20% of Atheist Scientists are Spiritual?

(Newsroom America) — More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual, according to new research from Rice University. Though the general public marries spirituality and religion, the study found that spirituality is a separate idea – one that more closely aligns with scientific discovery – for “spiritual atheist” scientists.

The research will be published in the June issue of Sociology of Religion.

Through in-depth interviews with 275 natural and social scientists at elite universities, the Rice researchers found that 72 of the scientists said they have a spirituality that is consistent with science, although they are not formally religious.

“Our results show that scientists hold religion and spirituality as being qualitatively different kinds of constructs,” said Elaine Howard Ecklund, assistant professor of sociology at Rice and lead author of the study. “These spiritual atheist scientists are seeking a core sense of truth through spirituality — one that is generated by and consistent with the work they do as scientists.”

For example, these scientists see both science and spirituality as “meaning-making without faith” and as an individual quest for meaning that can never be final. According to the research, they find spirituality congruent with science and separate from religion, because of that quest; where spirituality is open to a scientific journey, religion requires buying into an absolute “absence of empirical evidence.”

“There’s spirituality among even the most secular scientists,” Ecklund said. “Spirituality pervades both the religious and atheist thought. It’s not an either/or. This challenges the idea that scientists, and other groups we typically deem as secular, are devoid of those big ‘Why am I here?’ questions. They too have these basic human questions and a desire to find meaning.” Read more here. H/T Mark Shea

Huh? I  honestly don’t understand how one can believe that there absolutely is no Creator of the cosmos and still be spiritual.  If there is no God then I am here by an impersonal act of nature. My life only has meaning while I exist.  I live on only in the memories of my love ones or any work,art, books, inventions, or theories that outlast my life.

An atheist believes that God is a myth. So how can any non theist believe in the spiritual?  One who is spiritual acknowledges that there is a non corporal non material supernatural reality.

Pray tell how is it possible to be a spiritual atheist?

Oh and how is that more reasonable than the Catholic belief that faith and reason are compatible?

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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