I had an interesting discussion at work with the new girl. She said something about the house being creepy and I said that it is even creepier in the dark. She said, "no way! I bet it's haunted" and I told her that a lot of people think so. She asked if I thought the house was haunted.
When I told her no, she asked why the house would not be haunted (I work at an old folks home and it is a big house with lots of rooms and many people have died there - woooOOOOOoooo) and I told her I don't think any houses are haunted.
Now, this conversation wound around for a while and I finally said that I don't believe in spooks, ghosts, phantoms or spirits and she naturally kept asking and probing. I told her that I don't think we live on after we die, in any form.
"But what happens to your soul after you die?"
I told her that I don't think anything happens after you die. You're dead. I have no reason to believe consciousness continues after the brain stops functioning.
She told me a story about a boyfriend she had a few years ago who died and she had his cell phone and it had been shut off and one day his phone turned itself on and started getting texts like "I love you" and "It's not your fault." from an unknown number. He had died in a car wreck after a party and had been in a coma before slipping away.
First, I told her I was sorry for her loss.
Second, I told her that there are a number of explanations more plausible than a spirit using a phone to reach living loved ones. I pointed out that cell phone glitches are not uncommon and also... it was HIS PHONE. If it turns out this was some supernatural communication attempt a dead person was apparently sending texts to himself from wherever dead people hang out. It seems far more likely that the phone accidentally got turned on and old messages that other people had sent him after he died came through. She didn't like that explanation and asked what I would take as proof of hauntings/spirits.
I told her, "Pics or it didn't happen. If I saw it, someone else would need to confirm it independently. If I see/hear/experience it and I'm alone, I have no way of telling I'm not hallucinating. No vague stuff like mysterious texts either - it would have to be something without other, more plausible explanations."
So, for the 40 billionth time, a conversation about supernatural stuff comes down to someone who believes it telling me my standards are too high and me pointing out that it's on the person who claims it exists to prove it does; if they want other people to believe them, personal experiences are not enough and neither are technological glitches, as disturbing as they may be. I told her it was fine if she believed his soul was trying to contact her, but I am not convinced. I didn't want to step on too many toes so I stopped there.
"So you're not a christian?"
That came out of left field. I grinned and told the truth, no, no I'm not a christian.
"What about all the proof in the bible?"
I tried to keep my amused reaction under wraps, "I... didn't find it convincing"
"Haven't you read the bible?"
My grin must have looked like the cheshire cats, "Twice. Twice through."
That pretty much ended the conversation. I hope this doesn't affect our working relationship.
Because it was work, I was deliberately trying to be vague. The home I work at is a christian home and as far as I know only one other worker there is an atheist (and I only know that because we're friends outside of work). Though I rant and rave on the inside, I don't bring up religion in my 'public' life and am super respectful of the clients religions... they're old, they're tired, and some of them take comfort in their beliefs. It seems silly to try and take that from them when it wouldn't do anyone any good.
What I find interesting and somewhat disturbing about this whole conversation is that... well, I didn't bring it up. It's actually pretty rare that I bring something like that up to anyone I don't know well. When I do, it's usually in a roundabout way where I bring up something in nature or a disease process that's particularly contradictory to the notion of a loving creator god. I just go, "It's so horrible, no one deserves that."
Funny, no one ever disagrees with me when I say no one deserves to have disease/condition/disorder X, and yet they still believe in a god who would create diseases so bad that you wouldn't wish them on hitler. It's a weird sort of doublethink - god is good, no matter what. God is good when you get hemmorhoids, an inflamed appendix, or an allergic reaction. God is good when your immune system starts attacking your body, when your brain function deteriorates with age, or your vagina becomes prolapsed from a long life and too many kids leading to a weak pelvic floor and then "plop" - inside out girl.
It makes no sense. Maybe god is good, but he's just crap at the design aspects of being god? I mean seriously... Just looking at the way the digestive system is arranged is enough to convince me that if there were a 'designer' for our bodies he/she/it wasn't a very good one.
Meh. Rant over. Theists in my area seem very active lately.