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People that don't believe in God... why do some of them believe in ghosts or supernatural?

dc65 7 Feb 5

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People believe in all kinds of crazy things. Why do supposedly scientific people fall for pseudo science? Why do well read people fall for conspiracy theories? It's biological... our minds want to believe. They were designed to believe. We've only barely entered that part of our history where we can even understand the difference between reality and make believe. Our minds must make a fairly significant shift in the coming years to move beyond what they've been doing since we stood upright.


Don't confuse "believe" with "consider possibilities".


Because some have seen them.

I've seen a few things in my life I couldn't explain including something most people would call a ghostly apparition. Our brains are surprisingly bad at processing information it doesn't understand. Sometimes you just need to be willing to investigate closer because the ghost I briefly saw turned out to be a shadow cast from a tree that resembled a human form and my brain saw a man wearing a hat and a trenchcoat standing over my bed.

@paul1967 yes, often the things turn out to be something perfectly normal. I once had all my hair stand on end because outside my window at 2 AM was the devilish sound of a demon .. a real DEMON ! - which turned out to be a Possum. I was new in New Zealand and had never heard one before. They would really make a good sound track for demons. Now I have one of those in my ceiling, I never once thought it was a ghost.

@ZebZaman Not to be critical but you said "often the thing turns out to be something entirely normal, but I would say it's always something perfectly normal. Sometimes we fail to ascertain what the natural answer is, but when that happens, we should say something occurred, I just don't know what it was, and stop at I don't know, instead of adding to it with so that was a ghost or demon or Alien spacecraft.

@paul1967 except when air force pilots and people working the radar and all say they saw crafts not of human or known origin, with behaviours quite outside the range of what is deemed possible by our technology. I take their word for it . Not like LSD addled hippies mistaking a garden gnome for an elf. But I'm certain this line of mine will not change your mind. I wish people would be more open to things outside their normal reality. Watch "disclosure" and tell me they are all paid actors and lying ... na, I don't think so.

@ZebZaman No, I agree that they're not paid actors. You talk about being open-minded and I want you to open your mind to this and let me know how you feel about what I'm saying. There is a big a leap from saying not human to Alien spacecraft. People are prone to making fallacious statements, and this one is called the argument from ignorance. Basically, it's saying it must be "this" because I can't think of anything else it could be. Something is traveling in a way we can't explain. It appears to be traveling in a manner that can't be explained by human technology. What is it? Ask yourself, does an object that can move faster than human technology mean aliens are aboard flying around in our airspace? Have all other known and unknown possibilities been examined? Maybe it is space aliens, I'm not saying it's not, What I am saying is, I have no reason to believe it is. I don't know what it is because I have nothing to base that on. I don't believe in God for the same reason.

@paul1967 yes.

@ZebZaman I swear I'm not trying to harass you at all I just don't understand what you mean by Yes.

@paul1967 if you see something you cannot explain with the parameters known to you, it is better to say: I don't know what it is, rather than give it another sort of reasonable label. We are trying to keep our world in some sort of order. so, labels of sorts are a crutch to manage our reality. I agree we should not jump to conclusions. But we may disagree on how much science (popular science at that) has fully explained.

@ZebZaman Well, all I can say and I will leave it at this, I think the point your missing is that it has nothing to do with how much or how little science knows. It has to do with how we go about trusting what is valid to believe and what is what we want to believe. Is there a good reason to accept aliens are flying around Earths atmosphere? Do we have any examples of aliens or their spacecraft? Finally, I'll ask, is this something I want to be true? Or is it true for valid reasons? I see no reason to conclude that it is, even though I would very much like it to be true. I really think this is the fundamental difference between people who believe in a God and people who don't. Faith is a poison for the mind, and it cripples our ability to reason. I thank you for the conversation and if you have anything you want to add I'm here.


Until people embrace critical thinking and scientific method as their "way of knowing" their heads are full of random bullshit. Lots of unskeptical atheists believe a whole host of ridiculous notions from anti vax to ancient aliens.

Going off on a tangent here but... Anti vaxxers often have good reason to distrust the medical community. Look at the opioid epidemic for instance. It's literally been brought about by doctors giving patients medicine to "help" them and it's ruined millions of lives. Then you have that big scandal recently about how.much data has been falsified on scientific research for decades. The general public has no good reason to trust the medical community,researchers included, as we all are aware that profit always trumps our personal well being. Now their grasp of science and the scientific method may be shaky but I think they see which way the wind is blowing and are simply doing what they can to fight back against a faceless, uncaring juggernaut.

