The spiritual atheist
I understand the definition that an atheist does not believe in deities. But can an atheist be spiritual? I am not just referring to morals and values. For instance, have you read the book The Secret or are you familiar with the Law of Attraction? Like that stuff, and meditation, etc.? Do atheists believe that these things work? And how about a consciousness. I do not know if you have ever read the Bhagavad Gita, but Krishna talks about your True Self. Can a person believe in this True Self that is apparently within us and connects with everything in the universe and still be called an atheist? Because, in some way, one can say that this consciousness that exists in the entire universe, this enlightened… consciousness energy can be what most religions describe as god although in this theory god isn’t actually a personified being. So I believe my question is: Can one believe in this and be called an atheist?
The difficulty here is drawing a line between believing in deities and believing in non-divine paranormal things.
Let’s start out with The Secret or the Law of Attraction. If you believe that there is a natural law whereby good things will tend to happen to good people, then you can also be an atheist. However, you are also stuck with the problem of defining “good” in such a way that it can be associated with an unthinking physical force (in the same way that mass is associated with gravity), and I think that may be an insurmountable problem.
An atheist might also believe that the human mind can cause things to happen by using thoughts to change the world at a quantum level. This does not agree with objective evidence, but believing something contrary to evidence does not automatically disqualify one from being an atheist.
An atheist might meditate as a form of relaxation. But if someone is meditating in an attempt to connect with an eternal universal consciousness of some kind, that doesn’t sound very atheistic to me.
An atheist might also feel connected to the rest of the universe — after all, matter does impact other matter and it might be said that even a butterfly can effect the weather. An atheist might even believe that there is a physical way in which all minds connect to become some kind of universal consciousness, so long as this consciousness doesn’t have an existence apart from this mental connection. You posit that such a group consciousness might be “what most religions describe as god,” but I don’t see how that can be the case since most religions consider their god to have created the universe, and if you believe in a consciousness that is older than life in the universe, you’re likely not an atheist.
I hope this helps.