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{{short description|Anything inexplicable by scientific understanding of the laws of nature}}{{About|unexplained or non-natural forces and phenomena|the 2005 US drama series|Supernatural (U.S. TV series)|other uses}}{{redirect|Supernatural power|the popular culture concept of the imaginary superhuman abilities|Superpower (ability)}}{{Paranormal|state=expanded|image=John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare.JPG|caption=The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (1781) is thought to be one of the classic depictions of sleep paralysis perceived as a supernatural demonic visitation.}}{{Anthropology of religion|Basic}}File:Saint Pierre tentant de marcher sur les eaux by François Boucher.jpg|thumb|Saint Peter Attempting to Walk on Water (1766), painting by François BoucherFrançois BoucherThe concept of the supernatural encompasses anything that is inexplicable by scientific understanding of the laws of nature but nevertheless argued by believers to exist. Examples include immaterial beings such as angels, gods and spirits, and claimed human abilities like magic, telekinesis and extrasensory perception.Historically, supernatural powers have been invoked to explain phenomena as diverse as lightning, seasons and the human senses. Naturalists maintain that nothing beyond the physical world exists, and point to a lack of reliable evidence for anything supernatural, and hence maintain skeptical attitudes towards supernatural concepts.BOOK, Halman, Loek, Atheism and Secularity Vol.2: Gloabal Expressions, 2010, Praeger, 9780313351839, Phil Zuckerman, 8. Atheism And Secularity In The Netherlands, "Thus, despite the fact that they claim to be convinced atheists and the majority deny the existence of a personal god, a rather large minority of the Dutch convinced atheists believe in a supernatural power!" (e.g. telepathy, reincarnation, life after death, and heaven), The supernatural is featured in paranormal, occult and religious contexts,WEB, Pasulka, Diana, Kripal, Jeffrey, Religion and the Paranormal,weblink Oxford University Press blog, Oxford University Press, 23 November 2014, but can also feature as an explanation in more secular contexts.

Etymology

Occurring as both an adjective and a noun, descendants of the modern English compound supernatural enters the language from two sources: via Middle French (supernaturel) and directly from the Middle French's term's ancestor, post-Classical Latin (supernaturalis). Post-classical Latin supernaturalis first occurs in the 6th century, composed of the Latin prefix super- and nātūrālis (see nature). The earliest known appearance of the word in the English language occurs in a Middle English translation of Catherine of Siena's Dialogue (orcherd of Syon, around 1425; Þei haue not þanne þe supernaturel lyȝt ne þe liȝt of kunnynge, bycause þei vndirstoden it not).OED, supernatural, 194422, 24 October 2018, The semantic value of the term has shifted over the history of its use. Originally the term referred exclusively to Christian understandings of the world. For example, as an adjective, the term can mean 'belonging to a realm or system that transcends nature, as that of divine, magical, or ghostly beings; attributed to or thought to reveal some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature; occult, paranormal' or 'more than what is natural or ordinary; unnaturally or extraordinarily great; abnormal, extraordinary'. Obsolete uses include 'of, relating to, or dealing with metaphysics'. As a noun, the term can mean 'a supernatural being', with a particularly strong history of employment in relation to entities from the mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

History of the concept

Dialogues from Neoplatonic philosophy in the third century AD contributed the development of the concept the supernatural via Christian theology in later centuries.JOURNAL, 10.1525/eth.1977.5.1.02a00040, Supernatural as a Western Category, Ethos, 5, 31–53, 1977, Saler, Benson, The term nature had existed since antiquity with Latin authors like Augustine using the word and its cognates at least 600 times in City of God. In the medieval period, "nature" had ten different meanings and "natural" had eleven different meanings.BOOK, Bartlett, Robert, The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages, 14 March 2008,weblink Cambridge University Press, 978-0521702553, 1. The Boundaries of the Supernatural, 1–34, Peter Lombard, a medieval scholastic in the 12th century, asked about causes that are beyond nature, in that how there could be causes that were God's alone. He used the term praeter naturam in his writings. In the scholastic period, Thomas Aquinas classified miracles into three categories: "above nature", "beyond nature", and "against nature". In doing so, he sharpened the distinction between nature and miracles more than the early Church Fathers had done. As a result, he had created a dichotomy of sorts of the natural and supernatural.JOURNAL, 10.1525/eth.1977.5.1.02a00040, Supernatural as a Western Category, Ethos, 5, 31–53, 1977, Saler, Benson, Though the phrase supra naturam was used since the 4th century AD, it was in the 1200s that Thomas Aquinas used the term "supernaturalis", however, this term had to wait until the end of the medieval period before it became more popularly used. The discussions on "nature" from the scholastic period were diverse and unsettled with some postulating that even miracles are natural and that natural magic was a natural part of the world.

