It's my belief that when you're dealing with the supernatural, the supernatural still has to trump we mortals, it still has to be more powerful than we are. You can't really defeat it. You can live to fight another day but it's very rare that a human being can actually destroy a supernatural force.
Supernatural fiction contains its own generic borderland: a neutral territory, which Tzvetan Todorov calls 'the fantastic, ' between 'the marvelous' and 'the uncanny.' According to Todorov, 'The fantastic is that hesitation experienced by a person who knows only the laws of nature, confronting an apparently supernatural event.' Once the event is satisfactorily explained (and sometimes it is never explained), we have left the fantastic for an adjacent genre - either 'the uncanny, ' where the apparently supernatural is revealed as illusory, or 'the marvelous, ' where the laws of ordinary reality must be revised to incorporate the supernatural. As long as uncertainty reigns, however, we are in the ambiguous realm of the fantastic.
Worship gatherings are not always spectacular, but they are always supernatural. And if a church looks for or works for the spectacular, she may miss the supernatural. If a person enters a gathering to be wowed with something impressive, with a style that fits him just right, with an order of service and song selection designed just the right way, that person may miss the supernatural presence of God. Worship is supernatural whenever people come hungry to respond, react, and receive from God for who He is and what He has done. A church worshipping as a Creature of the Word doesn't show up to perform or be entertained; she comes desperate and needy, thirsty for grace, receiving from the Lord and the body of Christ, and then gratefully receiving what she needs as she offers her praise-the only proper response to the God who saves us.
If a supernatural being is to be exempt from natural law, it cannot possess specific, determinate characteristics. These attributes would impose limits and these limits would restrict the capacities of this supernatural being. In this case, a supernatural being would be subject to the causal relationships that mark natural existence, which would disqualify it as a god. Therefore, we must somehow conceive of a being without a specific nature, a being that is indeterminate-a being, in other words, that is nothing in particular. But these characteristics (or, more precisely, lack of characteristics) are incompatible with the notion of existence itself.
George H. Smith
The natural/supernatural distinction itself, and the near-equation of 'supernatural' with 'superstition', are scarecrows that Enlightenment thought has erected in its fields to frighten away anyone following the historical argument where it leads. It is high time the birds learned to take no notice.
N. T. Wright
I like something where I can really use my imagination and be an active participant in the construction of the monster and usually that's in the world of the supernatural or the world of the fantastic, so that's why those kinds of stories about demons and the supernatural appeal to me or maybe I'm really interested in that subject.
Minimizing the importance of transformed feelings makes Christian conversion less supernatural and less radical. It is humanly manageable to make decisions of the will for Christ. No supernatural power is required to pray prayers, sign cards, walk aisles, or even stop sleeping around. Those are good. They just don't prove that anything spiritual has happened. Christian conversion, on the other hand, is a supernatural, radical thing. The heart is changed. And the evidence of it is not just new decisions, but new affections, new feelings.
I think there's something about supernatural shows that people see and just want to put me in them! I don't know. I just finished another show - 'The Nine Lives of Chloe King,' with Skyler Samuels, who was my girlfriend in 'The Gates' - and I play another supernatural character on that show.
Now, science cannot completely exclude the possibility of supernatural explanation. It is possible though very unlikely that our whole world is controlled by elves. But supernatural explanations like these are simply never needed; we manage to understand the natural world just fine using reason and materialism.
Jerry A. Coyne
In any event, whether a supernatural tale remains altogether fantastic or eventually modulates to the uncanny or the marvelous, the reader is faced with disconcerting ontological and perceptual problems. Indeed, the disorienting effect of the supernatural encounter in fiction seems to reflect some deeper disorientations in the culture at large.
I would go to these Supernatural conventions because, well, one, it's like going to your own version of Disneyland. You're adored for an hour or whatever, and then you walk out and you're nobody again, but, boy, when you're there, it must be what it's like to be Brad Pitt all day, you know? You're the best thing going. And it pays pretty well, too! But I was concurrently loved and hated by everybody, because the suspension of disbelief is, uh, pretty high among Supernatural fans.
Supernatural is a dangerous and difficult word in any of its senses, looser or stricter. But to fairies it can hardly be applied, unless super is taken merely as a superlative prefix. For it is man who is, in contrast to fairies, supernatural; whereas they are natural, far more natural than he. Such is their doom.
