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WHY DO PEOPLE BELIEVE IN THE SUPERNATURAL?

We're well into the 21st Century yet the ignorance and superstition of the Bronze Age is still prevalent today primarily in the form of religious belief. Why is belief in the supernatural still a thing? Why do so many people believe in things that aren't real?

God
Satan
Angels
Demons
Souls
Heaven
Hell

Let's also throw in a few earthbound examples...

Nessie
Bigfoot
Ghosts
Zombies
Witches
Vampires

There are many millions of people who believe in some or even ALL of this stuff despite the fact that NONE of it is real. How do I know it's not real -- because there's no evidence to support any of it. None at all.

That's an important consideration. Mythology is one thing, reality is another.

Let me put it this way; if there was no evidence that dinosaurs ever existed, I wouldn't believe that they were real either but we have hundreds of years of research and a mountain of fossil evidence that proves they were real. Real things tend to leave behind evidence of their existence even if their existence was millions of years ago.

This isn't exclusive to the faithful although they are the most eager consumers of this kind of bullshit as well as the people most willing to forgo science, facts, and reason in favor of what feel good.

Why are so many people so willing to wallow in this ignorance? They not only believe it, they're PROUD that they believe it!

By Sgt_Spanky7
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25 comments

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3

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet, scene v

Scepticism is a rule to guide the edge of reasoned thought. It should never be embraced as dogma. Dogma closes the door to new discovery.

rcandlish Level 7 Aug 12, 2018

I take your point well but I like Willard van Orman Quine’s response to that quote a lot too: “Possibly, but my concern is that there not be more things in my philosophy than are in heaven and earth.”

I dunno that Shakespeare recognised the benefits of empirical evidence

@MsDemeanour You might be right.Though it would be wrong to judge him by our post-modern standards. However in his defence, I came across an interesting extract in Scientific American called "What Shakespeare Knew about Science"

[scientificamerican.com]

Though very much a man of his times, he certainly was no religious fool.

3

As far as I'm concerned, I have absolutely no proof that a god exists. That's why I don't believe in the concept.

I have witnessed things that I can not explain. That is why I believe somewhat in the supernatural/paranormal/aliens. As far as I'm concerned I have proof that for me, proves that it is possible. I don't insist that people believe, but I do believe. If you want to call me delusional, go right ahead. But until I see conclusive proof that it isn't posible, I will believe. By the way, you not having the experiences that I have had isn't proof.

kiramea Level 7 Aug 12, 2018
2

The importance of truth as such is overrated.
Many atheists harp on the fact that religious ideas are not true, which is totally correct but may be irrelevant, because what ultimately counts in evolution - its 'currency' so to speak - is not truth but practical viability (i.e. survival and reproduction).

Truth as such has no value in itself. You need enough truth (= adequate knowledge of the real world "out there" ) in order to successfully survive. If you know well enough those aspects of reality that are relevant for your daily life, for your evolutionary fitness, that is perfect. That is all we need.

Belief in supernatural agents and entities like gods or spirits is only detrimental if this belief interferes in a negative way with your daily life. If religious ideas and practices had been systematically detrimental to human survival and flourishing in the course of human history, they would have been selected against in natural and cultural evolution.

Matias Level 8 Aug 12, 2018
2

Well, I am an atheist and was brought up in an atheist household so, so not Hocus Pocus or rituals in that house. Mum died less 2 months ago, and I am struggling with the pain and loss so much, it has made me want to go to a psychic or do some kind of anything. I guess superstition and the supernatural are tools that make human beings feel they have some control where they have none. It’s a way to try too seek comfort or connection with something unattainable. Obviously my brain stops me doing anything so dumb, but the urge was suddenly there.

Livia Level 6 Aug 12, 2018
1

Foraging on the savanna, you hear a rustle in the grass. It could be the wind or it could be a lion. Do you run or stay?
We are descended from the ones that ran.

273kelvin Level 8 Aug 13, 2018
1

Lack of evidence is not proof. I can use scientific reason to deduce there is probably other life in the universe, but without proof it can neither be confirmed or denied. The big difference with believers like in religion is the refusal to admit there is no proof. If you can't prove them wrong then they are right, and worse, we are expected to agree with them.

