A good bit further right is fair to say. If I may ask, and I will not pursue where the discussion is not wanted, I wonder a couple of things. Some thoughts from those on the committed secular side may help others, both secular and non-secular.
Thank's Erick you have just given me a new title to go by, from now on I will no longer think of myself as an Atheist ( it has such negative connotations! ). I now want to be thought of as a "Committed Secularist" I do no want to sound facetious, I'm genuinely pleased, as a little research turned up this definition: Secularism - The state of being secular; applied by G J Holyoake to an ethical system founded on natural morality as opposed to religious education or ecclesiasticism.
So-- the question.
If one is without faith, how does one fit the groundwork for the moral elements of aikido, which are closely woven into its practical elements, without taking on board the mystical side? I have met very few second dan or above, and none that I can recall fourth dan or above, who did not take that side very seriously, although there are wide variations in emphasis, surely.
It's easy really, us 'committed secularists' do not need faith to be moral, come to that, we do not need aikido, it is just that as very moral people we are drawn to aikido as a practice that fits in with our morals. I was a non-violent pacifist before I discovered aikido. I regard the teachings of O'Sensei and the Art he created as a fantastic practice for human beings in the modern world. A superb tansformation of past 'Martial' ( ultimate killing machine ) ways to a future " Loving protection of all things" mentality through practice of the Art of Peace.
I do not think there is anything 'mystical' about Aikido and I take my practice very seriously. I come from the Ki Aikido end of the spectrum so my practice has 'ki' built in ( ki developement exercises )and I can see plenty of opportunities for people to mystify (glorify?) and generally bamboozle.
I believe the universe and all thats in it is the most fantastic, beautiful, complex system. And the more we discover about it the more of each of those things it becomes.
Mysticism - is for the gullible and the controlling, a co-dependant relationship made in heaven or hell depending which side you are on.
Just my humble opinoin, but you did ask the question.