What might explain such discrepancies? And are some people more likely to see ghosts than others? It turns out that our religious background could play a role.Religion might ease one fearSome argue that religion evolved as a terror management device, a handy way to remove the uncertainty surrounding one of the scariest things we can imagine: death.Almost every religion offers an explanation for what happens to us after we die, with the assurance that death isn’t the end. And there is, in fact, evidence that very religious people don’t fear death as much as others.Protestants, Catholics and Muslims all believe in a day of resurrection and judgment, in which our souls are directed to heaven (“Jannah” in the case of Muslims) or hell based upon our good deeds (or misdeeds) during our time spent on Earth. Catholics also believe in a halfway house called purgatory, in which people who aren’t quite worthy of heaven but are too good for hell can pay their dues before getting a ticket to paradise.Buddhists and Hindus believe in a cycle of death and reincarnation that can eventually result in a permanent spiritual state, provided you play your cards right over each successive lifetime. Even the Jewish faith, which doesn’t really focus on the afterlife, assumes that an afterlife does exist.By following a clear set of rules, worshipers can assert control: They know what they have to do to make good things, rather than bad things, happen to them after they take the big dirt nap.Tormented souls and sinister demonsBut there’s a catch.Religion’s talent for easing our anxiety about death may have had the perverse effect of increasing the likelihood that we’ll be on edge about ghosts, spirits and other supernatural beings. This, however, may depend upon how religious you actually are.All of the available evidence suggests that those who describe themselves as believers – but who don’t attend church regularly – are twice as likely to believe in ghosts than those at the two extremes of religious belief: nonbelievers and the deeply devout.With most religions populated by an impressive cadre of prophets, gods, spirits, angels and miracles, the tenets of religious faith might shape what you see. They could determine whether a visitor from the spirit world is a welcome or unwelcome guest, while also influencing whom you think you’re meeting.For example, in Medieval Catholic Europe, ghosts were assumed to be the tormented souls of people suffering for their sins in purgatory. But during the Protestant Reformation, since most Protestants believed that souls went immediately to heaven or hell, paranormal activity was thought to be the work of angels, demons or other decidedly nonhuman supernatural beings.While most Protestant sects today are largely silent about the existence of ghosts, Catholic theology remains amenable to the existence of ghosts. Catholics typically believe that God may permit dead individuals to visit their counterparts on Earth, but the church has traditionally condemned occult activities such as seances and Ouija boards.In some religions, such as Voodoo, spirits and ghosts play a central role. Religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism support a belief in ghosts, but ghosts play only a minor role in the religion itself. For Hindus, ghosts are the souls of individuals who suffered a violent death or of people who were not accorded the appropriate and required death rituals. Buddhist ghosts are reincarnated individuals who may be sorting out bad karma.Muslims don’t believe that dead people can return as ghosts, so if a Muslim thinks he’s encountered a ghost, it’s thought to be the work of Jinn – beings that contain a mix of spiritual and physical properties, whose intentions can be malevolent or benevolent depending upon the situation. There are several other religions, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, that also believe ghostly apparitions are demons in disguise rather than the souls of deceased people.Jews typically discourage occult activities designed to contact the dead, and there seems to be less consensus within Judaism as to the status of ghosts. However, Jewish oral traditions include stories of evil ghosts (Dybbuks) and kindly, helpful ghosts (Ibburs) who try to insert themselves in human affairs.It appears people across eras, religions and cultures have always been curious about a spiritual world that exists behind the curtain of death.Together, it speaks to how thoughts, fears and visions of death are integral to human life.By Frank T. McAndrew, Cornelia H. Dudley Professor of Psychology, Knox CollegeThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Share Share on Twitter Email Pinterest Share on Facebook LinkedIn If you’ve ever seen a ghost, you have something in common with 18 percent of Americans.But while there’s evidence that our brains are hardwired to see ghosts, the apparitions we see tend to vary.Historians who study and catalogue ghostly encounters across time will tell you that ghosts come in a range of shapes and forms. Some haunt individuals, appearing in dreams or popping up at unexpected times. Others haunt a specific location and are prepared to spook any passersby. Some are the spitting images of what were once real humans. And then there are the noisy and troublesome poltergeists, which appear as uncontrollable supernatural forces instead of people.
Customs officials said enforcement will be implemented in stages. From now until April 30, enforcement will focus on importers that have never filed the data, and filers that file incomplete data or don’t meet the deadline, which is 24 hours before a vessel departs from a foreign port.Starting from May, Customs will begin holding cargo of non-compliant companies, and will begin other enforcement measures, including additional inspections. It plans to start assessing liquidated damages from the middle of the year, and by year’s end, the agency will be in full enforcement mode.
