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Ghosts are as mythical as God but what if an atheist believes in Ghosts.. I have an atheist friend in Australia who belives in ghosts

By Flynn
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I actually saw a ghost...did not know it at the time.. on my job in a brightly lighted fully-functioning cotton mill. Saw this woman for over an hour, of course I was running a winder at the time which needs attention, but she was steadily working across the way. When the boss came by I asked him who the new help was, he looked puzzled so I described her, features, clothing, age, what/where she was. He turned white as a sheet and stepped away from me (!). "That's Mz. (cannot remember) she ran that machine for over 30 years, passed about 6 years ago". Word went all over the mill, of course...one of her contemporaries, still employed there, told me she must have approved of how I was running the same machinery......she Too was fussy about her work. Too weird.

AnneWimsey Level 7 Feb 12, 2018

If you think pure energy is "mythical" then you must not believe in Einstein either, since he says everything, even matter, is just a form of energy, that can't be created or destroyed.

birdingnut Level 8 Feb 12, 2018

As I have said elsewhere, it amazes me that people who have figured out that gods are BS will still believe in other woo. Everybody, read Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan and learn many things, including why your senses are not trustworthy.

chicagojcb Level 7 Feb 12, 2018

Another interesting reading is Michael Shermer “Why People Believe in Weird Things”

Absolutely... We have listened about ghosts since we were kids and our brain is so powerful to make us see anything that don't even exist.

great books!


I just find that strange, the rejection of one supernatural entity while holding onto belief of another. I know atheism pertains to gods, but usually that is because atheists reject supernatural claims all together. I've known people who kind of believe in ghosts while not believing in gods and it just confuses the hell out of me.

People come up with all sorts of crackpot theories about how ghosts might exist, like this energy theory that I've already seen posted. But so far nothing has ever been verified or detected, and it just comes off as silly wishful thinking. I'll continue to see ghosts as nothing but fantasy until real proof is put forward, and those ghost hunter shows don't count smile007.gif

Yes indeed. It's just like people have a grudge in believing God while they say it's okay to believe other supernatural theories as you mentioned. It doesn't make no sense to me. And if you can see all around the world that ghosts hunters are religious people. Also the introduction of ghosts started from religious books. All Abrahamic religions agreed on the existence of God as well as ghosts. I haven't seen no scientist researching on this myth. Clearly ghost is another creation of religion to create fear in human minds so they can belive on fairytales

I think you are exactly correct and I think the same way on this issue.

Cynical-lion is exactly correct.


I'd like to meet a ghost. It would be really cool if unicorns and leprechauns were real. I'd also like to know why Santa hasn't brought me a new car. I'll stop before I get too far into snotty.

PhoebeCat Level 7 Feb 13, 2018

Hahaha. I would like the same too


I believe we are energy and that ghosts can be imprints of that energy.

Nango68 Level 4 Feb 12, 2018

@Nango68 what exactly do you mean when you say that we are energy?

@Rodatheist Atomic principle. Protons are negatively charged particles surrounded by a positively charged electron field... If you take out all the space that the energy occupies, we are about half a cup of inert matter

Very good. It is actually the other way around: electrons have a negative charge. But it doesn’t matter, the point is well taken. There is energy holding the particles together. But what does that have to do with ghost? When we die, our atoms do not fly apart releasing energy. So, this scenario does not explain the initial statement of @Nango68. The question still stands: what exactly does @Nango68 mean by energy? And the response would have to be the first step to find out what does she mean that ghost are imprints of that energy. And as you can see, the next step is to define “imprint”.
I get strict with these type of pronouncements because they sound profound but they really don’t mean anything. And this is not an attack on @Nango68, wo actually looks in her picture as a nice and good nature person, not to mention her beautiful shoulders.


Not all atheists employ scepticism to all aspects of life.

This does however remind me of a wonderful scientific (repeatable and testable) experiment I accidentally performed when I was a young teenager.

My beloved grandmother had died several months earlier and I was sitting alone in a captain's chair in the middle of my 12 x 14 photographic darkroom surrounded by hi-fi speakers listening to The Alan Parson's project I-Robot and lamenting her passing - - In the cold and inky blackness of the room I saw a figure of light that appeared by a distant wall and moved in my direction. As the light approached me I could feel it's warmth and knew it was some kind of manifestation of my departed grandmother. The following day I was in a different room loading ASA 400 film onto a development reel. I was having problems in the total blackness getting the film to thread and thought about the experience I had the day before. On cue a similar but slightly brighter lighted figure appeared several feet from where I was standing. The entire room was illuminated by the the glow and I detected a change in temperature. Surely all the film I was working with was clearly exposed to this light. Eventually I got the film in the tank and processed what I was dreading would be at least heavily fogged film. When I had completed processing the film, I was pleasantly surprised to find a perfectly exposed and developed reel. Absolutely no fogging. Took about two seconds to realize, as the film was not affected by the light, my experiences were completely a product of my imagination as they did not change the film. I never again encountered the light of a spirit.

Excellent use of logic and material objects. So, do you think that if you had not had the chance to test the nature of the light you imagined, that you would still be convinced even now that your grandmother actually manifested herself in front of you?