That isn't a good reason. A good reason is the evidence support vaccines do real harm, in particular compared to the good they do.

They have a great reason to trust them on this, the evidence is FUCKING ROBUST. And if they had good bullshit detectors they'd know all this was true.

You demonstrate exactly the need for good critical thinking skills, so the public not be deceived.

@Blindbird or they could just be paranoid crackpots. How can you believe vaccines don't work (not you, personally) when you see how many people died of influenza, small pox, polio, whooping cough, mumps, et al before and after vaccines were developed for them?

@Blindbird I read a lot of things on the Internet and I find it very difficult to determine what is correct and what is just BS. Where do we go from here?

@ScottAHurst the point is that they don't trust the people publishing the studies or the doctors administering the vaccines. If you want people to believe you,you have to be ethical and honest.

@dc65 With the deepest sincerity I can muster, pick up a copy of "Demon Haunted World" and read it. It isn't the last stop in critical thinking, but it's an amazing beginning.

This is literally the mental toolkit to solve that problem. Your skills at detecting BS will improve immensely. It's the greatest self-help book that ever existed. Truly.

@Blindbird Ethical and honest results are crapped on by wing nuts every day.

The problem is that tools to know who you should trust are not taught in school. Or rather what to trust, no ONE is to be trusted. But figuring out which of competing ideas best comport with the evidence best discovers the truth regardless of the messenger.

That Fox News exists at all is a testament to how badly the US needs a giant dose of formal skepticism.

@ScottAHurst I absolutely agree that critical thinking should be taught earlier and more aggressively in schools. Unfortunately public education seems geared towards grinding out obedient workers and not much more.


SInce I had never been on the other side... what god has to do with ghosts?


Not to fill in the blanks here, but perhaps it's because they have had a personal experience that defies explanation; something they experienced that science or coincidence can't adequately explain. Also, some people do like to believe in magical things...

a short-circuit in the neural pathways and our brains are not perfect they malfunction


If they believe in supernatural, then they are in a god country!


I don't believe in God due to lack of evidence, I don't believe in ghosts for the same reason,
I think once we understand them, things are not supernatural.


Weird shit happens. However your question only makes sense if you put the tag "supernatural" on the weird shit rather than accepting it as part of the natural universe we don't understand. We haven't yet managed to work out a Universal Field Theory and we are fairly sure there should be one. Evolution didn't stop. Once you start looking at Quantum Mechanics things also get a bit loosey goosey.

So just because you don't have an explanation for something and you can't replicate it under "controlled " conditions (do you even know what you have to be controlling for) doesn't make it "supernatural" just means it's an unexplained phenomena and discarding the possibility that things happen we don't understand doesn't follow from not believing in God it follows from the arrogant belief that we know all the answers (we are God).

Kimba Level 7 Feb 6, 2018

Well said. 🙂

Kudos, Kimba!


There are many phenomena that don't depend on a god to exist.

I have personally had some very weird, unexplainable things happen to me, so I can't just dismiss all the stories from thousands of other people over the years.

Its true, that many events have been proven to be fakes, but this does not automatically disprove them all.

“Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day.” ? Douglas Adams,


To me, Ghosts and the supernatural, astrology etc have nothing to do with not believing in god. I don't understand how people keep asking that question.

Sacha Level 7 Feb 6, 2018

Because lots of things are fun to believe in. All you have to do is switch off you rational thinking.


Good question. Do ghosts or other supernatural phenomena fulfill the same need as gods?


I don't think one correlates with the other. I am one of those persons that has SEEN a so called ghost and I have a story behind it. Yet, I don't expect anyone to believe me. I don't care if they believe me, it doesn't have a bearing over what I experienced. I however have not had a "supernatural" experience since then and it's been almost 30 years.

@SassyLady I've seen many things that defy explanation but experienced far more through vistas for creative exploration which often brought creative and innovative solutions to very real problems...and its all very natural.

Natural to the point I truly feel sorry for those bound to the physical world...and why I'm very verbally opposed to those who suggest everyone MUST be.


I've never understood this myself. It seems the same reasons that apply to lacking belief in God or gods, e.g., lack of evidence, would apply similarly to the paranormal, and similar levels of skepticism should color such claims, but for whatever reason that's not necessarily the case with all atheists and agnostics.


While I don't believe in any of the above, I don't see why believing in the supernatural would necessarily imply a belief in God.

because God or gods is part of the supernatural world so probably if one exists other should exist or vice versa. As we understand the brain better these kind of questions will be answered.

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