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Old 28th March 2019, 07:05 AM   #1
Cainkane1
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Why are most Christian religions non believers when it comes to ghosts?

Since the only thing a ghost is is a disembodied spiritual being why not believe in them? They believe in Angels, Demons, God and such but not in ghosts. Why is a small spirit unbelievable and big spirits are believable?
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Old 28th March 2019, 07:11 AM   #2
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You are looking for logic and consistency where none exists.
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Old 28th March 2019, 07:14 AM   #3
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I'd need to see a decently run social survey in order to accept the premise from the OP.

ETA: There is at least some Biblical support for the idea of spirits and necromancy, e.g. the Witch of Endor account in 1 Samuel.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_of_Endor
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Old 28th March 2019, 07:30 AM   #4
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Because ghosts conflict with many/most Christian denominations' beliefs of what happens in the afterlife. People are supposed to go to Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Limbo, or sleep until Judgment Day. I don't know of any Christian denominations that believe the souls of the dead are free to hang out in the living world and haunt.
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Old 28th March 2019, 08:03 AM   #5
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It is a faith subject to absorbing and accepting local woo as long as the bigger ideas go unchanged...

In Mexico day of the dead is where we honor and appease our dead of recent memory. We keep them happy so they stay down and don't haunt us. Aztec traditional beliefs got slipped into the woo cocktail.

Europe had its own pre christian beliefs to keep the dead in the grave for the ones considered evil and the loved ones. Everything from bound body to a rock in the mouth to just a symbol or artifacts on the body.

Early Spanish coffins in Mexico had two holes at the feet so the soul could escape the coffin and head on to its new home. Not trapping it in effect leaving an inert forgotten object. Thus no ghost for the living.

Why would we spend so much effort to prevent an unsettled spirit hanging around if we didn't consider it possible?
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Old 28th March 2019, 08:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Because ghosts conflict with many/most Christian denominations' beliefs of what happens in the afterlife. People are supposed to go to Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Limbo, or sleep until Judgment Day. I don't know of any Christian denominations that believe the souls of the dead are free to hang out in the living world and haunt.
Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
It is a faith subject to absorbing and accepting local woo as long as the bigger ideas go unchanged...

In Mexico day of the dead is where we honor and appease our dead of recent memory. We keep them happy so they stay down and don't haunt us. Aztec traditional beliefs got slipped into the woo cocktail.

Europe had its own pre christian beliefs to keep the dead in the grave for the ones considered evil and the loved ones. Everything from bound body to a rock in the mouth to just a symbol or artifacts on the body.

Early Spanish coffins in Mexico had two holes at the feet so the soul could escape the coffin and head on to its new home. Not trapping it in effect leaving an inert forgotten object. Thus no ghost for the living.

Why would we spend so much effort to prevent an unsettled spirit hanging around if we didn't consider it possible?
Both of those things are true.

For the most part, Christian church doctrine is, no ghosts because souls go elswhere. On the other hand lots of actual Christians believe things they aren't suppose to. Fortune tellers wouldn't exist in the west if Christians listened to their pastors. Angels are messengers from God that are not at all like humans when it comes to nature of their soul often not at all like humans in terms of appearance. They are definitely not dead people but lots of folks seem to think they are.
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Old 28th March 2019, 08:38 AM   #7
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For the record I personally do not believe in anything spiritual including ghosts
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Old 28th March 2019, 08:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
For the record I personally do not believe in anything spiritual including ghosts
That made me think a bit. Of all the supernatural things people believe in, I'd say ghosts sounds the least improbable.
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Old 28th March 2019, 12:37 PM   #9
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Didn't Jesus himself supposedly give up the ghost?
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Old 28th March 2019, 01:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Wolrab View Post
Didn't Jesus himself supposedly give up the ghost?
Only after using the weightless ghost routine to prank his disciples on fishing trips.
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Old 28th March 2019, 01:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
They believe in Angels, Demons, God and such but not in ghosts.

