Five Spiritual Movies Every Atheist Should See!

1. Spirited Away

2. Northfork

3. Wings of Desire

4. The Matrix (Trilogy)

5. No Country for Old Men


  1. T

    The only one of these movies I saw was "No Country for Old Men". And as far as movies go I liked this a lot. I'm really hard to please when it comes to movies. But in your opinion why should Atheists see "spiritual" movies? And what was the "spiritual" part in "NCfOM"?

    Peace be with you, feeno

  2. Feeno-

    Great questions!

    Why should nonbelievers and Atheists watch spiritual movies?

    Well, I would say that nonbelievers in general have a much longer tradition of 'spirituality' than Christians have had.

    Although, I feel the term spiritual has lost much of its significance due to the generalization of the common and mundane everyday variety of supernatural experiences popularized by Christian gnosticism and practice. It's sort of made the word inadequate for what it traditionally has represented.

    Buddhists for example have an entirely "spiritual" religious experience, and they are nontheists, atheistic in their philosophy, since they don't believe in God per say. Their ancient mythology has stories of gods and what not, but they've always delegated a strict separation between the metaphor and the actual spiritual practice. They, for the lack of a better term, are spiritual atheists... and they've been around far longer than Christians.

    That said, Buddhism still has religious architecture, so it's not completely a secular ideology, however it is a secular spiritual practice of meditation and inner awareness.

    Atheists are not shut off from the luminous or transcendent experiences, but we don't superstitiously believe these to be divine or supernatural experience. Religious adherence are prone to believe an unexplainable experience must be supernatural, that it's coming from some higher plane of existence, perhaps even from God. Atheists simply make the honest claim that not everything is fully understood, and that sometimes an experience can be deemed spiritual without it being supernatural.

    Why should we watch spiritual movies? Well, in my opinion the spiritual aspect touches a innate humanism inside us all, and this is the awareness of our consciousness, our love, and our passions, tied up in what some have defined as the 'soul'. I think perhaps *psyche is a better word for it. But it's this inner self which these stories encapsulate, and the relationships of genuine human emotion and interaction, which give the spiritual experience meaning. Without the human part, there could be no spiritual experience.

    These movies symbolize a journey. A person moving from an ordinary existence to an enlightened state of awareness and knowing. But in all of them there is this pristine, sanguine, beauty of the human spirit.

    'No Country for Old Men' is unique. It's a metaphor for true evil. What if evil was a supernatural force, unstoppable, how would it affect our lives? Tommy Lee Jones has this deep meditation throughout the movie of how to go about living in a fallen world, how does one man, one person, get by?

    He struggles with the failure of not being able to cope with such an overwhelming force, and wants to give up, but hunts the demons which haunt his soul.

    The other characters are caught up in an entanglement, and they are unprepared to face such an evil. Revenge doesn't work, direct confrontation doesn't work, surrender doesn't work. In the end, the evil will always exist. And to me, the symbolism of the story suggests the only cure to combat evil is to seek a balance, not to overpower or overthrow it.

    The story at the very end of the movie where Tommy Lee Jones retells his dream sums it all up nicely. The movie is about a human spirit going from this life and preparing itself for what dreams may come, as Hamlet espouses, the undiscovered country.

    To me the movie was extremely spiritual, it is about the powerful forces which influence and impact us, and about the inner struggle to do right. It's an amazing film. And the overall story is downright good.


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