Thursday, August 2, 2007

Define "Spiritual" Please

The post below this one on the Spiritual Ministry Department caused me to start thinking about the word "spiritual" and what it means. If we are to have this department, then we ought to know what we (collective "we") mean by this word "spiritual" shouldn't we?

So, where to start? How about Webster's Universal College Dictionary. The first four definitions found in the 1997 Random House edition I own read as follows:

spiritual adj. 1. pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature 2. of or pertaining to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature 3. of or pertaining to sacred things or matters; religious 4. pertaining to or consisting of spirit; incorporeal

So, then, spiritual matters are not physical. And they are usually religious. What about the definition of spirit? Same source, first three definitions:

spirit n. adj., v. 1. the animating principle of life, esp. humans; vital essence 2. the incorporeal part of humans or an aspect of this, as the mind or soul 3. conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter

It seems to me that we have a word here that is attempting to describe something that is indescribable, at least in its intended meaning for the Spiritual Ministry Department. It is a word that I find no use for, at least in this meaning. If something is incorporeal then we cannot know anything about it unless it chooses to manifest itself somehow in our world - - that is, becomes corporeal. And then it is no longer spiritual, by definition.

So spending tax dollars on the spiritual would be a big fat fucking waste of money even if it were constitutional, which I still contend it is not. Of course, there is no hope of getting the current Supreme Court to agree with me, hell, they don't think tax payers have standing to contest how tax dollars are spent (fucking right wing shitheads). But that is another issue altogether.

So spiritual is another in a list of words that I have discarded from my vocabulary as useless. What are some of the others?

How about sin... as an atheist I cannot sin. Sin is a concept that makes no sense to me because one cannot sin unless there is a god that one is sinning against. So there goes "sin" into my vocabulary waste bin.

Another useless word for me is believe. I don't believe anything. I make reasoned decisions based on evidence, research, and the best knowledge that humans have accumulated over time. I therefore know facts as much as anyone can know anything. I have no need to believe or believe in anything outside of this scope. As such, I avoid the words believe and belief.

Faith is another useless word. Basically, one relies on faith when one has no evidence or facts to back up his beliefs. There is nothing that you can know by faith, it is only a crutch word used by religious believers to attempt to give credibility to their choice to believe in the unbelieveable.

What do you think? Are there any words that my fellow atheists out there have ejected from use after finding them to be devoid of meaning and worthless?

7 comments:

Ceroill said...

Ok, I'm not a bona fide atheist, as such, but I'm having to resist the obvious suggestions of "statesman", "credibility", and "network entertainment".

csm said...

LOL

Ceroill said...

Glad I could bring a smile, csm!

lou said...

OK CSM, I respect your opinion though you unconstitutionality position is feeble. Here is the problem. You aspire to remove a service that obviously other Americans find supportive because you conclude it to be ludicrous. This assistance does not initiate any religious institutions.

I try to esteem the position of atheist, agnostics and religious uniformly. I am agnostic, but recognize there is more to a man than just the physical. It would seem obvious that something imparts life, provides consciousness and fulfills the role of the id, the ego and the superego. From your perspective that evidently purports I am religious worshipping at the foot of the question mark? To take it a step further, you manifestly stipulate that our soldiers not “exercise their freedom to religion”? Once again, I find supporting the service that assists so many of our soldiers to be the appropriate one.

csm said...

"I am agnostic, but recognize there is more to a man than just the physical."

You can say that all you want, yet there is no proof of what you say at all. None, zero, zilch. Prove and I'd re-consider. Otherwise, let's have a Department of Placating the Invisble Flying Weasels. Just as much evidence for them and they need to be placated damn it!

"It would seem obvious that something imparts life, provides consciousness and fulfills the role of the id, the ego and the superego."

Your argument is non-existent if you are saying that this "something" is spiritual. That ain't obvious at all.

"From your perspective that evidently purports I am religious worshipping at the foot of the question mark?"

Not an accurate assessment of my perspective friend. I'm saying this department IS religious, as much as spiritual. Spiritual is the fake way that weasels hide religion in places it does not belong. I'm curious, as an agnostic, what the hell would this department have to offer you? If this department is truly 'spiritual' and not merely religious (christian religious at that) then can it offer comfort to certain Native Americans by imparting wisdom on how to please Takanaluk or help the Inuit in soothing their anua?

"To take it a step further, you manifestly stipulate that our soldiers not “exercise their freedom to religion”? Once again, I find supporting the service that assists so many of our soldiers to be the appropriate one."

I refuse to participate in your delusion and I never said anything of the sort. You can make up all the shit you want, but (just like GWB and his cronies) that don't make it true!

lou said...

“I'm curious, as an agnostic, what the hell would this department have to offer you?”

It’s simple really, I’m thinking of others and their needs. Americans should not be forced to think as I do because America is for all people. I also do not have a vendetta against anyone who doesn’t reflect the way I do. I wish you well on all that CSM.

csm said...

Gee, thanks lou, for wishing me well on my "vendetta." I wish you well in your world without reason or sense.