The spirit of humanity.

OK, I give up, I cannot resit the temptation to write a polemic on Spirit.

Many of my regular readers will, by now, have realised I am an atheist. And something of an anti-theist.

I am also interested in what we might term 'spirituality'. "Wait!" I hear you cry,  "Atheists don't believe in 'spirit', you can't be spiritual! It's against the rules."

But is it? I wonder?

And now to throw a real cat among the pigeons. The symbolism of 'gods and goddesses'. A quote from Terry Pratchett seems to sum this up nicely.

"I ain't against gods and goddesses, in their place. But they've got to be the ones we make ourselves. Then we can take 'em to bits for parts when we don't need 'em any more, see?' Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies.

Which seems to me quite one of the most profound statements I can imagine.

When we see a boxer fight, we often say he or she fights with spirit. It seems legitimate to me to think of a spirit of humanity and a spirit of the law. There are lots of ways we talk about spirit, that are not ghosts left to languish in eternity following our death. Nor are they omnipotent entities carrying infinite rewards or infinite punishments.

I am not sure I want to lose this sense of spirit. Humans  have invested a lot in these 'spirits', particularly the spirit of justice for instance.

They are different to the ghosts, theistic religions would have us questing to be, they are not some archaic soul doomed to exist through eternity, but creations of the human mind. Something linked to our ideals, our values, the world's we want to create.

A world with a 'true spirit of democracy' a 'true spirit of justice', a true spirit of an inclusive society.'

Humanity creates spirits. I would not think it particularly absurd to speak of something as being, in the spirit of Christopher Hitchens, and he was as atheist as its possible to be. No ghosts no unprovable claims about an afterlife, just in the spirit of the man's life and works.

I feel I want to hold on to thd notion of dpirit. We are keen to describe the human spirit as indominatable. Surely this is not lessened by that spirit, not being an immortal ghost, why would it be less valuable, or significant, if it is just the essence of a human being, the sum of consciousness mind, with a place in time. A story with a beginning a middle and an end.

It seems the word 'spirit' is too confusing for some. Should we abandon it and look for new words? Would those words have the same meaning for us?

The theist might seem to shout out, "ah see,  your reaching for god." But No! Only to understand the phenomena which leads humans to create god/s.

'Gods' which if taken literally remain logically absurd entities we make to defend ourselves from the great emptiness, the mistaken horror of the void. And then pretend they are something that they are not.

"Equivocation fallacy!" someone is bound to cry. Well perhaps,  I don't really think so.


Creations to protect us from our own responsibility for and to ourselves. Our responsibility to create our own purpose  rather than wait for it to be given to us, as some kind of handout.

And there are those atheists who will say 'spirit' is meaningless to an atheist. To claim the word would be a slippery slope towards, a theology of atheism, with all the contradictions that implies.

I can't say these musings lead anywhere,

But I wonder if we create the spirit of humanity, and justice and democracy and the rest, to be what we want it to be, whether we think there be a god, or spirits or not?

So perhaps just musings rather than the polemic I imagined when I began.

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