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BS: Atheists and Ghosts

Seamus Kennedy 06 Jan 09 - 02:00 PM
Riginslinger 06 Jan 09 - 02:06 PM
bobad 06 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM
Les in Chorlton 06 Jan 09 - 02:15 PM
Little Hawk 06 Jan 09 - 02:16 PM
Wesley S 06 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM
bobad 06 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM
Amos 06 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM
Little Hawk 06 Jan 09 - 02:34 PM
john f weldon 06 Jan 09 - 02:40 PM
Wesley S 06 Jan 09 - 02:45 PM
Becca72 06 Jan 09 - 02:45 PM
Jeri 06 Jan 09 - 02:49 PM
Little Hawk 06 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM
Amos 06 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM
VirginiaTam 06 Jan 09 - 03:01 PM
Riginslinger 06 Jan 09 - 03:01 PM
Rapparee 06 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM
Wesley S 06 Jan 09 - 03:12 PM
Amos 06 Jan 09 - 03:19 PM
PoppaGator 06 Jan 09 - 03:38 PM
VirginiaTam 06 Jan 09 - 03:44 PM
akenaton 06 Jan 09 - 03:53 PM
SINSULL 06 Jan 09 - 04:02 PM
Anne Lister 06 Jan 09 - 04:04 PM
john f weldon 06 Jan 09 - 04:10 PM
Don Firth 06 Jan 09 - 04:22 PM
VirginiaTam 06 Jan 09 - 04:34 PM
frogprince 06 Jan 09 - 04:50 PM
Little Hawk 06 Jan 09 - 04:59 PM
Ruth Archer 06 Jan 09 - 05:05 PM
Little Hawk 06 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM
Rapparee 06 Jan 09 - 05:43 PM
Gervase 06 Jan 09 - 05:47 PM
Amos 06 Jan 09 - 06:04 PM
Little Hawk 06 Jan 09 - 06:22 PM
Amos 06 Jan 09 - 07:17 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Jan 09 - 08:43 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 06 Jan 09 - 08:50 PM
Rapparee 06 Jan 09 - 09:11 PM
Bill D 06 Jan 09 - 09:52 PM
Amos 06 Jan 09 - 11:13 PM
Stu 07 Jan 09 - 10:12 AM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM
Alice 07 Jan 09 - 11:39 AM
Bee 07 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM
Sleepy Rosie 07 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM
theleveller 07 Jan 09 - 12:13 PM
Sleepy Rosie 07 Jan 09 - 12:13 PM
SINSULL 07 Jan 09 - 12:14 PM
Elijah Browning 07 Jan 09 - 12:38 PM
Wesley S 07 Jan 09 - 01:41 PM
Little Hawk 07 Jan 09 - 02:03 PM
VirginiaTam 07 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM
Wesley S 07 Jan 09 - 02:31 PM
Little Hawk 07 Jan 09 - 02:38 PM
Sleepy Rosie 07 Jan 09 - 02:47 PM
Elijah Browning 07 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM
Amos 07 Jan 09 - 03:05 PM
Bill D 07 Jan 09 - 03:33 PM
Amos 07 Jan 09 - 04:00 PM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 09 - 04:28 PM
VirginiaTam 07 Jan 09 - 04:43 PM
Uncle_DaveO 07 Jan 09 - 04:54 PM
Bill D 07 Jan 09 - 04:57 PM
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artbrooks 07 Jan 09 - 05:09 PM
Little Hawk 07 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
Will Fly 07 Jan 09 - 06:18 PM
Donuel 07 Jan 09 - 06:27 PM
Uncle_DaveO 07 Jan 09 - 08:49 PM
Little Hawk 07 Jan 09 - 09:53 PM
Jeri 07 Jan 09 - 10:04 PM
artbrooks 07 Jan 09 - 10:49 PM
Jeri 07 Jan 09 - 10:59 PM
Jeri 07 Jan 09 - 11:02 PM
Don Firth 08 Jan 09 - 12:32 AM
VirginiaTam 08 Jan 09 - 01:31 AM
Jack Blandiver 08 Jan 09 - 07:22 AM
Little Hawk 08 Jan 09 - 09:16 AM
Uncle_DaveO 08 Jan 09 - 09:56 AM
Stu 08 Jan 09 - 10:11 AM
Ruth Archer 08 Jan 09 - 10:42 AM
Little Hawk 08 Jan 09 - 11:02 AM
Uncle_DaveO 08 Jan 09 - 01:28 PM
Little Hawk 08 Jan 09 - 01:46 PM
VirginiaTam 08 Jan 09 - 01:53 PM
Anne Lister 08 Jan 09 - 05:04 PM
Little Hawk 08 Jan 09 - 06:05 PM
Riginslinger 08 Jan 09 - 10:15 PM
Jack Blandiver 09 Jan 09 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Venerable Bede 09 Jan 09 - 07:52 AM
Bill D 09 Jan 09 - 10:27 AM
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Riginslinger 09 Jan 09 - 10:56 PM
Paul Burke 10 Jan 09 - 07:56 AM
Anne Lister 10 Jan 09 - 01:09 PM
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Uncle_DaveO 10 Jan 09 - 02:19 PM
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VirginiaTam 10 Jan 09 - 03:15 PM
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Subject: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:00 PM

Not trolling - just wondering - do atheists believe in ghosts?

Have any atheists experienced "ghostly" apparitions, and if so, how do they explain them?

How about atheists and the supernatural and the paranormal?

'Catters?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Riginslinger
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:06 PM

I suspect atheists do not believe in ghosts. I doubt if they're entertained by science fiction movies either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: bobad
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM

Would the converse be true, ie. if one is a theist does it follow that he/she would believe in ghosts and the paranormal?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:15 PM

Do ghosts believe in theists?
If god became an atheist would s/he disappear?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:16 PM

You will need to actually see (or encounter) a ghost. Then you will probably tend to believe in them. Whether you're an atheist or not doesn't necessarily have much bearing on the matter, though I suppose the average atheist is more likely to search around for any way he can convince himself it wasn't a ghost.

I bet there are some religious people who don't believe in ghosts too.

There are many ways of explaining a ghostly apparition, and people will usually latch onto whichever explanation suits their previous views on the matter...if those views still seem tenable.

The real question is: Do ghosts believe in atheists? Or are they in a state of denial? Or do they even care?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Wesley S
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM

Wouldn't a ghost be a manifestation or evidence of a soul? And wouldn't a soul be generated/created by a higher power/God ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: bobad
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM

A "ghost" can emanate from a person's own brain, ever hear of hallucinations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM

What? Why?

"Souls"--a loaded word, better defined as spiritual beings who run bodies, IMHO--can be ghosts or not, depending on their predilections and degree of confusion.

I fail to see why their existence would argue for monotheism, anymore than the existence of scads of carrots argues for the existence of one freat big Arche-Carrot. A PLatonic Carrot!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:34 PM

Wesley - It might. But why does the existence of souls necessarily indicate the presence of a deity?

