Friday, October 26, 2007

Things that go bump in the night - The Power of Belief

It’s probably not surprising that many god believers also believe in ghosts, demons, spirits, ESP, etc. According to Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Trevor Tompson (”Belief in Ghosts High”), “About one out of five people, 19 percent, say they accept the existence of spells or witchcraft. Nearly half, 48 percent, believe in extrasensory perception, or ESP.”

The article states that “the most likely candidates for ghostly visits include single people, Catholics and those who never attend religious services. By 31 percent to 18 percent, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter.”

But conservatives are more apt to be those snake-handling, God-fearing, Hell and Satan believing, talking in tongues speaking, casting-out-demons rural superstitious folks who believe an imaginary sky daddy walks and talks with them and sees everything they do and controls every aspect of their lives! I see that wasn’t mentioned in the article.

“Spells and witchcraft are more readily believed by urban dwellers, minorities and lower-earning people. Those who find credibility in ESP are more likely to be better educated and white — 51 percent of college graduates compared to 37 percent with a high school diploma or less, about the same proportion by which white believers outnumber minorities.”


“One in five say they are at least somewhat superstitious, with young men, minorities, and the less educated more likely to go out of their way to seek luck. Twenty-six percent of urban residents — twice the rate of those from rural areas — said they are superstitious, while single men were more superstitious than unmarried women, 31 percent to 17 percent.

“The most admitted-to superstition, by 17 percent, was finding a four-leaf clover. Thirteen percent dread walking under a ladder or the groom seeing his bride before their wedding, while slightly smaller numbers named black cats, breaking mirrors, opening umbrellas indoors, Friday the 13th or the number 13.

“Generally, women were more superstitious than men about four-leaf clovers, breaking mirrors or grooms prematurely seeing brides. Democrats were more superstitious than Republicans over opening umbrellas indoors, while liberals were more superstitious than conservatives over four-leaf clovers, grooms seeing brides and umbrellas.


“The poll, conducted Oct. 16-18, involved telephone interviews with 1,013 adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.”

While it may not be surprising that god believers also believe in the paranormal, astrology, ESP etc, I find it surprising to have read articles where some atheists believe in ghosts and are quite superstitious in various ways. I have a friend who claims to be an atheist, but believes ghosts and other dimensions exist. Can one be an atheist and still believe in ghosts, etc? IMO, I don’t think so, but even I find myself being a bit superstitious sometimes.

This video shows that people believe what they want to believe…because it gives them comfort, gives them a crutch to lean on, or is just plain fun (or they can’t help themselves).

The Power of Belief with John Stossel 1 of 5 (Links to 2 through 5 below video)

The Power of Belief 2 of 5

The Power of Belief 3 of 5

The Power of Belief 4 of 5

The Power of Belief 5 of 5


CyberKitten said...

stardust asked: Can one be an atheist and still believe in ghosts, etc? IMO, I don’t think so, but even I find myself being a bit superstitious sometimes.

I think that its quite possible to be an atheist and still believe in other supernatural agencies like ghosts. Atheism is only just one aspect of scepticism so you have to be a full-blown sceptic not to believe in *anything* supernatural.

Joe said...

Wouldn't the most admitted to superstition be believing in God? Its no different than the rest of the listed ones in the article.

I don't believe in any of it, "a full blown sceptic" sounds good to me. But I can see how an Athiest can, in theory, believe in some of it and still not buy into the God deal. I just can't do it myself.