Spirituality

While the words "spiritual" and “spirituality” have supernatural connotations for many, they are widely used to refer to the domain of ultimate existential concerns that engage all of us, eventually. Our approach to these concerns need have nothing to do with the supernatural. Instead, the realization that human beings and their emotions, thoughts, desires and actions are empirically “at one with the universe” can ground a naturalistic, non-dualist spirituality, one that generates wonder, compassion, gratitude, and acceptance.

Spirituality can thus be naturalized, and a naturalistic vision of ourselves and the world can inspire and inform spiritual experience. Naturalism understands such experience as psychological states constituted by the activity of our brains, but this doesn't lessen the appeal of such experience, or render it less profound. Appreciating the fact of our complete inclusion in nature can generate feelings of connection and meaning that rival those offered by traditional religions, and those feelings reflect the empirical reality of our being at home in the cosmos.

See the links to the left for major articles and scroll down to "related content from other sections" for reviews of books on naturalized spirituality by Chet Raymo, Andre Comte-Sponville, William Murry and Eckhart Tolle.

More resources:

Articles in this Section

Related Content from Other Sections

  • Naturalism and Well-Being, Article
    Chapter for "Beyond Religion," Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks
  • Nice Talk on Naturalism, Talk

    This is a nice video of a 20 minute talk by naturalist David Simonton on Encountering Naturalism, given for the Seattle Atheist Church. 

  • The Case for Naturalistic Spirituality , Book Review

    The Little Book of Atheist of Spirituality by Andre Comte-Sponville is a wonderful articulation of the spiritual possibilities inherent in naturalism

  • Sending the Self on Vacation: How to Naturalize Enlightenment, Book Review

    A review essay on Eckhart Tolle's books The Power of Now and A New Earth.

    Like Tolle, naturalists challenge conventional wisdom about the self, but their beliefs about reality are more credible. What naturalism offers in terms of enlightenment – construed as becoming less attached to the self's agenda, with the psychological, moral and existential benefits non-attachment entails – is therefore more realistic and achievable.

  • Reason and Reverence, Book Review

    A review of William R. Murry's fine book on humanistic religious naturalism. A summary of Murry's thinking on humanistic religious naturalism is here (link is external).

  • Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Talk

    Talk and Q & A with Daniel Dennett at the Harvard Science Center.

  • Skeptics and True Believers, Book Review

    Those interested in how to integrate, not separate, science and spirituality will profit by Raymo’s inspiring book, Skeptics and True Believers: The Exhilarating Connection Between Science and Religion.