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Patrick S. O'Donnell

The stipulative definition of "the spiritual" sans religion is not something I made up but comes from self-defined agnostics, atheists, and humanists themselves, from Kakar and Gillett (I linked to the relevant quotes from them), and to others, like the philosopher Owen Flanagan who, with his conception of "eudaimonics," elaborates a notion of "naturalized" spirituality. So, you are profoundly mistaken to state that this is somehow "disrespectful" of the beliefs of atheists and humanists, and you are equally wrong to think that the meaning of "the spiritual" necessarily depends on some sort of religious belief. And it is the worst kind of rhetorical hyperbole to invoke the concept of oppression in this context, unless we can make sense of the idea that atheists and humanists like Kakar, Gillett, and Flanagan are engaged in some form of self-oppression. In short, there is a notion of "the spiritual" that does not involve religion: that you are ignorant of same or do not understand its meaning in no way alters that fact.


The whole idea that there is a "spiritual" component of a person is purely religious and disrespectful of the beliefs of atheists and humanists, who are oppressed equally by the religious and the "spiritual."

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