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Old 09-12-2015, 02:48 PM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
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I have noticed that there are people who believe in spirits, ghosts, guardian angels, saints, etc., but not in gods. And I am wondering if that makes any sense in terms of logic and intellect. Can one be an atheist and yet believe in those other, and lets's face it equally (im)probable "beings"?

Last edited by Neuling; 09-12-2015 at 02:59 PM..
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Old 09-12-2015, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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I doubt that there are people who believe in saints and angels but not in a god. Ghosts and spirits, maybe, but what is the point of an angel or saint, servants of a supposed god, without a god?

In general, subscribing to an alternative ungrounded belief rates the same lack of respect I have for religious beliefs.
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Old 09-12-2015, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
I have noticed that there are people who believe in spirits, ghosts, guardian angels, saints, etc., but not in gods. And I am wondering if that makes any sense in terms of logic and intellect. Can one be an atheist and yet believe in those other, and lets's face it equally (im)probable "beings"?
Unfortunately, there's no minimum IQ to be an Atheist.

Spirits, guardian angels and saints are all manifestations of religion, and as such, they're just variations of "god-things" which were all crafted by humans.
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:42 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
I have noticed that there are people who believe in spirits, ghosts, guardian angels, saints, etc., but not in gods. And I am wondering if that makes any sense in terms of logic and intellect. Can one be an atheist and yet believe in those other, and lets's face it equally (im)probable "beings"?

I think there must be a rather rare breed. I know - or knew - some atheists who believed in UFO's. At one time the evidence looked to me better than for human (at least) evolution. In terms of rational logic, validated information (which is the issue here, not IQ) and skepticism it doesn't make a lot of sense.

The position of believing in those things and not a god, leaving on still an atheist, but one who believes in things such as ghosts, guardian angels, saints, with no more real credibility than gods (and the dividing live may be hard to draw, anyway) is more a technical one than a real situation.
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Old 09-14-2015, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
I have noticed that there are people who believe in spirits, ghosts, guardian angels, saints, etc., but not in gods. And I am wondering if that makes any sense in terms of logic and intellect. Can one be an atheist and yet believe in those other, and lets's face it equally (im)probable "beings"?
Humans are not necessarily rational or consistent.

One can disbelieve in gods for good, bad or indifferent reasons. Even if atheism is a well a thought out position for many, that doesn't mean they don't compartmentalize.

I've used my 23 year old stepson as an object lesson here, he is as atheist as they come, but a childhood fear of the dark morphed into a fascination with ghost hunting shows, etc. He knows at some level that it's BS but he is entertained by it and as a bonus feels mastery of his primal fear of things that go bump in the night.

People need to be afforded the freedom to do whatever they have to do to get through the day. I don't encourage him in it but it's not a battle I choose, either. In fact we watch the shows with him now and then.

Another thing is that some people are constitutionally more prone to subjective personal experiences supportive of such beliefs, even if they aren't believers. I know someone who is an unbeliever who nevertheless can stare at a ceiling or wall long enough and subtle shadows / patterns in the plaster will begin to move around and coalesce into almost a waking-dream tableaux. Someone like me with rock-solid concrete thought 100% of the day can easily not be aware of what the random firings of other's brains do to them. We know for instance about synesthesia, where the senses are cross-connected so that you hear colors or see odors, etc. That is relatively rare, but I have little doubt that atypical brain wiring is far more pervasive than is generally thought. Synesthetes generally learn very young not to talk about how they experience the world, as "normals" will tend to think they are crazy. The person I'm mentioning above, confided to me in hushed tones about their inner experience, and never broadcasts it to the general public.

The human brain is not a well-oiled machine that always produces rational and accurate outputs. It is actually quite imperfect and it's amazing it works as well as it does. That some people have convincing hallucinations on a semi-regular basis or just have logical inconsistencies in their beliefs, is completely unsurprising.
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Old 09-19-2015, 03:01 AM
 
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Can one be an atheist and yet believe in those other, and lets's face it equally (im)probable "beings"?
Atheism means there is an absence of belief that any deities exist. Ghosts are not deities, neither are angels or spirits and anyway, why do angels have to be 'servants of a god' or anyone else? In some societies, humans were considered deities. Mind you, they had the power of life and death over the common man.
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Old 09-19-2015, 03:59 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
48,633 posts, read 14,598,092 times
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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Humans are not necessarily rational or consistent.

