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Paranormal America

A new book was just recently released, titled “Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture”. It was authored by a team of professors from the Department of Sociology at Baylor University and Eastern Tennessee State University.

The book examines who tends to believe in the paranormal and how pervasive paranormal beliefs are in society. The book also researches paranormal theories, but does not confirm or deny their validity.

This article is interesting in the respect that the researchers claim to that people who are moderately religious were more likely to believe in the paranormal rather than those that were deemed to be highly religious. I would have believed that the opposite were true, but I can’t say I am surprised. My personal experience is that more than 68% of people believe in something paranormal, but my experience is hardly a case study.

From Carson Mencken, one of the book’s co-author’s:

The people who believe literally in the Bible don’t have room for it. More conservative denominations of congregations are less likely to believe in the paranormal; those with more liberal backgrounds are more likely. Spiritualists are strong supporters of the cosmic, hard-core paranormal. To atheists, it’s all hooey.

While the authors acknowledge that they did not research the validity of paranormal claims, they focused on who the believers are and the reasons why they believe. They look at how belief affects lives, examining common stereotypes faced by believers and considering whether belief in a mainstream religion makes one likely to ascribe to more otherworldly occurrences.

Nothing ground-breaking here, but interesting nonetheless.

1 comment to Paranormal America

  • Jim Shaver

    “To atheists, it’s all hooey.”

    Amen, brother!

    Or in other words, perhaps a better term for atheist is asupernaturalist. To us, neither the origin of a supernatural claim nor its social acceptance is of significant consequence with respect to truth.

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