Believing In Ghosts But Not Religion? Let's Discuss

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Stu. K.'s picture
Believing In Ghosts But Not Religion? Let's Discuss

Hiya there everybody! Today I'd like to discuss "Is it 'ok' to believe in ghosts, but not any religion"? Now before you start turning your head, I'd like to provide 3 little pieces of possible proof...? that they might exist.

So my family and this family who are hugely religious longer than I can remember. We hang out oh so often, etc. etc. and looking back, I remember them having quite some stories that actually make me believe that there could be. NOW!! Even though they are Christians, they NEVER EVER lie (you know what I mean by that statement), they never ever push religion on anybody, its just, they're some of the best and most reasonable Christians you would ever meet. So I reallyyyyy don't think they'd be lying about these things, and I think you guys would think the same if you knew them for some time.
-A now 18 year talked about how he saw an Indian ghost in their basement, and so they did a litle research, and turns out we are living on this place that was once an Indian Reservation :O!

-One of the 18 year old's friends said he was sleeping over at the 18 year old's house (our religious friends families house), and went to the bathroom or something (forgot exactly) and saw the 18 year olds dad going there, so he said "Hey (dads name)!" And the "ghost" didn't do anything but just stand there, so he just went back up and went to bed. And he asked the dad or something in the morning, and said he wasn't down there.

-The mom of this family talked once about when she was at the funeral for my sister, when she died, she saw trees turning different colors, and lights becoming different or something similar?

Now because of how smart y'all are, I know I'm going to be called stupid and get my ass kicked in a debate, can you please go easy on me and tell me how I'm wrong? What's flawed with this "evidence" and whatnot? And lastly, am I simply being stupid and gullible for believing that ghosts can even possibly exist? Thanks y'all! :D

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cmallen's picture
Sorry if I missed something,

Sorry if I missed something, but there is no debate, here. Believing in spooks versus not being religious is a non-issue. They may be somewhat predudicial to each other, but they are not mutually exclusive.

rbrigman's picture
Good afternoon

Good afternoon
I agree with what Mr. Allen says here in as much as believing in the supernatural does not exclude you from being or not being religious.

Just something to add, belief in God and being religious are not the same. There's allot of confusion surrounding that just like there is allot of confusion around atheism.

Stu. K.'s picture
Welp I feel stupid now. Is

Welp I feel stupid now. Is there any way to delete these threads? Sorry :(

cmallen's picture
Or, instead of deleting it

Or, instead of deleting it you could change the premise. It is an interesting topic and worth some discussion. I merely want to point out that one can believe in all kinds of supernatural things and not be religious. An atheist can believe in monsters, ghosts, etc. and still be an atheist. I bet there quite a few.

Don't let me being a dick disued you from exploring ideas you find meaningful. : )

rbrigman's picture

No need to feel stupid.
We don't know what we don't know.

The universe is full of things we don't understand.

Every day new discoveries are made

Nutmeg's picture
Did you know that there's no

Did you know that there's no specific word for people who don't believe in ghosts? Equivalent to 'atheist'. Words like rational and sceptical come to mind but they have other meanings too. Maybe we could invent one. Asuperstitious, I suppose, or agsuperstitious if you're not sure.... lol.

Travis Hedglin's picture


ThePragmatic's picture
In my opinion, the belief in

In my opinion, the belief in ghosts is basically the same as the belief in a god. Superstitious belief in something there is no proof for.

That said, it's more like deism than theism. It poses no threat to politics or education, and children are not likely to get abused because of belief in ghosts. So it's not a danger to humanity.

The human mind seems to have a strong tendency to jump to conclusions, especially when we get frightened. If we hear noises of creaking in a building when it's dark and quiet, and there shouldn't be anybody there causing that noise, we immediately imagine either a thief, murderer, rapist or something like a ghost or demon.
But the sounds are almost always caused by changes in temperature and/or humidity, making materials like wood and metal expand or contract, causing creaking and cracking noises.

