Astronomer (and Secular Chaplain) Carl Sagan used the word “spirituality” and “spirit” in the same manner we learned in seminary Hebrew and Greek. “Spirit” originally meant wind, breath. Very fundamental to life. Not supernatural, but radically, essentially Natural. Here’s a rather humbling reminder from the good scientist (The Varieties of Scientific Experience):
I remind you of the elementary fact that we breathe the waste products of plants and plants breathe the waste products of humans. A very intimate relationship if you think about it. And that relationship is responsible for every breath you take.
Sagan goes on to say that, in his view, religions can contribute to this kind of “spirituality” or not:
So that sense that this is a world that is worth taking care of is, it seems to me, something that could be at the heart of religions that wished to make a significant contribution to the human future.
I’d call that a direct challenge to believers who have any interest in being “relevant.”
I’d also call it a wake up for nonbelievers to work beside believers to “contribute to the human future” and the future of all life.
After all, what’s the alternative?
I’ve posted the heart of my book, Life After Faith, that attempts to saunter out into this “breathing space,” deeper into Nature, our nature, and something I call a Natural Spirituality without God.
Try it on. See if it fits.
Your comments are welcome.