If we can imagine many individual beings in bodies, but no God...which is what the atheist imagines...then why can we not imagine many individual non-physical souls also, but no God?

I see no reason at all why non-physical souls MUST have come from a creating deity. Could not evolution occur in spirit as well as in matter? Might not one be a reflection of the other, but in a different frequency spectrum, that's all?

I'm not saying that souls don't come from a God, I'm just saying that the one does not in any way obligate the presence of the other.

A ghost might be a manifestation of a soul. It also might be some remaining psychic residue from a bundle of strong emotion (which is what ghosts usually seem to be), and not a soul at all. It might, in effect, be an echo of the past...not an ordinary aural echo...a psychic one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: john f weldon
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:40 PM

I don't know about ghosts but I'm one atheist who can still scare himself silly watching scary movies, reading scary books, or just listening to strange noises in old houses.

Just because you don't believe doesn't mean you have to give up all the fun!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Wesley S
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:45 PM

On the other side - If there is no higher power/God could ghosts/souls exist? So how would ghosts/souls create themselves? How would they come into existance?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Becca72
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:45 PM

I'm an agnostic who believes in ghosts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:49 PM

I don't believe in ghosts, but I believe there are a lot of amazing things in the world that currently have no provable explanation. This is the thing a lot of people don't get: we don't deny beauty or awe or serendipity. We (and by 'we' I mean me and anyone who agrees with me) just don't need an explanation for everything. I figure if the explanation is right and true, everybody would believe the same thing.

I LOVE science fiction and used to love scary books & movies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM

How does anything come into existence, Wesley? How did the Universe get here? How did the first fish appear? The first flowering plant? It's all equally mysterious, if you ask me.

I think there are several possibilities.

1. an eterior agency, a "creator", brings something into existence

2. it arises spontaneously through some natural process we don't yet fully understand

3. it creates itself by a deliberate act of conscious will

4. it is given birth through another individual being of similar type

5. it buds or clones off another being

5. it arrives here out of some other dimension (as if through the far side of a black hole, for example)

And that's probably not all when it comes to such theories...

The bottom line is: We don't know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM

Arguing for a God with no a priori makes no less sense and no more sense than for a spiritual being with no a priori. Why, it could be, you know, that the kingdom of Heaven really is within you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:01 PM

My partner is an athiest, does not believe in ghosts or any kind of life after death or reincarnation. However he is mad about SciFi.

Am tending toward athiesm... just can't (or maybe don't want to) believe in a supreme being that would let the suffering go on that does.

However, I have had several near death (damned doctors keep prescribing things I am allergic to) experiences and knew very definitely I was going somewhere. Bright light and all. There were no guides though. Also have seen, heard and physically felt presence of loved ones. Most recently, my 23 (she will always be 23 now) year old daughter, sometimes sits next to me on sofa (feels like she is physically there pressed against side of my body) or pokes me in the back when I am talking to colleagues. She did that in life. Played "pokeMom" to get on my last nerve.

So I don't know... want me to come back and tell you when I cross over? "Yup there's lots of athiests over here but they don't believe in themselves."

snerk!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Riginslinger
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:01 PM

So you have to have insight to see ghosts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM

#1 is correct, LH -- and I'm that agency. I've told you all and told you all: I created everything and it only exists when I think about it.

This includes ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Wesley S
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:12 PM

"1. an exterior agency, a "creator", brings something into existence."

Wouldn't that exterior agency be considered a higher power? If I'm unable to create something from nothing wouldn't an exterior agency that does have that capability have a higher power than myself? And would that make it a god?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:19 PM

Tam:: The tragedy informing your last post makes the extremely humorous last line even more brilliant.

Thanks.

Wesley: Everybody lives within the confines of their own creations, barriers, and such. This makes it seems like there is a bigger agency, since the point of view you are taking is constrained by something "outside" yourself; but the something outside yourself is just you having a better hair day.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:38 PM

I'm sure that there are many skeptical types who believe neither in God nor in ghosts.

However, belief in one aspect of an unseen spiritual realm does not necssarily imply belief in any other. Plenty of theists firmly disbelieve in ghosts, because their preferred authorities and/or scriptures tell them that ghosts do not exist, and that to believe in such would be blasphemous. Belief in ghosts (which, I assume, includes belief in an afterlife) would seem to necessitate belief in some kind of God, but I wouldn't be surprised if some people held such a seemingly conradictory set of beliefs/unbeliefs.

And, gee whiz, plenty of people thoroughly enjoy fiction, science-fiction or otherwise, regardless of what they believe actually exists. For that matter, I'm quite sure that many successful science-fiction authors are atheists or agnostics. In fact, I'm inclined to think that members of organized religions are a minority among SF writers. (One exception: Orson Scott Card, a practicing Mormon.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:44 PM

Amons

What is really wierd about that piece of what you termed brilliance is that Andie (the pokeMom Kid) was the clever one coming up with random humorous stuff like that all the time.
I like to think, she probably planted that in me head, the same way it feels like she takes over when I am singing really well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:53 PM

Well I'm a true blue atheist....don't believe in a supreme being, rising from the dead, ghosts, angels, or any of the props used by organised religion, but I've experienced some queer things in my lifetime.

I firmly believe that there are perfectly natural powers in the human brain, of which we know almost nothing. These powers I believe, were used widely by primitive man and as we became more "civilised" and learned to use other areas of the brain to destroy one another, the spiritual areas became submerged, only coming to the surface at certain stages of our developement, or at time of extreme stress
Mental telepathy is one power which I have experienced at first hand and shall never forget, but I am sure that the human brain has many powers which have become dormant due to the way in which we have evolved.

I was brought up from early childhood by my old uncle, we lived together, slept together and finally worked together. We had a bond which I believe was even stronger than a father son relationship...the old man was my best friend and we trained racing greyhounds together for over forty years.
When I married and left the family home, old Jock stayed with his widowed sister, while my wife and I moved about ten miles away to a small village.

I am a manual worker and have always slept like a log...the minute my head hits the pillow I'm out like a light and that's me dead till morning
About a year after I moved house, at 3 in the morning I sat up in bed wide awake, with a dreadful feeling of horror and panic....i was actually in a cold sweat. I wakened my wife and told her that something was terribly wrong at home, I told her that I was sure Jock had died in horrific circumstances. She told me that I must have been dreaming, to go back to sleep and forget it, although she was very surprised that I had wakened at such an hour.

I lay unable to sleep till 7AM, when a knock came to the door (we had no telephone), I raced down stairs, threw open the door and to my great relief, on the step, stood old Jock.
He put his arm round my shoulder and said...."Your aunt Jennie fell down the stairs at 3AM this morning during a power cut and died from her injuries".
My uncles ordeal had indeed been horrific, having no light to see the extent of my aunt's injuries, to telephone or vehicle to summon assistance, yet he had made contact with me by some natural power,which seemedto have been strenghtened by is stressful situation.

