Religion and the Paranormal

The paranormal and religion are, in many ways, closely related.  They each have a group of believers, for instance, who take their belief in it on faith.  If you understand that faith is simply belief in the absence of evidence, you can see how the paranormal and religion are linked.

Simply put, there is no good evidence that what is called “the paranormal” is real.  There is also no good evidence that many of the dogmas found in religions all around the world are true, either.  People take them on faith and believe in spite of the lack of evidence, usually because they have had some type of experience.

But, as we know, anecdotes are not proof.  You can talk until you are blue in the face, but that shadow you saw out of the corner of your eye, or the time you prayed and later won the lottery are not good enough evidence to lend credibility to a paradigm shift in scientific understanding.  Nor are your photographs of blurry images said to be ghosts or incarnations of the Virgin Mary worth much, either.  Sorry.  Deal with it.

Another similarity between the paranormal and religion is that it requires its adherents to disregard natural processes which govern our universe.  Religions assert that an intelligent agent, a Creator, put the universe into motion and, in fact, intervenes in the lives and events of everything in it.  But this violates everything science has explained with the efforts of cosmology.  And the paranormal?  No less than the laws of physics themselves are simply cast aside for the benefit of some spooky sounding stories.

The truth is, people believe in the paranormal and religion because it makes them feel better.  It can be a cruel and confusing world sometimes.  It can be very comforting to believe that there is a benevolent paternal figure looking out for you.  Even if He is invisible and undetectable.  And what better way to take solace in the death of a loved one or face your own mortality than to believe the life we experience here on Earth is not finite.  That we go on to another life.  A life in paradise, no less, where we will get to not only see our loved ones again, but hang out with great figures from history.  It feels great to think that, but deep down we must know it isn’t true.  After all, there are few among us who seem in any great hurry to die.

God and ghosts, ghosts and God.  Vastly different, but also very much the same in the way people think about them.  What do you think?  Do you agree with what you have read or think your humble paranormal examiner is off base?  Leave your comments below and let’s discuss it.

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2 thoughts on “Religion and the Paranormal

  1. Fundamentally, any belief with no evidence has faith. Whether it be ufos, Bigfoot, ghosts or God. That is also why it upsets me when people refer to atheism as a religion (Just like how baldness is a hair color, right?).

  2. Bill Maher had a great line about atheism recently. "Not only is atheism not a religion, it's not even my hobby. And that's the great thing about being an atheist – it requires so little of your time."

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