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  • Writer's pictureBurt Rosen

Cure Blog Post # 1 - Can I be spiritual even if I don't believe in god? (spoiler alert, yes I can)





Sorry Mom, but I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in God. Not only do I not believe in God, but sometimes I have trouble when other people tell me about God. I’ve left support groups that are religious, I’ve started groups that suggest they are not the place for religion and I’ve deleted social media posts where others comment on how God will help me (because they are commenting on my feeds and should be sensitive to my beliefs).


When you have cancer, God is in everything you read. “Thoughts and prayer, God will save you, I'm praying for you, God has a plan, etc. I am sorry, but I think it’s all b*******, regardless of who your God is (I am an equal opportunity God disbeliever!)


I struggle with God in cancer. For starters, I often wonder, “If God will save me, why did he give it to me in the first place?" No one seems to focus on that part.


But, with my lack of belief in God, does that mean that I can’t be spiritual? 100% NO! I can and am spiritual. Dr Maya Spencer from The Royal College of Psychiatry in the UK (everything British is smarter) defines spirituality as:


"Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature."


Notice, no mention of God, but an open enough statement that allows people to believe or not believe in a God, or to feel any way that brings them some level of satisfaction and comfort.


I find my spirituality within myself and in the world around me. The first part of the word, spirit, in my mind, lives within me. I have a lot of spirit. It’s my belief in myself, that I am capable and can overcome anything. I take a lot of strength from that which lives within me. The second inspiration (the middle of the word is close to spirit) comes from the world around me. The happiness and appreciation I get from breathing clean air, feeling sun on my face, hearing the rustle of leaves on the trees, etc, all make me appreciative and feeling like I am just a part of a bigger world.


I take walks and listen to the wind. I take long solo drives and listen to music. I go hiking and look at the sky. All of those things remind me that I am a part of something. I take comfort in all of my experiences and am constantly thinking about the world around me.


So, my spirituality is not based on God. If yours is, I am sincerely happy for you. We should all go with whatever works for us as individuals. Mine is based on my belief in myself, my context and what I am capable of. I focus a ton on my mental health and my spirit, and THAT’S what makes me a spiritual person.

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cwallace
Dec 01, 2023

I hear you! I believe in God, but my follow-up always is, you gotta ask me what that means (because it sure ain't the bearded white guy in the sky; heck, there's no gender, to puppeteer, etc.). I always tell my kids regarding spirituality that the main thing is you don't think you're the center of the universe and do your best to leave the world a better place from having lived in it. The deets are up to the individual.


I always enjoy your posts!

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Burt Rosen
Burt Rosen
Dec 01, 2023
Replying to

Love that! Thanks for sharing.

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Rico Micallef
Rico Micallef
Nov 30, 2023

Very well said. I have always thought the same thing, why do people pray after the event? If prayer really works wouldn't "preemptive prayer" make more sense? I grew up catholic, now I am at best a deist with a healthy dose of agnostic. My mother's beliefs helped her confront her own death. People praying for her gave her comfort, so from that perspective there is some benefit to prayer. Keep up the fight.

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Burt Rosen
Burt Rosen
Nov 30, 2023
Replying to

Thanks, Rico, I love this response. I am all for people doing whatever helps them! For me, it's just more about some of the stuff I mentioned.

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