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spittingblaze's avatar

If a person does not believe in deities but perhaps supernatural things what is that person?

Asked by spittingblaze (258 points ) December 24th, 2010

My brother says that atheists are those who strongly do not believe in deities and have skepticism toward the supernatural. Someone agnostic is a person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist).
So what about a person who is certain that Gods do not exist or supernatural deities but believes in some supernatural things, what are these described people called?

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43 Answers

jerv's avatar

Agnosticism is actually quite diverse.

Theistic Agnostics like myself, believe that there is some sort of higher power that we humans cannot comprehend, but we are not the only types of Agnostics out there, just as Catholics are not the only Christians.

Then again, belief in the supernatural and belief in the divine are separate things anyways, so it may not even be relevant depending on how you define “supernatural”.

spittingblaze's avatar

Supernatural being ghosts and magic and such. I do not really see Gods and deities as supernatural or are they part of something supernatural? So when comes to believing in higher powers and the supernatural those are seperate subjects then?

jerv's avatar

Pretty much. Ghosts and Gods are apples and oranges.

spittingblaze's avatar

So can a person not believe in God, be atheist and believe in Ghosts and magic?

jerv's avatar

Yes.

Magic can be the channeling of ambient energy just as solar power is the channeling of the energy of the sun; nothing divine there.

Ghosts can be just another type of animal, or an alien; no divine connection required.

spittingblaze's avatar

Oh that makes sense! Thank you. I will have to google the term ambient energy though. That reminds me somehow of in Dragon Age where Morigan was a witch but an atheist. So ghosts do not requiere divine connection. Fascinating.

crazyivan's avatar

…Almost there?

spittingblaze's avatar

Almost to where?

Ivan's avatar

That person is an atheist.

poisonedantidote's avatar

An atheist, is someone who does not believe in a god or gods. that’s it, that’s all it means. So, you can be an atheist and believe in the supernatural. Sure, most atheists will not believe in the paranormal, but it is perfectly possible to be an atheist and believe in spooky things.

If you are asking me for what i would call such a person, i would simply call them atheist. If you simply must have a term that describes an atheist who believes or maybe believes in the supernatural, i would go with “atheistic paranormal enthusiast” or something of that nature.

I have been an atheist for a very long time, and also have a fair bit of experience with religion and terms for what people believe. Here are some terms that may help you:

Atheist = Someone who does not believe in a god or gods.
Strong/Hard Atheist = Someone who believes there is no god or gods. (big difference)
Deist = Someone who believes there is a god, but does not follow any religion.
Theist = Someone who believes in god and also follows a religion.

There are many more terms, but those are the ones you will come across most i find.

As for the term “agnostic”. I Don’t really like that word. I have no problem with people who are agnostic or anything like that, I simply don’t like the actual word.

It is said, that an agnostic is someone who claims not to know if there is a god or not. But really, that is a meaningless definition to me. Gnosticism and belief are very seperate things. If we say an agnostic is someone who does not know either way, then everyone is an agnostic about more or less anything. If you take in to consideration, the possibility that reality is an illusion, that we are in some kind of matrix, then really, the only thing you do know for sure is that you exist, other than that, would would have to be agnostic about everything, even agnostic about if I gave you this answer or not.

spittingblaze's avatar

Ah! Thank you for all of the readers’ answers. What prompted this question is my brother calls me an atheist because I do not believe in God or deities in general. I have no problem with that. I have do belief in some supernatural things though as I told him so apparently now he thinks I am agnostic which I did not think was the proper term. So the supernatural and God are two different subjects completely or mostly.

I like what the person above me said ‘atheistic paranormal enthusiast’.

But anyway that makes since that I am atheist and not agnostic. I do know there are no Gods so agnostic would not be the proper term for me. Thank you!

spittingblaze's avatar

What does ambient engery mean when it comes to magic? And what is Gnosticism?

marinelife's avatar

Gullible?

spittingblaze's avatar

Who or what is gullible?

marinelife's avatar

“a person does not believe in deities but perhaps supernatural things”

jerv's avatar

One way to think of ambient energy is The Force in Star Wars, which is an energy that flows from all things. Shadowrun and others prefer the term Mana. Basically, it is taking some form of mystical energy that is all around and directing it in such a way as to achieve some effect.

This contrasts with Psionics and Chi which use energy from within, or the Green Lantern who channels energy from his ring.

JLeslie's avatar

@spittingblaze I consider myself an atheists, but some might consider me an agnostic. I do not believe in God, and it is not in me to pray to him for guidance or help. But, I am not an atheist who insists there is no God, you never know, no one can really know is my take. Now, I have family members by marriage who are very religious, Catholic, and also believe in astrology and psychics, and things supposedly Catholics are not supposed to believe in. We say jokingly there is a little voodoo in their Catholicsm.

Since each religion seems to have rules about angels, and heaven, and walking the earth after death, there is a whole mix of possibilities in believing in God but not ghosts, and vice versa I think.

