The cosmos, you and I.
I have formed an interesting and close relationship with a laborer of mine, who is a life long Christian, and a fairly rational one. It is just him and I together all day at work. I would consider him a very loose Christian, he quickly admits and doesn't support many things in the bible, yet adheres to the name "Christian." We're constantly poking at each other at work for fun but keep it light. He says he's never met someone who challenged his beliefs like I do "I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I thought I should teach Christianity to my atheist boss" he says. He and many theists alike have a pre-conceived notion that the reason we are atheists is because of our lack of understand about their particular religion, of course they learn quickly the depth of our position if they have the mind to understand it. The last thing he asked me was the old "where do you find purpose, a feeling of something more, awe...?"
I replied something like: "Reality, and the never ending search for real truth about the reality in which we exist. The attempt at understanding and conceptualizing our universe. Realizing that the atoms that make up our bodies today, use to be of stars and clouds of gas floating around space in the past, and that atoms that make up stars and clouds of gas now will make up new amazing things in the future. Understanding looking at the big picture we are as one with trees as we are with stardust. The realization that reality, and our natural universe and our connection to it is far more spiritual than any man made stories of ghosts and gools. When I stair into the nights sky and attempt to conceive the unconceivable, adding a man-like, jealous and petty creator completely ruins the experience. "
I think this sounds like "flunkenmufid gertmundindxoweom" to a theist, so I sent him these 2 compilations, the best of the "symphony of science" songs. These songs take me to a place religion was never able to, in fact religion never got me even close it just left me feeling empty. This captures how I feel well.
I also sent him the Carl Sagan "Cosmos" series, if anyone here hasn't watched the entire "Cosmos" series by Carl Sagan it is a must see for anyone, you come out of it with such a more profound outlook on everything including yourself. I find myself often perusing the "encyclopedia intergallactica" in my mind while I'm just relaxing or trying to fall asleep, visiting other potential worlds in our galaxy. I find the following words by Carl Sagan more profound and beautiful than anything found in religion:
"The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."
CARL SAGAN "COSMOS"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dADUBcoEEHw (episode 1, links through to episode 13)