The Spirit in Nature
Many people still claim to feel spiritually uplifted when walking in natural surroundings which they prefer.
The order of the natural world is still one of the major premises in many of the logical arguments that lead to the logical conclusion that God definitely and obviously exists.
It has been said that mathematics is humans reading the mind of God.
Remember: Nature was made by God and that includes people. In Judaism and Christianity, God told the people that God created humanity in His image (please don’t get hung up on gender). One understanding of what this means is that the self-awareness and awareness of the outside world that humans are capable of, is what makes humans of such interest to God. Humans are the only earthly creature capable of noticing and interacting with God.
Spiritual Practices Effect Awareness
One rebuff of nay-sayers is to point out that it is actually true that practicing a religion enable a person to develop awareness that may not develop otherwise. This is a bit like learning any other skill. Prior to learning a skill one may or may not even be aware of it. In some cases, there is awareness, but that’s it.
To use an unrelated example: Cashiers. Nearly everyone is aware of being served by cashiers. Far fewer people have experience being one. Not everyone who has been trained to be a functional cashier has had the exact same experience with it, depending on when they learned it and in what context. However, it is still true that often enough, if you have been trained as a cashier and were competent, there are certain things you will tend to do, and/or to notice. Just one example that I still tend to do, is making the bills face the same way and often arrange them by denomination.
By analogy, spiritual practices that people engage in have real effects. Those who meditate and fast will have information and experience unlike those who only pray briefly or at church but are great about giving to charity.
The bottom line: Consider the source: the criticisms made by the ignorant are less reliable than the criticisms or comments of those trained and experienced in a given area.
Ability is not equally distributed
Even in spiritual matters, there is as much diversity of talent and ability as we find in sports, academic areas and in types of work. This means that any person may be naturally better or worse with respect to spiritual awareness and behavior.
The relief for everyone who suffers from not having a great natural (God given, by the way) ability is permitted or even encouraged to pray for God to provide the power to achieve what would naturally be impossible. There are people God loves to use to do things that the person really doesn’t have the natural ability to do; it is not a scam.
This also means that it is not wise to take the advice of those who don’t know about spiritual matters, but it also means to have patience and mercy with those who have no special blessing or spiritual talent, and as a consequence they may have no natural interest nor great insight into God.