I'd Like to Know If Other Atheists Believe in Anything Supernatural

Being an atheist, I never accepted the concept of a God, someone who could somehow know every thought and every deed done by several billion people at any given time. Someone with the kind of power and knowledge that this so-called God possesses would not just sit idly by and expect people to follow him with no proof of his existence. How anyone can even think this makes any sense just boggles my mind.

 

However, I do believe in ghosts, spirits, whatever you want to call them. Why? Because I've seen and heard them. My experiences are only a few and I'm not someone who claims to have some kind of a relationship with the dead. I just know what I've experienced and am firmly convinced that there is something beyond the physical world we live in that we just can't easily explain with science or psychology. I'm a well-rounded, down-to-earth person who is fascinated with the supernatural, but I'm not one who focuses on it in my daily life.

 

In addition, though there are numerous hoaxes out there concerning ghostly sightings, there are still some compelling stories and "evidence" that at least deserve consideration. No one can prove the existence of God because there is absolutely no tangible evidence of his existence. However, there seems to be tangible evidence that we can grasp onto for the existence of supernatural beings, of those who have lived and died but somehow cannot move on.

 

I am one who believes in science and I know many strange things have been explained by scientific discovery, but I feel we cannot discount the possibility of some people moving into some other realm after death for whatever reason. My own experiences, though few, cannot be explained away. Some may say that stress, exhaustion, or some other condition contributed to my delusion of having seen or heard ghosts or spirits, but I can say with certainty that that is not the case. The fact, too, that others, in some cases, had similar experiences tells me "it's not just me."

 

So I ask you this. Am I an exception as an atheist in believing in the supernatural?  I think believing in God is silly and based on nothing more than mythology. Ghosts, however, are a wholly different thing to me. What are your thoughts?

Views: 1866

Comment by Terrion Bolt on September 30, 2011 at 6:55am

Buddhists, who are also atheists, believe in ghosts and reincarnation and stuff. 

Atheist = lack of belief in God(s) =/= skeptic. 

Comment by kris feenstra on September 30, 2011 at 7:04am

You are probably atypical as an atheist, but I don't know if I'd say that you are an exception.

 

In my case, I actively disbelieve in the supernatural.  My objection to the supernatural is actually stronger than my objection to gods (or even ghosts).  Sticking with the example of ghosts, assuming, for the sake of argument, that they do exist, does it really matter that science cannot easily explain them?  This isn't, to the best of my knowledge, a standard measure for what is or is not natural.  

 

If a phenomenon has any form of definition or detectable parameters, then science is capable, hypothetically, of describing it.  If you've seen ghosts, this must mean that they emit, or reflect light.  Already we have one sign that there are some applicable laws of physics at play.  

 

If the phenomenon in question is observable, yet does not fall within the realm of what is defined as natural, such as ghosts, it just means that we've defined 'natural' too narrowly.  Even in the case of a god that surpasses all of our known natural limits and laws of physics, it simply means that our set of known physics is actually just a subset of a larger system.  Our natural order is a subset of a larger natural order.  I think, in science, there's always room to admit that our understanding of the universe at any given point in time may be too small.  Our understanding of the universe, and of natural order, should expand with evidence.  The implications of placing something inherently outside of the scope of natural order are problematic, to say the least. 

 

I don't happen to believe in gods or ghosts, but that's because I don't feel I've met with evidence compelling enough to support such belief.  As a point of distinction, I reject the concept of the supernatural not due to lack of evidence, but rather on principle.

Comment by Ed on September 30, 2011 at 7:18am

I reject the notion of ghosts and other so called supernatural entities. I believe humans suffer the same fate as all other mammals who expire. There are no dog and cat ghosts hanging around AFAIK.

Comment by Ken Hughes on September 30, 2011 at 7:35am

Never in my 67-years wandering this beautiful wandering planet named Earth have I ever seen anything, not even the tiniest hint, that the supernatural was anything more than fleeting thoughts and emotions generated in the human mind.

 

I'll relate one experience that happened to me in my early preteen years.  Both of my parents worked, my mom on swing shifts at DuPont in Martinsville, VA, and my dad was a contractor so it was not uncommon for me to be alone for a little while after school on certain days.  Today I would be called a "latch-key kid" but in those 1950s days in my small North Carolina northern Piedmont textile town, our doors were seldom locked and keys were always hanging in the ignition lock of our vehicles.

 

Something, I don't remember what it was, had me spooked for some unremembered reason.  I was in bed in my room and I heard a low noise emanating from somewhere in the house.  What did I do?  I ducked under the covers of course as it's well known that nothing can get through the covers on a kid's bed.  I sneaked a peek at my open door just a few feet from my head.  Open doors are an invitation to anything preying on a kid's mind.  As I timidly peered from under the cover's edge, I saw a skeleton head peering around the edge of the door directly at me; back under the covers for thermonuclear protection.