So although I am an atheist, I am a "believer" in natural powers or if you like, "spirituality"

Sorry about the diatribe Seamus, but for me it was a truly life changing incident....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: SINSULL
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:02 PM

The official American Atheists site says there are no ghosts and if you believe in ghosts you are not an atheist.

I have had experience with ghosts and believe a ghost is simply a phenomenon we do not yet understand.
I also believe in the effectiveness of prayer - I pray FOR not TO. The power of the human mind is barely understood today. And the power of many human minds concentrating on an outcome...well, someday we will understand.
Telekinesis is another ability that we simply do not understand and so riidicule or assign to the realm of a divinity much as magnetism was once regarded.
Some day...


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Anne Lister
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:04 PM

My own experience, for what it's worth, is that people who have encountered ghosts believe in them. People who haven't, often don't. And try to explain stuff to justify their disbelief, rather than listening to those who have had the experience. Why some people encounter ghosts and others don't - who knows, but there's no rule explaining who will and who won't. I run workshops in which people tell stories about their own experiences and I've lost count of people who say they hadn't believed in ghosts at all until they encountered one.
If you haven't, (yet?) or have had a weird experience you prefer not to call a ghost, that's absolutely fine.
But I see nothing about ghosts that implies theism or atheism - I have no explanation for what I've experienced or what others have, except that it might simply be a recording playing back an intense event in the past. In which case you wouldn't need any kind of god to make that happen.
On the other hand again, I've met many recording engineers who think they might be gods....

Anne


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: john f weldon
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:10 PM

"Official American Atheists"?   There's nothing "official" about atheism. It's not a creed or a dogma.   

I don't believe in ghosts or God or gods or ESP or UFOs, but the reasons are independent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:22 PM

Back to basics:   When people refer to God, they may have some concept in mind, but that's only their concept, and for the most part, it differs from person to person. To many people, God is a father figure (REALLY Big Daddy!!). If a father figure, even that varies from person to person. "Father" might represent a loving and nurturing father, or it might represent a tyrannical, abusive father who will beat the crap out of you (consign you to the fires of Hell) for even the most minor transgression. It's a pretty wide spectrum, really. Different churches delineate different kinds of God(s) [father figures], and everybody within each of those congregations has a different concept.

To some, God is a vague sort of consciousness that pervades Creation, who (or "that") either does or does not intervene in human affairs, and who may or may not have created it all. To others, God is merely another name for Nature, the whole body of natural laws by which the universe operates.

So although many people think they know—are absolutely sure they know—no one really knows what the word "God" really refers to.

If anything.

The existence or non-existence of ghosts does not necessarily have anything to do with the existence of God

We perceive three dimensions (length, width, depth) and we have a concept of the fourth dimension (time). But according to the latest theories in quantum physics and/or string theory, there are actually eleven dimensions. These folks have the figures, the math for all of this, but not too many people, including the theoretical physicists themselves, can wrap their heads around the actual nature of this or what it means.

Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku has written a number of rather fascinating books on the subject, such as Hyperspace, Parallel Worlds, and Physics of the Impossible, that endeavor to examine and explain these matters. Including what we don't know.

Eleven dimensions, all occupying the same space—intertwined—interlaced. You (I, we) live in an eleven dimension universe (as far as we can theorize, complete with supporting math, if, indeed, that describes anything real—whatever "real" is), and we're directly aware of only three of these dimensions, with an idea of the fourth.

Where do we go when we die? Does our consciousness simply wink out when we fall off the perch? Or does our consciousness, or some other form of energy, simply slip into another dimension—next door, so to speak. Nobody knows for sure because no one (as far as we know) has returned from there and explained it all, at least to most people's satisfaction.

Perhaps, when someone sees a ghost, something has "leaked" through the "brane" (membrane) between dimensions.

It may have more to do with theoretical physics than it does with God.

And it may not even be "supernatural." It may just be a perfectly natural phenomenon that we don't know much about.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:34 PM

Andie (see above) called me one morning during her university days. She was beside herself crying. Had dreamed that I had wrecked my truck. She dreamed my white truck flipping over side of Brown Mountain off route she knew I drove daily to and from work. It took me about 20 minutes to console her and convince her that I would be careful driving to work.

The instant I hung up the phone, my son's wife called to say he had been in accident, flipped company truck (white) off the road I drove every day on Brown Mountain. Son was ok save for a few bruises. But it was weird.

There were at least 2 other incidences where Andie dreamed of friends comminting suicide. When she called them to see if they were ok, found out it was their friends (unknown to Andie) who had - one for whom attempted and one who succeeded at taking own lives. So Andie was in tune with something inexplicable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: frogprince
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:50 PM

"The official American Atheists site says there are no ghosts and if you believe in ghosts you are not an atheist."
Sinsull, am I correct in assuming that you just threw that in for what it isn't worth? The Pope also says what all true Catholics believe, and any number of televangelists can tell you what all "true" Christians believe. I think the idea of someone officially declaring what all atheists believe is at least as much of a hoot.
I've never encountered a ghost, but I've met quite a few people who believe they have; they have, in most cases, been at least as sane and rational as I am (which may not be saying that much). None of these cases that I know as close as second-hand involve any entity or phenomenon that was in the least threatening or distructive. Those I can remember right now all appear to involve recognizable old farm folk who still show up around the "old home place".


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:59 PM

Don Firth - Excellent post. "So although many people think they know—are absolutely sure they know—no one really knows what the word "God" really refers to."

Right. But, boy, you do get some dogmatic opinions on it from people, don't you?

Then there is that Atheist Association: "The official American Atheists site says there are no ghosts and if you believe in ghosts you are not an atheist."

Pushy bunch of bastards, aren't they? ;-) I guess you aren't allowed to wear the club colors or the special hat with the antlers on it or sing the official Atheist Association song if you admit to believing in ghosts, eh? Well, screw that! I dislike people who tell me what I must believe or not believe and whether I am or am not this or that, according to their definition of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:05 PM

I've had a few weird "ghost" experiences, but I have no belief in a god of any kind. There are lots of potential explanations for ghosts - a sentient higher power creating them does not have to be the answer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM

Rapaire? You have taken the state of mind normally termed "delusions of grandeur" and you have advanced it into a whole new amplitude of megalomania probably not seen since Nero plagued the City of Rome. Thankfully, however, you are, unlike Nero, relatively powerless. That is what permits me to still sleep with reasonable calm each night.

