Hello Mighty Mom, thanks for the welcome email. Just so you know I have an entire blog spanning over 30 pages on blogger. I use the same user name there. Now to answer your question.....I don't think there is a tie between atheism and religion they are two entirely different subjects and disciplines. The spiritual aspects of martial arts such as meditation are all geared towards the mastery of self. The main goal of martial arts is to teach you to master yourself. Learning how to defend yourself is an added bonus. You learn to unite both body and mind so that they work in unison. Martial arts to a true martial artist is a way of life and a never ending path of discipline and learning. Fighting is a last resort and is only used to stave off an attack, not with the intent to seriously harm or injure your attacker.