I realize that when I say I consider myself a spiritual person, I'm opening myself up for attack from people who are religious as well as atheists. The minds most drawn to spiritual thinking may tend toward specific relgions, and those whose minds are strongest in scientific areas are known to dismiss all the spiritual beliefs as silliness. There are probably just as many people like me, somewhere in the middle of belief and trying to tie things together as best we can. We just don't talk as much.
I don't talk very much about my spiritual beliefs by themselves, because I don't feel I have anything to prove to anyone. (Though I realize that our spiritual beliefs are a part of who we are and, therefore, they're naturally tied into other things we say and do.) I believe every person has the right to discover their own spiritual beliefs/religion/lack thereof in their own time. I feel that at times when I'm somehow a part of someone else's spiritual journey (or someone else is a part of mine), are souls will naturally be drawn together so we might learn from one another.
Others who try to view the world holistically do feel they have something important to say. Scholarly-drawn minds, no matter their studies, have an the instinct to learn and teach, seek and share, seemingly much more so than the majority of non-scholars. For instance, my current favorite blogger on Psychology Today, Nathan A. Heflick of The Big Questions, uses scientific studies to research human behaviors such as our tendency toward religion and uses his blog to share his speculations on this research. For example, one post is called Could God Be Science?
The tendency toward religion is something I've been wondering about since the beginnings of my own meager studies of psychology, especially as I think more and more over the years about my own beliefs.
I at least have to acknowledge that there may not be "something else out there," as terrifying as such a belief is to me.
Which leads into my speculation that if human beings have had such a tendency for so long throughout history, there must be an evolutionary significance to spiritual belief.
Therefore, even if there are no other lives or afterlives, I might as well stick with what I believe is true, as I'm only one small part of a species, composed of traits somehow valuable to my species.
If animal populations have natural ways of controlling their numbers (such as the occurrence of same-sex attraction), doesn't it make sense that the tendency toward religion could also be one of those things controlled by our biology to evolve the human? The atheists I've heard argue seem to skip right over the point that every way humans can act is a part of human nature and, therefore, at least minimally relevant to science. (We're not just a bunch of stupid silly-heads; we're animals acting according to our instincts.)
My point is the different directions we're prone to head toward in our minds are all perfectly natural. Each one is relevant to our evolution, though it may not be possible, given our ever-limited right-now-focused scope to explain the whys of spirituality or lack thereof in the human.
And, from a more personal (more spiritual) point of view, I feel that every one of these methods of thinking is also important in the development of the soul collecting knowledge of the universe over all its lifetimes.
[image from the LOLCat Bible]