Atheistic non-spirituality

Ok, so I am probably the world’s most inconsistent, and pathetically horrible blogger. And this particular article has been bubbling around in my brain for a while now. So here’s an attempt to assemble it.

I am a social worker, I work with youth that struggle with mental illness and developmental problems, trying to help them become independent and capable to live on their own in society.

What I do now however really isn’t that relevant to my desired topic.

What I am going to discuss is ‘self care’. In education for Social Service work, learning how to care for yourself may sound self involved and selfish, but it is a critically important aspect of the job. Caring for one’s self gives one the energy and capacity to care for others.

Now things we were taught were that there were 4 basic aspects of life, areas if you will, that we should cover to successfully accomplish self-care.

I will be focusing on one of these areas, but for a more complete picture, let’s glance over all of them.

Physical – so this is about taking care of the physical needs of your body, fitness, health, sleep, balanced diet, that kind of thing. Really quite standard and expected.

Social – friends, social interactions, social groups, being part of society and being a ‘productive’ member of society (whatever that may mean for you)

Emotional – Caring for and supporting your emotional needs, expressing your emotions and having them heard and understood. Ensuring you experience a good balance of emotions, in particular not too much ‘negative’ or depressing emotions.

This next one, is the one I had the most problem with, and I expect most of the people who I know are likely to have problems with.

Spiritual – now this is described as caring for your spiritual self, in particular religion or similar.

Here is my problem. I am NOT spiritual, I am NOT religious, I do not believe in dualism, in any kind of spirit.

Now I could just write this off as religious nonsense. However, at the point I was in my life, I needed to find more ways of caring for myself. In some ways I was jealous of religious believers, as they can reassure themselves that some magic man in the sky is taking care of all the bad stuff. I cannot do that.

So what do the rest of us do? What is the ‘atheist’ version of spirituality?

Well, what does religion do that is not covered in the other areas?

It provides a social gathering, this is already covered.

It provides emotional comfort – this is covered with the emotional self care, and in the case of religion, is usually a false sense of comfort.

That leaves purpose and place in the universe/world around you.

THAT is something I can work on.

So how do I do that? How do I reinforce or place meaning or purpose on my life? As most atheists, I do not subscribe to the religious dictation of a purpose. In fact, like most sceptics and atheists, I reject the idea of having a purpose imposed on my life. I provide my own. Every now and then I review my life and what I want out of it. What I feel is important to me, and how I can pursue that.

For myself I probably don’t really do this often enough, but it is the process I work on. Especially since this is an introspective process, and usually involves some self reflection, maybe some meditation that kind of thing. No special tools or appointments or help needed, all I need is some time to do this myself, and I can do it. So I should probably do it a bit more often. However, there it is.

What about my place in the world. For me that comes in two parts, firstly, learning more about the world/universe around me. Secondly, reviewing and being aware of my part in it.

This is something that I do in a very different way. Part of it is educational, I learn about the world around me, not in the religious manner of accepting mythology as reality.

  • I go hunting for science, real information about the world, what new discoveries are being made, what are we learning about the world around us and how it works? I download podcasts, I read articles. And I share them with my friends so they may enjoy them too, with the understanding that they may need or want to learn about the world about themselves too.
  • My place in the universe, spending time examining the ecology of my universe as it relates to me. I am both an accident of chemistry on a speck of dust, and I am, myself, an entire universe of cells, molecules and atoms!
  • In a social aspect, what is my place? While this borders on the social end of it. Skepticism, protecting those around me from fraudulent claims.

Much of this I accomplish, at this time, with Podcasts. Podcasts about my place in society, and my place in the universe around me, and about the universe around me ….

Podcasts about atheism.

The Thinking Atheist

This is a very friendly podcast, call in show, Seth is a great radio personality from the deep south of the US. A relatively ‘new’ atheist who talks about his freeing from religious thought, and takes calls from both believers and non believers too discuss it.