You have lost it, good sir. You are rambling out of control down a highway of illusion. The streetcar of your mind has left the rails and is veering drunkenly off the road. The parrot of your sense of proportion is dead and has fallen off the perch. You have become unhinged. You have one foot in the loony bin and the other flailing around in empty air. You know not what you say. Your place in the coherent Universe has become officially vacant and will shortly be re-assigned to an unemployed clairvoyant rickshaw driver from Calcutta. Let's hope he makes better use of it than you did. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:43 PM

LH, should you continue in your delusions not only will I play the fiddle, but I'll stop thinking about you and you'll be cursed with nonexistence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Gervase
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:47 PM

I don't. Can't stand science fiction, either. I suppose that must make me an 'official' atheist!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:04 PM

Um...Li'l Hawk:

That's pretty het up and vociferous defense for an imaginary character, even if he is your very own.

Next time you are passing by a perspective stand, be sure and grab some. You'll LOVE it!!!



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:22 PM

Well, the rickshaw driver, Maneesh Charbataya, is doing rather well in Rapaire's recently vacated position in the Universal Hierarchy. Better than expected.

I guess we won't be needing you any longer in this time-space continuum, Rapaire. Nice knowing you. Watch out for the time shift effects as you leave this reality, and give our kind regards to whoever you meet in the next one over. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 07:17 PM

Whoeee---ziing!! Little Hawk, I do declare, is actually bristling!!! Dang!!



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:43 PM

What the heck has "science fiction" to do with belief or non-belief in ghosts?? (or God, for that matter -- ?)

It's a literary genre of fiction "that often involves speculations based on current or future science or technology". No specification or exclusion of exploration of spiritual topics in that...

Maybe you really meant to refer to the fiction genre of Fantasy, as in the sort that involves, magic, etc?

At any rate, they call it "fiction" for a reason -- you don't have to believe it's true to enjoy a story...

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:50 PM

Sure, an atheist can believe in ghosts. He just can't believe that a ghost is the manifestation of a soul. There are plenty of other possible explanations for ghostish phenomena. Just because something can't be explained using known scientific methods doesn't automatically require that "God" has to figure into any possible explanation. If I believe a ghost may be "a manifestation of residual energy of some unknown form" or "an anomaly in the space-time continuum", where've I mentioned God?

And as for UFOs, why would an atheist think this planet is such a special place that it's the only one with intelligent life on it? That's what the theists believe! Seems to me that an atheistic worldview would make one more prone to believing in a universe full of life forms, some of which may be sufficiently advanced to be capable of traveling large distances at very high speeds.

Denial of the existence of a supreme being does not equate to denial of the potential for the existence of unexplained or unexplanable phenomenon. It just denies the possibility of a supreme being as an explanation for them. To state categorically that such phenomena don't exist seems to me to be a remarkably egotistical attitude.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 09:11 PM

That's me -- a remarkably egotistical attitude.

And damned humble about it, too.

(Actually, I long ago gave over the idea that the "intelligent" creatures on "Earth" were unique in the Universe. Simple statistics makes that very unlikely. Therefore, let's expand the concept of "human" to include all intelligent species [feel free to define that] whether or not they are manifest to the senses we "homo sapiens sapiens" have.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 09:52 PM

If by 'ghost' one means some coherent, bodyless remnant of someone whose body is dead......nawwwwwwww......

Do people seem to see weird stuff sometimes? Sure.... but NO ONE can explain to me how ghostishness might work....except by linguistic Gerrymandering.

Now, if I 'come back' after I die....I will come and apologize to certain folks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 11:13 PM

Linguistic GERRYMANDERING??? ROFLMAO!! What a great phrase, Bill Day. You better watch that creative stuff though. Someone might think you had a sorta spark of creative power or something, and it could blow yer whole cover!!



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Stu
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 10:12 AM

"I suspect atheists do not believe in ghosts. I doubt if they're entertained by science fiction movies either."

I love science fiction. Lots and lots. So you're wrong me old mucker.

God is Dog spelt backwards - spooky or what?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM

I guess I was just speaking for myself. I get bored quite quickly with most elements of the unreal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Alice
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 11:39 AM

unexplained phenomena
supreme being creator

The above are two different things. You don't have to believe in a supreme being to believe there are unexplained phenomena. But, seems like the definition of "ghost" is not something that people in this thread agree on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Bee
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM

I'm in agreement with lots of previous comments. I've had experiences that are currently inexplicable, but nothing about them encouraged me to think they implied the existence of deities, souls, an afterlife, and so on. Most of them likely were internally created phenomena (bit of undigested mustard, or summat). Some certainly stemmed from my own mind encouraged and/or manipulated by someone else (would explain the full size black panther that appeared on my bed when I was fifteen... girlfriend that was over-nighting was hella strong-minded). Other experiences - who knows? I'm agnostic on a lot more concepts besides gods.

And I like science fiction, seriously indulged in it when I was young, read twenty SF books a week when I could get my hands on 'em. If anything, writers like Dick and Delaney and Niven influenced my skepticism positively.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM

Some of the most intriguing material I've seen on similar phenomena, has been where the police use psychics to aid in their researches in murder cases.

There was some woman in one of those 'test the psychic' doco's a while back. In one of the tests she was taken to an unknown location (an anonymous footpath) and asked to find out what she could. She claimed to get in touch with a young girl who had been murdered there, and the young girl went on to describe her attacker. The description she had given precisely fitted one of the intitial suspects, but the police hadn't been able to gain enough evidence to build a decent case against him. It was an old case. None of the pertinant information had been released to the public. The police re-opened the investigation on the strength of the information she had provided.

I believe she helps Mountain Rescue find people lost in the snow now. Because she was spot on with discovering hidden live people in tests in which the army participated in the programme. Mountain rescue contacted her after the doco was shown.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:13 PM

Well, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.

Or is it that there are more things dreamed of in philosophy than there are in heaven and earth?

Spooky!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:13 PM

My memory of that programme may be imprecise. But it's the nuts and bolts.

As for ghosts, I don't think you have to believe in a creator god to recognise that consciousness is a phenomena that we haven't got much of a decent clue about yet. I for one do not believe that consciousness is *necessarily* dependent on matter. Or that there is necessarily only one dimension in which consciousness could operate.

I do however think that probably most ghostly phenomena, is what they term a result of 'stone tape'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: SINSULL
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:14 PM

That was a few years back. I revisited American Atheists and their statement has been chaged to a "softer gentler" one. LOL

A few years back I was going to join until I read the statement. I found it hilarious that a non-belief system was as rigid as some belief systems. Didn't sign up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Elijah Browning
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:38 PM

Why is the question always, "Do you believe in ghosts?" Why is it a question of belief? No one asks if you believe in South America or the aurora borealis or urinal cakes. Even if you have no personal experience with any of the above, the perception that such things exist does not rest in the realm of faith. I've seen ghosts, interacted with them on rare occasion. Some I knew when living. These interactions have been very rare, and are more commonly experienced by many others than, let's say, encounters with the aurora borealis or female encounters with urinal cakes.

We can filter experience any way we want. We can see the face of god in a potato or look at the pristine mathematical wonder of a night's sky and see the beauty of random unconsciousness. The encounter does not validate or invalidate our suppositions of faith. Our filter does, and with bias.