They do believe in the holy ghost!
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Old 28th March 2019, 01:24 PM   #12
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Actual conversation between a Christian and myself some years ago . . .

Me - "Do you believe in ghosts?"
Christian - "No, believing in ghosts is silly"
Me - "What about The father, son and holly ghost?"
Christian (stunned) - "Oh! . . . I guess I do believe in ghosts"
Me - "And you also admit you're being silly to do so".

Didn't shake his "faith" even slightly.
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Old 28th March 2019, 01:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Actual conversation between a Christian and myself some years ago . . .

Me - "Do you believe in ghosts?"
Christian - "No, believing in ghosts is silly"
Me - "What about The father, son and holly ghost?"
Christian (stunned) - "Oh! . . . I guess I do believe in ghosts"
Me - "And you also admit you're being silly to do so".

Didn't shake his "faith" even slightly.
To be fair, that isn't the sort of ghost most folks mean by "ghost", as it isn't the soul of a dead person.
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Old 28th March 2019, 02:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
To be fair, that isn't the sort of ghost most folks mean by "ghost", as it isn't the soul of a dead person.
A ghost, by any other name . . .
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Old 28th March 2019, 02:18 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Actual conversation between a Christian and myself some years ago . . .

Me - "Do you believe in ghosts?"
Christian - "No, believing in ghosts is silly"
Me - "What about The father, son and holly ghost?"
Christian (stunned) - "Oh! . . . I guess I do believe in ghosts"
Me - "And you also admit you're being silly to do so".

Didn't shake his "faith" even slightly.
I doubt that happened. But if it did.
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Old 28th March 2019, 02:33 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
For the record I personally do not believe in anything spiritual including ghosts
That's the spirit!



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Old 28th March 2019, 03:02 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I doubt that happened. But if it did.
I said it was "actual" so I guess you're calling me a liar (another believer being "amicable"). That doesn't bother me in the slightest, but I wonder why you don't seem to apply similar doubt and skepticism to your paranormal/supernatural beliefs?
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Old 28th March 2019, 07:32 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
That made me think a bit. Of all the supernatural things people believe in, I'd say ghosts sounds the least improbable.
When I did believe in Ghosts I thought that after death the electrical impulses in the brain and nervous system somehow remained articulated which would account for the light Ghosts are supposed to have. I grew up, realized how absurd that was and quit believing in anything supernatural.
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Old 28th March 2019, 07:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
Why are most Christian religions non believers when it comes to ghosts?
Is that actually the case? Catholicism for example is against raising the spirits of the dead for divination, implying belief in ghosts.
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Old 28th March 2019, 08:54 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Actual conversation between a Christian and myself some years ago . . .

Me - "Do you believe in ghosts?"
Christian - "No, believing in ghosts is silly"
Me - "What about The father, son and holly ghost?"
Christian (stunned) - "Oh! . . . I guess I do believe in ghosts"
Me - "And you also admit you're being silly to do so".

Didn't shake his "faith" even slightly.
That happened

https://www.reddit.com/r/thatHappened/

It is true, I was the holly ghost

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Old 28th March 2019, 10:02 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
It is true, I was the holly ghost

The ghost of Christmas past, present or yet to come?
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Old 28th March 2019, 11:50 PM   #22
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I guess Christians don't have problems with ghosts when they are properly certified by the respective churches. The saints were habitual travelers in the material world to say this or that, to predict or threaten with the pains of hell. These journeys have been strictly restricted in our day. Because we live in difficult times for aeronautics and credulity, I suppose.

When I was a child an itinerant preacher had great success in my parish with the story of a dead man who came from hell to warn his best friend about the terror of his future life if he continued his current life of sin and debauchery. I had no clear idea what it was like to "sin and debauchery" but I spent some nights with terrible nightmares. He was very persuasive. You can see that this was a legitimate ghost.

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Old 29th March 2019, 12:30 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Actual conversation between a Christian and myself some years ago . . .