Objectivism advocates reason as man's sole means of knowledge, and therefore, for the reasons I have already given, it is atheist. It denies any supernatural dimension presented as a contradiction of nature, of existence. This applies not only to God, but also to every variant of the supernatural ever advocated or to be advocated. In other words, we accept reality, and that's all.
To believe in the supernatural is not simply to believe that after living a successful, material, and fairly virtuous life here one will continue to exist in the best-possible substitute for this world, or that after living a starved and stunted life here one will be compensated with all the good things one has gone without: it is to believe that the supernatural is the greatest reality here and now.
T. S. Eliot
If there be a mind that, not perceiving in the narratives we have compared the fingermarks of tradition, and hence the legendary character of these evangelical anecdotes, still leans to the historical interpretation, whether natural or supernatural; that mind must be alike ignorant of the true character both of legend and of history, of the natural and the supernatural.
David Friedrich Strauss
Moreover, it is not just that the early documents are silent about so much of Jesus that came to be recorded in the gospels, but that they view him in a substantially different way - as a basically supernatural personage only obscurely on Earth as a man at some unspecified period in the past, 'emptied' then of all his supernatural attributes (Phil.2:7), and certainly not a worker of prodigious miracles which made him famous throughout 'all Syria' (Mt.4:24). I have argued that there is good reason to believe that the Jesus of Paul was constructed largely from musing and reflecting on a supernatural 'Wisdom' figure, amply documented in the earlier Jewish literature, who sought an abode on Earth, but was there rejected, rather than from information concerning a recently deceased historical individual. The influence of the Wisdom literature is undeniable; only assessment of what it amounted to still divides opinion.
George Albert Wells
During the Reformation and the Enlightenment, nature came to be understood in a mechanistic sense as bereft of any capacity for divine grace or revelation. We'll explore this suggestion further in the next chapter. In order to appreciate the significance of this, we have to recognize that nature is a cultural construct. When we speak of nature, we are using language to describe the world around us with all its species, life-forms and landscapes. But nature is a concept whose meaning changes with different perceptions and ways of looking at the world. This means that supernatural is also a concept which has different meanings, for it refers to phenomena or experiences which do not seem to fit within our particular expectations of what nature is or should be. The term supernatural therefore depends on a certain concept of what natural is. For many people who are less determinately materialist than Dawkins, there may be an indeterminate region which is neither strictly natural nor strictly supernatural. A red rose may be natural, but when I am given one by the person I love, I experience a range of emotions, memories and associations which endow that rose with symbolic significance and make it, in some sense, supernatural. It transcends its natural biological functions to communicate something in the realms of beauty, hope and love.
The transcendent and the numinous can be accessible to the most materialistic of scientists, without positing the supernatural. At the same time, there is no reason to mistrust the same experiences in believers simply because they posit a supernatural source. The question is not, "Does God exist?" It's irrelevant. The question is whether believers and nonbelievers can rejoice in the same experiences and not denigrate the other's explanation as to the origins of very powerful human responses.
The supernatural worldview is causing a great number of otherwise intelligent people to cling to a collection of atavistic concepts that have not, and never will serve humanity in any ultimately beneficial way. Any benefits that spirituality ostensibly provides to its adherents, can be found equally in the worldview of philosophy and ethics, communities of other kinds, and so on. It's a myth that the only morality, hope, purpose and comfort to be found, resides only in the supernatural.
Kelli Jae Baeli
The human species - mammalian primates though undoubtedly (s)he is, and made out of the dust of exploded suns - does have the need for the transcendent, the numinous, even the ecstatic. I wouldn't trust anyone who hadn't had this. This has to do with landscape, light, music, love and an awareness of the transience of all things, and the melancholy that invests all this. So it isn't just gaping happily at the sunset while listening to music, and doing that while knowing that it can't last very long. But there is no need for the supernatural in this at all. There is no dimension of the supernatural of which this gives one a share.
Humility consists of knowing that in this world the whole soul , not only what we term the ego in its totality, but also the supernatural part of the soul, which is God present in it, is subject to time and to the vicissitudes of change . There must be absolutely acceptance of the possibility that everything material in us should be destroyed. But we must simultaneously accept and repudiate the possibility that the supernatural part of the soul should disappear.
