Since the biblical ascension of Jesus into heaven, biblical literalists have been predicting the coming of the end times, rapture, and destruction of the world. The recent eclipse in August and a series of natural disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, wildfires in the Northwest United States, and an 8.2-magnitude earthquake that shook Mexico, have sparked discourse once again about the alleged coming apocalypse. What apocalyptic discourse is currently urging people to repent, and what does it say about the human response to disaster?
Despite increasing secularism around the globe, belief in ghosts and other paranormal phenomenon remains prominent in many cultures. 42% of Americans believe in ghosts, and 52% in the United Kingdom. Many more believe in ghosts in other parts of the world, particularly in Asia, where ancient cultures still thrive – superstitions and all. Regardless of whether or not ghosts are real, belief in the paranormal has important societal functions. Belief in the paranormal helps humans assign order to an increasingly chaotic world, create social bonds, and even boost physical and mental function (another reason to keep knocking on wood.) Although belief in the paranormal can seem like a harmless pastime, is there a downside to having superstitions?