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Old 10-30-2011, 08:25 AM
 
Location: among the chaos
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Hello, please forgive me if my question seems ignorant, but my husband and I were just having a discussion and I told him I would post it here.

Do atheists believe in ghost/spirits?


My husband seems to think that there is some connection between God and spirits. His reasoning was, "if atheists don't believe in God, why would there be a spirit world", or something like that. My argument was, "why does there have to be a God to control the spirit world?".

Anyway, we were batting this back and forth (me totally unable to see where he was going with his thought process) when I decided, "why not go straight to the source?".

Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks.

weather...
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weatherologist View Post
Hello, please forgive me if my question seems ignorant, but my husband and I were just having a discussion and I told him I would post it here.

Do atheists believe in ghost/spirits?


My husband seems to think that there is some connection between God and spirits. His reasoning was, "if atheists don't believe in God, why would there be a spirit world", or something like that. My argument was, "why does there have to be a God to control the spirit world?".

Anyway, we were batting this back and forth (me totally unable to see where he was going with his thought process) when I decided, "why not go straight to the source?".

Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks.

weather...
Not believing in god does not preclude one from believing in the supernatural. One can be an atheist and believe in ghosts, the afterlife, reincarnation, etc.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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Originally Posted by mythunderstood View Post
Not believing in god does not preclude one from believing in the supernatural. One can be an atheist and believe in ghosts, the afterlife, reincarnation, etc.
That is correct. The definition of atheism is in regards to god/gods; deities; supreme beings. The definition of atheism says nothing about ghosts or spirits.

That said, most atheists in the West do not believe in ghosts and spirits.

However, when we look to the East, many, if not most Buddhists are atheists, but some believe in reincarnation, etc.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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Indeed. Being atheist does not require signing up to a list of things designated 'supernatural' to which credence may not be given.

Anything with a reasonable sound evidential support can be given credence. I have sometimes observed that UFO's have better evidence than Biblegod or Christ - or any of the other gods for that matter. Ghosts have better evidential support than Biblegod, Christ or other gods. So does prognostication, telepathy, prediluvuian civilisation (though the diluvian bit has less going for it) and alternative medicine.

Astrology, gods from outer space (sorry ) fairies and Yeti and Bigfoot, Chupacabra and Nessie (sorry again ) have no better support than gods.

That is why atheists generally do not believe in them. It is a misapprehension to suppose that those things which do not evidentially stack up well enough to be believed coincidentally are on a hypothetical list of beliefs proscribed for a card - carrying atheist.
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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I am an Atheist and have never believed in anything supernatural.

Here is my theory why people think there are ghosts.

Our brains give off electrical energy. When we have a traumatic event, we may give off even more energy. These energy waves can be saved in inanimate (especially organic) oblects nearby. A person may come by later and pick up these energy waves and think they have experienced a ghost.
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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I LOVE this topic, much the chagrin of the other atheists on this forum.

For me, it's not doing "mental somersaults" to believe in ghosts but not god.

First I've seen ghosts and experience ghostly phenomenon. I've never seen/experienced god, however.

Second, religious beliefs/practices can virtually always be traced back/attributed to various cultural factors; for example, Jesus is considered the "king of kings" and is essentially a model of the ideal European king. It evolved that way because Christianity evolved right along with and to compliment with the social and power structures of Midevil Europe. You can see this kind of thing happening in all religions.

Ghosts are pervasive throughout all human cultures and times, however. I personally suspect the phenomenon may have initially spawned religion and belief in an afterlife in the first place.

Religion was man's first attempt to explain the circumstances of our existence; we now know Zeus doesn't throw lightning bolts around when he's mad, and that our sun is not a falcon-headed god with a golden disk on his head, but science still hasn't tacked the question of why millions of people all over the world and across written history have seen ghosts. I hope someday it will.


It is my belief the ghost phenomenon is real; albeit misinterpreted and misunderstood. I don't know what they are, but I doubt they are the disembodied souls of the dead. They are most likely as of yet undiscovered natural phenomenon that is possibly tied into the quantum environment, perhaps "recordings" somehow left in the environment or even crossings in dimensions or branes as hypothesized in M-theory.
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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Ta, Chango. I am quite interested in Ghosts, but the reports seem not over persuasive. i rather looked forward to a programme on ghosts but it was a bit disappointing with a succession of creepy stories relating to people whose names and addresses were not given so they could endorse the story. It was te old uncheckable anecdote problem again.

Ghost phenomena (lke UFO phenomena) is bewilderingly diverse and indeed UFO, ghost and religious phenomena seem to be have a considerable overlap. It just depends what the believer believes.

So, while it is interesting, I remain unconvinced, agnostic and therefore (as yet) unbelieving.
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Ta, Chango. I am quite interested in Ghosts, but the reports seem not over persuasive. i rather looked forward to a programme on ghosts but it was a bit disappointing with a succession of creepy stories relating to people whose names and addresses were not given so they could endorse the story. It was te old uncheckable anecdote problem again.

Ghost phenomena (lke UFO phenomena) is bewilderingly diverse and indeed UFO, ghost and religious phenomena seem to be have a considerable overlap. It just depends what the believer believes.

So, while it is interesting, I remain unconvinced, agnostic and therefore (as yet) unbelieving.
Most stories are just that... stories. I find there is far moreModerator cut: deleted. than truth on the subject of the paranormal, and even "if" a story is true, there usually is nothing to get from it besides a creepy feeling and lots of questions. But I do think at it's heart, UFOs and Ghosts are caused by the same root (and probably natural) phenomenon.

Last edited by june 7th; 11-04-2011 at 10:41 AM..
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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I do tend towards that view of UFO's and ghosts at least, myself.

I recall that there were attempts to rope in Bigfoot/Yeti, the loch Ness monster and Stonehinge (as well of the pyramids, needless to say) in the UFO phenomenon.

When one shelves skepticism is favour of what is called 'open - mindedness' that is what tends to happen.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Seattle bound
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
It is my belief the ghost phenomenon is real; albeit misinterpreted and misunderstood. I don't know what they are, but I doubt they are the disembodied souls of the dead. They are most likely as of yet undiscovered natural phenomenon that is possibly tied into the quantum environment, perhaps "recordings" somehow left in the environment or even crossings in dimensions or branes as hypothesized in M-theory.
I can get behind this... I also think that the phenomena of ghosts is something that science just hasn't gotten around to explaining. The problem is, skeptics dismiss the idea of "ghosts" out of hand and spiritualists refuse to redefine their idea of "ghosts" so any attempt at explaining will fall of deaf ears. I'm sure there's an explanation for it... we just haven't found it yet.

Then again, I'm agnostic and I very rarely dismiss the possibility of anything - even the disembodied spirits of the dead (not saying it's real, just saying it's possible!). So to me, anything is possible, if not probable. If that makes sense.
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