Epistemology and metaphysics

{{see also|Anthropology of religion}}The metaphysical considerations of the existence of the supernatural can be difficult to approach as an exercise in philosophy or theology because any dependencies on its antithesis, the natural, will ultimately have to be inverted or rejected.One complicating factor is that there is disagreement about the definition of "natural" and the limits of naturalism. Concepts in the supernatural domain are closely related to concepts in religious spirituality and occultism or spiritualism.
Robert Boyle>A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature}}The term "supernatural" is often used interchangeably with paranormal or preternatural â€” the latter typically limited to an adjective for describing abilities which appear to exceed what is possible within the boundaries of the laws of physics.BOOK,weblink The paranormal, July 26, 2010, 9780824210922, 2009, Partridge, Kenneth, Epistemologically, the relationship between the supernatural and the natural is indistinct in terms of natural phenomena that, ex hypothesi, violate the laws of nature, in so far as such laws are realistically accountable.|Michael Winkelman|Current Anthropology}}Many supporters of supernatural explanations believe that past, present, and future complexities and mysteries of the universe cannot be explained solely by naturalistic means and argue that it is reasonable to assume that a non-natural entity or entities resolve the unexplained.Views on the "supernatural" vary, for example it may be seen as:
  • indistinct from nature. From this perspective, some events occur according to the laws of nature, and others occur according to a separate set of principles external to known nature. For example, in Scholasticism, it was believed that God was capable of performing any miracle so long as it didn't lead to a logical contradiction. Some religions posit immanent deities, however, and do not have a tradition analogous to the supernatural; some believe that everything anyone experiences occurs by the will (occasionalism), in the mind (neoplatonism), or as a part (nondualism) of a more fundamental divine reality (platonism).
  • incorrect human attribution. In this view all events have natural and only natural causes. They believe that human beings ascribe supernatural attributes to purely natural events, such as lightning, rainbows, floods, and the origin of life.BOOK, Zhong Yang Yan Jiu Yuan, Min Tsu Hsüeh Yen Chiu So, 1976, Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Issues 42–44,weblink BOOK, B.J., Ellis, D.F., Bjorklund, 2004, Origins of the Social Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and Child Development, Guilford Publications, 9781593851033, 2004022693,weblink 413,

