Why believe in the supernatural?
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08-03-2014, 04:43 PM
Why believe in the supernatural?
I sometimes find myself wondering why on earth anyone would believe in the supernatural. If you don't understanding something about the world, so what? All that means is that you don't understand; it's a mystery. Why, because you don't understand something, or can't imagine how something might work, would you conclude that supernatural forces must be at work?

I see people making that connection all the time and I just shake my head. How does saying there must be a supernatural explanation help? What's the difference between that and just making stuff up?

Of course, I know why people have supernatural beliefs. It's how you're raised, your culture, it's how the brain works, it can make you feel better, etc.. Also, I think in our society, having supernatural beliefs, particularly religious ones, is accepted as normal, even encouraged.

I guess I just think that having supernatural beliefs is so intellectually dishonest, that I just can't get past how silly they sound when uttered in public.
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08-03-2014, 06:18 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
Unfortunately it doesn't sound as silly when everyone else around you is saying the same thing.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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08-03-2014, 07:08 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
I can try to make an argument.

We know, or believe, that the earth is billions of years old, and that we evolved, say, from fish. It's all so rational and simple. We have all this evidence and expertise.

Now, I suppose to a certain religious person, this seems wild and crazy.

Their belief in a young earth, or being made from dust/mud, is rational and simple. They have all these billions of people to agree with, and these thousands of years old institutions that "study" this and all agree (more or less). The "expertise" is undeniable.

But people become religious for many MANY reasons, and combination of reasons, and this is just only one that I can kind of understand. I think it's good enough to answer your question.

note: same argument could be made for UFOs or Sasquatch. The "evidence" is undeniable for them. There's just no "church" built around it... yet.

The jist is, it's not supernatural for them, it's just another part of reality.
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09-03-2014, 03:31 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
Stupid is as stupid does.
Argument from ignorance is the biggest fallacy in the history of homo sapiens.
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09-03-2014, 03:56 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
I reject the supernatural simply because it's unnecessary. The Occam's Razor thing I suppose. Science can explain almost all observed and verified phenomena. What has yet to be explained will, I'm certain, eventually be explained. Eventually we will know what caused the big bang, what happened before the big bang, how life began. No magic necessary.

Science has identified a jumble of elementary particles (quarks, bosons, mesons, etc.) and four forces (the weak force, the strong force, the electromagnetic force and gravity). Add math and, sorry theists, everything gets explained eventually. Not that I have the expertise or the time to personally explain everything, but I've yet to encounter anything which even remotely seems unexplainable in terms of particles, wave and forces. The supernatural is just not necessary.

Bigfoot, the abominable snowman, UFOs are not supernatural. They are explainable in scientific terms. The scientific explanation I favor is that they don't exist, but I'm more open to the possibility of their existence than God's.

Sapere aude
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09-03-2014, 05:20 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
(09-03-2014 03:56 PM)f stop Wrote:  I reject the supernatural simply because it's unnecessary. The Occam's Razor thing I suppose. Science can explain almost all observed and verified phenomena. What has yet to be explained will, I'm certain, eventually be explained. Eventually we will know what caused the big bang, what happened before the big bang, how life began. No magic necessary.

Science has identified a jumble of elementary particles (quarks, bosons, mesons, etc.) and four forces (the weak force, the strong force, the electromagnetic force and gravity). Add math and, sorry theists, everything gets explained eventually. Not that I have the expertise or the time to personally explain everything, but I've yet to encounter anything which even remotely seems unexplainable in terms of particles, wave and forces. The supernatural is just not necessary.

Bigfoot, the abominable snowman, UFOs are not supernatural. They are explainable in scientific terms. The scientific explanation I favor is that they don't exist, but I'm more open to the possibility of their existence than God's.

It's not about occams razer it's about demonstrability. Science can be demonstrated. Supernatural has never been demonstrated as far as we know.
So how can you assume something which has never been demonstrated?
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09-03-2014, 07:43 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
the part that amuses me, is a lot of those who proclaim to believe, are unable to articulate and substantiate their own belief....

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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10-03-2014, 08:38 AM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
Apparently, there are those that believe that not accepting supernatural claims is a form of materialist bias. Now, how you're supposed to form that into a working world view that doesn't leave you crippled at literally every decision you make is beyond me, but I've seen it thrown around before. On this forum, no less!
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10-03-2014, 12:55 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
Perhaps people just find more comfort in having an explanation rather than total uncertainty. For many people it's probably very disconcerting to see something, or experience something and not have any means to explain it. So, they create a supernatural answer.
That's probably where the first gods were born. People were simply trying to explain natural phenomena (rain, wind, sunsets, lightning, etc.) without having any kind of scientific explanation. Once the idea of supernatural existence gets ingrained into society, it's easy for people to perpetuate that idea with more supernaturalism as explanations. It helps them sleep at night moreso than "I've got no freaking clue."

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12-03-2014, 07:21 AM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
(10-03-2014 12:55 PM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  Perhaps people just find more comfort in having an explanation rather than total uncertainty. For many people it's probably very disconcerting to see something, or experience something and not have any means to explain it. So, they create a supernatural answer.
That's probably where the first gods were born. People were simply trying to explain natural phenomena (rain, wind, sunsets, lightning, etc.) without having any kind of scientific explanation. Once the idea of supernatural existence gets ingrained into society, it's easy for people to perpetuate that idea with more supernaturalism as explanations. It helps them sleep at night moreso than "I've got no freaking clue."

I think you hit the nail on the head with that explanation; and there studies that back up what you're saying - that we have a strong need to have explanations for things, to make sense of them; it's how the brain works.
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