Atheists are more often than not perceived to be non-spiritual people. The foundation for this argument lies in the belief that the concepts of religion and that of spirituality are built on a common platform. Such a belief is not entirely false as there have been innumerable instances of people seeking for the meaning of their lives in their religious faiths. This is because religion consists of many narratives, principles, symbols and myths that define the ways and rules by which we as human beings should live. These tenets of religion many a time overlap with that of spirituality, which can be described as the process of realizing one’s meaning in life. However, it is a misconception to infer that this overlap means that religion and spirituality are one and the same. It is entirely possible for someone to be spiritual and not religious. For a deeper insight into this debate, kindly read our blog on the differences between religion and spirituality.
Therefore, it is entirely possible for someone to be an atheist and still be a spiritual person. Spirituality is simply a term used to describe the search for one’s place in this world. Religion is just one of the tools that people employ in this search. For instance, it is possible for someone to find his/her purpose in charity instead of God. Such a person is definitely a spiritual person. In essence, self-realization is subjective and therefore specific to each individual. Hence, it is only obvious that not every individual has to make this realization by means of religion. That being the case, atheism is definitely compatible with spirituality.
For atheists who are wondering the appropriateness of describing themselves and their attitudes using the term ‘spiritual’ the key question to be asked is whether such a description resonates emotionally with them. If so, then then it is most certainly appropriate for an atheist to call himself spiritual. In fact, in recent times, there has been a growing trend of people identify themselves as spiritual but not religious.