Me - "Do you believe in ghosts?"
Christian - "No, believing in ghosts is silly"
Me - "What about The father, son and holly ghost?"
Christian (stunned) - "Oh! . . . I guess I do believe in ghosts"
Me - "And you also admit you're being silly to do so".

Didn't shake his "faith" even slightly.
But, but, but surely everyone knows the Holy Ghost is different?

Ah, well, we just have to shake our heads in disbelief, don't we?!

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Old 29th March 2019, 03:49 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
When I did believe in Ghosts I thought that after death the electrical impulses in the brain and nervous system somehow remained articulated which would account for the light Ghosts are supposed to have. I grew up, realized how absurd that was and quit believing in anything supernatural.
Electric ghosts is ridiculous. Ghosts would either be liquid chemicals or some kind of energetic particle we haven't discovered yet. Ghostons. If we ran an inverted tachyon pulse through the deflector array it would create a subspace pulse to reveal the ghostons emitted by the alien vessel! Make it so.
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Old 29th March 2019, 04:34 AM   #25
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Whatabout demons? Don't they count? Jesus drove a bunch of them out of a man and into a school of swine. So those are bodiless spirits that can occupy a space, and move (I presume they had to pass through a gap of several meters, open air, to get to the pigs).

In related news, the dead rose from their graves and wandered around Jerusalem when Jesus died. Bodies dead, but ghosts still inside - does that count?
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Old 29th March 2019, 08:46 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
Since the only thing a ghost is is a disembodied spiritual being why not believe in them? They believe in Angels, Demons, God and such but not in ghosts. Why is a small spirit unbelievable and big spirits are believable?
In my experience, I would say that nearly all Christians believe in ghosts.

After all, there is the Holy Ghost, and
There are the ghosts that Jesus met, and
There are the ghosts that are mentioned in the Bible, and
I have known quite a few Christians who have claimed to see the ghosts of their dead mothers, dead wives, dead husbands, and other ghosts.
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Old 1st April 2019, 02:27 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
In my experience, I would say that nearly all Christians believe in ghosts.

After all, there is the Holy Ghost, and
There are the ghosts that Jesus met, and
There are the ghosts that are mentioned in the Bible, and
I have known quite a few Christians who have claimed to see the ghosts of their dead mothers, dead wives, dead husbands, and other ghosts.

Well that is my observation also.

I also hear them conflating ghosts with souls. The soul is sometimes described as having the appearance of the deceased at the time of death, and sometimes the appearance of the deceased in his or her prime. All very confusing. I recall a conversation with someone on these pages, (may have been Scorpion), who related an incident, where a twin brother who died at birth appeared as an adult, with a likeness to his surviving brother.

I have asked the question of some believers "What does a soul look like when it's brand new. You know. Just been attached to the fertilised egg."

I may have answered the question here. "The soul will look like the person it would develop into if the original cell survives or not." ...... So there - I think I have a talent for this stuff and may have missed my calling.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 03:54 PM   #28
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Popular paranormal TV shows may be responsible for us not ever being sure what an entity is or was.

Extranormal ( in Mexico ) has a crew of at least a dozen experts. One says demon and another the wandering soul of a child. With another lots of things go falling off camera and the psychic sees shadows move in the distance even two types of filming cannot capture.

It's all very vague once trust is set aside. None of this team of experts can even agree.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 04:44 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Is that actually the case? Catholicism for example is against raising the spirits of the dead for divination, implying belief in ghosts.
That's my question, too. Are we being asked to explain a fact that actually isn't true.

Pretty much every Christian I know personally is super worried about ghosts in the popular sense. It's just one of those compartmentalization things that we never get a straight answer about.

Me: let's go explore that abandoned shack on Seymour
Christian Friend: I heard it's haunted by the old owner, he died in there
Me: Uh... wouldn't he be in heaven or hell or purgatory or something?
Christian Friend: I dunno. But his ghost is haunting that place for sure. Everybody knows.
Me: Doesn't that sound like the Christian story that souls go to heaven, hell or purgatory might be incorrect or incomplete?
Christian Friend: Who knows. Point is, I'm not going in there. It's haunted. Fill your boots.


