Can An Atheist Be Spiritual?

We all know that atheism itself makes no claims about anything, it’s simply a declaration of non-belief in god(s). Most atheists that I know take this to also mean that because there is no evidence for any god, there is also no evidence for the systems of belief that have arisen from those that believe in god.

But just because someone rejects the existence of any god, does this mean the person may not have some values that align with religiosity? There’s an older survey from Pew I tend to review when writing specific pieces on atheism, and there is some surprising information embedded.

The information has to do with the spiritual leanings of atheists. I know that looks strange, but there happen to be a small number that call themselves atheists that seem to have some beliefs I can only take as artifacts from their former god belief.

The strangest one is the number of atheists that say they believe in god. No that’s not a typo, but an actual result from this survey. 2% in this survey say that absolutely believe in god. These are atheists, or supposed atheists.

Another odd result are the number of atheists that feel a sense of spiritual peace and wellbeing. Those percentages are even more surprising although I’m not sure exactly what the question means, the inclusion of the term spiritual would have me believe a religious connotation.

How about the number that read scripture? I was actually surprised hw few atheists read scripture. I do, but only for research purposed and to be able to better understand what believers are being taught. Still, I would think that more atheists would occasionally read if nothing else but for that reason.

Apparently, as of this survey (2014), 5% of atheists believed in heaven. This number is actually down from 2007, where that percentage was 12%.

There’s a similar statistic with atheists that believe in hell. It’s a surprising 3%, but again down from 2007 where it was…10%.

I’d like to see where all of these numbers stand today, but atheists are not an important enough group to be surveyed often.

Although I view these results being odd as applied to atheists it’s revealing that there are a small number of atheists that have some belief in the supernatural.

5 thoughts on “Can An Atheist Be Spiritual?

  1. Every time I write something about ghosts, a few atheists stop by to tell me that they believe in ghosts. I suspect it would be even worse if I wrote about “ancient aliens.” As to the spirituality topic, I think it really depends what someone means by it. I believe Sam Harris wrote an entire book on the subject. I think the term can be used without implying any belief in spirits or the supernatural, but I’m not sure that is how most atheists use it.


    • That Pew survey surprised me. I have seen the same one before but I was looking for different information and didn’t pay attention to those questions about believing in heaven/hell, God (5%)! or any of the other strange responses. Here’s what I think though I didn’t get into it in the most much: Atheism is just about non-belief in god(s), and doesn’t say anything about other beliefs an atheist may have (like the afterlife). So technically, a person could be an atheist and believe in an afterlife.


  2. Start making sense of Scripture …we like to honor quite a few other net web sites on the web, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out…


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