A tree falling in a forest will emit something which would be sound if there were an ear to hear it. Same with ghosts. Just are. Probably not much more to it than that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 01:41 PM

Sure - It's possible to see the face of God in a potato - but in my experience He's more likely to reveal Himself in a tortilla. A flour tortilla. Never corn. I'm not sure why. That's just the way it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 02:03 PM

It's possible to see the face of God in anything, according to the enlightened. ;-)

Why? Well, because God IS in everything, that's why! That is the definition of "omnipresent", isn't it? And God is presumed in many traditions to be ominpresent. This would imply that everything is valuable, even sacred in some way, and I would agree with that notion.

If you don't (or can't) see God in everything, it doesn't necessarily mean that God isn't there, it just indicates that you have no awareness of it...like not being able to see the forest for the trees.

This depends, of course, on what you think "God" is in the first place...or what you think the word "God" means...and most people, frankly, haven't given that much of their time. They have an idea about "God" that takes about 1 millisecond to form in their minds, and it's usually based on something superficial that they heard somebody else say once or that they read in a book somewhere. As such, it probably doesn't shed much light on the matter.

Anyway, if there is such a thing as "God", and if you are enlightened, then you will just naturally see God in absolutely anything and everything. This will affect your behaviour profoundly. You will become far more loving toward self and others. You will become far more peaceful and far more creative.    You will become less condemnatory and you will forgoe inflicting harsh judgements upon others. You will forgive. You will render assistance to those in need.

Or so I've heard.... ;-) Sounds like a good way to be to me. Maybe someday...


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM

Don't SEE god in anything much less in anything edible... But I do get ocassional pokes from my daughter and I do feel there is an intelligent force in nature.

I do feel awe and a kind of worshipful state just watching black lacey pines shift sinously against a dusky breast of sky. I get a thrill when a breeze tumbles through a sunlit dew drenched pine forest creating a shower of diamonds.

Can't all be random.... especially the human capacity to appreciate it.

Can it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 02:31 PM

Those are the words of a heathen. The Enlightened know that God prefers flour over corn. Just read your bible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 02:38 PM

Ha! ;-)

I can't. I'm too busy reading my Koran/Baghavad Gita/Buddhist scriptures/Torah/Egytian Book of the Dead/Mormon scriptures/Kahlil Gibran/Taoist teachings/Amerindian Medicine Way teachings/Carlos Castaneda/New Age stuff/whatever.....

The text I'm reading right now states categorically, for instance, that God prefers Dachshunds to Weimaraners.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 02:47 PM

That'll be why my village is so utterly Godless then Little Hawk. Weimaraners a plenty. The nice and slightly dishy young vicar will be distressed at this news though....


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Elijah Browning
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM

I have taken many things that have made me more loving towards myself and others. Things that have made me more peaceful and more creative. Some came from a bottle, some from a pipe, some from a Bible and some from a song. Huxley called religion the "opium of the masses." I once had a faith, based in an upbringing, but it was misused. Losing that faith, I felt the calm after tears and the solace of indifference. Empty stars let me be. God and Goddess neither damned nor commended. Of all my past vices, faith is the only one I occasionally endulge in, but I do not trust it to accurately alter my perceptions any more than any other vice.

I will not know nor can I say that what is seen through the filter of belief is less true than the cold winter outside my door. I am not sure I am right, but I have lost the trust of god, and therefore, the basis of faith. It seems, that if there is a god, and he has a purpose for me, it is to believe that he does not exist nor that I have a purpose.

I pray to your god that you are right and I am wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 03:05 PM

The nice and slightly dishy young vicar will be distressed

I love the phrase "slightly dishy"!! If he's as dishy as all that, be sure and offer solace along with the rude shock.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 03:33 PM

"He's more likely to reveal Himself in a tortilla. ...."

"This just in: An image of a tortilla has appeared on a statue of the Virgin Mary. The church has no comment at this time."


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:00 PM

Evolutionists are flocking to a remote cave in the southern valleys of Germany where a remrakable water stain has been found on the wall which bears an uncanny resemblance to Charles Darwin.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:28 PM

They'd better get there before it evolves!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:43 PM

I have read bible. I spent years as nodding dog front row southern baptist. Now a recovering baptist, because of what I read in the bible and witnessed among my fellow like nodding comrades in GOD.

all religious text written by fallible men, most with some self serving agenda.

religion is dangerous and wrong

end of.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:54 PM


The official American Atheists site says there are no ghosts and if you believe in ghosts you are not an atheist.


Then "The official American Atheists site" is wrong.

And who had the power to make them "the official American Atheists site", anyway? There is no qualifying body with such a power. Even if there were a grand republic of atheists, so to speak, they wouldn't have the ability to make that distinction true.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:57 PM

". I spent years as nodding dog front row southern baptist."

When I was a member of a Unitarian church many years ago, the minister was also a 'recovering' Baptist.... he said that one day he just got up and said to himself "this is ridiculous....I can't stand up here every Sunday and spout this stuff!"

I suspect it is a matter of personality, rather than *TRUTH*.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 05:08 PM

Woody Allen said, in one of his movies, "I was born a Jew, but I converted to Narcissism."

I think there might be some of Woody's coreligionists here.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: artbrooks
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 05:09 PM

I am nowhere near religious enough to be an atheist, since that requires a level of disbelief at least as strong as the level of belief of any theist...I guess I'd call myself a nonpracticing agnostic. So can a nonpracticing agnostic believe in ghosts? Well, maybe not in Marley (Dickens's, not the dog) or Casper, but there may be something to the idea of leaving a presence of some kind behind in some circumstances. And, BTW, I love science fiction and most fantasy, but don't care for SciFi.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM

LOL!!!!!!!! That has got to be one of the most honest things Woody Allen ever said in his life.

****

I think you're right, Bill, that it is mainly a matter of personality (and personal background). That's why these discussions go round and round forever in the same circles. As Popeye said, "I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam!"

****

Elijah - Interesting post. Well, whatever you want to believe is okay with me if it suits you. I mean, it's your own business, right?

****

VT - You said "religion is dangerous and wrong"

I take it you meant organized religion?

My take on that would be...religion is everything. It's every possibility. It's both right and wrong, good and bad, boring and fascinating, useful and useless, honest and hypocritical, cruel and kind, progressive and regressive, constructive and destructive, and every other dichotomy and range you can mention.

This is also true of government.

The reason all these things are true is because both religion and government were created by human beings, and individual human beings are likewise capable of being both right and wrong, good and bad, boring and fascinating, useful and useless, honest and hypocritical, cruel and kind, and every other dichotomy and range you can mention.