Religion

{{see also|Religion|Magic and religion}}

Deity

A deity ({{IPAc-en|audio=en-uk-deity1.ogg|ˈ|d|iː|ə|t|i}} or {{IPAc-en|audio=en-uk-deity2.ogg|ˈ|d|eɪ|.|ə|t|i}})BOOK, The American Heritage Book of English Usage: A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English, 1996, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 978-0395767856, 219, is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred.BOOK, O'Brien, Jodi, Encyclopedia of Gender and Society, 2009, SAGE, Los Angeles, 9781412909167, 191,weblink June 28, 2017, en, The Oxford Dictionary of English defines deity as "a god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion)", or anything revered as divine.BOOK, Stevenson, Angus, Oxford Dictionary of English, 2010, Oxford University Press, New York, 9780199571123, 461, 3rd,weblink June 28, 2017, en, C. Scott Littleton defines a deity as "a being with powers greater than those of ordinary humans, but who interacts with humans, positively or negatively, in ways that carry humans to new levels of consciousness, beyond the grounded preoccupations of ordinary life."BOOK, Littleton], C. Scott, Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology, 2005, Marshall Cavendish, New York, 9780761475590, 378,weblink June 28, 2017, en, A male deity is a god, while a female deity is a goddess.Religions can be categorized by how many deities they worship. Monotheistic religions accept only one deity (predominantly referred to as God),BOOK, Becking, Bob, Dijkstra, Meindert, Korpel, Marjo, Vriezen, Karel, Only One God?: Monotheism in Ancient Israel and the Veneration of the Goddess Asherah, 2001, New York, London, 9780567232120, 189,weblink June 28, 2017, en, The Christian tradition is, in imitation of Judaism, a monotheistic religion. This implies that believers accept the existence of only one God. Other deities either do not exist, are seen as the product of human imagination or are dismissed as remanents of a persistent paganism, BOOK, Korte, Anne-Marie, Haardt, Maaike De, The Boundaries of Monotheism: Interdisciplinary Explorations Into the Foundations of Western Monotheism, 2009, BRILL, 978-9004173163, 9,weblink June 28, 2017, en, polytheistic religions accept multiple deities.BOOK, Brown, Jeannine K., Scripture as Communication: Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics, 2007, Baker Academic, 9780801027888, 72,weblink June 28, 2017, en, Henotheistic religions accept one supreme deity without denying other deities, considering them as equivalent aspects of the same divine principle;BOOK, Taliaferro, Charles, Harrison, Victoria S., Goetz, Stewart, The Routledge Companion to Theism, 2012, Routledge, 9781136338236, 78–79,weblink June 28, 2017, en, BOOK, Reat, N. Ross, Perry, Edmund F., A World Theology: The Central Spiritual Reality of Humankind, 1991, Cambridge University Press, 9780521331593, 73–75,weblink June 28, 2017, en, and nontheistic religions deny any supreme eternal creator deity but accept a pantheon of deities which live, die, and are reborn just like any other being.BOOK, Keown, Damien, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, 2013, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 9780199663835, New,weblink June 22, 2017, en, {{rp|35-37}}BOOK, Bullivant, Stephen, Ruse, Michael, The Oxford Handbook of Atheism, 2013, Oxford University Publishing, 9780199644650,weblink June 22, 2017, en, {{rp|357-358}}Various cultures have conceptualized a deity differently than a monotheistic God. A deity need not be omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, omnibenevolent or eternal,BOOK, Hood, Robert E., Must God Remain Greek?: Afro Cultures and God-talk, 1990, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 9780800624491, 128–129, African people may describe their deities as strong, but not omnipotent; wise but not omniscient; old but not eternal; great but not omnipresent (...), BOOK, Trigger, Bruce G., Understanding Early Civilizations: A Comparative Study, 2003, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 9780521822459, 441–442, 1st, [Historically...] people perceived far fewer differences between themselves and the gods than the adherents of modern monotheistic religions. Deities were not thought to be omniscient or omnipotent and were rarely believed to be changeless or eternal, John Murdoch, {{Google books|IHQAAAAAMAAJ|English Translations of Select Tracts, Published in India - Religious Texts}}, pages 141-142; Quote: "We [monotheists] find by reason and revelation that God is omniscient, omnipotent, most holy, etc, but the Hindu deities possess none of those attributes. It is mentioned in their Shastras that their deities were all vanquished by the Asurs, while they fought in the heavens, and for fear of whom they left their abodes. This plainly shows that they are not omnipotent." The monotheistic God, however, does have these attributes.BOOK, Taliaferro, Charles, Marty, Elsa J., A Dictionary of Philosophy of Religion, 2010, Continuum, New York, 9781441111975, 98–99, BOOK, Wilkerson, W.D., Walking With The Gods, 2014, Sankofa, 978-0991530014, 6–7, BOOK, Trigger, Bruce G., Understanding Early Civilizations: A Comparative Study, 2003, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 9780521822459, 473–474, 1st, Monotheistic religions typically refer to God in masculine terms,BOOK, Kramarae, Cheris, Spender, Dale, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women's Issues and Knowledge, 2004, Routledge, 9781135963156, 655,weblink June 28, 2017, en, BOOK, O'Brien, Julia M., Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies, 2014, Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 9780199836994,weblink June 22, 2017, en, {{rp|96}} while other religions refer to their deities in a variety of ways – masculine, feminine, androgynous and gender neutral.BOOK, Bonnefoy, Yves, Roman and European Mythologies, 1992, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 9780226064550,weblink June 28, 2017, en, 274–275, BOOK, Pintchman, Tracy, Seeking Mahadevi: Constructing the Identities of the Hindu Great Goddess, 2014, SUNY Press, 9780791490495,weblink June 28, 2017, en, 1–2, 19–20, BOOK, Roberts, Nathaniel, To Be Cared For: The Power of Conversion and Foreignness of Belonging in an Indian Slum, 2016, University of California Press, 9780520963634,weblink June 28, 2017, en, xv, Historically, many ancient cultures – such as Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Greek, Ancient Roman, Nordic and Asian culture – personified natural phenomena, variously as either their conscious causes or simply their effects, respectively.BOOK, Malandra, William W., An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion: Readings from the Avesta and the Achaemenid Inscriptions, 1983, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 978-0816611157, 9–10,weblink June 28, 2017, en, BOOK, Fløistad, Guttorm, Volume 10: Philosophy of Religion, 2010, Springer Science & Business Media B.V., Dordrecht, 9789048135271, 19–20, 1st,weblink June 28, 2017, en, BOOK, Daniel T. Potts, Mesopotamian Civilization: The Material Foundations,weblink 1997, Cornell University Press, 978-0-8014-3339-9, 186–187, Some Avestan and Vedic deities were viewed as ethical concepts. In Indian religions, deities have been envisioned as manifesting within the temple of every living being's body, as sensory organs and mind.BOOK, Potter, Karl H., The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 3: Advaita Vedanta up to Samkara and His Pupils, 2014, Princeton University Press, 9781400856510, 272–274,weblink June 28, 2017, en, BOOK, Olivelle, Patrick, The Samnyasa Upanisads: Hindu Scriptures on Asceticism and Renunciation., 2006, Oxford University Press, New York, 9780195361377, 47,weblink June 28, 2017, en, BOOK, Cush, Denise, Robinson, Catherine, York, Michael, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, 2008, Routledge, London, 9781135189792, 899–900,weblink June 28, 2017, en, Deities have also been envisioned as a form of existence (Saṃsāra) after rebirth, for human beings who gain merit through an ethical life, where they become guardian deities and live blissfully in heaven, but are also subject to death when their merit runs out.{{rp|35-38}}{{rp|356-359}}

