Uncommon Sense

May 27, 2018

A Spiritual Sunday Message About Ghostiality

Filed under: Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:44 am
Tags: , ,

I keep reading writings of scholarly people that mention spirituality as if it were a real thing. The term, spirituality, isn’t well defined and the attempts I have seen to define it so that there is some actual evidence that it exists makes it sound like high school sports team spirit. Any time a clear definition can’t be made, I know we are dealing with something that is more subjective than objective.

I grew up going to church and two terms that were interchangeable, at least in my mind, were “ghost” and “spirit,” as in the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit. I remember praying to “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

What if we switched the root in the word spirituality from spirit to ghost in these discussions? People would end up saying things like “I am very ghostial.” and “I was moved by the Holy Ghost.” This might get people to examine what they are really saying.

And as far as the supernatural goes, we would be arguing about whether ghostiality were real or whether there was evidence for ghostiality. Still, to be supernatural is to be outside of nature, which is … what? My best guess at a definition is a being or event that does not conform to the pattern of behaviors we observe in ordinary natural phenomena, so we are not talking about a place that is outside of nature but a behavior. For example, while air can support a being’s weight, it is only when it has wings that enable flight, so a hovering ghost would not obey the laws of flight and therefore would be supernatural. There is a TV show called, I believe, Ghost Hunters. Have they found one yet, or have they had episode after episode of near misses? Hmmm. I suspect the latter.

Every attempt to pin down a supernatural event has met with failure. I have observed some very spooky things in my life, but before I would go so far as to rule something as supernatural, I would have to eliminate all of the other natural possibilities. I have a friend who claims to have seen fairies in a garden, but then she is often stoned and hummingbirds flying quickly nearby might be mistaken for a fairy when one is inebriated. To pin down any case claimed to be “supernatural,” one would likewise have to eliminate all of the natural possibilities. For example, religious relics are notorious for being a fount of miracles: wooden statues weeping, stone statues showing the stigmata, etc. Religious people are also known to be gullible and con men have been shown to perpetrate hoaxes by the hundreds. For example, more than a few statues have been built with piping inside to allow for the flow of fluids. As another example, in Israel there is a place where you can bathe in the Jordan River, right where Jesus was baptized. Actually there are at least three such places. One of them is very popular with tourists as it is close to highway access and has government signs directing the traffic. That one is the farthest from where scripture says it happened. This, of course, results in many Christians, home from vacation, claiming that when they bathed in that water, they experienced something of the order of a spiritual experience, being such a holy place, don’t you know. (Most of these fibs or mistaken interpretations stem from wanting to acquire “street cred” in a religious community, in my opinion.)

So, the supernatural could be a possibility when, as Sherlock Holmes said so often “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” It should be the last in line of possible explanations. Theists, however, insist that supernatural causes be first in line any time something unusual happens. This has been largely self-defeating of late because if science continues to offer perfectly natural explanations (which has happened over and over and over), the refuted supernatural cause invoked becomes more and more diminished (and the believers appear more and more deluded). But, hey, it worked like a charm when we were mostly uneducated peasants and serfs.

Myself, when I am feeling spiritual, er, ghostial, I lay down for a minute until the feeling passes.



  1. I guess my question would be; if people are not primed for these experiences with a lifetime of innuendos, do they ever have these spiritual encounters? I have a friend who learned about the pilgrimage in Bosnia, he went to check it out and converted to Catholicism afterwards. He saw what he was supposed to see based on the stories. If he had never heard of it’s supernatural hubbub I don’t suppose he would have been primed for a neurotheological experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by jim- — May 27, 2018 @ 11:55 am | Reply

    • I tend to agree. I lived in Marin County, CA for a while, Cali’s Woo Woo Center. I saw two women engage in actual myth making based upon them both believing in crystal power. I had been with one of the women, so I knew the locus of the discussion being developed. I was amazed at how an ordinary even became supernatural as these two established their bone fides as believers in crystal power with one another. Establishing membership in a community is a powerful motivator for those longing to belong to … whatever … especially religious groups. You can see this in children experiencing ecstasy at religious services (Acting for Jesus?). I am sure that all of those youngin’s received high praise for their powerful prayers.

      On Sun, May 27, 2018 at 11:55 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 28, 2018 @ 7:39 am | Reply

  2. Good post! I shall take your advice if and when I sense feelings of ghostiality. 🙂


    Comment by Nan — May 27, 2018 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

    • Now, I am not a doctor, not can I give tax advice, but ghostiality advice requires no certification, nor is there government oversight, which is why conservatives so love to make money through this channel.

      On Sun, May 27, 2018 at 12:59 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 28, 2018 @ 7:41 am | Reply

  3. On the other hand, it is amazingly strange and wonderful that there is a universe in the first place, and secondly that we humans (and other living beings of all sorts) are not only here to experience it. And thirdly its also wonderful that we humans are more and more able to figure out the rules by which this universe appears to operate.

    Of course, it’s by using our collective intelligence (aka the scientific method or common sense) that we have been making the most progress in figuring out the story of the universe. Conjectures are made, put to some test, and either confirmed, discarded or modified. Lots of religious leaders have written lots of other explanations, but none of them stood up to the evidence…

    Sent from my iPhone



    Comment by gfbrandenburg — May 27, 2018 @ 1:23 pm | Reply

    • Evidence-based awe … imagine that! No ghostiality involved!

      On Sun, May 27, 2018 at 1:23 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 28, 2018 @ 7:42 am | Reply

  4. At a music festival once I was wondering around, probably lost, and then a colossal tree before me suddenly came to life. It transformed into a face, actually a whole human head, and it was speaking, although I couldn’t hear the words. Transfixed, I stood there aghast staring up at this image towering over me, it’s lips moving, eyes fixed down. I. Was. Dumbfounded. It took me far, far longer than it probably should have to realise it was a projection, and a bloody good one at that. Mushrooms might, or might not have played a role in the time-delay…

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by john zande — May 27, 2018 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

    • I’ve been to that *same* festival and also met that tree!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by The Pink Agendist — May 27, 2018 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

      • Tell me you heard his wise, wise words

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by john zande — May 27, 2018 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

      • Just proves my point! People will allege shared experience to be able to bond with their communities! We need to find that tree and worship it properly!

        On Sun, May 27, 2018 at 5:20 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Steve Ruis — May 28, 2018 @ 7:45 am | Reply

    • Chemically-induced ghostiality is still ghostiality! So I afirm! Being a ghostiality expert is great as there are no standard practices, no regulations, no oversight. I am free to move as the ghost moves me … uh, you, too!

      On Sun, May 27, 2018 at 5:12 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 28, 2018 @ 7:44 am | Reply

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