So why wouldn't their religious and governmental creations be just like that too? ;-)

If I had your personal background in the Baptist Church, I'd probably feel the same as you do about it...because I'm not a "joiner" by nature, and I get nervous and skeptical in the face of any fixed dogma, specially dogma enforced by a group, and I tend to resist it and go my own way. I'm a natural rebel against hierarchical dogma.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 06:18 PM

This is one of the oldest websites on the net - it's changed its style and form many times over the years, but it's still going.

Worth a visit... Hell

Each time you input the URL you get a different message...


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 06:27 PM

Dear S

I have written repeatedly about 2 globes of nebulus light than passed through my chamber brick wall and through the opposite wall near the ceiling very slowly.

The shared experience prompted me to study dimensionality and other subjects to discover a possible cause for such a phenomena never mentioned in physics books. Starting with Flatland and going to electrodynamics the one thing that will forever remain subjective is my inate reaction to the globes as having intelligence and power.

Someone else may have thought ghosts and never looked back.
There is not a month that goes by in which I still stop and ponder the event.

By the way the word is now Atheians... not atheists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 08:49 PM

Donuel told us,

By the way the word is now Atheians... not atheists.

By whose imperial decree?

The word "atheist" is still around, still meaning whatever it ever did, and I'll take it to my palpitating breast and hold it there, indignantly rejecting what I take to be someone's attempt at PCness.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 09:53 PM

It's a long story, Dave...

It started many centuries ago as "stinking heathen". In time that term became politically incorrect, as it was deemed offensive by a minority of oversensitive types. They put a big guilt trip on everyone else, and people started saying "infidel" instead, for politeness' sake.

A couple centuries later "infidel" also became an impolite term, and was replaced by "Godless Hellhound". You were on safe ground in mixed company as long as you remembered to say "Some of my best friends are Godless Hellhounds, and they're really just like everyone else when you get to know them."

Then a special interest group in Wales declared that "Godless Hellhound" was a term of abuse! Within a decade everyone gave up the term entirely, and you couldn't even speak OF it unless you said "The G.H. phrase...he was using the G.H. phrase!"

This was presently replaced by "non-believer", as it was felt that that was so unexciting that it couldn't possibly offend anyone. But in time it did, probably because it was so unexciting.

"Non-believer" was then replaced by "free thinker", but this implied someone who expects not to pay, so in time "free thinker" also went out of style.

And that was when the modern term "atheist" was adopted. Everyone thought that would be the end of it, but Donuel has advised us otherwise. ;-) The up to date polite term is now "atheian".

Be VERY careful what you call someone who does not believe in God!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 10:04 PM

I am NOT calling myself an Athenian! I've never heard that 'A' word before. I think I'm going to make up my own word.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: artbrooks
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 10:49 PM

Isn't that someone from Athens?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 10:59 PM

I believe it is (named for the goddess Athena), which is a big reason for me to reject the name.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 11:02 PM

And it just occurred to me that Athena popped out of her father's head fully formed, and that form or reproduction is called 'budding', so she was the first Buddist. Too religious for me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 12:32 AM

". . . nonpracticing agnostic."

Thanks, artbrooks! Now I have a name for what I am!

. . . most of the time. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 01:31 AM

Donuel reminded me I have seen globes of nebulus light. One the day after my boyfriend's father died. One the day before ex spouse's (same as boyfriend) grandmother died. I was freaking.... in darkened bedroom... crawling across ceiling. tried to wake ex so he could see it but he wouldn't wake up.

Also have a friend who after first moving into her house, she and spouse awakened several times by soldier in Boor War uni, pointing rifle at them and shouting.

They later found bunch of African masks, spears and soldiers kit in their loft.

WillFly - re the Hell.com site. figure should have been done in all 0s and 1s.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 07:22 AM

Do ghosts operate on the same spiritual level as the divine? The Divine is the generative power of the universe, omnipotent and all consuming; ghosts on the other hand are residual shadow-lurkers, cold and lifeless, they seek the warmth of the living and thrive on the attention of the vulnerable. They are the vestigial slurry of once vibrant life, only ever glimpsed in crespuscularity and only ever inspiring fear and dread.

In accepting ghosts, one isn't necessarily demonstrating a predisposition to the Divine. Personally, I feel ghosts are no more a manifestation of a supernatural than the elves & goblins I regularly consorted with in my childhood - just that science hasn't, as yet, cracked the mechanism for such things. Touching on another thread (Folklore: Ghosts) - if ghosts didn't exist, from were our very real capacity to fear such things? And for why fear if such things were in anyway wholesome? Why do ghost stories continue to fascinate? And why does everyone have their own personal ghost story to tell? Even the most rational of us...

Indeed, far more of us experience this sort sort of psychic sludge that ever do anything approaching the divine - and were our perceptive apparatus more common in this respect I dare say we'd have a greater handle on it. As it is, given the general subjectivity of such experience hardly the wonder the vocabulary is so vague - it's rather like trying to describe the colour green to the blind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 09:16 AM

Interesting post, I.B. Dogs and cats are quite sensitive to ghosts, and will react strongly to them, so their senses are probably keener than ours when it comes to that....not surprisingly. As you say, science simply doesn't have a handle yet on how to explain the phenomenon, so there's a resistance to recognizing it in an official way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 09:56 AM

Insane Beard asked, in the course of a longer post:

if ghosts didn't exist, from were our very real capacity to fear such things?

The source, IMO, is that there is a tendency in the minds of many to fear whatever is unknown, whatever is uncontrollable. The idea of ghosts triggers that in-built tendency to fear. And strangely enough, many people find the fear delicious to play with, and so they perpetuate the ghost idea. Which doesn't mean that there is any real referent for the fear.

I personally don't have much problem with fear of the unknown. I am a rationalist; I take what comes and control what I can, and put off worrying about what cannot be controlled to some other occasion.

So "our very real capacity to fear such things" should read "Some people's very real capacity to fear", and the rest of the question, "such things", is merely incidental and proves nothing.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Stu
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 10:11 AM

One of my favourite theories on ghosts was the fact they were 'recordings' being played back that, under the right conditions, you might be lucky enough to see. I think the original idea was the fabric of a building or the physical materials present in a certain area might somehow capture and retain energies that are then projected back to their original position.

An example of this was when a couple saw a legion of Roman soldiers walking across a road one night, but they seemed to be cut off at the knee. Further research showed the original level of the road was about 18 inches lower . . .

One of my favourite ways ghosts express themselves is EVP; Electronic Voice Phenomenon. This is where ghostly voices are recorded onto tape, disk etc and captured by the listener. The definitive work in this area is a CD called 'The Ghost Orchid' which is available on iTunes and is certainly worth a listen, especially with the headphones on during a cold windy night. The track 'Aircraft Intercept' is particularly disturbing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 10:42 AM

In my old house, two people saw a cat, two saw an old woman (we had no cats or, in fact, old women). I was one of the ones who saw the cat. They were independent sightings, in that no one was told in advance that anyone else had seen anything.

My babysitter and my daughter were both completely spooked one night - latches being lifted and doors opening, someone walking around in my bedroom...she never babysat for us again.