When I explained to my children that the creaking and cracking noises in the exterior wall, was because the sun has gone down and the wall gets cooler, making the wood shrink a little, they immediately stopped getting scared by it.

science's picture
The humsnd mind is a powerful

The humsnd mind is a powerful tool ( it's too bad so many darn people don't use it sensibly) combined with HOW BAD the WANT, and the BELIEF is, you can make yourself see ANYTHING!! Yet, individuals who claim they have seen these things will insist that they've seen them...and for them, that is enough proof. In conclusion, people can make more out of something that their really is, because they believe first off that their IS a supernatural being, or a God, so that leaves the door open to believe any other crazy nonsense.

Nutmeg's picture
It could be an evolutionary

It could be an evolutionary trait. There was an article in SciAm some while ago which suggested a strong tendency towards false positives. It made sense, since a disturbance in the grass could be the wind or a predator, so assuming it was a lion would be the safest option...

Nyarlathotep's picture
Right, humans are masters of

Right, humans are masters of pattern recognition (if you don't believe me, compare the pattern recognition skills of a 5 year old against the best computer program you can find, the 5 year old will blow that computer away). Our pattern recognition 'wiring' is so powerful that is often finds patterns where none exist.

Nutmeg's picture
I would have thought that

I would have thought that belief in a god, or ghosts, or any other supernatural beings all belong in the same set of unprovable nonsense. True, ghosts don't generate the kind of destructive organisations that we see with religion, but nontheless they are of the same ilk.

I've been posting on a left-wing UK forum for some time, and during the Labour Party leadership election there has been what can only be described as religious fervor, of the kind last seen when heretics were burned at the stake. Reason and logic have disappeared, grown men are acting like children, and heaven help any conservatives who stick their heads above the parapet.

I wonder how much this kind of hysterical fervor is common to both religion and political and social movements?

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
I do not believe in ghosts

I do not believe in ghosts but I do not deny that they could be real if evidence is presented of their existence.

Though if they exist, they MUST be a natural phenomena that we have not yet discovered.

There is no such thing as the supernatural except in science fiction movies.

Nordic Fox's picture
Many "ghost sightings" can be

Many "ghost sightings" can be very quickly found to be fraudulent.

What happens when someone talks about seeing a ghost? They get attention. It's a reward system, they gain sympathy, a following or credibility among ghost lovers.

But there's a really funny trend among sightings, they're usually VERY old (Native Americans, Civil War soldiers, 'asylum patients from 100 years ago', etc.)

I worked nights all over my city, had to chase teenagers out of cemeteries for 'ghost hunting' and so on. I've been through old hospitals, in old burial fields, walked old battlefields, forts, and historic sites at night.

And I have never, ever seen heard or experienced a haunting. I would conclude that if they had been real, I would have seen one by now.

By way of comparison, most people I've ever talked to about 'sightings' also change their stories and details too often, another sign of fraud/lying.

I would say there's less than a 0.000000000001% chance that they may exist lol

science's picture
Hi Nordic...I agree with you

Hi Nordic...I agree with you 1000%, but you will have people that INSIST that they saw a ghost, or some other supernatural being, and in THEIR minds, it exists, it was there and you can't tell them any different...SCARY how many people like that are out there...gee, I wonder why this world is so F#$%*D UP!!!

Nyarlathotep's picture
We live in a complicated

We live in a complicated world with lots of things happening all the time, so we shouldn't be surprised when mysterious, yet very mundane events happen like sounds we can't explain or 'cold spots' or whatever. The clear, sustained, repeatable apparition of a incorporeal human being however is something that would demand an explanation. Isn't it interesting that the one thing that would require the subject to be taken seriously (clear, sustained, repeatable apparition) is the one thing ghost hunters can't produce?

