Today’s question comes from Eva who writes…
Message: Hello! I’m so glad I’ve found this site! I’ve recently separated myself from Christianity but its been quite difficult. My question is this. Can an atheist be spiritual? Spiritual meaning believing in spirits and an afterlife ect. Now obviously I understand that athiests believe in pure logic and science and therefore a spirit world per say would seem like an unlikely belief however I can’t shake the feeling that there’s a spirit world out there beyond this life. Would you agree? What are your thoughts?
Hi Eva. First, you’re right. The transition from theist to atheist can be a difficult one. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of our old ways of thinking even when presented with better ways. When I left theism it was a two year journey into atheism. I let go of Jesus, then god, and then finally the soul. Believe it or not, it was the last one that was the most difficult. The idea that we will continue on after death has more to do with how our mind works then anything else. The simplest way to explain this is that the mind always wants to justify itself. For example when we drop a pencil off of a desk and don’t realize it. We reach for the pencil that we swear we just saw a second ago, and it disappears. Our brain thinks the pencil is there, and because we didn’t see it fall, tells us that the pencil is still there. Magicians have been exploiting how our mind justifies itself for hundreds of years. I believe when it comes to souls, our brain, which knows it exists, can’t conceive of not existing because of the very fact that it does exist. It’s like telling someone not to think of a pink elephant and the first thing they do is think of a pink elephant. When we try to think of nonexistence our brain can’t imagine it without a perspective of existence. So it sends our minds into confusion. I believe this is why letting go of the idea of the soul is so hard.
There’s no easy fix for letting go of the idea of a soul. Maybe we have them, maybe we don’t. The truth is that there is no objective evidence for souls and until someone discovers it, there’s no reason to accept it. The way I see it is this, much like Schrodinger’s cat you wont know if there is no soul until after you die (open the box). If there is a soul, you’ll know after you die (open the box). So until you die, or someone comes up with a way to discover it, there’s no point in worrying about it. For me, I live my life as if I have no soul. I live it as if this life is the only one that I have, and that my true immortality exists in how I impact others around me. It’s why I do things like this website.
So ask yourself. How will you live on, after you die? What will be your immortality? Feel free to discuss it in the comment section below.