1

Not only superstition, but there some real whack jobs out there.
Like the chem trails people, the moon landing deniers, The flat Earthers, and many more.

@myownmind I'm not a violent person, but i would really like to slap some Science in their head.

There are about 100 members of the flat earth society worldwide. These are the 100 dumbest people alive and they all belong to the same club for easy identification.

1

Good point. Supposed evidence of God going back just a few thousand years are sketchy, yet we have enormous evidence of dinosaurs from tens if not hundreds of millions of years ago.

godef Level 7 Aug 12, 2018
1

I think the human mind has evolved to see possibilities. And while this has allowed us to come up with some wonderful art, literature and inventions, it also causes some people to create fantasies that involve religion.

Vlbaxter Level 3 Aug 12, 2018
0

people find all that stuff comforting. it doesn't comfort me, but it apparently comforts many. it also sometimes give them a feeling of superiority -- ever hear someone say "god is not on my side! god is on someone else's side!" -- not i! once you've got one delusion going, it's easy to add onto it. (i did visit loch ness once! nessie wasn't home.)

g

genessa Level 8 Sep 10, 2018
0

Thank you so much for posting. In my studies gods were supernatural. When I was a believer my mind speculated on all of it, and I also believed many supernatural things. Not today. No ghosts or any other nonsense. No demons, no devils, etc. I can't even enjoy a good horror film these days. I laugh myself silly with most of them and just give up. A proper approach to god belief shows there is no evidence for any of it. I have no room today for gods or superstition.

DenoPenno Level 8 Aug 15, 2018
0

What I find amazing is that they really do take pride in the fact that they can believe things that they know aren't true. It means that their faith is strong,

“Faith is believing what you know ain't so.”

― Mark Twain

ldheinz Level 7 Aug 14, 2018
0

Lazy (not interested in performing sufficient research/evidence and accurately analyze belief)
Dullard, (not able to analyze the merit or lack of merit of their belief).
Indoctrination (programed at a young age to believe assertions without merit)

0

People believe because they want to, it gives a sense of purpose for some however false it is, other use beliefs as a crutch or scapegoat to avoid self responsibility or even having to acknowledge a lack thereof. Its an excuse, a cover and a tool to different people for different reasons.

0

I don't know why, but most people seem to want there be something marvelous to believe in. Is it possible that it is due to natural selection as we evolve? Would the tribe that had religion be more able to push other tribes out of the hunting grounds when things got tight? Any thoughts anyone?

0

If Trump isn't a reptilian shape-shifter then I don't know who is

0

And also in order to search for evidence of said belief, you must first have the belief that it's possible, otherwise you wouldn't try. Motivation people!

0

Hey now athiest vampire here

0

I think it's about the placebo effect

0

I'm fine with people believing whatever BS they want, just don't push it on kids.
What gets my goat up is when people ignore evidence that contradicts their beliefs. No better example than human caused climate change. They are the deluded ones.

powder Level 8 Aug 13, 2018
0

No idea but I find it quite silly.

As do I.

0

people are idiots all people when we encounter something we can't explain our beliefs take over strange noises must be ghosts bright lights in sky must be aliens our brain fills in gaps all the time leading us down thought ways far removed from what we actually see and no one has the time to properly research every phenomenon we encounter we are at best smart monkeys look how many people on this site deny a god figure but happily nod their heads towards ghosts alien visitations tarot cards psychics etc theres to much shit to know and not enough time to critically think about anything but a tiny part of it

weeman Level 7 Aug 12, 2018
0

There is an evolutionary advantage for offspring who rely on parental authority. Some never mature out of this and need to believe in a "higher power" upon whose precepts they can depend.

PBuck0145 Level 7 Aug 12, 2018
0

Witches are real. They are adherents to the Wicca religion (and other pagan sects use that term also).
I think you mean sorcerers and wizards...enchanters, enchantresses....
although some pagan sects have also re-claimed wizard.

Perhaps just say "people with verifiable supernatural powers"
that will cover mediums and psychics too.

0

Comforting lies vs (at least initially) uncomfortable truths. Most people still choose beliefs based on their needs and desires and wishes and hopes rather than based on what actually is.

mordant Level 8 Aug 12, 2018
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