Stu. K.'s picture
Thanks y'all for the

Thanks y'all for the responses! When Nordic said "they all have in common that they are old/historic beings", that just totally made me think they're not real anymore lol. I guess my dillema with this topic is that knowing that this family does not lie, does not care about "attention" or anything of that matter, and they still have these stories... It would be kind of hard not to believe..? Perhaps?

@Pragmatic, isn't Deism still related to a "God", which I do not believe? Unless "ghosts" are considered "gods"? Is the only thing that you see believing in ghosts and gods as related to eachother by how they are unprovable + supernatural?

ThePragmatic's picture
"@Pragmatic, isn't Deism

"@Pragmatic, isn't Deism still related to a "God", which I do not believe?"

Sorry, I didn't express my point that clearly.
I was comparing superstitious beliefs. My point was that believing in ghosts is a harmless belief in something unproven, just as belief in a Deistic god is. Compared to Theism, that is harmful in so many ways.

Personally, I don't waste my time believing in bad luck from black cats, Friday the 13:th, good luck horse shoes, jinxes, wishing stars, lucky rabbit’s foots, four-leaf clovers, horoscopes or ghosts.
Since I realized that this is just different variants of the human mind deceiving itself, trying to find recognizable patterns, anthropomorpizing, memes, just like our beliefs in different gods.

science's picture
Different subject/ same

Different subject/ same nonsense...believing in ridiculous things!!

Stu. K.'s picture
True, can't argue or debate

True, can't argue or debate that :/ You win matey.

Stu. K.'s picture

ACTUALLY ACTUALLYYYYY I take that back. So like the "proof" above, I mean, even though realisticallyyyyy and chances are ghosts aren't real, things like that on top of these stories coming from these people, how could I kind of not..? I know I can't just say "explain that to me guys" because that'd be stupid, but would it make sense that maybe I'd be at least on the fence of believing ghosts?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Stu. K. - "I guess my dillema

Stu. K. - "I guess my dillema with this topic is that knowing that this family does not lie, does not care about "attention" or anything of that matter, and they still have these stories"

People make mistakes. And once you've got an 'expected outcome' you are more likely to make mistakes that match this outcome. For example:

Mom thinks she saw a ghost out of the corner of her eye and tells everyone. Pretty soon anything mysterious the children experience gets attributed to mom's ghost.

Travis Hedglin's picture
Well, now, I hate to break it

Well, now, I hate to break it to you but every single one of these things could be easily lumped up to simple human perceptual problems. Have you ever thought you heard something when you really didn't? Sometimes that can happen with sight too. Not only that, but we tend to retain information we don't even consciously remember. So sometimes we can even see things we don't "know" that we should even expect to see. Put on top of that the fact that some people tend to exaggerate, and alter their own memories to the point they believe it, and you have the perfect storm for such scenarios.

Many people claim all sorts of things, and my rule of thumb is rather simple:

If the evidence and reason for you to believe something isn't really any better than the reason you should believe some rural farmer from Arkansas got anally probed by interstellar visitors, then you probably shouldn't.

Nyarlathotep's picture
When I was in the Army we had

When I was in the Army we had many parties at Joe's house. One day we were telling a new guy about one of the parties we had had in the past. The story went like Joe did X, George did Y, Sam did Z, and so on. Everyone was laughing when hearing the story except George who had a very puzzled look on his face. He eventually piped up "Who is the fuck is Sam?". Turns out Sam had left the Army unit before George arrived. They have never met, and while that had both been to parties at Joe's house, they had never been to the same party. We all remember/believed that it happened the way it was told in the story, until this belief became untenable due to the facts surrounding the George and Sam's arrival and departure dates. We all do this all the time, it is just rare that we have something like those arrival and departure dates to shatter our false beliefs.

Travis Hedglin's picture
Indeed, we all are

Indeed, we all are susceptible to the "Lost in the mall" technique. With minimal encouragement, a great many of us could easily remember things that NEVER happened. With events that do happen, it is even worse, our mind attempts to fill in the missing details it forgot. Our minds often take a fragmented or partial memory, and through confabulation, it attempts to complete it even if it is wrong. This can actually cause False Memory Syndrome.

