I would say I am spiritual, but not religious.
I was religious once, and I never will be again. Too much pain and suffering has been caused at the hands of the religious for me to be comfortable identifying with any religious group ever again.
Is there a god? This is a good question which preoccupies many, many people. Even those who say they are religious and that they believe in a god ask themselves this question often. Christians, a group I am most familiar with, call it having faith. You don’t have faith in absolute certainties. Things you know you don’t believe in. There is no evidence for a god. If there were, I would know there was one. There is evidence for gravity, therefore I know gravity exists. There is no evidence for god, therefore I do not know he exists.
In my understanding, this is what makes faith necessary. God cannot be proven, therefore one must believe, through faith, that a god exists.
I am an atheist because I have no proof for a god’s existence. I am not a believer, not because I do not have a capacity for faith, but I lack belief.
Why do I lack belief? I have yet to see a need for a god in my life. A god, commonly stated, is an all powerful supreme being who rules, or who has the capacity to rule, humanity, by fiat of being a god. Many religions of the world believe in one god, some believe in several, a few believe in a pantheon of gods. Christianity, again, a religion I am most familiar with, believes in one God who rules because he created the universe (or multiverse, should it be proven there is more than one universe). This God is supposedly all powerful, all good, and all knowing.
So why do I not exercise my faith and believe in God despite a lack of evidence like many on the planet? Why should I? I have yet to find a compelling argument for why belief is necessary. This is an open question I have. Without proof of existence, why should I have faith?
I once believed in the God of Christianity; I once was devoutly religious. I am no more because the evidence I thought I had for God fell away as inadequate. I made the logical choice to stop believing just like I made the choice to stop believing in other mythical beings and creatures once I grew old and discerning enough to know that they did not exist.
I have no barrier towards belief and faith. I simply see no reason why it is necessary. If it could be proven how and why belief in God, or a god, or many gods, is necessary to my continued existence, I would happily believe.
I’ll put it this way. To date, there is no credible evidence for life beyond our tiny little planet. Intelligence life seems to be reserved to homo sapiens and perhaps a few lower forms of animal life. I choose to believe, despite the lack of evidence, that not only life but intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe (or multiverse). In the same way, I could believe that god, or gods, or God. But I see no reason why I should, why I must.
This is why I am an atheist.
There is something further. Most Christians, and other prominent religions that I am aware of, are not content with mere belief. There is an insistence upon subservience, upon obeisance to the god, or gods, or God. It is unclear to me why I should not only believe that such a deity exists, but that I should indenture myself to lifelong servitude to said deity.
These are the questions that I, as an atheist, have. Why believe and why indenture? I am sincerely open to answers, to discussion on the matter. I admit, that I, as a former Christian, feel that something is missing in my life. Consider it this way: a person who lives in a family of sports fanatics, who does not follow sports, may nevertheless feel a lack of something when they leave the atmosphere of fanaticism. I feel that sort of emptiness.
I am spiritual, but it is a quiet, non-specific sort of spirituality. I am moved by nature, by the beauty of human compassion; I lose myself in the sublime joy of a baseball game, in competition. The written word especially captures my heart, as does the emotion of an actor on a screen, lost in performance. But I don’t have anything more than that, and I can’t help but feel I should. I just don’t know why. I suppose that is a third question I could ask. Why do I feel compelled to have something more to my spirituality? Why do I feel the need to investigate the tenants of ordered religion? I don’t know.
So I ask for help. If you think you have answers, if you think you have understanding, come, let us reason together. I want to know. I want answers to my questions.