ETA: Catholic Church says they're an acceptable Christian belief, and possibly how Purgatory works: [Paranormal activity: Do Catholics believe in ghosts?]
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Old 2nd April 2019, 04:52 PM   #30
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I'm still stuck on the conflation of "Holy Ghost" and "ghost". Why are skeptics so bad at natural language? Do they really not understand how retarded that looks?
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Old 2nd April 2019, 07:13 PM   #31
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My church warned that ghosts did exist - as in the apparitions that people claimed to see that haunted places and people - but they weren't dead people, they were demons. A good exorcism (which in this church, anyone could do) would get rid of them. And we referred to the Holy Spirit, not the Holy Ghost.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 07:14 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm still stuck on the conflation of "Holy Ghost" and "ghost". Why are skeptics so bad at natural language? Do they really not understand how retarded that looks?
I would call it a characteristic of atheists, rather than skeptics, but yes. They really don't.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 09:15 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
Popular paranormal TV shows may be responsible for us not ever being sure what an entity is or was.

Extranormal ( in Mexico ) has a crew of at least a dozen experts. One says demon and another the wandering soul of a child. With another lots of things go falling off camera and the psychic sees shadows move in the distance even two types of filming cannot capture.

It's all very vague once trust is set aside. None of this team of experts can even agree.

The problem is that they aren't actual entities:
"noun: entity; plural noun: entities
a thing with distinct and independent existence."

When they exist as nothing but figments of people's imagination, you can't expect a proper definition. What would the criterion be?

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm still stuck on the conflation of "Holy Ghost" and "ghost". Why are skeptics so bad at natural language? Do they really not understand how retarded that looks?

Same thing, really. And your language isn't natural.
However, it's no surprise that you accept the idea that one figment of imagination is superior to another just because an alleged authority claims that it is so.
Worrying about when to capitalize god, for instance, is too retarded for many skeptics to really care.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 2nd April 2019, 09:46 PM   #34
Lucian
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
That's my question, too. Are we being asked to explain a fact that actually isn't true.

Pretty much every Christian I know personally is super worried about ghosts in the popular sense. It's just one of those compartmentalization things that we never get a straight answer about.

Me: let's go explore that abandoned shack on Seymour
Christian Friend: I heard it's haunted by the old owner, he died in there
Me: Uh... wouldn't he be in heaven or hell or purgatory or something?
Christian Friend: I dunno. But his ghost is haunting that place for sure. Everybody knows.
Me: Doesn't that sound like the Christian story that souls go to heaven, hell or purgatory might be incorrect or incomplete?
Christian Friend: Who knows. Point is, I'm not going in there. It's haunted. Fill your boots.


ETA: Catholic Church says they're an acceptable Christian belief, and possibly how Purgatory works: [Paranormal activity: Do Catholics believe in ghosts?]
Indeed. In the early church, lots of people believed in ghosts, but the higher-ups in the church tended to assert that the saved wouldn't return, and the damned couldn't. Thus, when people saw ghosts, they were actually seeing something else, possibly demons in the guise of the dead, or possibly something more benign but more complicated. The development of the doctrine of Purgatory opened a door to official ghosts: they might have a reason to come back (to warn the living or to beg for prayers/masses), and, since they would ultimately be saved, perhaps they'd be allowed to return. So, in fact, many medieval ghost stories came from monasteries. Ghost stories were used to popularize purgatory. Then they were used to encourage people to pay for masses for the souls of loved ones or to leave money to pay for masses for their own souls after death.

After the Reformation, Catholics and protestants often interpreted ghosts differently. For protestants, Purgatory had disappeared in a puff of theology, so ghosts were more likely to be seen as demons impersonating the dead. The ghost of Hamlet's father pretty clearly claims to be in purgatory. Hamlet has his protestant doubts--even though everyone really ought to be pagan.