 

As I lay there it occurred to me that there was no way a skeleton could be standing outside my door and peering in at me in bed.  Clearly it was all in my mind and I tossed the covers aside and got up and walked to the door and as I anticipated there was nothing there, and certainly not a skeleton or any other spook.  From that moment on I have never had any belief or fear of the supernatural, or the paranormal. What's more, horror flicks, regardless of their nature, ceased to hold any fear for me and they became comedy or a farce.  Moving images projected on a screen can never harm anyone, and bumps in the night are just bumps in the night.

 

Very shortly thereafter I also began to question everything my mom's fellow parishioners and preacher tried to tell me about the holy spook and that set me on my skeptic path that soon morphed into a long period of hyper-agnosticism, that eventually became full-blown atheism over 30-years ago and I became an open atheist over 20-years ago.

 

I was finally and totally free of any and all thoughts of supernatural spooks, holy or otherwise and I'm not in the least bit hesitant to say so to anyone, especially those that try to evangelize me.  I rebuf them politely the first time and that rejection will rapidly go nuclear should they persist.

Comment by Godless Conservative on September 30, 2011 at 9:48am

Not me.

You'll find a few, but they are fairly rare.

Comment by Bill Lewis on September 30, 2011 at 11:08am

This one is easy.....Nope

Comment by Rick on September 30, 2011 at 11:39am

Food for thought: Your claims of personal experience mirror those of some believers. They have “felt the presence of the holy spirit” and are now adamant believers. For some, seeing jebus in toast and other absurdities inspires their faith. Just because you experience something that you don’t understand doesn’t mean that there isn’t an explanation for it.

 

Right now you believe because you believe. In other words, your mind has convinced you of some otherworldly presence based on an unfamiliar experience and now your mind lumps other unfamiliar experiences in with the original paranormal conclusion. This is how come people come to “find” god. Because they cannot explain something, that means that god did it. Since you’ve dismissed the idea of a god, you use the same logic (fueled by movies and TV) to come to your conclusion, simply inserting ghosts in the place of a god.  

 

Fortunately, science has begun investigating paranormal activity. The findings thus far are very reassuring. They’re finding that such claims can be explained through natural causes. I think if you investigate your experiences further, you’ll find that others have had a similar experiences and that science has already explained it away. If you look at the evidence beyond your own personal experience, you’ll find that it’s no more compelling than anything put forth in support of any god.

 

The interesting thing about paranormal experiences is that there is little in the way of “new” experiences. It’s usually the same sets of things that occur over and over: hearing sounds/voices, seeing ghosts, blurry images, mysterious lights, electrical problems, funny readings on silly gadgets, etc. All have been explained away by science. Do some research and I think your ghost “issue” will resolve itself.

 

In addressing you question directly: Yes, some atheists believe as you do, but very few since god is little more than a supernatural being that uses supernatural powers to do supernatural things.

Comment by Nathaniel Summers on September 30, 2011 at 12:05pm

Even if ghosts could be proved to exist, I would not believe in the supernatural. To clarify that, I believe that the concept of supernatural and unnatural do not make sense. If something exists, then it is part of the natural world. If it can be proven to exist, then science should have access to it. There should be a mechanism by which this this sort of thing would work.

For example, it is possible that we're in a simmulation and ghosts are either glitches or we're in a simulation which is testing parameters associated with the existence of ghosts (testing for ghosts by creating a universe in which they would exist). There's nothing supernatural about that.

There are certainly less fantastic explanations for ghosts, but as you can see, even an explanation for their existence can be entirely natural and mundane.

Comment by Calpurnpiso on September 30, 2011 at 12:21pm

We humans are evolved mutated primates product of coitus that due to 7 million yrs of trial & error ( been at the right place & right time) acquire cognition as means of survival. The brain begun to evolve acquiring more & more connections ( the ingestion of entheogens help in the development of psychosis of GodBelief)..we became in fact Crazy Apes having an innate psychopathy due to our more evolved brains, that created the "FeelGoodAnswerAll" belief in God.
Awareness of our ultimate finality, death, the voracious appetite for Knowing everything that our 5 senses brought to our brains for analysis would eventually created organized religion. The Psychosis of Faith in imaginary friends that made us feel good, since fantasies-fairy tales produces dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin ( feel good neuro transmitters).

We are born lacking belief, iow atheist ( from A=without, absence of and Theo, Deus = God, imaginary friend, Irrational entity etc)
If you believe in spiritualism ( Spirit from LAtin Spiritus which means VAPOR or GAS = AIR an invisible FORCE), reincarnation, ghosts, or other deluded nonsense that can be EASILY reproduced in a neurology lab or by ingestion of sacraments ( peyotl, Datura, Ergot etc) you are either very ignorant or suffer from my postulated ChristPsychosis...a bizarre metamagical belif ACCEPTANCE found in ALL religions and neurological disorders like TL epilepsy or schizophrenia. The BRAIN creates the Mind ergo GodBelief 

Calpurnpiso 

Comment by stanley w owens on September 30, 2011 at 12:30pm

I believe in ESP and other psychic phenomenon.It's not all atoms and molecules.Magic is real and people are all suseptible to it's evil or good.

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