One can disbelieve in gods for good, bad or indifferent reasons. Even if atheism is a well a thought out position for many, that doesn't mean they don't compartmentalize.

I've used my 23 year old stepson as an object lesson here, he is as atheist as they come, but a childhood fear of the dark morphed into a fascination with ghost hunting shows, etc. He knows at some level that it's BS but he is entertained by it and as a bonus feels mastery of his primal fear of things that go bump in the night.

People need to be afforded the freedom to do whatever they have to do to get through the day. I don't encourage him in it but it's not a battle I choose, either. In fact we watch the shows with him now and then.

Another thing is that some people are constitutionally more prone to subjective personal experiences supportive of such beliefs, even if they aren't believers. I know someone who is an unbeliever who nevertheless can stare at a ceiling or wall long enough and subtle shadows / patterns in the plaster will begin to move around and coalesce into almost a waking-dream tableaux. Someone like me with rock-solid concrete thought 100% of the day can easily not be aware of what the random firings of other's brains do to them. We know for instance about synesthesia, where the senses are cross-connected so that you hear colors or see odors, etc. That is relatively rare, but I have little doubt that atypical brain wiring is far more pervasive than is generally thought. Synesthetes generally learn very young not to talk about how they experience the world, as "normals" will tend to think they are crazy. The person I'm mentioning above, confided to me in hushed tones about their inner experience, and never broadcasts it to the general public.

The human brain is not a well-oiled machine that always produces rational and accurate outputs. It is actually quite imperfect and it's amazing it works as well as it does. That some people have convincing hallucinations on a semi-regular basis or just have logical inconsistencies in their beliefs, is completely unsurprising.
Yes. It seems to me that the operative factor there is not IQ or belief or disbelief, but information and rational use of it. I know of a couple of composers who wrote music where the notes conjoured up colours in their minds. It doesn't in my mind. To them it is absolutely real in intrinsic terms. To me it is real for them only and not in intrinsic terms.

Now, if the composer did not know that this was something the brain did and thought that he was being given some knowledge that others hadn't (eg. Scriabin), he can be excused. If another (no names ) more recently knew very well that it was an effect of the human mind but refused to accept that and believed that it was a perception of a reality that others hadn't..then he might be right.

The first step would be to check whether the two agree on whether their tones produces the same colour. If not then it is like religion producing different gods - not totally debunked, but subject to considerable doubt and question.

If they do...then possibly there is some perception of reality that we are missing out on. Alternatively it could just be a common evolved mental effect that some humans have and does not have any intrinsic meaning.

This is where we are with the NDE's. Real enough, but some are running away with the belief that they tell us something real, and that is frankly irrational.

An atheist can reject a god almost without thinking. This has dangers, because such people are wide open to the very carefully crafted evangelical packages that rely, not on the unbeliever being stupid, but on their being unaware.

It is so easy to prove that Jesus is real and true as per Christianity by citing historical validation (Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, Phlegon... ) and craftily suggesting that "Eyewitness" accounts are just as valid...which they are in the sense of not being valid ...and thus in twenty minutes can make a case for the resurrection being proven. Topped off by Paul's attestation that Jesus appeared to the disciples and many others. Yes..in their heads. Not in the flesh (1).

Better informed atheists will know that these argument are utterly false. Not because they are smarter, but because they are better informed.

(1) I'm glad you asked me that because it brings up a whole other Subject - the burden of proof, the argument from absence of evidence and the cunning Evidence -proof equivocation. How many times have I been asked to 'prove it'. But if I produce evidence, this is not proof - if it is just rejected out of hand. And then this 'lack of proof' is claimed as lack of evidence.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 09-19-2015 at 04:25 AM..
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Prescott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
I have noticed that there are people who believe in spirits, ghosts, guardian angels, saints, etc., but not in gods. And I am wondering if that makes any sense in terms of logic and intellect. Can one be an atheist and yet believe in those other, and lets's face it equally (im)probable "beings"?
I am an atheist who doesn't believe in God. Well, at least not a Biblical, Theist type. Not a personal one. Sometimes I can entertain the notion of the possibility of some sort of Deist Entity. Like a non-personal Universal Intelligence. A Creative Force. Universal Mind--you know, along those lines. But that's about as far as I can venture into the Divine Realm.

