Why Most People Do Not Believe in the Supernatural
As a writer and an occultist, I tend to live in my own world. I tend to be quite reserved and a bit of a misanthrope so I do on occassion try to communicate my personal ideas and theories to people; I figure that I should talk about what I like and I should try to open up so that others may do the same with me, but I am constantly suprised how little I have in common with the average beliefs of the time.
During one of these attempts, I notice something very peculiar about myself. I noticed that I take the existence of paranormal phenomena quite for granted. That is I believe in the paranormal and tend to assume (assumption is seldom a good idea) that most people have the same beliefs as I do.
While it could be somewhat true to say that many do believe in the existence of the supernatural, most do not act with those beliefs in mind when they engage in many situations. There are many people that might believe things such as bad luck, the evil eye, and even perhaps alien visitation, but these people will most definitely not let others know that they believe these things. The simple reason for this seems to be that believing in such things denotes a simple mind.
Perhaps that is a partial answer to the question that I imply in the title of this article; why most people do not believe in the supernatural? It’s possible that there are many people out there that do believe in the supernatural in one way or another. It is also possible that people have become accustomed to being cautious when speaking about their beliefs about things considered paranormal. The Western world has become highly reasonable and telling others that you believe in witches or Bigfoot can cause many to raise an eyebrow, at the very least.
I also personally believe that many of the people that believe in the supernatural are not fully aware that they have these beliefs; that is these beliefs tend to be examined and therefore completely bypassed by them consciously for the most part. There are many highly reasonable individuals out there that will not walk under a ladder, open an umbrella indoors, or sit comfortably in a dark and lonely room. They are afraid of the dark, they are afraid of things that go bump in the night, but they don’t exactly know why. If push comes to shove, they’ll tell themselves that it’s some kind of primate thing; a remnant from some ancient ancestor that once feared the dark because of the predators that might hide there. This is a rather simplistic explanation if you ask me but it is a favorite among the priests of science.
There are of course those that don’t believe in the supernatural or anything metaphysical at all. These people seem infinitely strange to me because I could not easily imagine a world where science has explained everything. I suppose this is difficult for me also because if current scientific theory is correct, then the world is quite a cold mechanical place. I suppose I need the magic, and I would imagine that deep down inside most people do as well.
Nevertheless, whether people truly believe in the supernatural or not, people generally act most of the time as if the paranormal does not exist, period. And I must admit that due to the fact that I deal with paranormal subjects and things on such a regular basis, I am sometimes quite surprised to realize just how taboo certain topics are for the average person.
Now verification according to the status quo, means that the current scientific body has proven to their satisfaction that whatever certain concept or thing is fact. That is these people, these highly powerful new clergy called scientists, give their stamp of approval and consider this, that, or the other thing to be fact. Without this approval, the existence of whatever concept or thing is essentially mumbo-jumbo.
This is the point where some readers might start to get upset. They start to get their debate hackles up, imagining how they would enlighten me on the ideas and ideals of the modern era. Believe it or not, I happen to agree with these people in many cases. The benefits of science and the technological advances that we have made because of it are easy to see. One could say that I’m an amateur logician of sorts and as such the very logical premises of science make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Unfortunately the scientific establishment, and the current status quo, is not an altruistic band of kindly or logical souls. The scientific establishment, our modern Western church, is made up of people, and unfortunately people make mistakes. People are also greedy and seem to generally think of themselves before they think of others.
I happen to love science and its precepts, unfortunately many of the people that make up these giant scientific organizations do not share those magnificent scientific principals and ideals. These giant bureaucratic agencies tend to be more interested in money and politics. True scientific inquiry is usually superseded by greed and bureaucratic gain.
It is always a good idea to question our beliefs; to find out where they come from, how they came to be our beliefs, and what ‘personal’ proof we have for those belief.
It is so easy to look back in history and think about how terrible the Middle Ages were for example. If you think about all the strife and horror that people in Europe seem to have had to go through during this time then it’s easy to see why these times are generally referred to as the dark ages. Beyond all the strife and cruelty, try to imagine an oligarchy like the Church of that time, controlling every thought and deed, having the power of life and death.
