« limelight | Main | did someone say boobies? »

random thought of the morning

If I believe in ghosts and spirits and demons and all that, does that mean I can't really be an atheist? Do I have to believe in some sort of God or afterlife to believe that ghosts are real?

Who knew that reading ghost stories could be so life altering?


One of the side-effects of growing up Catholic is that they install this idea in our heads that if we don't believe in God the way catholics believe in God, then you don't really believe in God. We may walk away from the church and reject just about everything else they taught us, but somehow their vision of what God should be is stuck there.

I believe you can be a very spiritual person without adhering to any sort of organized religion's point of view. Most of the time I find organized religion actually fights any sort of conscious contact with a spiritual life.

Maybe you aren't atheist. You might be agnostic (the human mind cannot know whether there is a God or ultimate cause). I lean to that more than any organized religion and I believe in ghosts and spirits and there are definitely demons among us!

I guess it depends on your reasons for atheism. Personally, I reject ghosts and goblins on the same grounds that I reject gods and goddesses -- no reliable evidence. While I love Halloween (MORE THAN ANYTHING), I only believe in spirits until the movie ends.

First of all, if your actions and those around you in response to Katrina don't show evidence of God then I don't know what people are looking for.

Second, trying to reconcile multiple writings of any kind is absurd. The bible has its point of view and Stephen King's writings have their own and Joss Whedon has his in the Buffyverse.

You believe what you believe in all these realms. Belief doesn't need proof. It is its own proof.

Jim, I hate to do this to you, because I like you, but I can't abide by the notion that the actions of people prove evidence of God. It just proves evidence of good people. People do not need to worship a God to be good.

And I don't know what you mean about reconciling mutliple writings. This has nothing to do with Stephen King. He writes fiction.

And I think I can believe in spirits without believing in God, I was just putting the question out there.

Just because you believe in spirits and all that jazz doesn't mean you believe in God. 'God' in this instance refers to a superior omnicient being that either controls the universe or finally delivers the just and fair repercussions of our actions. Believing in a ghost is hardly that.

Also, people doing great things is proof of God, but that depends on what your definition of God is. If God is Love, then yes - people's actions can not only prove God's existence, but can actually create God. If I flit around comitting true acts of Love for my fellow man, and God is Love, then I'm doing just that. Just food for thought.

Furthermore, how is it that the phrase 'food for thought' came into being. It's basically just saying, here are my words, treat them like food, but for your brain? That's lame. Instead of 'food for thought', we should start using 'shit for smelling' or something. Becuase it's equally inane.

I'm done now. I promise.

I don't see why belief in ghosts, or other supernatural entities, requires belief in God at all.

God is a subset of the supernatural, not the other way around. For God to exist, the supernatural must exist. But the reverse is not true; for the supernatural to exist, God need not exist.

To phrase the argument around in simpler terms-- if 40 pound purple and green paisley patterned apples exist, then fruit must exist, because apples are a kind of fruit. However, the existence of fruit doesn't mean 40 pound purple and green paisley apples must exist.

I was arguing with someone about this last night, and they said that in order to believe in spirits, I need to believe in an afterlife, which requires a belief in God.

"they said that in order to believe in spirits, I need to believe in an afterlife, which requires a belief in God." Not necessarily. If you assume that there is no God, and that human consciousness is real, then clearly, consciousness happened independently. From that, you can hypothesize that consciousness continues after physical death, in some as-yet-unknown form.

Nah, I'm Catholic but I think that things should be open to personal interpretion. If you wish to engage in Micheleism, go for it. I'd never let people bust my nuts over those sorts of things.

When it all comes to an end, whoever had the exact right answer will get to poke their tongues out at the rest of us.

I am not saying people are good because they believe in God. I mean that seeing the good people do for each other is evidence to ME that God exists. I don't care if you believe in God or not, seeing you good for the sake of good reinforces MY belief.

Michele, I am surpised at your second response. I have heard all my life that some poeple believe the earliest science fiction written was the bible. :) And we don't know for sure if ghosts stories are fact or fiction.

My father-in-law is a true believer in UFOs being alien spacecraft visiting the Earth for whatever reason. I fall into the "I want to believe but don't have enough evidence" camp. We have frequent, long, and amiable discussions on the subject.

The other day, I had to confess that I found the existance of spirits and ghosts easier to believe than the notion of extraterrestrial spacecraft visiting Earth. This is because in my experience, everybody has a personal ghost story, either something that happened to them or to someone they trust. Myself included. On the other hand, I still haven't seen an alien spaceship, nor really good footage of one.

Yet, as a rational being, it should be easier to accept that a civilization somewhere in the cosmos might have the cabability to physically send spacecraft to Earth than it is to believe in the supernatural, for which no reliable scientific evidence exists. But I don't. I think ghosts are quite likely. I think alien spacecraft visiting Earth are not. Go figure.

As for God, well, we have a lot to learn, don't we? Rather than viewing God -- and gods, for that matter -- as subsets of the supernatural, it is better to look at them as outside the natural: outside of the order of things. A lingering presence of a personality after death neither confirms nor disproves the existance of the divine. The supernatural exists within the natural world, we just don't understand how. The divine, if it exists, would operate outside of the natural world.

Interesting question. Technically, if yo don't believe in God (or gods) you are an atheist. On the other hand, I don't think people who practice Shintoism or some forms of Buddhism don't believe in gods as such either, and most people wouldn't consider them atheists.

Personally, I can't understand how a person can firmly believe there is no God (of any stripe) but can still allow for the possibility of ghosts and demons. I agree with the person who said agnostic may be a better term.

Maybe the real issue is whether a persons spirituality impacts their daily life and moral/ethical belief system. Say, religious/irreligious rather than believer/non-believer.

We're spiritual beings on a physical journey, not physical beings on a spiritual journey.


Beings of light we are (pinching Luke's arm) not this stuff.

I have to disagree with Sean's definition of an atheist. While agnostic and atheist have recently morphed into almost synonyms, they do not mean the same thing. An agnostic is skeptical about the existence of God but believes that it's impossible to know one way or the other. An atheist denies the existence of God. Personally, I believe that atheists and believers have something in common in that it takes faith to take either position.

Retropolitan took my answer.

No gods. No spooky spooks. And the existence of either is not contingent on the other.

The definition of agnosticism as I understand it, isn't that it is a skepticism or a lack of faith in the existence of God (or gods) it is a belief that it is impossible to know if there is a God. As in I know that at this moment I exist, yet it is impossible for me to know what will happen to me when I die.