Spiritual Atheism

by Don Brickell
Community Seekers

I am seeking to make connections with people and/or form Intentional Community, around spirituality that is untied to metaphysical beliefs.

I grew up in a church, and when I became an Atheist I decided not to throw the spiritual baby out with the religious bathwater. In doing so, I came to realize that Spirituality can exist independently, of a belief in something unseen. I have since also come to realize that New Age spiritualitites have no better metaphysical claims than do Judeo-Christian-Islamic ones. To be evenhanded, I treat both of these groups of theologies with equal skepticism. I refuse to believe in any religious truth claims just because they make me feel good, secure, or less anxious. New Age truth claims tell us no more about reality and the origin of the world than do those of the monotheisms. In response to either, I don’t think that I should have to make an argument just to assert that I believe in plain, simple reality.

I find Spirituality in nature, and in helping people’s spirits heal from that which has wounded them – passing on what I have learned from  trainings and my own history, to others who still struggle. Toward that end, I have volunteered / interned at a suicide hotline, an addiction recovery center, and a hospital chaplaincy. I believe that working on one’s own spiritual and emotional growth is an obligation to both self and other. I find that this work builds on itself over time, getting easier, moving faster. (For example, I have developed a hybrid form of “introspective meditation”, taken from elements of the Mindfulness- and other traditions. It gives me insights into my “blocks”, and practical tools for overcoming them.)

These days, I am a Unitarian Universalist – the most open and accepting tradition toward other traditions that I know of. I believe that there is much good to be learned from studying religions, and from respecting religious people, (even though I do not always agree with them.)

In community and in spirit,
Don Brickell, MSW, MDiv

Last update: 8/14/2021