Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spiritual Beard

In the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community, a 'beard' was slang for acting heterosexual, it was a cover that allowed people to pass as normal. I'm wondering whether there is an analogy here for atheists who talk of being 'spiritual'. Some atheists who are friendly to religion (sometimes called accommodationists) use spirituality talk but seek to reject supernatural connotations. Is this a tenable position? Are they trying to pass as fully rounded human beings in some way, as if a 'spiritual' dimension is required not to be considered somehow shallow? If so, would a better strategy be to challenge that notion of what it is to be human and contend that there is no such thing as a spirit, and that the baggage-laden metaphor is no longer useful?