Angel

File:Guido Reni 031.jpg|thumb|200px|The Archangel Michael wears a late Roman military cloak and cuirass in this 17th-century depiction by Guido ReniGuido ReniFile:Bernhard Plockhorst - Schutzengel.jpg|thumb|right|Schutzengel (English: "Guardian Angel") by Bernhard Plockhorst depicts a guardian angelguardian angelFile:Stift Seitenstetten Marmorsaal Deckenfresko 01.JPG|thumb|The Harmony between Religion and Science, a ceiling fresco of the Marble Hall at Seitenstetten Abbey (Lower Austria) by Paul TrogerPaul TrogerFile:An allegory of poetry.jpg|thumb|An allegory of poetry by François BoucherFrançois BoucherFile:Jacob Wrestling with the Angel.jpg|thumb|Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, by Gustave DoréGustave DoréAn angel is generally a supernatural being found in various religions and mythologies. In Abrahamic religions and Zoroastrianism, angels are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between God or Heaven and Earth.The Free Dictionary weblink retrieved 1 September 2012"Angels in Christianity." Religion Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014 Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God's tasks.weblinkAugustine of Hippo's Enarrationes in Psalmos, 103, I, 15, augustinus.it {{La icon}} Within Abrahamic religions, angels are often organized into hierarchies, although such rankings may vary between sects in each religion, and are given specific names or titles, such as Gabriel or "Destroying angel". The term "angel" has also been expanded to various notions of spirits or figures found in other religious traditions. The theological study of angels is known as "angelology".In fine art, angels are usually depicted as having the shape of human beings of extraordinary beauty;WEB,weblink Definition of ANGEL, www.merriam-webster.com, 2016-05-02, WEB,weblink ANGELOLOGY - JewishEncyclopedia.com, jewishencyclopedia.com, 2016-05-02, they are often identified using the symbols of bird wings,Proverbio(2007), pp. 90-95; cf. review in La Civiltà Cattolica, 3795-3796 (2–16 August 2008), pp. 327-328. halos,Didron, Vol 2, pp.68-71 and light.

Prophecy

Prophecy involves a process in which one or more messages are allegedly communicated by a god to a prophet. Such messages typically involve inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of divine will concerning the prophet's social world and events to come (compare divine knowledge). Prophecy is not limited to any one culture. It is a common property to all known ancient societies around the world, some more than others. Many systems and rules about prophecy have been proposed over several millennia.