We would hear stuff from time to time - humming, whistling...once someone slammed the front door and came running hell for leather up the stairs. No one was there.

The activity would be concentrated; a couple of things over a few days, then nothing for months.

Who can say what or why? but I know these things happened.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 11:02 AM

Dave, in response to your last post...

The source, IMO, is that there is a tendency in the minds of many to fear whatever is unknown, whatever is uncontrollable. The idea of ghosts triggers that in-built tendency to fear. And strangely enough, many people find the fear delicious to play with, and so they perpetuate the ghost idea. Which doesn't mean that there is any real referent for the fear.

I think it's quite obvious that all people (and animals) quite naturally have a fear of whatever is unknown and whatever is uncontrollable. We want to be in control. We want to know. An unknown puts us in an insecure position, since we don't know what we're dealing with, and fear arises. Curiosity also arises at the same time, because we want to know what it is. If the curiosity is stronger than the fear, then we will investigate. If it isn't, we'll run away or try to fight. This is also what happens when animals encounter something unknown.

I personally don't have much problem with fear of the unknown.

Really??? Well, you may not have a problem with fearing ghosts, let's say, as a detached subject when you can intellectualize it and it's all just safe inside your head....but I believe that if you suddenly and directly encountered something completely unknown to you (a ghost, a flying saucer, etc) you most likely would be afraid, because the fear would arise in the instant, before you had time to start intellectualizing the whole thing. Curiosity would also arise. Depending on your personal nature, the curiosity might then overcome the fear.

I am a rationalist; I take what comes and control what I can, and put off worrying about what cannot be controlled to some other occasion.

So am I, and I do the same. I don't talk about things like ghosts or flying saucers because they worry me. They don't worry me. I talk about them because I find them very interesting.

So "our very real capacity to fear such things" should read "Some people's very real capacity to fear", and the rest of the question, "such things", is merely incidental and proves nothing.

The only thing, in my opinion, that proves anything to anyone regarding something very unusual like ghosts or flying saucers is a direct personal encounter with them. Nothing works like experience. We all have confidence in the reality of things we have actually done or experienced, don't we? It is my own experience I count on in life...not what the Bible says, not what the government says, not what the preacher says, not what the newsman says, not what someone on the Internet says. I can trust my experience, because I know it's real. As for the rest...well, it's all interesting, and it might be real...or it might not...so I'll keep it in mind for future reference, and perhaps in time I will find out for myself. If not...fine. I don't expect to know everything before I die. There will always be much that remains unanswered (in any one person's life, I mean).


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 01:28 PM

Little Hawk, I didn't say I never feared the unknown or the uncontrollable. I said I didn't have MUCH problem with fear of the unknown.

Another factor, in the UFO example you give, suddenness of onset, surprise, and direct presentation, can play a factor.   What I was responding to dealt, as I read it, with a sort of endemic situation, and hearsay of ghosts, etc. Insane Beard's question, if ghosts didn't exist, from were our very real capacity to fear such things? dealt with generalities, across the board, not the sudden personal presentation of a previously unknown situation.

I don't know what my reaction would be to the unheralded appearance to me of what appeared to be a ghost.   Assuming the appearance immediately forced the idea that the ghost was real, I think I'd be intrigued and interested rather than afraid, but who knows?
Frankly, I don't expect it to happen.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 01:46 PM

Nobody expects it to happen! ;-) (unless it's a professional ghost hunter who's out looking for one, I guess...)

Anyway, yes, I understand what you're saying, Dave. I wasn't a bit scared, for example, when seeing what I would take were alien vehicles...but they were at a considerable distance, and at first I thought it was an airplane...so I was just curious, and then VERY curious when I realized it could not be an airplane.

As for ghosts, I saw one when I was a child, and assumed it to be the real thing. (it was the ghost of a cat which had died the day before, unbeknownst to me...) And I encountered what may have been a ghost...or some kind of nature spirit...(hard to say)...in a quarry one time. That did scare me. It was the hostile feeling emanating from whatever it was that scared me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 01:53 PM

Dogs and cats are quite sensitive to ghosts

No shit Sherlock.. my dog and cat were constantly freaking us out.

Animals staring pointedly at a specific area in the room and trying to peer around you if you moved into their line of sight. Dog would bark happily, tail wagging and jumping up at thin air as though a known human was there playing with him. Cat sitting on back of chair, growling and hackles raised for no reason.

I hated being alone in the house when they did this. Gave me the willies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Anne Lister
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 05:04 PM

My experience is that when people talk about a real experience involving ghosts or something unexplained it's not a deeply scary story. The scary stuff tends, again in my experience, to be the fictionalised or totally fictional tale. When I work in schools children are forever asking me to tell them a scary story - it's quite useful sometimes to tell them an absolutely true ghost story (ie one that has happened to me, or to a friend) and see their reactions when they realise it doesn't include severed limbs or heads or rattling chains or anything of the sort.
I have several of my own experiences which I could tell, and several that have happened to friends - and several, now, that have happened to people who have participated in my storytelling workshops. By far the scariest of these was something which turned out to be a piece of fiction. The real stuff is more mundane.
For the sceptics amongst you (and I'm married to one) all I'll repeat is that the only way to persuade a sceptic is when and if they have their own direct experience. If they don't, well of course they'll cling to their scepticism - which is fine. I have no need or reason to try to convert anyone to my point of view. I do object, however, to the sceptics trying to tell me that my experience was invalid or just plain wrong. And I'd like to introduce them to some of the decidedly un-fantasist and not necessarily very imaginative prisoners I've met who have had their scepticism overturned by their experiences. In fact, if I could ever find a way to get a research grant I'd love to collect ghost stories from prisons up and down the country. There are a lot of them out there, mostly unrecorded.

Anne


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 06:05 PM

Yeah, the real incidents are usually fairly mundane, sometimes a bit odd, sometimes a bit spooky....but nothing as scary as any of the stuff in your typical fictional "ghost stories".


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Riginslinger
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 10:15 PM

In a literary sense, it seems to me that "ghost stories" only work if there is a plausible explanation for the ghost.
                Say, for instance, the ghost of Ronald Reagan comes back and steals all of the presents out from under some family's Christmas tree. That makes perfectly good sense. But say the ghost of Franklin Roosevelt comes back, and the audience is waiting for something bad to happen. Of course, it never does. A ghost can't really die so things continue on undisturbed, and everybody begins to wonder what all the fuss is about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 05:52 AM

As an avid reader of fictional Ghost stories (M R James et al) I don't suppose I've never found them scary as such, certainly not the dark instinctive dread I have of actual ghosts & related phenomenon. There is a comfort in the old stories, whereas the reality I find deeply unsettling on a level well removed from any sense of rationality, even though my personal belief is that there is nothing supernatural about ghosts. Indeed, I feel our entire concept of the supernatural is born from an uncommon vestigial / animal perception which since the advent of culture, language & cognition we longer have need or use of. Some of us are more sensitive to this than others (dowsers for example) but even so whilst there is a degree of commonality with respect to the general queerness of such experience, there is no objective consensual definition as to what we might actually be dealing with.