But when it comes to those entities we call ghosts, or Demons, and other aspects of the Paranormal World, I am more open-minded. I have always thought that maybe these things are just some sort of forms of Residual Energy Fields. I have known more than a few folks, non-religious, skeptical, educated types who have sworn to me about their "ghost" or "haunting" experiences. My brother is one of them. I won't go into the details here, he used to speak of his ghost like he was talking about an old friend. He was totally non-plussed by it, and there was not a doubt in his mind of "Bob's" existence.

I saw two demons one time. In a crack house in Austin, TX. (No...I was not a user, but was there on business in a quasi-law enforcement capacity). And, Again, I anybody who knows me will tell you that I am the last person they know who would claim this. But nonetheless it happened. I had attendant physiological problems upon coming in contact with them. I saw and heard them as well as if they were two people in that room. No doubt in my mind. The only possible explanation for this experience--if it was not true, that is--is that I totally hallucinated the whole event. A twenty-minute of so visual and auditory hallucination. Something which of course I have never had in my life. And no drugs, no meds at the time, no history at all of any psychological problems. I know this is merely anecdotal to all you guys reading this and you know me not from Adam, but I just want to share it.

A caveat to my belief that ghosts, Demons, haunting and people with legitimate psychic ability DO exist, is this: the claims of all those things, the reports, the TV shows, the books, are all rife with Fraud. Fraud, honest confusion, and outright lying. Probably about 90% in fact. So it's these folks who give the entire premise a bad name. Psychics are beset by this. Something else I know personally to be true. I went to a woman psychic once at the behest of my Mom, who is into that sort of thing, but even she is not that naive about them. But this woman made a believer of my Mom and so she referred me. Whom she knew was a skeptic.

As a student of Psychology I went in to the session as a hardened skeptic. I was aware of all their tricks they use to glean info from their clients, and how they are prone to speaking in nebulous generalities that can be taken in many ways. So I go in there more for fun and with the intent on debunking her than for any other reason.

Well, long story short she made a believer out of me. Told me things I had done that there was no way in Hell she could have known. Told me about my future wife too--though I had not met her yet. And, she warned me that my wife would meet with tragedy early in our marriage. Which sadly, actually did happen.

There's more out there in this world than meets the eye, amigos!

Last edited by The_Southpaw; 09-19-2015 at 08:47 PM..
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Old 09-20-2015, 04:45 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
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Well, as an atheists I can place your encounter with demons and pretty undeniable proof of the validity of fortune -telling in the pending tray of belief.

The hard truth is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and just swearing that these things really happened is not enough evidence. Sorry, but your experience is an anecdote and anecdotes are not, axiomatically, data.

I am not saying that you are lying, deluded, mistaken or were fooled or pranked. I simply don't know and 'just telling me' is not good enough. I understand that you probably don't care what I think and am 'Just telling'. Fair enough. I am actually grateful for your account. I does make me woner - and that's good.

But when i explain why I do not buy these anecdotes, i am not disrepecting you but 'just telling' why I remain skeptical. I have to.

And that of course makes no difference to why I am an atheist. Though the reason are actually pretty similar.
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Old 09-20-2015, 04:53 AM
 
7,801 posts, read 5,640,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
I have noticed that there are people who believe in spirits, ghosts, guardian angels, saints, etc., but not in gods. And I am wondering if that makes any sense in terms of logic and intellect. Can one be an atheist and yet believe in those other, and lets's face it equally (im)probable "beings"?
I really not comment on what people believe or why. I can only tell you that from where I sit the evidence for gods is exactly the same as the evidence for ghosts, or reincarnation, or angels, or alien abductions, or telepathy or homoeopathy.

That is to say: None. No substantiation AT ALL for these things. Least of all from anyone on this forum.

So why people believe those things? Beats me. People enjoy their narrative more than reality I guess.
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