Revelation

In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.Some religions have religious texts which they view as divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired. For instance, Orthodox Jews, Christians and Muslims believe that the Torah was received from Yahweh on biblical Mount Sinai.Beale G.K., The Book of Revelation, NIGTC, Grand Rapids – Cambridge 1999. = {{ISBN|0-8028-2174-X}}Esposito, John L. What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 7–8. Most Christians believe that both the Old Testament and the New Testament were inspired by God. Muslims believe the Quran was revealed by God to Muhammad word by word through the angel Gabriel (Jibril).BOOK, Lambert, Gray, The Leaders Are Coming!, 2013, WestBow Press, 9781449760137, 287,weblink BOOK, Roy H. Williams, Michael R. Drew, Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future, 2012, Vanguard Press, 9781593157067, 143,weblink In Hinduism, some Vedas are considered {{IAST|apauruṣeya}}, "not human compositions", and are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti, "what is heard". The 15,000 handwritten pages produced by the mystic Maria Valtorta were represented as direct dictations from Jesus, while she attributed The Book of Azariah to her guardian angel.Maria Valtorta, The Poem of the Man God, {{ISBN|99926-45-57-1}} Aleister Crowley stated that The Book of the Law had been revealed to him through a higher being that called itself Aiwass.A revelation communicated by a supernatural entity reported as being present during the event is called a vision. Direct conversations between the recipient and the supernatural entity,Michael Freze, 1993, Voices, Visions, and Apparitions, OSV Publishing {{ISBN|0-87973-454-X}} p. 252 or physical marks such as stigmata, have been reported. In rare cases, such as that of Saint Juan Diego, physical artifacts accompany the revelation.Michael Freze, 1989 They Bore the Wounds of Christ {{ISBN|0-87973-422-1}} The Roman Catholic concept of interior locution includes just an inner voice heard by the recipient.In the Abrahamic religions, the term is used to refer to the process by which God reveals knowledge of himself, his will, and his divine providence to the world of human beings.WEB,weblink Revelation | Define Revelation at Dictionary.com, Dictionary.reference.com, 2013-07-14, In secondary usage, revelation refers to the resulting human knowledge about God, prophecy, and other divine things. Revelation from a supernatural source plays a less important role in some other religious traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.

Reincarnation

File:Gati or existences.jpg|right|thumb|In Jainism, a soul travels to any one of the four states of existence after death depending on its karmakarmaReincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration, and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence.{{Sfn|Norman C. McClelland|2010|pp=24–29, 171}}{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|pp=271–272}} It is a central tenet of all major Indian religions, namely Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|pp=271–272}}{{sfn|Stephen J. Laumakis|2008|pp=90–99}}BOOK, Rita M. Gross, Buddhism After Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism,weblink 1993, State University of New York Press, 978-1-4384-0513-1, 148, The idea of reincarnation is found in many ancient cultures,{{Sfn|Norman C. McClelland|2010|pp=102–103}} and a belief in rebirth/metempsychosis was held by Greek historic figures, such as Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato.see Charles Taliaferro, Paul Draper, Philip L. Quinn, A Companion to Philosophy of Religion. John Wiley and Sons, 2010, page 640, Google Books It is also a common belief of various ancient and modern religions such as Spiritism, Theosophy, and Eckankar, and as an esoteric belief in many streams of Orthodox Judaism. It is found as well in many tribal societies around the world, in places such as Australia, East Asia, Siberia, and South America.Gananath Obeyesekere, Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth. University of California Press, 2002, page 15.Although the majority of denominations within Christianity and Islam do not believe that individuals reincarnate, particular groups within these religions do refer to reincarnation; these groups include the mainstream historical and contemporary followers of Cathars, Alawites, the Druze,Hitti, Philip K (2007) [1924]. Origins of the Druze People and Religion, with Extracts from their Sacred Writings (New Edition). Columbia University Oriental Studies. 28. London: Saqi. pp. 13–14. {{ISBN|0-86356-690-1}} and the Rosicrucians.Heindel, Max (1985) [1939, 1908] The Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures (Collected Works): The Riddle of Life and Death. Oceanside, California. 4th edition. {{ISBN|0-911274-84-7}} The historical relations between these sects and the beliefs about reincarnation that were characteristic of Neoplatonism, Orphism, Hermeticism, Manicheanism, and Gnosticism of the Roman era as well as the Indian religions have been the subject of recent scholarly research.An important recent work discussing the mutual influence of ancient Greek and Indian philosophy regarding these matters is The Shape of Ancient Thought by Thomas McEvilley Unity Church and its founder Charles Fillmore teaches reincarnation.In recent decades, many Europeans and North Americans have developed an interest in reincarnation,WEB,weblink Popular psychology, belief in life after death and reincarnation in the Nordic countries, Western and Eastern Europe,  {{small|(54.8 KB)}} and many contemporary works mention it.