@Rodatheist Very good question.

I think I would have eventually determined all supernatural assertions were untenable and most likely derived the same conclusion but this simple example (The trigger of the 2nd light anomaly was my desire to repeat the experience) made everything so so clear in a matter of seconds. It was an Ah Ha moment that greatly simplified my understand of reality and the importance of verifiable evidence. The realization that even first hand experience should be questioned. This allowed me to question not only my self, but anyone making any (supernatural/spiritual/religious) claim they could not support with evidence.

It sounds to me like, going into the grief of loosing your grandmother and into having those visual experiences, you had already with you some logical or non-magical way of thinking and your natural intelligence that allowed you to judge rationally. Otherwise, it could easily have gone the way of “I swear to you this happened to me” and “there are things science cannot explain”, and who could have convinced you otherwise!


An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in even one god. That's by definition. So there's nothing to prevent them from believing in any random other thing and still be an atheist. I've had conversations with atheists who believe in ghosts, an afterlife (necessarily, of course, one that is somehow part of the natural world), and various forms of New Age woo.

Humans are not rational or logically consistent. While most atheists are atheists as a result of being skeptics, we shouldn't be surprised that some atheists are less than perfectly self-consistent in this regard.

mordant Level 7 Feb 12, 2018

@mordant. It seems to me that your definition of atheist is way too narrow. Someone commented earlier on this topic that atheist don’t believe in god because they reject the supernatural. That would define well my type of atheism. And that is why it seems like a contradiction for an atheist to believe in ghost.

@Rodatheist It is the definition of the word atheist; it is not my definition. That doesn't mean it adequately describes (or describes AT ALL) your or my REASONS for unbelief. It doesn't.

Some atheists have never engaged the so-called Great Questions, have never been religious, and those issues simply aren't on their radar. Unlike many of us, who come to atheism as a consequence of being skeptics, there is nothing to steer them away from various forms of woo because they don't think about them critically. Still -- if they don't believe in any god(s) for whatever reason, they are, definitionally, atheists.

What you and I are, are skeptics, rationalists, empiricists, and we don't afford belief to the unsubstantiated (and certainly not to the unsubstantiatABLE). This happens to be the mindset in my anecdotal experience, of the majority of atheists. But it is not the mindset of all. Not all a-theists are a-supernaturalists.

Also, you overlook another possibility: one could believe in an afterlife that has an as-yet undiscovered naturalistic basis, or that our consciousness does not reside in our brain but the brain acts as a transceiver for consciousness, or in any number of naturalistic mechanisms for consciousness not being tied to the physical body. I reject these hypotheses as groundless for pretty much the same reasons I reject the existence of any gods; but I have met a handful of online atheists who hold to these notions or at least think them more than highly unlikely.

Humans -- atheists included -- do not have to be logically consistent. And often, aren't.

So in summation, rejecting the supernatural is called naturalism, which is one path (and a common one) to atheism. But not the only one.

@mordant. Thank you for an excellent answer. Hats off.


I think that being an atheist is much more than just not believing in a god. For me, one of the problems of believing in a god is the implicit magical thinking, which is irrational. Believing in ghosts is also magical thinking and therefore irrational. The same goes for belief in paranormal phenomena and horoscopes.

Rodatheist Level 6 Feb 15, 2018

Belief in ghosts was a difficult concept to drop. Growing up my elders never openly prayed or discussed religion, but they frequently reiterated the family ghost stories and man, those stories were pure goosebump-inducing FUN! Consequently Halloween became my favorite non-holiday. For a while I tried to tell myself that ghosts were not spiritual entities, but rather some kind of glitch in the space-time continuum that we don't understand yet (think "Interstellar" ). I really did not want to let go of ghosts, but eventually I did.

Maiasaura Level 6 Feb 13, 2018

Interstellar is a great example. You most have heard the idea that any technology sufficiently advanced may look supernatural to the naive observer.

@Rodatheist Thank you for the validation. It made sense to me at the time!

You are welcomed. The way you write it, you don’t seem to be conflicted about it anymore; I could be wrong. In any case, one thing I have learned is that it is not fair to judge the actions of our past self because we now have more knowledge that we did then. “It’s getting better all the time.” Lennon & McCartney.


As I've become more settled and comfortable with being an atheist I have found any 'belief' in anything supernatural falling away, ghosts included

ipdg77 Level 7 Feb 13, 2018

I don't care that they believe, but as long as they're not going to try and convince me that I need to believe too. And it's highly unlikely I'll hear their story without wondering if that's they're brain playing tricks on them.

Benthoven Level 7 Feb 13, 2018

When I took charge of the pharmacy department in a hospital a lot of the paperwork was in a mess. I stayed behind at night after we closed to sort it out for many days. One of the cleaners used to bring me a cup of coffee and often said she couldn't understand how I could sit alone in a place where so many people had died. She would be terrified of ghosts. I told her my grandmother had a saying: "If the living did as little harm as the dead it would be a better world".

I never saw any ghosts.

