God and the atheist.
Today in the lecture theatre, I was taught that in counselling, you could integrate spiritual and religious elements in the techniques that are applied. It is an interesting concept as religion and spirituality has always been of therapeutic value. However, then came the subject of an Atheist. What is an atheist? It is a general term used for describing someone who does not believe in the existence of a god. I was then told that when dealing with an atheist, it would not be wise to integrate religious and spiritual beliefs into the therapy.
Question is, on one hand you have religion and on the other you have spirituality. I find that most people, would confuse the two concepts. Yes religion has its roots in spirituality and other wise, sort of a venn diagram mixture. However, when I was told that because one does not believe in god, the therapist cannot use religious or spiritual integration. That is a load of rubbish. Everyone, and I mean everyone, from your god loving pastor, to the worst criminal you could possibly find, has some form of motivation, a belief that would form a component of their spirituality. Yes, they might not believe in a god, however, those who don’t believe in a god still believe in something, perhaps it could be something material, or immaterial. It is their philosophy, their way of life that is practiced. Everyone has their own philosophy of life. Even in religious aspects, there are so many differing wings of each religion. Christianity, there are protestants and catholics, Muslims have the shi’ite and the sunni’s, even in hinduism and buddhism, the practice differs from individual to individual. This is because everyone usually tries to form a community, where they would feel ‘appreciated’ and ‘understood’ that is human nature.
So, to say that an atheist should be deprived of spiritual aspect in therapy? That is simply a brash judgement that the society, due to the large numbers of religious people would place upon others. Simple, you, godless man, I cannot talk to you about god or spirituality, because you are a non-believer. NO. I believe that things should be different, yes, you cannot impose your value systems on someone in counselling, but depriving them of a spiritual aspect? that is okay? That would be imposing your beliefs on them.
I feel that the spirituality of an atheist, would be comprised of his moral compass, his guidance, his belief system and his motivations. It would be wiser to work on that as a “spiritual” component in therapy, to forgo it completely just because he is an atheist. Does it not make more sense? Perhaps I am wrong, and perhaps the atheists do not deserve to have someone waving spiritual concepts infront of their faces. However, I am very sure that even the worst of us have spiritual components that can be explored and perhaps re-evaluated during therapy. There is NO such thing as a godless man.