Masters Thesis

Support for a spiritual life among the non-religious: discovering the spiritual emotions that contribute to well-being in secular life

There has been a growing population of non-religious people in the United States, and a gradual shift towards secularization. Additionally, there has been a renewed interest in the idea of spirituality as more people have denounced religion and the supernatural. A secular spirituality can provide spiritual growth for people looking to find meaning and purpose in their lives. In order to study secular spirituality, this thesis looked at the differing groups of belief systems in the non-religious category, definitions of spirituality, and previous studies of well-being in the non-religious. Then the thesis reviewed a number of different secular authors and their spiritual experiences. After compiling the experiences and the different emotions, it was discovered that secular spirituality commonly consists of feelings of transcendence, awe, and wonder. Atheists and other non-religious groups can use these findings to focus on eliciting transcendence, awe, and wonder for an increased spiritual well-being.