Religion without supernatural phenomena
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21-06-2014, 04:40 PM
Religion without supernatural phenomena
One thing I've noticed in my time on religious forums is that many religious/spiritual people do not believe in supernatural phenomena. I don't understand why these people aren't atheists.

Another thing I've noticed is that a few atheists believe in supernatural phenomena. I don't understand that either.

Of course I don't know how to define supernatural phenomena precisely (that's another problem). But IMO religion doesn't make any sense without believing in supernatural phenomena.

I'm curious what others think. I know religion is hard to define too. Maybe that's my problem.
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21-06-2014, 04:44 PM
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
The simple answer I think is being an atheist doesn't make you intelligent and being a theist doesn't mean you are stupid. Human beings have a way of compartmentalizing their beliefs so as to shelter them from criticism and doubt within their mind. This allows people to hold very contradictory beliefs without ever seeing the problem in it. This is also why it is so difficult to change peoples minds or make them see reason. If something threatens a belief that is very important to them, then subconsciously (or sometimes consciously) they just stop listening. This applies to bother atheists and theists alike.
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21-06-2014, 05:03 PM (This post was last modified: 21-06-2014 05:09 PM by Luminon.)
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
(21-06-2014 04:40 PM)flim-flam Wrote:  One thing I've noticed in my time on religious forums is that many religious/spiritual people do not believe in supernatural phenomena. I don't understand why these people aren't atheists.

Another thing I've noticed is that a few atheists believe in supernatural phenomena. I don't understand that either.

Of course I don't know how to define supernatural phenomena precisely (that's another problem). But IMO religion doesn't make any sense without believing in supernatural phenomena.

I'm curious what others think. I know religion is hard to define too. Maybe that's my problem.
Some spiritual people believe in lots of "supernatural" phenomena, only their religion says these are all natural, only science hasn't discovered them yet.
That is usually followed by some extremely broad pantheistic definition of god, which is so completely un-god-like, that it's impossible to worship, or lobby for it in the congress.

This is quite a weird and diverse category, because it isn't an organized religion. These people mostly go by personal experience or their standards are pretty low. Vast majority of them are just simple New Age middle-aged folks trying to fill the emptiness of their married lives or broken up relationships with some thrill and sensations. They exchange time and money for experimental straight energetic dope and supposed "spiritual progress". Most of them are rather childish and dissociated, glossing over problems, all feely goody, positive vibes and stuff.

I don't think atheists are any wiser or happier. Better sex, maybe. I have a plenty of objections towards atheists for their political, familial, academical and personal attitudes that basically remain religious even though they technically shouldn't be religious anymore. Families indoctrinate about lots of crap other than God and I really wish atheists would know better.
But sometimes I think, after hanging out with all these people, especially the New Agey ones, maybe we all need therapy and some of us need a shower. Drinking Beverage
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21-06-2014, 05:24 PM
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
(21-06-2014 05:03 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(21-06-2014 04:40 PM)flim-flam Wrote:  One thing I've noticed in my time on religious forums is that many religious/spiritual people do not believe in supernatural phenomena. I don't understand why these people aren't atheists.

Another thing I've noticed is that a few atheists believe in supernatural phenomena. I don't understand that either.

Of course I don't know how to define supernatural phenomena precisely (that's another problem). But IMO religion doesn't make any sense without believing in supernatural phenomena.

I'm curious what others think. I know religion is hard to define too. Maybe that's my problem.
Some spiritual people believe in lots of "supernatural" phenomena, only their religion says these are all natural, only science hasn't discovered them yet.
That is usually followed by some extremely broad pantheistic definition of god, which is so completely un-god-like, that it's impossible to worship, or lobby for it in the congress.

This is quite a weird and diverse category, because it isn't an organized religion. These people mostly go by personal experience or their standards are pretty low. Vast majority of them are just simple New Age middle-aged folks trying to fill the emptiness of their married lives or broken up relationships with some thrill and sensations. They exchange time and money for experimental straight energetic dope and supposed "spiritual progress". Most of them are rather childish and dissociated, glossing over problems, all feely goody, positive vibes and stuff.

I don't think atheists are any wiser or happier. Better sex, maybe. I have a plenty of objections towards atheists for their political, familial, academical and personal attitudes that basically remain religious even though they technically shouldn't be religious anymore. Families indoctrinate about lots of crap other than God and I really wish atheists would know better.
But sometimes I think, after hanging out with all these people, especially the New Agey ones, maybe we all need therapy and some of us need a shower. Drinking Beverage

Case in point of someone who claims to be an atheist but believes in magic.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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21-06-2014, 05:56 PM
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
(21-06-2014 05:24 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Case in point of someone who claims to be an atheist but believes in magic.
No comment. The first rule of magic is, you don't talk about magic.
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21-06-2014, 07:24 PM
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
(21-06-2014 04:40 PM)flim-flam Wrote:  ...
supernatural phenomena.
...

