Long post... Bear with me here a bit.
Before posting anything in here, I went to my dictionaries and looked up words like religion, spiritual, faith, and related things, just to see what they said. Jeez, a dozen definitions each, with some overlap and redundancies and tautologies, but still it was pretty clear that these are deeply complex ideas, even to compilers of dictionaries. I'm sure we could have long and complex discussions about what any of them really mean, without pinning them down to everyone's, or even anyone's, satisfaction. Such caveats aside, however, I will proceed on the assumption that there's at least some degree of common understanding of what the words mean.
I am, as many of you know, an atheist, by conviction. I grew up in a deeply religious household and for a long time accepted the words of parental authority on the way things are, until some of the things that were explained only as "mysteries" began to bother me. Why, I wondered, are they mysteries, why can't we understand them? Why, to take a rather extreme example I know of, would God, through the agency of St. Anthony, apparently respond to a little girl's prayer to find her lost kitten, yet fail to respond to a much more heartfelt--and to my mind much more important--request from a little boy (no, not me) whose father was dying? Is the girl's kitten somehow more important in the scheme of things than the boy's father?
To be told that, as Paul Simon's song "Slip Slidin' Away" puts it, "God makes his plan, the information's unavailable to the mortal man," seemed to me worse than no explanation at all. It's completely circular: a mystery is a mystery because it's a mystery. So as a very young man I came to be deeply suspicious of religious claims and explanations, and the longer and deeper I thought about them the less sense they made. Ultimately I rejected it all as useless and pointless. To make a long story short, I am now completely without religious belief: no gods, no demons, no ghosts, no spirits, no tooth fairies, no supernatural beings of any sort, have any role in my life, and I'm as certain as I can be that they have no reality outside the mind.
Ah, but spiritual I certainly am. I attended a Passover Seder last week at my best friend's home, who obviously is a Jew; non-Jews don't have Passover Seders. He's also an atheist like me, but he and his wife put on this dinner every year anyway, and every year they invite us. Even entirely stripped of its religious content, the Seder ritual has deeply humanist and humanitarian lessons we would all do well to take to heart. It's a celebration of the Israelite exodus from slavery in Egypt, an important part of the cultural traditions that have kept Judaism and Jews alive over millennia of persecution and diaspora. It's about endurance and survival, things well worth celebrating, but there's more than that. It also contains important lessons about how to treat each other, especially those less fortunate than you. The ritual goes on at length about widows, orphans, the poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the stranger among you, always with the reminder that these and all others must be treated with kindness, courtesy, charity, and respect, lest you become like the Egyptian oppressors of old. A dozen times the group gathered around the table is required after one of those reminders to recite in unison, "for you too were once strangers in the land of Egypt."
It's powerful, and strange. You'd have to be made of stone not to be moved by it.
Or an ignorant idiot, perhaps.