Not to mention that I have learned as I get older that people have varied definitions of God. God is within the person, God is looking down and judging and controlling everything, God created the universe, but does not have a hand in earthly events on a daily basis, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, and supernatural, in my opinion, can be something that seems outside of nature, because we don’t complete understand nature yet and all of the possibilities. 500 years ago probably more people thought they witnessed miracles, or could not explain a phenomonen, because science was not far enough along. Science is still trying to explain things, we are not done.

downtide's avatar

The term “atheism” refers only to a disbelief in deities. It says absolutely nothing about belief in other supernatural things. So some atheists might believe in some supernatural things, as long as they don’t involve belief in deities. So you might find an atheist who believes in fairies but you’d be far less likely to find one who believes in angels (because a belief in angels also tends to infer belief in Heaven, God etc).

spittingblaze's avatar

Downtide: That is what I figured, my brother mistakenly called me otherwise but that is okay. Apparently I am an atheist. I do not believe in angels, so as long as I do not believe in supernatural things connected to deities I am still an atheist! Thank you.

jerv: Ah so then something like the force or ambient energy as you described does not really have anything to do with deities or divinity. Ambient energy is separate from deities and probably the subject. Thank you.

josie's avatar

Selectively confused

janbb's avatar

A Spiritualist

spittingblaze's avatar

Why is this person selectively confused?

And what is a spiritualist?

janbb's avatar

Here(beliefs) you go.

spittingblaze's avatar

Thank you. I do not think this describes my beliefs, I am atheist but who believes there is some kind of energy that connects all life. I do not believe in life after death, angels or spirits floating around. I think there might be something like a force, like the force Star Wars but something that cannot really be named. I do not believe in a creator though.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Superstitious? : )

janbb's avatar

Maybe just spiritual? Try that on for size.

Paradox's avatar

There is a unique group of people in this category and they’re called secular dualists. Individuals who accept the concepts of the “supernatural” or “paranormal” aka psi as an actual branch of nuclear physics, hence “survival physics”. They’re in the minority at this time but it does seem to be gradually gaining popularity amongst some scientists. Examples: Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, Thomas Edison, Sam Nicholls, Brian Josephson, Ron Pearson among others. The nonreligious, nonspiritualist secular case for “dualism” is accepted by this group of people. Even among these scientists however there is some disagreement about certain concepts of psi. Brian Josephson has his “mind/matter unification project” which accepts Einstein’s Relativity theories (without the background medium commonly referred to as aether) and that consciousness keeps oscillating back to the past and present. Most other dualists disagree with this and believe some type of background medium (aether) is the source of sectioned off grids of consciousness with each mind having an information filter barrier.

These people have one thing in common in the fact they accept psi as an actual branch of physics which some day will be able to be studied unlike religionists and Spiritualists who believe that mind/spirit and astral realms/heaven,hell are transcendental places/entities that exist completely outside of our own “reality”.

To secular dualists ghosts/spirits are really interdimensional beings from dimensions that interpenetrate our own but rarely interfere or can be observed with our own senses. To secular dualists psi is an actual branch of physics while to religionists/Spiritualists/new agers psi are transcendental concepts.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@janbb

Ohhh! You mean like me then! : )

mattbrowne's avatar

A superstitious atheist. Which isn’t that uncommon.

CaptainHarley's avatar

LOL! Sounds like an oxymoron! Well, maybe not. “Spititual atheist,” perhaps?

Paradox's avatar

An atheist debating a theist on the existance of the supernatural. However it’s the atheist arguing in favor of the phenomena and the theist being the sceptic? What a strange paradox.

CaptainHarley's avatar

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are drempt of in your philosophy.” – William Shakespere / Hamlet Act 1. Scene V abt. 1601

jerv's avatar

Put another way, Rule 36 according to Encyclopedia Dramatica

“There will always be even more fucked up shit than what you just saw.”

CaptainHarley's avatar

ROFLMAO @jerv! A MUCH better way to put it! : D

mattbrowne's avatar

Spiritual atheism is quite common. A key element is the search for purpose and meaning including sources outside of scientific findings, while the existence of a deity is still rejected.

Paradox's avatar

@mattbrowne I believe that perhaps the creator may have created itself rather than have an eternal existence. I’m not sure if that belief makes me a true theist anymore. Would this be considered intelligent design or intelligent evolution?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Paradox

Let’s just say that it’s an interesting answer and let it go at that! : D

Paradox's avatar

@CaptainHarley Yeah I’ve been learning that the hardway lately. But I can’t just go with the flow. Not my style :+(

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Paradox

You know you’re making my head hurt, yes?? ; ))

jerv's avatar

@CaptainHarley Your head shouldn’t hurt until tomorrow morning. Happy New Year!

CaptainHarley's avatar

LMAO @jerv

Well, since I can no longer drink ( due to diabetes ), the only thing that truly makes my head hurt is trying to understand some of the things I read on here! : D

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Dude! : D

kritiper's avatar

30% of the world’s population believes in ghosts. About 76% believe in a supreme being of some sort. (Is it just me or does that sound bogus??) People who believe in just ghosts are fruitcakes whereas I think people who believe in both ghosts and gods are as sane and rational and any other person. (Sanity being totally relative based on any particular person’s POV.)

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