Who wants to be a ghost ?
When I read that the next God or Not Carnival topic was "Spiritual Beings (ghosts, angels, etc.)", my first reaction was - how can I possibly approach this topic ? What I write has absolutely no relation to such fantastic topics. I write about the concrete, the material universe, morality in the material, not about "spiritual beings" and such folderol.
Then I thought about my only experience in believing in the supernatural, when I was about seven or eight. After my grandfather died, I had a few days when I wasn't sure if he might continue to exist as a ghost. In my young and untrained mind, I imagined my grandfather floating around as a ghost. I thought this was extremely problematic - for one thing, I had major problems with the idea of someone potentially watching over everything I do. Just going to the bathroom or watching television became a source of anxiety. So I abandoned this belief, simply because I couldn't live that way. I simply had to stop believing in the possibility of ghosts.
This brings us to the #2 reason why I don't believe supernaturalists (including Christians) are honest in their beliefs. If I honestly believed that God, angels or ghosts could be watching over me, I would be paralyzed. Imagine that you knew your life was being broadcast on television 24 hours a day. Wouldn't you have some problems going to the bathroom, let alone have sex, take drugs, lie or commit crimes, as many Christians do ? Now imagine that the viewers decided of your eternal fate based on what they saw. Wouldn't that be the virtual equivalent of slavery ?
So the fact that Christians are able to live comfortable lives at all is proof that their belief is dishonest, let alone the fact that they commit what they should see as obvious evils. One possible resolution of this would be to say that Christians have no conscience, and while that would be an easy way of resolving the issue, I think it's rather uncharitable.
(and in case you're curious to know what the #1 reason is, it's "crying at funerals")
I would think belief in angels would be even worse. After all, angels are supposed to have a wholly supernatural perspective on human action, if you are a Christian. So you should feel even more anxious about angelic judgment than you should be about ghostly judgment. Now if we're talking about God, that's infinitely worse. God not only judges you, but it can kick your ass. Just imagine showing yourself having sex to your boss, and that's only an infinitesimal part of the shame a Christian would have if his belief was honest.
I also contend that such beliefs are disturbing in other ways, simply because believers center the universe around themselves. Like Christian belief, belief in supernaturalism is pure hedonism. People like the idea of having angels watch over them or to think that their dead relatives are still hanging around. By thinking in this way, however, believers ignore rather clear and inconvenient facts that a minute of critical thinking can bring up.
For example, who really wants to be a ghost ? Who wants to float around and not being able to communicate or interact with anything else but moronic TV psychics who can barely understand one letter at a time and exploit your pain for profit ? Sure, you can throw things around and make some ruckus (there are always preteens or teenagers around, but that's pure coincidence, right ?), but that's it. Now can you imagine living eternally in such a state ? Now that sounds like Hell to me.
What about angels ? If you follow the New Age beliefs about angels, their sole purpose is to serve and protect human beings. Does the notion of an entire kind of beings living in servitude to supernatural principles binding them to human beings, in total slavery, bother you at all ? Have you ever thought about that the last time you fiddled that "angelic amulet" or prayed in your head for help ?
Now if we're talking about the Christian angels, that's another thing entirely. Their existence revolves around war - of the supernatural and the natural kinds - or fawning around God. We can raise the same question here - why would anyone want to believe in such beings ? Why not simply believe in God ? Then again, the question also applies to God, so there's really no reason to reject only one and not the other. After all, the angels are supposed to be mere extensions of God's will. Why anyone would want to believe in any supernatural beings of this sort boggles the rational mind. Perhaps the Pagans and their representations of nature have it right, as far as superstitions go.
Either way, I think the conclusion is clear : the belief in supernaturalism is emotionally and morally bankrupt, in addition to being metaphysically, ontologically and scientifically bankrupt. I have not discussed metaphysics, ontology or science in this article, and there is a whole lot to discuss on the interaction between these domains and supernaturalism, enough to fill a dozen entries. However, I hope this has shed some light on the less explored area of emotional and moral credibility of supernaturalist beliefs.