The Good Atheist

No longer podcasting, at least at this time. Archives are available for a fee. While I am not a fan of the fee, Jacob puts a lot of work into his work, and it is not unreasonable to ask for some compensation for your time. I live in hope that when time allows him again, Jacob will restart podcasting. I enjoyed his podcast which was a regular exploration of news events relating to religion and secularism, and an exploration about the usually untold stories of the bible.

The Atheist Experience

From Austin Texas. A call in show, best described as anti-apologist. The team from the Atheist Community of Austin take calls and answer questions of believers and non-believers on a call in Cable TV show that is also podcast.

The Humanist Hour

Humanism is … hold on, hold on, hold on …. listen to the podcast to get a far better description of Humanism. The Humanist Hour is an hour long discussion about current events as they relate to atheism and humanism every month. What a good way to look into your place in society and among those around you?

Ask an Atheist

Similar to the atheist experience, but less focus on apologetics, and based in the Northern US rather than the deep south.

Reasonable Doubts

A podcast discussing religion and it’s implications.

Sceptical and rational approach to religions.

The Scathing Atheist

Humour and amusement. Noah Lugens rips into religion and pulls no punches. A podcast aimed at those already atheistic in the world. This is a good way to salve the screeds of garbage in this world. The only response to ridiculous ideas are ridicule!

This list is no-where near exhaustive, just what I have listened to in the Atheist stable so far and my read on them.

On to scepticism!

Scepticism, the backbone of the skeptical movement, is a philosophy of life based on ‘scientific scepticism’ and the scientific process. The philosophy revolves around critical thought and rejection of unfounded assumptions.

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe

One of the first/earliest podcasts on scepticism. Weekly look into sceptical news and science, debunking and discussing some popular sceptical topics. The SGU is one of the core podcasts considered to be essential listening.


A secondary podcast by the SGU crew, tagged as 5 minutes with 5 skeptics. Each podcast handles just one topic/news article. Including an episode on each of the major logical fallacies.

The Skeptic Zone

An Australian podcast on skepticism. The team has done takedowns of some big scams, they have become famous in the skeptical circles. As old as the SGU, also one of the first skeptical podcasts. Richard has a friendly approach to skepticism.

The Pseudoscientists

The podcast of the Young Australian Skeptics. They are Australian, sceptical and young! What sceptical topics are relevant to young people? And some fun.

TRC – The Reality Check

The podcast of the Ottawa Skeptics. Eventually they settled on a 3 article format, usually one or two being serious and one being urban myth or just plain fun. They also have some members who make FANTASTIC musical parodies for the intros. Great to have a Canadian perspective.

Skeptically Speaking

Canadians strike again. A Canadian radio show, deals with science news, skeptical news and interviews. Not so much disscussion, more interviews and news.

Oh No Ross and Carrie

Usually a lot of fun. Ross and Carrie go and try the strange things so that we don’t have to. Each month they report on their investigations.


The official podcast of Skeptic magazine. Most usually interviews, some news.


A short, well researched, article, usually weekly, that takes on a sceptical topic or myth. “Positive scepticism” all about grappling with the evidence that is there not attacking those who propigate the myth.

Legion of Reason

Another Canadian production, LoR does some interviews, but mostly tackles news and discussion on sceptical and atheist topics.


Mark Crisslip is an infectious disease doctor who takes on medical quackery. Don’t believe he’s put one out in a couple of years, but the back-catalogue gives a pretty good review of a lot of quackery.

Rationally Speaking

Interviews and discussions on skepticism and rationality with a philosopher of science.

Trolling with Logic

A british group who takes no prisoners in a head on attack on magical thinking.

Cognative Dissonance

Ridiculous claims deserve ridicule – making fun of quackery and pseudocience

Caustic Soda

Ripping into pseudoscience and quackery with a sense of humour.

~ by scawalrus on September 12, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: