Monday 8 June 2009


I am unconvinced that any persons of normal intelligence really do believe in a supernatural agency. It merely suits them to suppress their rationality and subscribe to an unspoken conspiracy with other "believers" to pretend, and act as if, they believe. Its a kind of comfort blanket.


  1. If it were just a conspiracy, it might be easier to challenge the woolly thinking. However, I think believers (the "normally intelligent" ones, anyway) compartmentalise their tendency to believe in a supernatural being, thing, whatever, and see no conflict with their acceptance of rational explanations for life, death, the universe, and everything.

    My sister, who's quite intelligent, asked me why I didn't believe that there's something more to life than the natural world. She thinks there "must" be more, but not why there "must" be.

    She was always moderately religious, but since she worked for a Christian organisation for several years, and then married a Christian who's C of E (our parents were Presbyterians), she's become more pious. Sometimes, she seems to be more of a pantheist than a deist, unless she's moderated her views because she's aware of my atheism and doesn't want an argument. Whatever it is she believes, she really does believe it. It seems to suit her, and many others like her, to be maddeningly vague about what she believes; that's all part of the mysticism.

    I agree, it's hard to accept that intelligent people really do believe in a supernatural agency. However, I think that many simply refuse to rationalise about it. A lot has to do with a denial of death. Even before my sister lost a daughter, she often referred to the prospect of being reunited with dead relatives one day. In all the years I've been a humanist celebrant, I've come across many people who'll say they're not religious, but they still talk about seeing someone again, or about how so-and-so is happy now, in a good place.

    I've blogged about an afterlife -

  2. I think we agree but coming to it from slightly different angles. I'm not confident about my use of 'conspiracy' but couldn't think of a better word. Perhaps "subconcious conspiracy" would be better.

    Interesting subject anyway. How can you and your sister have developed such different outlooks? Must be in the brain not upbringing do you think?

  3. Can't explain the difference, but I know that lots of other siblings seem to have little in common apart from their genes.