Why Atheists and other Non-believers Should Consider Keeping a Sabbath

Why Atheists and other Non-believers Should Consider Keeping a Sabbath June 29, 2021

Rumor has it that the Israelites started keeping the sabbath because it was one of the 10 commandments God commanded them to keep. These days, the disciples of many other religions also keep the sabbath in one form or another. And although they may keep it differently, there are two rules of thumb that anyone wanting to keep “a” sabbath should honor. These are, to refrain from work for a twenty-four-hour period and to focus on nature.

Stripped of its religious baggage, taking a physical and mental break from life was a good idea 4000 years ago and it’s an even better idea in the modern world. But the trick to getting the most out of a sabbath day—is ironically, to do it religiously. You must decide what you need a break from, then choose and do things that enhance your well-being, and dedicate a twenty-four-hour period each week to honor your commitment to making life better for yourself.

Stripped of its religious baggage, taking a physical and mental break from life was a good idea 4000 years ago and an even better idea in the modern world. / Image by Pexels from Pixabay

When I was a Seventh Day Adventist, I kept the sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday night. I didn’t do any kind of physical labor, turned off the television, and attended church almost every Saturday where I was focused on my spiritual growth. On Saturday afternoons I tried to get out into nature or spend quality time with family and friends.

These days, (since I’m no longer worried about going to hell for breaking the sabbath), I’m less fanatical about engaging in thoughts and activities I once thought only pleased God. Nevertheless, as a guideline for keeping my secular sabbath I still don’t work, and I try to spend time in the great outdoors. Reconnecting with nature is one of the best things we can do to keep our sense of wonder sharp.

As far as spiritual growth goes, I also use my sabbaths to engage in creative activities like playing music, reading and photography. It’s also a great day to meditate, because if you keep a sabbath your brain is already conditioned to set aside the mundane and focus on thoughts that matter.

If there is one activity I’m adamant about completely shutting down though it’s social media. Although social media can be helpful in getting people to connect with friends and family, it can be distracting if one is trying to focus on reality; on what is happening in real-time in their own lives.

Keeping the sabbath may have started out as a religious holiday, but there is no reason for  atheists and other secularists not to borrow it and make it their own. What you choose to do on your sabbath, or course, is entirely up to you. But it’s hard for me not to overstate how much carving out space once a week to escape the rat race can enrich your life.

About Scott R. Stahlecker
Scott Stahlecker is a former minister and now writes for Thinkadelics about the joys and benefits of living as a freethinker. He is the author of the novel Blind Guides and Picking Wings Off Butterflies. You can read more about the author here.

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One response to “Why Atheists and other Non-believers Should Consider Keeping a Sabbath”

  1. I was curious about what your profession is, but didn’t want to pry. The pandemic changed a lot as far as employment goes. Not sure how your company is doing post pandemic, but so many have lost the profitability they enjoyed pre-pandemic, and I’m sure they are maximizing those margins now by working their people to death. I think of the airline industry right now. It’s canceling so many flights because its employees are overworked. But what I don’t understand is why they can’t fill those positions now. If not with the employees they let go but with new ones.

    600,000 dead is really tragic, but more so because so many of those deaths could have been prevented were it not for the incompetence of the former administration. This is the kind of situation that makes me wish there was a god, if for know other reason than to balance the scales of justice at some point in time. We are still seeing the stupidity plan out in those states that are way behind the curve in getting their citizens vaccinated. I’m okay with giving people the freedom to believe the conspiracies that are preventing them from getting vaccinated. Trouble is, the poor decisions they are making will result in the death of more Americans.

    Enjoy the dandelions this weekend. As for myself, I will be breaking the sabbath. 🙂 I actually have to work this weekend to help out my son-in-law.

    One of my favorites RUSH tunes…

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