The US military seems to think so, at least from their Mandatory Soldier Fitness Tracker survey that measures a soldier’s competency in areas like Family, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual. Justin Griffith, an outspoken foxhole atheist, wasn’t shocked when he flunked the Spiritual section, but was appalled when he was referred to counseling because of it. Here’s a snippet from his results:
Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles, and values. Nevertheless, who you are and what you do matter. There are things to do to provide more meaning and purpose in your life. Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal. Change is possible, and the relevant self-development training modules will be helpful. If you need further help, please do not hesitate to seek out help from the people you care about and trust – strong people always do. Be patient in your development as it will take time to improve in this area. Still, persistence is key and you will improve here if you make this area a priority.
Make sure you read Justin’s full piece describing the test, because it makes these results even more revolting. Apparently not believing in a higher power or considering yourself spiritual means your life lacks purpose and meaning. Who wrote this crap, and why is it being used by the United States government?
Kudos to Justin for being outspoken about this. It takes immense bravery to speak out as an atheist, especially in the military. Hopefully this will gain enough attention that something will be done about it.
PS: And in case his name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the one organizing Rock Beyond Belief, a secular concert/extravaganza in response to an overtly Christian concert held at his base earlier this year. I’ll be speaking there, along with awesome people like Eugenie Scott, Hemant Mehta, Margaret Downey, and great musical guests. Make sure to show him some love!