Karma

Karma ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|k|ɑr|m|ə}}; , {{IPA-sa|ˈkɐɽmɐ|IPA|Karma.ogg}}; ) means action, work or deed;See:
  • Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 15, New York, pp 679-680, Article on Karma; Quote - "Karma meaning deed or action; in addition, it also has philosophical and technical meaning, denoting a person's deeds as determining his future lot."
  • The Encyclopedia of World Religions, Robert Ellwood & Gregory Alles, {{ISBN|978-0-8160-6141-9}}, pp 253; Quote - "Karma: Sanskrit word meaning action and the consequences of action."
  • Hans Torwesten (1994), Vedanta: Heart of Hinduism, {{ISBN|978-0802132628}}, Grove Press New York, pp 97; Quote - "In the Vedas the word karma (work, deed or action, and its resulting effect) referred mainly to..." it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).Karma Encyclopædia Britannica (2012) Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering.Halbfass, Wilhelm (2000), Karma und Wiedergeburt im indischen Denken, Diederichs, München, GermanyLawrence C. Becker & Charlotte B. Becker, Encyclopedia of Ethics, 2nd Edition, {{ISBN|0-415-93672-1}}, Hindu Ethics, pp 678
With origins in ancient India's Vedic civilization, the philosophy of karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in many schools of Indian religions (particularly Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and SikhismBOOK, Parvesh Singla, The Manual of Life – Karma,weblink 4 June 2011, Parvesh singla, 5–7, GGKEY:0XFSARN29ZZ, ) as well as Taoism.Eva Wong, Taoism, Shambhala Publications, {{ISBN|978-1590308820}}, pp. 193 In these schools, karma in the present affects one's future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives - one's saṃsāra."Karma" in: John Bowker (1997), The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Oxford University Press.James Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Rosen Publishing, New York, {{ISBN|0-8239-2287-1}}, pp 351-352

Christian theology

File:San Giuseppe di Copertino 18th century engraving.jpg|thumb|right|The patron saint of air travelers, aviators, astronauts, people with a mental handicap, test takers, and poor students is Saint Joseph of Cupertino, who is said to have been gifted with supernatural flight.BOOK, Pastrovicchi, Angelo, St. Joseph of Copertino, Rev. Francis S. Laing, B.Herder, St. Louis, 1918, iv,weblink 978-0-89555-135-1, ]] In Catholic theology, the supernatural order is, according to New Advent, defined as "the ensemble of effects exceeding the powers of the created universe and gratuitously produced by God for the purpose of raising the rational creature above its native sphere to a God-like life and destiny."WEB,weblink Supernatural Order, Sollier, J., Robert Appleton Company, 2008-09-11, The Modern Catholic Dictionary defines it as "the sum total of heavenly destiny and all the divinely established means of reaching that destiny, which surpass the mere powers and capacities of human nature."WEB,weblink Supernatural Order, Hardon, Fr. John, Eternal Life, 2008-09-15,

Process theology

Process theology is a school of thought influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) and further developed by Charles Hartshorne (1897–2000).|Donald Viney|"Process Theism" in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy}}

Spirit

File:Theodor von Holst Bertalda Assailed Spirits.png|170px|thumb|Theodor von HolstTheodor von HolstA spirit is a supernatural being, often but not exclusively a non-physical entity; such as a ghost, fairy, or angel.François 2008, p.187-197. The concepts of a person's spirit and soul, often also overlap, as both are either contrasted with or given ontological priority over the body and both are believed to survive bodily death in some religions,OED "spirit 2.a.: The soul of a person, as commended to God, or passing out of the body, in the moment of death." and "spirit" can also have the sense of "ghost", i.e. a manifestation of the spirit of a deceased person. In English Bibles, "the Spirit" (with a capital "S"), specifically denotes the Holy Spirit.Spirit is often used metaphysically to refer to the consciousness or personality.Historically, it was also used to refer to a "subtle" as opposed to "gross" material substance, as in the famous last paragraph of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica.BOOK, Burtt, Edwin A., Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science, 2003, Dover Publications, Inc, Mineola, New York, 275,

Demon

missing image!
- PazuzuDemonAssyria1stMil 2.jpg -
Bronze statuette of the Assyro-Babylonian demon king Pazuzu, circa 800 BC –- circa 700 BC, Louvre
A demon (from Koine Greek daimónion) is a supernatural and often malevolent being prevalent in religion, occultism, literature, fiction, mythology and folklore.In Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered a harmful spiritual entity, below the heavenly planesS. T. Joshi Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares, Band Greenwood Publishing Group 2007 {{ISBN|978-0-313-33781-9}} page 34 which may cause demonic possession, calling for an exorcism. In Western occultism and Renaissance magic, which grew out of an amalgamation of Greco-Roman magic, Jewish Aggadah and Christian demonology,See, for example, the course synopsis and bibliography for "Magic, Science, Religion: The Development of the Western Esoteric Traditions" {{webarchive |url=https://web.archive.org/web/20141129021925weblink |date=November 29, 2014 }}, at Central European University, Budapest a demon is believed to be a spiritual entity that may be conjured and controlled.