Certainly I would not make a direct comparison between the modern scientific establishment and the Church during the Middle Ages. But looking back in history is a wonderful way to realize that while many things change there also many things that stay the same. Fortunately the cruelty seems to have gone away, I’m hoping that there will not be a return of the Spanish Inquisition, but in many ways science holds rein over the Western world just like the Catholic church used to.
Many would believe me insane for even mentioning such a thought but if you detach yourself and truly look at our modern era, you will realize that there is a constant battle for our beliefs (just like in the old days) and there is punishment to be had for those who would step outside of the current belief structure. Perhaps people are no longer drawn and quartered but they can be ostracized, let go from a job, and sometimes even jailed when they express divergent beliefs.
The new church of science prints the gospel and to question the gospel can sometimes cause great strife.
Our new church tells us that we must take certain drugs to cure certain diseases, it creates a map of the universe and tells us where we stand in that universe, it tells us who is rational and who is not, it tells us how we were created, it tells us about our future and how we will get there. If you question these ‘proven’ theories (which most spout as facts), we are put in a certain place and are considered to be a little eccentric and/or deluded. If we become very successful at arguing our point then it is possible that we might get ostracized, and if we get very very good at making our point and converting others to what we believe then it is quite possible that we could end up in a cell somewhere.
If you don’t believe me, the next time you find yourself in a rather eclectic social environment; try expressing beliefs contradictory to the greater status quo. Try telling the people around you that you believe that aliens created human beings or that magic is real. If you are successful, you might get a real good example of what a scientifically minded person must have felt like talking to the status quo during the Middle Ages.
If you are thinking, “well yeah, but the difference is that scientists are right while most people in the Middle Ages were uneducated peasants.” Then I suggest that you really examine those beliefs and hopefully realize that you are far from being a true scientist when you say this, or sounding that educated yourself. A true scientist does not make assumptions, assumptions made on hearsay evidence from the average persons point of view. After all how many of us can say with certainty, through actual personal perception or even personal experimentation and measurement, that there is an actual speed of light, that atoms are the underlying components of things, or that E = MC2.
- Were they really that dumb in the Middle Ages?
- Did everyone question and fear the church as we are led to believe?
- Or was it the case that they believed in that church as we now believe in science?
- Were they so wrong and are we so right?
Some scientists have done research and created experiments that seem to show that our senses are not half as good as we think they are. These studies seem to show that what we think is out there is not really out there at all.
Other scientists working on individual and large-scale human behavior, have found data that seems to show that we are not the individuals that we imagine ourselves to be. This data seems to show that we are rather easily convinced and tend to usually act with a kind of mentality that is exemplified by the phrase, “the mob rules”.
Conmen and stage magicians have been fooling people for a very long time using similar theories.
So why is it that people find it so hard to believe in the supernatural?
I believe that people find it hard to believe in the supernatural because beliefs are sort of like fashion. It’s no longer fashionable to wear powdered wigs or shoulder pads, and it’s also not fashionable to believe in dragons, witches or ogres.
And just like fashion, most people do not manage and create their own beliefs but look to authority figures outside of themselves; they look towards organizations like Versace or Tommy Hilfiger to tell them what to wear, when to where it, and even how much to pay for it.
Belief in the supernatural is not currently fashionable so those that believe in it hide their beliefs so that they are not considered eccentric or weird. Most people though can’t believe in the supernatural because somebody else told them that the supernatural isn’t real. The average academic that spouts off about the stupidity of believing in the supernatural is just a person quoting a group of ‘facts’ that he or she read in an organizationally sanctioned textbook; it is quite doubtful that they examined anything scientifically or partook in any kind of personal open-minded experiment to prove or disprove any aspect of the paranormal. Academia has very few scientist but it has a huge number of priests and bureaucrats.
Final caveat: please do not believe that I am telling you to stop believing in science. As I said I truly do believe in the scientific principle, I believe in the power of correct observation, and in the power of logical thought.
I’m not saying that you should not believe in something or that you should believe in something else. What I’m saying is that perhaps you should examine your beliefs and take nothing for granted, not even those things that are written in finely published textbooks or expounded by individuals with many letters after their names.
And if you are interested in more ideas about how our beliefs are created and how they control our personal realities, then I suggest you check out my book “The Occult Experience“