Atheists Who Believe in Ghosts


As strange as it may initially seem, there are atheists who believe in ghosts. Once we understand that atheism refers to one's lack of belief in gods, we can see that there is nothing about the definition of atheism that makes belief in ghosts problematic. While most atheists do seem to be materialists in the sense that they do not believe in anything outside of nature (i.e., anything supernatural), atheism does not require this sort of materialism. So yes, someone can be an atheist and still believe in ghosts, spirits, and the like. But for those of us who arrived at atheism via skepticism, critical thinking, and empiricism, the presence of ghost-believing atheists often strikes us as a bit odd.

While playing with the now defunct StumbleUpon in an effort to discover some new secular blogs, I happened across an atheist blog written by someone who was trying to reconcile atheism with "spirituality." Moments later I found myself at Atheist Nexus, shaking my head in disbelief over a thread in which an atheist was asking other atheists about their experiences with "hauntings." This seemed to be a popular topic.

Perhaps I need to make more of an effort to understand atheists who believe in ghosts, spirits, demons, monsters, etc. Clearly, the path by which they came to atheism is very different from mine. Maybe they could teach us something. If nothing else, they might be good reminders about the diversity of atheists. How about you? Do you believe in ghosts?

For some additional thoughts on the fascinating topic of ghosts, here are a few other posts you might enjoy:

This post was updated in 2021.