Do Atheists believe in ghosts or spirits?

Do atheists believe in ghosts, spirits, karma etc.?
Atheist Answer: 

No. Atheism by strict definition is the lack of a belief in gods, but it's generally extended to the lack of a belief in any supernatural entity or substance. That includes ghosts, spirits, souls, angels, demons, vampires, elves, boogeymen, unicorns, phoenixes and the energies of karma, chi, the Holy Spirit, life-force or The Force.

- SmartLX


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


i would certainly consider myself an atheist as i am strictly against religion and do not believe in creationism. to deny science is to wrap a blindfold around your eyes. but in terms of ghosts...this is where it conflicts with my atheist views. i love myths and conspiracy theories, etc. and i really love watching ghost shows (ghost hunters, blabla). they do a really good job of using science and analyzing and skepticism to disprove the existence of ghosts and spirits...but often times there is evidence that can skimpily not be explained. does this make me not an atheist for accepting the existence of ghosts? to that question i don't have an answer. maybe there is a scientific explanation behind it.

but there have been specific times when the evidence theyve come up with is unbelievable, and i strongly doubt that the show is a fraud. they caught an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon, where you catch a "ghosts" voice on tape) that was incredible. it was clear as day, and the "ghost hunter" was asking some questions in an empty room while recording. he said "where are you? are you here" and he didnt hear a response, but when the tape played back you could clearly hear a woman respond "why of course i'm here in this room, where are you?" there were several other responses to questions asked. how can this be explained? i really don't know, and its sad that a television show can bring evidence forth that questions my "faith" in atheism.


I'm open to the idea that you're an exception.

You still fit the strict definition of an atheist by the nature of the word; you don't believe in any gods. That might change later, if your belief in ghosts leads you to think something more powerful is making them possible. As it is, you're a spiritualist apart from being an atheist. I'll swallow that combination if you will.

The show doesn't have to be a fraud; perhaps the person who made the tape is. In any case, the show needs to make it look at least plausible in order to justify its own existence, so even if it's been successfully debunked you wouldn't hear about it.

To try and determine whether or not there really is a supernatural phenomenon at work, pick up where the show leaves off and do your own research. Take down names and places and plug them into Google. Take a trip over if you can. Recognise that if this stuff had been clearly demonstrated and proven it would be all over the primetime news, and then ask yourself why it isn't.

Don't sit there and be a Mulder. Go out and be a Scully. Even Scully became a believer in the end because she uncovered the evidence herself. It was the right thing, because in her universe aliens, ghosts and gods really do exist. Find out for yourself whether you live in that universe.

Please consider checking

Please consider checking out the following article. It deals specifically with where modern ghost stories come from, and the answer may surprise you.

actualy many athiests such

actualy many athiests such as myself consider atheism not denying the existince of god(s) but completely lacking belief in god(s), but anything other than that such as ghosts, paranormal activity, demons, boogeymen unicorns etc is individualy chosen by that one person what to believe in or lack (not deny but lack) belief for.


there is some form of scientific basis in ghosts...kinda

humans are a bag of meat and bones charged by states that energy can never be destroyed only change forms...thus that energy has to do something when the bag o' meat and bones stops working ... thus the ability to explain ghosts through science ...roughly.
this would officially not super natural and just something above what we understand now, in the same way that primitive mane thought fire was supernatural ...only to discover it is very natural.

It's true that a great deal

It's true that a great deal of energy leaves a body when it dies, but it's not as if we don't know where it goes. It escapes as heat and pressure, it drives the chemical reactions that decompose the body and make it smell. Some of it nourishes the earthworms who ultimately devour what's left, and enriches the soil the worms process. New plant matter then uses the energy to grow. So it cycles through living matter like water through rainclouds and rivers.

That said, you've come up with quite a good piece of pseudoscience which I'm sure has been used before to make ghosts sound more plausible.

Right on, SmartLX. I share

Right on, SmartLX. I share your positions, and I appreciate your efforts in explaining them. I know atheists who still believe in spirits. I guess they're not card-carrying atheists, yet.

godless Ghosts

I don't like titles so I haven't called myself an atheist but people say I am because I outgrew the fantasy of gods. it is what it is. Period.
But I do believe in communicating with the dead. Not all want to reach out to the living, but some need to for whatever reasons. This puzzles me. How is it possible if we're just gasses & matter? Two years ago my fiance died in his sleep. A few months later I'm aimlessly surfing the internet in my new home, 1800 miles from where we lived. I read some story about dead loved ones communicating, click a few links and feel compelled to email a psychic 1000 miles away I've never met. We arrange an hour phone call - the man doesn't ask or receive any personal information except for my name & phone number. Somehow my fiance 'speaks' to me through this guy and reveals not only his first name but his middle and last name.(not all at once) Gives me some messages to look after his daughter and one brother with a line that we used to describe something that no one else knew. There was no possible way a stranger could pull that off. I believe now that spirits may exist but I still don't buy the god nonsense.
What are your thoughts?


I'm very sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, I think you've been had.

Armed with your name, your phone number and a decent amount of time before the arranged call, all of that information is within his grasp. Your name is a gateway to your family and immediate circle, and your phone number provides a location with which to verify the information.

One could potentially start at Google and get most of what he told you that way. Think how much information about him and his family are contained in just your engagement notice and his obituary (for example, "He is survived by his daughter..."). Think how straightforward it would be for someone who knows who you are and where you live to track those down in newspaper archives.

I know the prospect of false communication with your fiancee is upsetting. My fiancee is reading Twilight on a couch behind me. If something were to happen to her, and I found out that someone pretended to be her to make money from me, I can't fathom how furious I'd be. I have to say I think that's what's been done to you. I'm so sorry.

