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Can atheists believe in ghosts?

LadyAlyxandrea 8 Feb 27

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28 comments

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4

They can, though I always find that to be a strange dis-junction. While atheism is nothing but a lack of a belief in a god, it generally goes hand in hand with skepticism overall. Most atheists I find raject supernatural phenomena in their entirety seeing as the same logic for a god can normally be applied to paranormal phenomena.

Those are my sentiments exactly.

4

Yes.

Atheism is purely a response to theist claims of god.

As a generalisation, those claiming ghosts exist would have the same burden of proof as theists and thus most atheists tend not to believe in any supernatural events. However, there are atheist religions out there that do.

3

Why not? Athiests can and do believe in anything humans believe in except Gods.

3

If by paranormal you mean something that has not been properly explained or quantified with the current state of our science then yes, it's possible that some phenomenon previously deemed paranormal become normal one day as science progress.
But the thing with ghosts is that, as someone point it out, you would have to believe that it is possible to have a will and have senses while lacking the stuff that makes that possible (frontal cortex, eyes, ears, etc). If there is "something" it wouldn't be anything that can act or feel in the way acting and feeling makes sense for us. It would basically be something that has nothing to do with the way we represent these things.

3

I personally am an atheist, but I'm open to the idea that just because it isn't explained yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I fully believe in ghosts and spirits but not god. However what is a ghost? No clue. Is it the remaining electrical energy from our brains transferring through the air, still fresh memories of it? I've experienced a lot of unexplained things, and I guess I'm just open to the idea that there are still so many things we don't understand yet.

Saying unexplained things must be ghosts is the same as saying not yet understood science must be God.

3

what do god and ghosts have to do with each other? two completely different issues

But both imaginary. Some atheists need longer to mature.

I lived in a house with very real ghosts---they weren't scary, didn't appear in white cloaks--but numerous people were aware of them without us telling them they were there. We lived in the middle of an area that was hit very hard during the Civil War, the houses were built in the 1860's and almost every one of them had ghosts. When we first moved there I thought they were nuts--but after several encounters became a believer. We never talked to the kids about it but when they were young and would be sad or sick, they would tell us about the lady in the old time dress that would sit on their bed, sing to them and rub their forehead. Soooooo

3

There are a few people on this site who believe that ghosts either do or may exist. Personally, I think they're every bit as much a massive pile of woo as god/gods and all the rest of the supernatural. I kind of wish they were real, though - I enjoy a good ghost story, so it might be fun to have a few real ones around 🙂

Jnei Level 8 Feb 27, 2018

To play devil's advocate here. We really don't have a comprehensive definition of what a ghost even is. It could be the spirit of a dead person, an image of someone that was recorded by some freak natural phenomena and is replayed by some process we don't understand. It could be a hallucination.

There are any number of ways people could experience ghosts beyond the paranormal. I've definitely seen and heard things that I cannot explain that other people were convinced were ghostly in nature.

I don't believe in ghosts either.

@JimG Same: I once had a very spooky experience which, I don't mind admitting, had me getting the hell out of the house where it happened as quickly as possible. With hindsight I have no doubt that, with sufficient information, it would be possible to show that it was caused by something entirely natural. Nevertheless, I wouldn't spend another night in that bedroom even for a million pounds.

3

I feel like in order to believe in ghosts, someone would have to believe there's a spirit or entity beyond our natural/fleshy selves. That there's something that could possible live on after the cells in our meat suits died. Personally, as an atheist, I don't believe in that sort of thing, or anything supernatural.

2

Sure, just not the holy spirit.

2

Boo!!

2

Yes

Sacha Level 7 Feb 27, 2018
1

They could, but it would be silly.

1

Why not? If there is something among us that separate from the body at death and some are able to linger around familiar places or objects why not? I will find out when I die. Not before. And I believe more in possibility of ghosts than of space aliens. At least ghosts used to be one of us, supposedly... aliens? space aliens? In the same box as gods. There been more sightseeings and stories in history of ghosts than aliens.

0

If they can believe in ghosts and still don't believe in even one god, sure.

People don't always hold logically consistent positions. Atheists are not immune to disordered thinking, or to being ill-informed or un-considered on certain topics.

Atheism describes a lack of belief in one topic, nothing more. Most atheists are atheists as a side-effect of something else: being skeptics and critical thinkers. But not all. And not all apply critical thinking across the board.

0

I do and I don't. I think that science just hasn't found a way to explain them yet. But I have seen them all my life, so, yes, I have to believe in them, by the tenet of seeing is believing.

0
0

Absolutely. I don't, but I know at least one atheist who does, or at least thinks they're possible. I wish I did. I'm really not looking forward to being dead again.

0

I want to see a ghost. And I want to see a space alien. I’d also like to have a drink with some of my favorite dead celebrities. I don't really believe any of these things are going to happen, but it’d be cool. (Although I can’t wait until they discover life or evidence of life elsewhere in the universe.)

0

Anything is possible, but that is very inconsistent. All atheists I know reject any supernatural beings for the same reasons they reject God beliefs. To believe in ghosts is to accept that there is some type afterlife, which kind of defeats the notion that there is no God.

0

NO! If you believe in ghosts you will burn in Atheist Hell!
Sure believe in whatever you want. Isn't that the point of being an atheist?

0

I guess some can believe in ghosts--but not the "holy ghost." BTW, I find it odd that anyone can believe in ghosts, atheist or not.

0

That's a good one. I think I lean more agnostic then I do atheists. With that in mind is I believe in Ghost,

0

You can believe whatever suits you. I don't believe in ghosts.

0

I by ghost you mean something that can see and hear what's going on and have some kind of consciousness but no body then I don't think any kind of scientific advance can ever validate that. But if by ghost you mean something else then it has to be specified.

0

I like the general idea that “we should not believe anything that cannot be scientifically proven.” God, ghosts and Santa Claus (for that matter) are ideas that have no scientific proof. However, given the definition of “atheist” I suppose there is no reason an atheist could not believe in ghosts – or Santa Claus.

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