Every argument for God and every attribute ascribed to Him rests on a false metaphysical premise. None can survive for a moment on a correct metaphysics... Existence exists, and only existence exists. Existence is a primary: it is uncreated, indestructible, eternal. So if you are to postulate something beyond existence-some supernatural realm-you must do it by openly denying reason, dispensing with definitions, proofs, arguments, and saying flatly, 'To Hell with argument, I have faith.' That, of course, is a willful rejection of reason. Objectivism advocates reason as man's sole means of knowledge, and therefore, for the reasons I have already given, it is atheist. It denies any supernatural dimension presented as a contradiction of nature, of existence. This applies not only to God, but also to every variant of the supernatural ever advocated or to be advocated. In other words, we accept reality, and that's all.
Theories of history used to be supernatural: the divine ruled time; the hand of God, a special providence, lay behind the fall of each sparrow. If the present differed from the past, it was usually worse: supernatural theories of history tend to involve decline, a fall from grace, the loss of God's favor, corruption.
What if all those strange and unexplainable bends in history were the result of supernatural interference? At which point I asked myself, what's the weirdest most eccentric historical phenomenon of them all? Answer:the Great British Empire. Clearly, one tiny little island could only conquer half the known world with supernatural aid. Those absurd Victorian manners and ridiculous fashions were obviously dictated by vampires. And, without a doubt, the British army regimental system functions on werewolf pack dynamics.
I just remember their kindness and goodness to me, and their peacefulness and their utter simplicity. They inspired real reverence, and I think, in a way, they were certainly saints. And they were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within.
..the real world's all we've got. Believers in the supernatural claim to have special wisdom about the world. But real wisdom means knowing truth from falsehood, knowing the difference between evidence and wishful thinking. Yes, the real world is mysterious and sometimes frightening. But would the supernatural make it better? The real world has beauty, poetry, love and the joy of honest discovery. Isn't that enough?
I acknowledge the challenge of believing in a supernatural divinity. After all, in the natural a rock is a rock; a desk is a desk; my skin is my skin. Or are they? That rock you pick up and feel on your skin and place on the desk is 99.9% empty space-between atoms; as is your skin and the desk. So, perhaps it is our perception of the natural or 'real' world that needs tweaking, not the supernatural.
Charles F. Glassman
Then the one called Raltariki is really a demon?" asked Tak. "Yes-and no, " said Yama, "If by 'demon' you mean a malefic, supernatural creature, possessed of great powers, life span and the ability to temporarily assume virtually any shape-then the answer is no. This is the generally accepted definition, but it is untrue in one respect." "Oh? And what may that be?" "It is not a supernatural creature." "But it is all those other things?" "Yes." "Then I fail to see what difference it makes whether it be supernatural or not-so long as it is malefic, possesses great powers and life span and has the ability to change its shape at will." "Ah, but it makes a great deal of difference, you see. It is the difference between the unknown and the unknowable, between science and fantasy-it is a matter of essence. The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable.
There are only two possible explanations as to how life arose: Spontaneous generation arising to evolution or a supernatural creative act of God.... There is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others, but that just leaves us with only one other possibility... that life came as a supernatural act of creation by God, but I can't accept that philosophy because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution.
Theistic claims that supernatural agency exists in the universe derive from ancient traditions of belief. The word 'atheist' is a theist's term for a person who does not share such beliefs. Theists think that atheists have a belief or set of beliefs, just as theists do but in the opposite sense, about theism-related questions. This is a mistake; atheists certainly have beliefs about many things, but they are not 'theistic-subject-matter-related beliefs' in any but a single negative sense. For atheism is the absence of 'theistic-subject-matter-related belief. Although it is true that 'absence of belief in supernatural agency' is functionally equivalent to 'belief in the absence of supernatural agency', theists concentrate on the latter formulation in order to make atheism a positive as opposed to privative thesis with regard to theistic-subject-matter-related matters. This is what makes theists think they are in a kind of belief football match, with opposing sets of beliefs vying for our allegiance. What is happening is that the theists are rushing about the park kicking the ball, but the atheists are not playing. They are not even on the field; they are in the stands, arguing that this particular game should not be taking place at all.