Atheism, and what the religious person doesn't understand.
As an atheist, I often wondered why my moral fiber should ever be questioned, solely because I'm an atheist. To be clear, I don't actively deny the plausibility of God. I do not however believe that God is a thinking being-- one who steers the fate of others- plans the direction the Universe follows. I do not fear the wrath of an omnipotent being as a result of how I live my life. As I don't deny His presence, this actually makes me an epistemologist. Atheist is a much more universally understood term- but as I have no proof to the contrary, it would be stupid to deny that there is a God.
On that note, I try to be a good person. I don't do this because it's written anywhere. Especially a poorly translated of texts passed down over millenia. I do not lie (well, mostly not), steal, speak badly about others behind their backs, nor make a habit of doing anything unethical or amoral.
I also make it a point to do the best I can with the life that I have. I don't mean financial/material success- moreso my personal accomplishments. I will not spend my life avoiding certain activities for fear of ramifications in the "after life"
So, what about spirituality?
Most religions consider the spirit to be the last remaining part of "us" after death. This is a somewhat bastardized term when it comes to individual spirituality.
I don't believe I have a "spirit"-- some thing that will be released once I pass. That does not mean that I'm not a spiritual person. My music, my pursuit of a better physical me, my intellectual pursuits, my love of those close to me are what make up my earthly spirit.
An incredible session playing my guitar, training at the gym, other worldly sexual encounters, and the many things that I'm passionate about make my spirit soar. These are the things that keep my battery charged- the things that I live for. This too is why I enjoy making people laugh, helping people, engaging in scintillating conversation. I enjoy these things because they make me feel good about who I am. I don't need a preconceived book of rules to tell me how to be good. It just makes sense. I feel it shallow to perform good deeds in the hopes that it gives us passage to a "better place" once we die.
Much as a Buddhist would, I embrace all aspects of who I am- the mind, body and spirit. Honesty, loyalty, good health (most of the time- though I drink somewhat heavily) and good will t'ward good people are things that I hold sacred. This is my way of enriching my spirit. I derive great pleasure and satisfaction from the pursuit of things that I love. Also, from spreading happiness to those that I love and respect. Sometimes just to a stranger.
What about near death experiences?
Well, I'm happy to support my disbelief of such. I suffered an injury in 2005 that caused me to lose consciousness, stop breathing and stopped my heart. I was resuscitated at the scene, and didn't regain consciousness for some time after. I believe it was my own lack of belief that spared me the near death experience. If one believes (or NEEDS to believe) that such an event is possible- couldn't the mind create such an event?
I stand firmly in my utter disbelief of such, because I've been there, and NOTHING happened!