding and satisfying. No spirituality is needed.

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