Magic

Magic or sorcery is the use of rituals, symbols, actions, gestures, or language with the aim of utilizing supernatural forces.BOOK, Hutton, Ronald, Ronald Hutton, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy, 1995, Blackwell, Oxford; Cambridge, 978-0631189466, 289–291, 335, Reprint, BOOK, Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja, Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality, 1991, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 978-0521376310, Reprint, {{rp|6–7}}BOOK, Hanegraaff, Wouter J., Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, 2006, Brill, Leiden, 978-9004152311, Unabridged, 718, BOOK, Mauss, Marcel, Bain, Robert, Pocock, D. F., A General Theory of Magic, 2007, Routledge, London, 978-0415253963, Reprint, {{rp|24}} Belief in and practice of magic has been present since the earliest human cultures and continues to have an important spiritual, religious, and medicinal role in many cultures today. The term magic has a variety of meanings, and there is no widely agreed upon definition of what it is. Scholars of religion have defined magic in different ways. One approach, associated with the anthropologists Edward Tylor and James G. Frazer, suggests that magic and science are opposites. An alternative approach, associated with the sociologists Marcel Mauss and Emile Durkheim, argues that magic takes place in private, while religion is a communal and organised activity. Many scholars of religion have rejected the utility of the term magic and it has become increasingly unpopular within scholarship since the 1990s.The term magic comes from the Old Persian magu, a word that applied to a form of religious functionary about which little is known. During the late sixth and early fifth centuries BCE, this term was adopted into Ancient Greek, where it was used with negative connotations, to apply to religious rites that were regarded as fraudulent, unconventional, and dangerous. This meaning of the term was then adopted by Latin in the first century BCE. The concept was then incorporated into Christian theology during the first century CE, where magic was associated with demons and thus defined against religion. This concept was pervasive throughout the Middle Ages, although in the early modern period Italian humanists reinterpreted the term in a positive sense to establish the idea of natural magic. Both negative and positive understandings of the term were retained in Western culture over the following centuries, with the former largely influencing early academic usages of the word.Throughout history, there have been examples of individuals who practiced magic and referred to themselves as magicians. This trend has proliferated in the modern period, with a growing number of magicians appearing within the esoteric milieu.{{Citation needed lead|date=November 2017}} British esotericist Aleister Crowley described magic as the art of effecting change in accordance with will.

Divination

Divination (from Latin divinare "to foresee, to be inspired by a god",WEB,weblink LacusCurtius • Greek and Roman Divination (Smith's Dictionary, 1875), uchicago.edu, related to divinus, divine) is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual.Peek, P.M. African Divination Systems: Ways of Knowing. page 2. Indiana University Press. 1991. Used in various forms throughout history, diviners ascertain their interpretations of how a querent should proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a supernatural agency.JOURNAL, Silva, Sónia, 2016, Object and Objectivity in Divination, Material Religion, 12, 4, 507–509, 10.1080/17432200.2016.1227638, 1743-2200, Divination can be seen as a systematic method with which to organize what appear to be disjointed, random facets of existence such that they provide insight into a problem at hand. If a distinction is to be made between divination and fortune-telling, divination has a more formal or ritualistic element and often contains a more social character, usually in a religious context, as seen in traditional African medicine. Fortune-telling, on the other hand, is a more everyday practice for personal purposes. Particular divination methods vary by culture and religion.Divination is dismissed by the scientific community and skeptics as being superstition.Yau, Julianna. (2002). Witchcraft and Magic. In Michael Shermer. The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience. ABC-CLIO. pp. 278-282. {{ISBN|1-57607-654-7}}Regal, Brian. (2009). Pseudoscience: A Critical Encyclopedia. Greenwood. p. 55. {{ISBN|978-0-313-35507-3}} In the 2nd century, Lucian devoted a witty essay to the career of a charlatan, "Alexander the false prophet", trained by "one of those who advertise enchantments, miraculous incantations, charms for your love-affairs, visitations for your enemies, disclosures of buried treasure, and successions to estates",WEB,weblink Lucian of Samosata : Alexander the False Prophet, tertullian.org, even though most Romans believed in prophetic dreams and charms{{Citation needed|reason=Did most Romans believe in these things?|date=November 2018}}.

Witchcraft

File:Baldung Hexen 1508 kol.JPG|thumb|upright=0.9|Witches by Hans BaldungHans BaldungWitchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and thus can be difficult to define with precision,Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, Jeffrey Russell, p.4-10. and cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft often occupies a religious divinatory or medicinal role,Bengt Ankarloo & Stuart Clark, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: Biblical and Pagan Societies", University of Philadelphia Press, 2001 and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view.