An analogy would be if humanity evolved so that eyesight was no longer necessary and the entire concept of the visual vanished from our culture. There are a few however who had a vestigial ability to see, albeit dimly, blurred, tunnel vision, extreme myopia. How would such experiences be accounted for if not as supernatural or else in terms of ESP (quite literally)? They say that in the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man in king - more likely the one-eyed man would be dismissed as an irrational crank, or else a shaman, but in any case an outsider from the norm, which is only ever a matter of common consensus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: GUEST,Venerable Bede
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 07:52 AM

"Such, O King, seems to me the present life of men on earth, in comparison with that time which to us is uncertain, as if when on a winter's night you sit feasting with your ealdormen and theigns,- a single sparrow should fly swiftly into the hall, and coming in at one door, instantly fly out through another. In that time in which it is indoors it is indeed not touched by the fury of winter, but yet, this smallest space of calmness being passed almost in a flash, from winter going into winter again, it is lost to your eyes. Somewhat like this appears the life of man; but of what follows or what went before, we are utterly ignorant."


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:27 AM

utterly ignorant, indeed... but we sure can MAKE UP some interesting stories.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 04:28 PM

One of things that makes H. P. Lovecraft's stories such chillers is not that he is writing about ghosts or things supernatural. Most of the horrors he posits in his stories are actual, physical presences, often some unutterably ghastly freak of Nature.

Two of his stories that are pretty well guaranteed to make you lock the doors and windows, arm yourself with a machine gun and a flame thrower, and back into a corner so that you can see anything coming at you are Pickman's Model and The Lurking Fear.

But before you back into that corner, be sure to look and make certain that nothing is already there, waiting for you. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Riginslinger
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:56 PM

I've not tried him. Seems worth looing into!


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 07:56 AM

Who was it said "I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm scared of them"?

Which is pretty rational, because everybody who isn't religulous knows that it's possible that they are wrong.

When a new landlord moved into the local pub, 17th century and reputedly haunted by several ghosts, he shut his dog in each room in turn overnight as a test. Perhaps it's a rare breed of Sceptic Collie, because he was perfectly happy in all the rooms. I suggested that, since horses are supposed to be even more sensitive than dogs, he should take a pony upstairs, but he baulked at that.

My own take is that the perception of ghosts is a completely real experience, even though the human spirit is a (very complex) process running in the harware (well' soft, wet and squishy ware) of the brain. We know that it feeds us* false information from time to time- that's what optical illusions are- so what our senses tell us* is an interpretation of external reality. There are many things that could trigger the interpreter to put a false construction on it- religious ecstasy has been induced by magnetic fields- and low frequency sound waves is a prime contender, though by no means the only one.

This explains why ghosts are culturally specific- a Japanese ghost behaves quite differently from a Congolese one, and an 18th century English ghost differently from a 15th or 21st century one. they behave as we expect them to.

* I've phrased this wrongly, of course- making it look like a show in the Cartesian Theatre. "We" ARE the process.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Anne Lister
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 01:09 PM

You see, there we go again. There's an assumption made here that people have an expectation about how ghosts behave. I'll go back to what I said before - if you haven't had an experience that involves ghosts the chances are you'll try to explain it for people who have. But I had no expectation of encountering anything ghostly when I did, still less an expectation of how that "ghost" would behave. And it makes entire sense to me that ghosts in different places would "behave" in different ways, because so would the people in that area. If a ghost is indeed a recording of an intense event from the past it would carry that behaviour pattern with it.   Unless there was a missing negative from the penultimate paragraph - in which case I don't understand it at all! Now, if a person from the UK saw a ghost in Japan who was behaving like a ghost from the UK you might want to blame it on cultural expectations ... if, that is, people in Japan who had seen a ghost in the same place described the experience differently.
I don't know that you can assume that there's nothing odd happening in a supposedly haunted pub just because a dog doesn't react - I'm guessing that the ghosts don't appear every night to order and that short of getting the dog to talk about what happened and how he felt about it you're not going to know if he noticed anything odd anyway. Might have been a dog-loving ghost! (Or a ghost-loving dog).

There's still the question, even if it's true that human perception has in some way created the ghost, as to why some people experience it and others don't and why specifically then and there.
The clincher for me, quite apart from my own experiences (which I've attempted to find alternative explanations for, and failed), was hearing from three separate women at one particular women's prison about a ghost they'd each seen. The women hadn't talked about it before with each other or anyone else, nor had they heard that anyone else had seen this ghost. It didn't appear in just one place but in several places in the large building, and it wasn't remotely frightening. It was, in fact, reassuring and was a source of comfort to those who had seen it. These were women with good reasons for their trust issues with men, and they had each seen an elderly male. So much for expectations and constructs.

As I've said, it's fine by me if you want to discount all of this and hold on to your own certainties that ghosts are just perceptual constructs or simply don't exist. Just don't expect me to sit back and nod when your explanations fail to make sense of what I've experienced.   I live with a man who has to lead ghost tours as part of his job and who is convinced that ghosts don't exist (if he wasn't I think it would be hard for him to lead the ghost tours). He's met lots of people with lots of wishful thinking about what they see in the building where he works, and it's a building where they know the history, pretty much. However he was with me (elsewhere) when I had one experience with something inexplicable and he hasn't yet come up with an explanation for what happened, short of a ghost with a sense of mischief.

Anne


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 01:16 PM

Paul....ghosts are culturally specific because people are culturally specific! ;-) What I mean is, if a ghost is some lingering remnant of the consciousness of a one-time living human being, then of course the ghost will demonstrate cultural aspects of the time and place the human being existed in, won't it? What else would you expect, for heaven's sake???

I have to say, though, that the ghost of the cat I saw one time exhibited no cultural specificity at all. It just acted like a typical cat. "Meow!" ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 02:19 PM

L.H., I assume from that, that cat culture doesn't change as rapidly as human culture.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 03:10 PM

That would be my guess too, Dave. ;-D


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 03:15 PM

I just flipped station to a show called Ghosts Caught on Camera, where a fellow name Dave Oester was decribing light orbs he videoed in cemetary in Gettysburg.

wierd or scary?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 03:20 PM

Intriguing is the word I'd use.


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 03:24 PM

Cat culture, eh? We hit & killed a cat on the motorway a few months back (coming home from Les's sing at The Beech in Chorlton) which caused £100 damage to the front bumper which had to be replaced. I've noticed the local cats giving our car an extraordinarily wide berth; one or two raising their heckles and hissing...

Is it true that the Ancient Egyptians had no word for purr?


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Subject: RE: BS: Atheists and Ghosts
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 03:39 PM

How would anyone even be able to confirm that?


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