Thank you for posting to a

Thank you for posting to a long dead thread. Feared this may go ignored.
You would be right if it weren't that I'm so computer protective. I wasn't in the obit (and never said any names to psychic anyway), name not on landline, no ties whatsoever. That's what makes it so f'd up. I'm a skip tracer for living and know how to keep my stuff private when I want to. Was completely a blind call for this. Weird huh? I half wanted to be had so i could mock the B.S but came away stunned from private info no stranger could find even with the best of paid tools.
We weren't married, no joint assets, no mentions, I was invisible but to our circle and to this stranger who happened to know stuff no one else could know: not even our friends.
My fiance knew my curiosity of afterdeath and was insistent I knew it was he talking to me. He freakin' described death for me through this guy. Said it was painless and like crossing the living room but looking through a rainy windshield. No worries. A bit scared because he was new. LOL Cripes! Imagine that.
As an atheist, one who is positive there is no god or being to beg for stuff, how can this experience be explained since I wasn't exposing one iota of information to a complete stranger who managed to let my dead fiance "talk" to me in such a way that I am now assured there is life after death.
This totally effs up my atheistic views because now I'm questioning more than the texts of the ancients, but peering into the afterworld with deep curiosity.
Now what do you think????

meant to tell you

I asked if he met 'god'. The guy laffed and said thru fiance NO. Just a window to now and can see those who've passed before. My Grandma came forward and used his nickname saying she met and liked him. Again, ridiculously private info.
When I asked the psychic if my deceased fiance had met my previous fiance; also dead, he said no, he doesn't want to talk to you.
That was huge because he always said he'd die before 40 & never visit the living. Both accounted for. However our child would kinda like to know the dick is visiting a new plane and hopes for descriptions.
Argh. So complicated when I know I haven't been 'had' and don't play into christian treachery. Something bigger is at hand and has discombobulated me for years now. Just looking for the intelligence of an atheist mind to jar what I may have forgotten.
Thank you.

The medium

The nice thing about being the moderator is that the comments come to me. I don't miss them if they're tucked away somewhere.

I'm surprised you're not in the obit, but surely an engagement notice, or some other piece of publicity stemming from your relationship, links the two of you. Once his identity is established, are his personal details as difficult to find as you've made yours? Was he a skip tracer too? (Rhetorical question. Don't feel you must answer any of this.)

Some of what you got was incredibly obvious or suspiciously believable, I'm sure you realise. You wouldn't have contacted a medium if you weren't curious about the "afterdeath". You got stonewalled when you asked about God, because what you hear needs to be compatible with your specific religion (which the medium doesn't know - no wedding, so no church) or you won't buy it. You accepted that your ex-fiancee doesn't want to talk to you, because there must have been a reason he was your ex. (Since the question about your ex-fiancee was likely the first the medium had heard about him, there was no time or opportunity to gather information about him.)

Perhaps you and I could eventually hypothesise a complete, plausible method, perhaps not. At least without a level of information about your circumstances which I would never ask anyone to provide to a stranger like me, least of all a detective, your medium's accuracy will have to remain largely unexplained to us out here. That's all it is, though. Unexplained.

There are a myriad of ways he could have rumbled your fiancee, however likely or unlikely, whether we know them or not. For example, there are cold-reading techniques you might not even realise he used on you. Here's the crux of the decision you're trying to make: you're comparing the cumulative, unmeasured probability of all these uncounted methods to the probability of just two remaining options: your medium guessed the whole thing by pure chance, or he really was talking to your fiancee and was snubbed by your ex. It's like believing in one particular god; the alternatives almost overwhelm it.

I'm out of my depth here, good and proper. If I haven't jarred your mind like you hoped, I can only point you to others better versed in the techniques of mediums ("media"?): James Randi and Michael Shermer. If you speak to either of their respective organisations, you might get the help you need to solve this puzzle you've been agonising over. Heck, you might even find specific information on your actual medium.

Good luck, Seeks. Please keep us posted of any developments.

I agree

SmartLX is right. You have to remember these people make it their business, so they put time and effort into learning the tricks of the trade and investigative techniques. It's a small world when it comes to people who know people, etc. too.

Plus, if a loved one who had passed away wanted to present themselves or give a message to someone they were close to, I think they would go directly to the source and not a stranger. Plus, it seems the messages people get are never really very profound. I find it hard to believe they would not have something more important to pass along.

I was brought up Catholic,

I was brought up Catholic, but I gave up on religion 40 years ago. I am a firm believer in science, and I believe in ghosts and mediums (and aliens, too, for that matter). Why? Because I believe there is some scientific explanation, even if it's science that we don't understand yet. And with the billions of planets out there, why couldn't there be one with life? Anyway, back to ghosts. Although I haven't personally experienced anything supernatural, I have family members who have. My cousin's daughter, age 5, heard the voice of her babysitter's brother in her head asking 'What do I do now?" just minutes before a phone call arrived telling my cousin that the boy had just died due to injuries suffered in a car crash. Where did the voice come from? Don't know. And my daughter and her boyfriend experienced unexplained sounds and smells while staying at his mom's house, which had a history of hauntings and satan worship. No, sorry, I don't believe in god, but I firmly believe in ghosts and the communication with the dead. I would be disappointed that I cannot call my self an atheist due my (unproven) scientific belief in the supernatural.

Go ahead.

As I said early on in this thread, the strict definition of atheism does not preclude beliefs in supernatural entities and/or phenomena unrelated to deities. "Atheism" is merely generalised in common usage to mean a lack of belief in anything supernatural.

You're justified in calling yourself an atheist, Imolter, it's just that not many atheists share your belief in ghosts. This thread has brought forth several atheists who do, which has been educational for all of us.