Miracle

A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws.Miracle Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being (a deity), magic, a miracle worker, a saint or a religious leader.Informally, the word "miracle" is often used to characterise any beneficial event that is statistically unlikely but not contrary to the laws of nature, such as surviving a natural disaster, or simply a "wonderful" occurrence, regardless of likelihood, such as a birth. Other such miracles might be: survival of an illness diagnosed as terminal, escaping a life-threatening situation or 'beating the odds'. Some coincidences may be seen as miracles.BOOK
, Halbersam
, Yitta
, Small Miracles
, Adams Media Corp
, 1890
,
,
,
,
,
, 978-1-55850-646-6,
A true miracle would, by definition, be a non-natural phenomenon, leading many rational and scientific thinkers to dismiss them as physically impossible (that is, requiring violation of established laws of physics within their domain of validity) or impossible to confirm by their nature (because all possible physical mechanisms can never be ruled out). The former position is expressed for instance by Thomas Jefferson and the latter by David Hume. Theologians typically say that, with divine providence, God regularly works through nature yet, as a creator, is free to work without, above, or against it as well. The possibility and probability of miracles are then equal to the possibility and probability of the existence of God.Miracles on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Skepticism

Skepticism (American English) or scepticism (British English; see spelling differences) is generally any questioning attitude or doubt towards one or more items of putative knowledge or belief.BOOK, R. H., Popkin, The History of Skepticism from Erasmus to Descartes (rev. ed. 1968); C. L. Stough, Greek Skepticism (1969); M. Burnyeat, ed., The Skeptical Tradition (1983); B. Stroud, The Significance of Philosophical Skepticism (1984),weblink Encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com, "Philosophical views are typically classed as skeptical when they involve advancing some degree of doubt regarding claims that are elsewhere taken for granted." utm.edu It is often directed at domains such as the supernatural, morality (moral skepticism), religion (skepticism about the existence of God), or knowledge (skepticism about the possibility of knowledge, or of certainty).BOOK, The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism,weblink Oxford University Press, US, 2008, 9780195183214, en, John, Greco, John Greco (philosopher), Formally, skepticism as a topic occurs in the context of philosophy, particularly epistemology, although it can be applied to any topic such as politics, religion, and pseudoscience.One reason why skeptics assert that supernatural forces cannot exist is that anything can be described as "supernatural" and can be demonstrated to be a part of the natural world would have to be classified as be "natural." Although some believers in the supernatural insist that such forces cannot be demonstrated under scientific conditions, skeptics assert that the scientific method is the best tool humans have devised for knowing what is and isn't knowable. If the supernatural is inherently unknowable, then there is no reason to accept its reality.Novella, Steven, et al. The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake. Grand Central Publishing, 2018. pp. 145-146.

In fiction and popular culture

Supernatural entities and powers are common in various works of fantasy. Examples include the TV show Supernatural, the magic of the Harry Potter series, and the Force of Star Wars.Other depictions are taken from religious texts, such as the Book of Exodus.

See also

{{Wiktionary|supernatural}}

References

{{Reflist|30em}}

Further reading

  • JOURNAL, Bouvet R, Bonnefon J. F., 2015, Non-Reflective Thinkers Are Predisposed to Attribute Supernatural Causation to Uncanny Experiences, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 7, 955–61, 25948700, 10.1177/0146167215585728,
  • JOURNAL, McNamara P, Bulkeley K, 2015, Dreams as a Source of Supernatural Agent Concepts, Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 283, 4365543, 25852602, 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00283,
  • JOURNAL, Riekki T, Lindeman M, Raij T. T., 2014, Supernatural Believers Attribute More Intentions to Random Movement than Skeptics: An fMRI Study, Social Neuroscience, 9, 4, 400–411, 10.1080/17470919.2014.906366, 24720663,
  • JOURNAL, Purzycki Benjamin G, 2013, The Minds of Gods: A Comparative Study of Supernatural Agency, Cognition, 129, 1, 163–179, 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.06.010, 23891826,
  • JOURNAL, Thomson P, Jaque S. V., 2014, Unresolved Mourning, Supernatural Beliefs and Dissociation: A Mediation Analysis, Attachment and Human Development, 16, 5, 499–514, 10.1080/14616734.2014.926945, 24913392,
  • JOURNAL, Vail K. E, Arndt J, Addollahi A., 2012, Exploring the Existential Function of Religion and Supernatural Agent Beliefs Among Christians, Muslims, Atheists, and Agnostics, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 10, 1288–1300, 10.1177/0146167212449361, 22700240,
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