Religious/Paranormal Correlations

In a recent post on Supernaturalism and the Paranormal, I hypothesized a connection between supernatural-religious beliefs on the one hand and paranormal beliefs on the other.  My thinking was that if someone is inclined to believe in anything that is non-measurable, non-empirical, and non-material (i.e., “supernatural”), then s/he may be more inclined to be religious and believe in paranormal phenomena or psi.

One of my favorite scholars of religion, Craig Martin, commented to the contrary: “I’m unconvinced that paranormal phenomena (if they exist) have anything to do with what we call religion. It’s quite possible that psi phenomena are real, but I think those cultural traditions we call religious can be explained without any reference to psi phenomena whatsoever.”

In the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion‘s September 2010 issue, Joseph Baker and Scott Draper studied the relationship between religiosity and paranormal beliefs.  What they found was that there is no simple correlation between religious and paranormal beliefs; rather, there is a correlation between particular types of religious beliefs and paranormal beliefs.

As a baseline, it should surprise no one that strict materialists are less religious and tend not to believe in paranormal phenomena.  Among those who believe in the supernatural/spiritual — but are open, tolerant, and nonexclusive about such matters — belief in the paranormal is quite high.  But among believers who adhere strictly to an organized and exclusive form of faith, belief in the paranormal is low.  Such matters are considered outside the ken of “normal” religion.

The authors’ findings are timely (in terms of my own questions) and make considerable sense.  It is nice to see them quantitatively confirmed.

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4 thoughts on “Religious/Paranormal Correlations

  1. JIM KELLY

    HELLO,MY NAME IS JIM KELLY AND I CAME ACROSS YOUR WEBSITE AND
    THOUGHT I WOULD TELL YOU A LITTLE ABOUT MYSELF,AND WHATS BEEN
    GOING ON WITH ME FOR THE LAST YEAR NOW.ON NOVEMBER 1ST,2011 I
    PHOTOGRAPHED A VORTEX OR PORTAL IF YOU WILL.IN THAT PHOTOGRAPH
    THERE ARE INDIVIDUALS FROM BACK IN THE TIME OF JESUS TO RIGHT
    UP TO THE PRESENT TIME.BUT ALSO IN THE PHOTO THERE ARE DEMONIC
    ENTITIES SCATTERED AROUND.EVER SINCE I TOOK THAT PHOTO IVE BEEN
    ABLE TO PHOTOGRAPH PEOPLE WHO HAVE PASSED ON,ON A CONTINOUS
    BASIS.ON JUNE 30TH,2012,I MEET WITH SYLVIA BROWNE AND SHOWED HER
    THE PHOTOS I HAD TAKEN OF THE VORTEX.WITHOUT HESITATION SHE WAS
    ABLE TO TELL ME WHY I COULD PHOTO SPIRITS.SHE SAID JIM YOU HAVE
    VERY STRONG AND POWERFUL KINETIC ENERGY WITHIN YOURSELF ENABLING
    YOU TO PHOTOGRAPH THE SPIRITS.THIS IS NOT A BAD THING SHE SAID.
    SHE ALSO SAID THAT THE SPIRITS SENSED MY SADNESS TOWARDS THE
    PHOTO I HAD TAKEN OF THEM THAT THEY IMMEDIATELY ATTACHED
    THEMSELVES TO ME.I DONT KNOW IF ANYONE HAS EVER PHOTOGRAPHED A
    VORTEX BEFORE,BESIDES MYSELF,BUT IF THEY HAVE I WOULD LOVE TO
    COMPARE THEIR PHOTO UP AGAINST MINE.IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE
    WHETHER I USE MY DIGITAL CAMERA OR VIDEO,I CAN PHOTO THEM WITH
    BOTH AT WILL.I BELIEVE THIS PROBABLY ALL STARTED WHEN I WAS USED
    AS AN EXTRA IN A DOCUMENTARY FILM ON THE NOW FAMOUS HINSDALE
    HAUNTED HOUSE IN UP STATE WESTERN NEW YORK.THERE IS SO MUCH MORE
    ABOUT ME THAT IVE CREATED MY OWN WEBSITE WITH MY WHOLE STORY ON
    IT.WHICH BY THE WAY IS STILL CONTINUING TODAY.ITS A STORY THAT
    SHOULD BE OUT THERE FOR PEOPLE TO READ ESPECIALLY THE WAY THINGS
    ARE IN THE WORLD TODAY.ITS AN UPLIFTING AND INSPIRATIONAL STORY.
    I FEEL LIKE IAM ON SOME KIND OF QUEST OR MISSION,WHERE IT WILL
    LEAD ME IS UNCERTAIN,I WILL GO WITH THE FLOW FOR NOW.IT WOULD
    BE WELL WORTH SOMEONES TIME TO CHECK OUT MY STORY.THEY WILL OR
    SHOULD FIND IT ABSOLUTELY AMAZING TO SAY THE LEAST.IF YOU GO TO
    MY WEBSITE PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A ONE OF A KIND STORY.I HAVE A
    VERY SPECIAL GIFT AND WILL TREAT IT WITH THE UTMOST RESPECT.
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR READING THIS.JIM KELLY.12/20/2012.
    MY WEBSITE IS http://WWW.LIVINGWITHTHEPARANORMAL.WEEBLY.COM
    GIVE IT A FEW SECONDS TO LOAD UP.THANKS AGAIN.

  2. Cris Post author

    Hi Jim — that’s quite a story. It seems that everyone who has evaluated your pictures already accepts the reality of ghosts, gods, spirits, and souls. I don’t but am more than willing to evaluate your evidence. I couldn’t find the pictures on your website. Perhaps you can post them?

  3. jim kelly

    my photographs have gotten more and more angelic or spiritual since i finished my story and put it on my website in august 2012, boy i wish i had you at my house to examine my photos in person,i think you would change your opinion. jim kelly

  4. jim kelly

    sent photos before and had people trying to take credit for what ive photographed, wont do that again.iam waiting on smithsonian museum to contact me and authenicate my photos, especially the vortex of portal.

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