Isn't that oxymoronic?

My knowledge of philosophy is minimal to zero but didn't Kant popularise the term phenomenon and contrast it to noumenon (that which is not directly accessible to observation).

Therefore a phenomenon must be accessible to observation and therefore natural rather than supernatural.

Perhaps the question hinges on the word directly and whether our scientific tools are within scope.

Consider

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21-06-2014, 07:37 PM
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
I don't understand it either.

There's no more proof for magic or anything paranormal/supernatural than there is for God... So why reject one and not the other?

I think it goes to show that the term "atheist" doesn't really go far enough to describe what many of us in this corner of the internet are talking about. Really, "skeptic" or "rationalist" are better terms for a lot of people, myself included. Skepticism is a catch all term for any paranormal, supernatural or magical claims... Atheism is just one part of it.

I suppose its only by the fact that psychics and astrologers don't threaten to cut your head off that we highlight atheism in particular. Religion certainly poses a greater threat to humanity than all other bullshit put together.

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21-06-2014, 07:41 PM
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
(21-06-2014 05:56 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(21-06-2014 05:24 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Case in point of someone who claims to be an atheist but believes in magic.
No comment. The first rule of magic is, you don't talk about magic.

Ain't your fault you was born 30 years out of your time. Tongue



There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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21-06-2014, 09:01 PM
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
There are plenty of Buddhists (Taoists too) who don't believe in anything "supernatural" (The idea of anything being "supernatural" is questionable as well, as I gather you know).

With Buddhism, anyway, the teachings that are attributed to the man we know of as "the Buddha" were entirely secular, devoid of superstition/"supernatural" mumbo-jumbo, though a lot of that has been lost in translation and through the influence of Brahminism (which pretty much swallowed up Buddhism quite early on) and of various cultures and religions which absorbed many of the Buddha's teachings but kept their superstitions (Many forms of Zen, Mahayanists, Abhidhammist Theravadans, and especially the Tibetan religions, which are about as far away form the Buddha's actual teachings as anything could get). But the Buddha's actual teachings do constitute a religion with various doctrines and practices (relating to the roots of human suffering and methods designed to alleviate /eliminate it) and they are atheistic and completely secular.




And yes, many atheists believe in all sorts of mumbo-jumbo nonsense, and can be just as batshit-crazy as the worst case (for example, that idiot "Luminon" who posted here in this thread). I myself do know a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, who has never set foot in a church and is quite disgusted with theism, who nonetheless believes in ghosts. Consider

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21-06-2014, 09:16 PM
RE: Religion without supernatural phenomena
(21-06-2014 07:24 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(21-06-2014 04:40 PM)flim-flam Wrote:  ...
supernatural phenomena.
...

Isn't that oxymoronic?

My knowledge of philosophy is minimal to zero but didn't Kant popularise the term phenomenon and contrast it to noumenon (that which is not directly accessible to observation).

Therefore a phenomenon must be accessible to observation and therefore natural rather than supernatural.

Perhaps the question hinges on the word directly and whether our scientific tools are within scope.

Consider

I didn't know that about the definition of phenomena. I don't understand what the point of supernatural would be if it isn't directly accessible to observation. Probably there are subtleties like you suggest.

My proposed definition of supernatural phenomena is: future events that cannot be predicted no matter how much scientific knowledge you have or how much you know about the current state of things. So it's the idea that there is additional metaphysical state governed by metaphysical laws that can somehow affect physical state. Maybe metaphysical state can control the collapse of quantum mechanical probability waves into physical events. I've run this idea by some people on forums who seemed to understand QM and they said it didn't break any rules.

Of course, my proposed definition would classify all QM behavior as supernatural, so it's too broad. I think an additional requirement is purpose; there must be a discernable purpose in the randomness. Gods, spirits, and human souls could exist metaphysically and express their free will by controlling QM without being directly observable. Each individual would need to decide if he/she sees any purpose in the randomness.

That's my pet theory. I think I've observed supernatural phenomena at times, so I've tried to think of ways it might be possible without breaking scientific laws. The other explanation is that I had hallucinations and delusions. Both explanations are unpleasant.
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