However, ordinary superstitious Christians probably went on believing in ghosts, regardless of their church's official attitude toward them.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 10:05 PM   #35
Lucian
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
The problem is that they aren't actual entities:
"noun: entity; plural noun: entities
a thing with distinct and independent existence."

When they exist as nothing but figments of people's imagination, you can't expect a proper definition. What would the criterion be?




Same thing, really. And your language isn't natural.
However, it's no surprise that you accept the idea that one figment of imagination is superior to another just because an alleged authority claims that it is so.
Worrying about when to capitalize god, for instance, is too retarded for many skeptics to really care.
For me, it has nothing to do with one entity being superior to another. It has to do with an understanding of the history of the English language. The Holy Ghost is different from modern conceptions of ghosts because when the Anglo-Saxons translated spiritus sanctus as halig gast, gast had a broader meaning than modern "ghost" does. Gast was used interchangeably with sawol (soul), but was also used for lots of other things. There is an Old English version of the apocryphal Apocalypse of Paul or Visio Pauli. At one point, Paul is allowed to witness the separation of the soul and body of a good man and then a bad man. Then he witnesses their judgments. These events are attended by lots of supernatural critters: the souls, of course; angels and devils fighting over the souls; guardian angels; and others. Gast is used for just about all of them (it gets very confusing), although other words are used as well. We would never call an angel a ghost, and we wouldn't confuse them. In modern English, Holy Spirit is a better translation than Holy Ghost.

I don't personally believe in any of these entities, but I did write my dissertation on body and soul poems in Old and Middle English literature: it's full of gasts and sawols and a smattering of demons.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 10:29 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Worrying about when to capitalize god, for instance, is too retarded for many skeptics to really care.
That's not hard either. When it's being used as a proper noun, capitalise it. Just like every other noun in the English language.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 01:24 PM   #37
blutoski
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Worrying about when to capitalize god, for instance, is too retarded for many skeptics to really care.
Most, sure. And yet, Hitchens made it a hill he was willing to die on, insisting it should [always be lower case].

So not sure if this means you think Hitchens is 'retarded' (sincere question, since I don't know your position on Hitchens)
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Old 3rd April 2019, 01:32 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I would call it a characteristic of atheists, rather than skeptics, but yes. They really don't.
My suspicion is that skeptics do understand full well, but in this example and others, the conflation of words is convenient to score argument points and accuracy is sacrificed to obtain debate victory.

Skeptics have long pitched that we have an inner scientist, but unfortunately this just isn't the case. We have an innate inner lawyer instead. And I think Skepticism attracts an element that likes to argue and even win at any cost. Arguing with flat earthers is like shooting fish in a barrel, so these Skeptical topics are a magnet to the world's million or so Cliff Clavins.

Once the goal is to win an argument, it's a quick slide into the bad habit of Sophistsry. Do Cristians believe in ghosts? Hah! The Holy Gost! Zing! Points!

I haven't done a formal inventory of skeptics, and not sure how to get a random sample in this day and age, but when I hosted SkeptiCamps I used to distribute and collect critical thinking inventories (Skeptics score below average) and OCPD inventories (Skeptics score above average). Neither of these was a surprise, but it's hard to convince peers that there's a problem.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 01:41 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm still stuck on the conflation of "Holy Ghost" and "ghost". Why are skeptics so bad at natural language? Do they really not understand how retarded that looks?
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I would call it a characteristic of atheists, rather than skeptics, but yes. They really don't.

Perhaps we could get an in depth cross analysis of this issue, from those who have detailed knowledge, with a theist orientated perception? Many of us atheists do struggle with these difficult questions. Keep the language simple for us though please.

Oh and by the way it is just not nice to use the word "retarded" in this derogatory manner. If someone has a mental disability he or she should not be made an object of scorn.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 04:43 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Oh and by the way it is just not nice to use the word "retarded" in this derogatory manner. If someone has a mental disability he or she should not be made an object of scorn.
This is a very good point to make, and I completely agree.
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