Can a belief in the supernatural be sustained in our modern world?

YES: Various aspects of modern society continue to promote a belief in the supernatural despite evidence to the contrary.

  1. Religion remains central to the lives and moral identity of many in the world today, and we ground these values and practices on a belief in the supernatural cosmology, stories and entitiesof our respective religions or religious rituals.

  2. Many of our literary traditions and work, such as popular fiction series about vampires or magic, fulfill the human need for escapism and mental diversion, thereby sustaining our continued belief in them.

  3. The inherent unpredictability of many human endeavors, such as relationships or career success, lead many to attribute their success or lack thereof to supernatural and anthropomorphic forces such as Cupid or Lady Luck, which are often embedded into our daily speech or communications.

  4. Many aspects emphasizing the supernatural world or its intervention in human interactions have become highly commercialized and popularized today, influencing many of our decision-making practices in diverse aspects of personal, public and professional life, such as the use of Chinese fengshui by many Asian businesses in the positioning of office locations.

NO: Various aspects of modern society supersede belief in the supernatural with rationality and other concerns grounded in reality.

  1. Many of our moral values and ethical practices are influenced by rationality and humanism today, making belief in the supernatural world less binding or even superfluous for many.

  2. Although literary traditions and works relating to the supernatural world remain appealing to us, our belief in such entities are often momentary and unsustained, solely confined to the time when we are reading the literary work and willingly suspending our rationality.

  3. The appeal to supernatural and anthropomorphic forces may be embedded into our daily speech and communications but play only a minor part in generating success in human endeavors, which is a fact that many recognize when they put in the necessary effort and resources to secure success independent of supernatural intervention.

  4. The practical demands of maximizing profit, political influence or personal success makes a belief in the supernatural world less tenable and a largely superfluous practice, as many of us undertake actions on the basis of their likely success rather than unnecessarily constraining ourselves to the proscriptions or ritualistic practices associated with many supernatural interventions.