Most people are a little sceptical about things they have not studied.
Even believers in paranormal subjects can be sceptical, of those extremists who are trapped in closed minded scepticism.
I see myself as a sceptical believer, maybe even an extreme moderate!
A friend who is also an expert on these things and a Rabbi, said: “when a man believes in nothing, he can believe in anything”
It is only by direct contact we develop the confidence to obtain the knowledge which lifts us out from this ignorance.
But remember there is a fundamental difference between genuine healthy scepticism, and the entrenched denialism of cranks like James Randi who refuse to listen or be open minded on any aspect, and twist data to prove their point.
Some years ago a man would heckle me at all my paranormal talks.
After one meeting I asked him if he himself had ever seen a ghost, he smirkingly replied that he had not,
I then said; "how can you not believe in ghosts if you have never even seen one"?
Surely you should suspend judgement.
Herbert Mankusa described these material people as; “one dimensional beings, people expressing their identities and feelings only through the acquisition of mass produced objects”
It is this shallowness of view that underpins scepticism, for scepticism is allied to atheism, materialism and communism.
The sceptical apostle of pessimism Schopenhauer said; “to sleep is good, to die is better, but to never be born at all that is the answer “
In other words, life had no deep purpose or meaning.
The biggest cause of depression is this belief that our lives have no meaning.
One major problem is that of psychology, where experts tell us that an obsessive interest with anything is a sign of psychosis, and scepticism is an obsessive belief system and a religion to many people, alcoholics and foodies, clothes fanatics, football obsessives and religious followers, we are all told are mentally ill.
The big question is where do we draw the line between belief and non-belief, ?
Some believe too easily and some not at all, there seems to be a sliding rule here,
Where many people who claim to be sceptical on paranormal subjects, alternative medicine and U.F.O’s find they CAN believe that Jesus was born in a stable to a virgin, there are 3 people in one God, but that he was also a man, who could do miracles, yet he ended up on the cross, and it was all for us, and a priest can change a piece of bread and wine into the body and blood of this God which we then disgustingly, must eat.
The old testament is even more extreme.
Another belief is that this God wants children to be sexually mutilated, in the circumcision rites, if God did not want the end on little boys willies he would not have put it there, female circumcision is just barbarism.
Yet God is a kind just God to some, and a vengeful jealous God to others.
So we need to be continually aware and respect the beliefs of others.
Let me end on the words of Epictetus. “Remember that you are an actor in a drama of such a part that it may please the master to assign you for you a long time or as little as he may choose, and if he wills you to take the part of a poor man or a cripple or a ruler or private citizen, then may you act that part with grace, for to act well the part that is allotted to us, that indeed is ours to do, but to choose is another’s”
So even if the part to be played is that of believer or sceptic, we must respect our neighbour, even if we do not agree with their views
T Stokes - Lecturer in Paranormal Studies