POLAND: Małopolska voivodship has signed a contract for Newag to supply seven four-car Impuls 2 electric multiple-units, and provide five years of maintenance services as well as documentation and staff training.The first two EMUs are to be delivered within 16 months and the last vehicle within 22 months.The trains will be operated by Koleje Małopolskie on routes from Kraków to Skawina, Sędziszów, Tarnów, Nowy Sącz and Krynica Zdrój, and by Polregio between Kraków and Katowice.The 245m złoty order signed on June 26 is being co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and there is an option for a further two trainsets to be added.
SALT LAKE CITY — So how did you spend your Saturday?Probably Christmas shopping if you’re the organized type or playing video games if you’re not. Perhaps you spent the afternoon raking the wet leaves off the lawn that have been buried under the snow for the past couple of weeks. Maybe you finally got that pile of pencils sharpened.If you’re a major college football fan, you had to be content watching the annual Army-Navy game and seeing the Midshipmen win for the ninth straight year. Otherwise there wasn’t much in the way of sports to watch on Saturday.But what if you had had the chance to watch the NCAA football quarterfinals from Phoenix or New Orleans Saturday afternoon, after watching two other quarterfinals the night before? That’s what we football fans should be doing in mid-December, instead of waiting a month between games while our interest fades.With input from my good friend and college football aficionado Tom Johnson, we have come up with a plan that could work, if only the people in charge of college football would open their eyes.I understand that similar plans have been offered out there over the years, but perhaps not exactly like this.NumbersThe ideal number for football playoffs is 16. Eight isn’t enough and 32 is too many.With 16 teams, you’re not going to leave out any deserving teams and you shouldn’t have to include any bad ones. Well, except for Connecticut.Most proposals for 16-team tournaments I’ve seen put the winners of the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences in, plus five at-large teams.I suggest eight automatic and eight at-large berths.The eight automatic berths would go to winners of the six current BCS conferences, the Mountain West Conference and the best team from the remaining four conferences, Conference USA, WAC, Mid-American and Sun Belt.One may say this is as discriminatory as the current BCS system, which excludes all but the top six conferences.But really, when is the last time a team from the Mid-American or Sun Belt Conference ever had a team come close to being in the top 16? Who wants to see Auburn vs. Florida International or Oregon vs. Northern Illinois in a first-round game?However, the MWC has proven itself worthy over the past decade with the likes of TCU, Utah and BYU. And even though those three teams are leaving, Boise State has certainly proven itself worthy and Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State will make the MWC a creditable league along with Air Force and a rising San Diego State program. To appease the other four conferences, take the best team from among those leagues.SeedingsRank the eight automatic qualifiers with the eight at-large teams much like the current NCAA basketball tournament does. You could put a committee together like the one for basketball or just keep the current BCS standings as a basis for seeding with the option to tweak the rankings slightly to avoid first-round matchups of teams from the same conference or opponents that have already played during the season.As for soon-to-be independent BYU, it could make it into the playoffs by finishing in the top 16 and getting one of the at-large berths, the same chance Notre Dame would have.ScheduleStart the playoffs the first weekend of December with first-round games played at the home site of the higher-ranked team. Two weeks later play the quarterfinals at major bowl sites with doubleheaders on Friday night and Saturday at say, the Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl (if this wouldn’t satisfy the money-makers, you could perhaps include a couple of other destinations such as Orlando or San Diego.Two weeks later play the semifinals on New Year’s Day, at the other two major bowl sites Pasadena and Miami (rotate them every year).Then on or around Jan. 10 play the national championship game at the fancy new stadium in Dallas.And what about all those Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and Kraft Fight Hunger bowls out there? You can keep them and about 50 other teams happy by playing those games in the two-week stretch between Dec. 20 and Jan. 5.This yearSo what would have happened this year with such a playoff plan in place? We could have had first-round matchups such as Arkansas-Michigan State, Ohio State-LSU, TCU-Oklahoma State and Oklahoma-Boise State.Assuming the top seeds had won their first-round games, the quarterfinals would have matched Auburn-Arkansas, Stanford-Wisconsin, Ohio State-TCU and Oklahoma-Oregon.Two weeks later on New Year’s Day, we might have had Auburn vs. Stanford and Oregon vs. TCU. Finally on Jan. 10 we could have ended up with Auburn vs. Oregon in the national championship game.Just like we’ll actually have this year.But at least Oregon and Auburn would have earned their way in and not been sitting around for nearly six weeks waiting to play the game. And we all would have had some exciting games to enjoy on the boring Saturdays in mid-December.e-mail: [email protected]