The Theist approach to the conundrum of life: Either there is a god, or there is not. I believe there is not. Therefore I am not a Theist.
The Agnostic approach to the conundrum of life: There might be a god, but there might not. I am not a fence-sitter. Therefore I am not Agnostic.
The Atheist approach to the conundrum of life: Since there is no god, there is no life after death. I do believe there is no god, but I do not believe there is no life after death. Where does that leave me?
The Spiritual Atheist approach to the conundrum of life: There is no god, but there is life after death. I am a spiritual atheist.
I don’t know that I am correct in my belief, and I really don’t care if I am correct or not. The gist of the matter, for me, is that if I live the best life I can (by my own self-imposed standards) and there is no life after death, I’ll never know that I was wrong, so who cares? However, if I live the best life I can, and there is life after death, then I will be well-prepared to die. The only conundrum I can see is whether to call the being that is the universe “First Life,” as I have called it since I was young, or whether I should change after all these years to a name more befitting what I believe, and that is “Spirit of Origin”? Since that name came to me in a day dream last week, I am leaning more and more towards the new label as it is a much better descriptor of how I see life, and how I experience the universe.
One thing I have noticed about theists is that they believe atheists are generally bad people. Because they have no threat of hell over their heads, atheists can go out and do anything they want–and of course they are going to want the things that theists want but are afraid to do. I can only speak for myself here, but I’m pretty sure most atheists don’t go out and hurt people just because they can. The Hippie subculture of the 60s and early 70s, of which I am one, lived by only one rule, “Be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.” I think that rule for life is what most atheists believe, and definitely most spiritual atheists. The difference between us and theists is that theists are scared to do things that go against the will of their god, while we atheists we are not scared to do a lot of different things, but we impose limits on ourselves to what we allow ourselves to do or not do. We aren’t thieves, murderers and rapists because that would hurt other people, and such is not our wish. I’d even be willing to bet that more thieves, murderers, and rapists believe in a god than those who don’t. Why? Because we have ourselves to answer to, and our friends and loved ones to answer to, while theists have god to answer to, and just maybe god is watching someone else while these criminals are committing their crimes against life, be it human/intelligent or non-human/non-intelligent. This is what I mean when I call myself a spiritual atheist: I have to live up to my own standards, and they are set high. Maybe I can’t always keep to these standards, as I can be subject to emotional distress, and I’ll say something I don’t mean. But while I can use my words as well as a soldier can use a gun, I still won’t use a gun, because it is against my beliefs. Bullets rip through bodies and cannot be stopped once fired. Words can only hurt if the listener chooses to let them hurt. This doesn’t mean I am not responsible for my actions. And no one can forgive me but me.