El-loco Level 7 Feb 13, 2018

Because they don't exist my friend


I've seen some pretty bizarre and creepy shit. I've heard footsteps in empty hallways, voices where there were no people, and saw scratches appear on a girls face. I can understand why people would believe in ghosts. On the other hand, I know how unreliable our senses are, and that the brain when given incomplete information fills in the gaps.
While I don't believe in ghosts as supernatural beings, apparitions of dead people, and paranormal phenomena, I don't believe in ghosts that are constructed within human imagination and can be convincing.

JimG Level 7 Feb 12, 2018

When I became atheist I stopped believing in anything supernatural. I studied it all for years but it's just bunk. If you believe in ghosts why not aliens? Maybe this could take the place of gods. It's insanity. Objective reality is the only thing real. Other wise you could simply believe anything that you wanted to. I stopped believing in gods because they are not a part of objective reality. Neither are ghosts or the supernatural.

DenoPenno Level 7 Feb 17, 2018

The only thing that being an athiest means is that you do not believe in a god. Those of us ewho identify are free to believe in something else which is just as unlikely to exist as god (like ghosts) and still be an athiest. I prefer to to call myself a naturalist. By this I mean I have no supernatural beliefs whatsoever

RobH86 Level 7 Feb 13, 2018

Like I commented elsewhere on this thread, the problem of ghost (and paranormal phenomena and horoscopes) is the irrational nature of the thought; as irrational as it is the belief in a god.

@Rodatheist The point that I am making is that the 2 are not mutually exclusive is it possible to believe in ghosts and not believe in a god. I except that both ideas are just as irrational as each other, but you can't tell people what to believe or how to think. If you ever find yourself in a conversation with these types of people just make your argument if they bring it up. The other point to bear in mind is that just because someone doesnt believe in god does ot mean that they are definately rational (although usually its a good sign)

Points well taken. Of course people can believe whatever they want and mix and match beliefs; and that is perfectly fine. I think atheism has many aspects and layers. And even “not believing in god” has many layers: was it because of a bad experience, or a difficult upbringing in a religious family or because it does not make sense or a conclusion arrived at through reasoning or any other reasons that escape my imagination. So, it appears to me that those rejecting the belief in a god because of its irrationality, will tend not to believe in ghosts either. You are right, being an atheist is an “indication”, not a “proof” of rationality. Or at least I hope so; that is why I joined this site.


Ghost (also big foot, flying saucers, god,) are something I believe in when I see them.


Strictly speaking an atheist, if applying logic consistently, doesn't 'believe' in anything without evidence. So since there's no evidence for ghosts (US Ghost shows notwithstanding) then there's an inconsistency in approach. You might tell your Aussie mate that, tactfully. (Big fella, is he?) smile001.gif

David1955 Level 7 Feb 13, 2018

I have lived in Oz all my life, have seen many strange things, we have yowies, bunyips and drop bears, but I have never seen a ghost.

Rugglesby Level 8 Feb 13, 2018

Does Pauline Hanson qualify as one of those 'strange things'? (Sorry everyone, Oz humor)

@David1955 you mean there is a chance she may actually exist? I put that one down to urban myth.


Many of you have used the words belief or believes when it comes to comments regarding supernatural occurrences. Because we have seen something unexplainable, doesn't mean we "believe". We simply are describing an experience we've had.
I have had a handful of these unexplainable experiences, but just because something seemed to happen, doesn't automatically make me a "believer". The experience is not rejectable as belief or disbelief .


Is it not possible that there are other dimensions. The existence of ghosts is not dependent upon their being a God or gods.

Mark9393 Level 6 Mar 3, 2018

Science doesn't understand consciousness, so it's reasonable to argue that this energy can live in a totally natural state outside of our brains. I'm not saying I beleive this is the case only that we just don't know.


No one knows what happens inside a black hole, anything may be possible ( except omnipotent father figures and such).
What do black holes have to do with ghosts? I have no frakking idea.

MacTavish Level 6 Feb 15, 2018

I personally don't believe in the existence of ghosts because I have never had a paranormal experience, especially one that could not be explained as an hallucination or the brain playing tricks on me. That said, I fail to understand the direct correlation between paranormal activity and the existence of an all knowing, all powerful, omniscient god? I'm open to interpretation but how does an unexplained energy or even a soul existing outside of the known physical reality any proof of a creator or god? I might think it is a bit silly or be extremely skeptical that ghosts or spirits exist (especially in the classical sense), I think it's possible that one could still be an atheist and believe in such things.

I have had paranormal experiences. They are no different that a religious experience. Having them is not proof that they are real.


If I hadn't had my own personal experiences, I wouldn't believe in ghosts. I guess that's the difference for me. I only believe in what I see and experience. I've seen and experienced what I would consider to be ghosts, have not seen or experienced anything that could be seen as a god or satan

Livinlife Level 8 Feb 13, 2018

But people have seen ghosts and Satan so they believe in it. Moses or Muhammad or Jesus saw God in deserted places where no one else was with them and they told it to others. The thing is that it's not necessary that what you see is always true. You have to understand the power of human brain. It can make you see wonders when there is nothing.

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