Anonymous's picture
Reality, Travis, Nyarlathotep

Reality, Travis, Nyarlathotep, Pragmatic,and C.M. Allen--Aren't you embarrassed being a fool and an idiot again. All of you argued with Viya and llovequestion about Adam and Eve and the talking snake as if they had a brain. Then you humiliated yourselves even more by debating if the "soul" exists. Now you reached the abyss of ignorance, stupidity and moronic bullshit by "discussing " with Stu.k -GHOSTS!!!!!!. What's next Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. God Bless!!!...............

Travis Hedglin's picture
That's some nice bait, but I

That's some nice bait, but I am not hungry today.

Stu. K.'s picture
Blasphemy actually made me

Blasphemy actually made me not believe in ghosts like 90% less when he/she said "debating if the 'soul' exists". FOR SOME REASON that just made me understand how life works in my head, which made me discover the simple answer to this thread. You're born, and then you die. Souls and stuff came along by humans making it up over the time. SIMPLE!! (Unless I'm wrong somewhere.) There is no hard evidence for ghosts or souls or gods or anything of the such. Period. I guess when I say something that isn't the smartest, yelling at me is the way to prove me wrong.

Now the Easter Bunny on the other hand, is obviously real. I got a phone call from him when I was 5 :b

Kataclismic's picture
Sleepwalking. People can

Sleepwalking. People can sleepwalk for years and even their partners don't know. They have no memory and don't respond when people talk to them, or respond quite strangely. Would easily explain #2, apart from the fact the story is so vague it could have been told by a four year old. My mother was convinced her apartment was haunted because the sink would come on all by itself. Really? Turns out there was major plumbing work being done to that line and the pressure differences easily explained it. A haunting over water coming out of a sink? because what, some ghost doesn't like to save water?

Neighbourhood0's picture
First of all, I should say

First of all, I should say that the concept of a "soul" or "life after death of the body" seems ludicrous to me. Hence, I will proceed with this question under the assumption that consciousness cannot exist beyond the death of the body, and therefore "ghosts" are *not* the "spirits of the dead". With that thrown aside, then, what would explain the phenomenon of ghost sightings? People have reported seeing ghosts of not only their deceased loved ones, but of saber-tooth tigers, dinosaurs, and people dressed in garb from earlier distant eras. Moreover, some people have reported feelings of "deja vu" -- or experienced prophetic dreams -- while a smaller handful have reported being momentarily transported to a seemingly different dimension where they couldn't even recognize their own home, and so on. Taking all of this into account, it would probably be safe to presume that there exists an infinite number of parallel universes, with two general categories:

1) Parallel universes unfolding at different points in time (which would mean that "history" as we know it in our world could be repeated over and over again in several other parallel universes set behind our timeline, or likewise, that our civilization has already reached the year 5000 in another universe).
2) On the other hand, several other universes could unfold simultaneously in sync with each other, either with only minute differences between each one (e.g. in universe #1 you have brown hair, and in universe #2 everything about your life from universe #1 stays the same except that you have dyed your hair pink), or big differences between each one (e.g. you're a wealthy movie star in one universe and a high school teacher in another).

Considering all this information, it would seem that "ghosts" as they appear in our world may be the manifestations of accidental and occasional "rifts" in the fabric of space-time, in which a parallel universe/dimension momentarily "bumps" into ours, allowing a "ghostly apparition" -- which is really just a glimpse of a human/animal/creature from another universe -- to appear during such a window.
This theory is also laden with many other implications: if "you" exist in an infinite number of parallel universes (albeit your consciousness is currently confined to "this" universe), which one can truly claim to be "you"? On the bright side, however, this would also suggest that if you died in one universe, another version of you will always remain alive in another universe somewhere.


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