As I was looking into many of the various religious groups here in Seattle, I ran across a group that calls themselves, Seattle Atheists. In fact, you may have seen their ads on Metro busses around town. Their quote is a Thomas Jefferson quote, “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

After having read Christopher Hitchens book, God is not Great, and Bertrand Russell’s book Why I’m not a Christian, I’m more convinced than ever that atheism is a legitimate form of spirituality and that atheists are spiritual. I imagine I’m going to get spanked from all sides, but I really think this is true.

I see spirituality not as a ‘search for God,’ but more as a search for our connection to the greater Universe around us. How do we fit into the thing called life? I saw that question asked over and over again in those two books. Many, in fact, most, have tried to tie God to that search for various reasons, and that has tripped us up and divided us for years… millennia. When we added God we added our ‘version’ of God, and then the Universe itself wasn’t allowed to speak for itself.

I think we all agree that there is a connection. We’re connected to the Universe. We all need air to breath, we need to eat to keep up energy, and we need water to keep ourselves hydrated. We rely on the Earth spinning around the sun and the Universe supporting the Earth. We also recognize that we are affected by the people around us as well. In order for us to survive, we must learn to get along. Both of these books were asking those questions, using science as their yardstick, not religion. But the question was the same… how are we connected to the Universe. Science itself is just that, the giant question, how does the Universe work, and how do we fit in.

For that reason, in my opinion, atheists and agnostics are still spiritual beings, though I don’t think they would appreciate being called that. I think it’s safe to assume, regarding what we know, that we don’t really know what we know and we don’t really know what we don’t know. So in essence science is about figuring out what we do and don’t know. But Albert Einstein noticed that when you increase the circle of what you know, you also increase the circle of what you don’t know. It’s a paradox.

Everything that currently exists in regard to technology and industry comes about because we figured out how it was connected and interconnected. Our biggest challenge is also our biggest asset at this moment, though I’m not totally sure that we see it. Diversity. This diversity is good for us, but it’s also difficult because we haven’t yet figured out how to make it work for us. Even among all these groups, at the very bottom of it all (or at the top if-you-will) we’re all asking the same question: what is this thing called the Universe and how do I fit in? That’s spirituality.

Ben Tousey

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