Supernatural Beliefs and Practices
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Supernatural beliefs and practices all share one thing in common: the occurrences cannot be described by the traditional laws of the universe. Some of these elements are more extreme than others, but they all share this underlying contingency. Supernatural beliefs and practices can vary dramatically based on a number of factors, including culture, religion, and socialization. Different religions view supernatural beliefs in different ways. Christians, for example, praise a number of supernatural practices, including the turning of water into wine, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These are not seen to Christians as miracles, despite their qualifying as a supernatural event. In years past, religion has also falsely accused individuals of supernatural behaviors: witch trials throughout New England during the colonial era, for example, found countless women guilty of supernatural practices largely because they fell outside the norms of conventional society.
The society in which an individual lives also helps to form their perception of supernatural beliefs and practices. In 21st-century America, for example, our media has helped to perpetrate a veneration of the supernatural. Books, films, and television programs all reflect our fascination with the occult, demonology, paranormal activity, and other fantastical elements of the supernatural. Other cultures, however, see many of these elements in an entirely different way. Some see spirits and apparitions as positive factors, as evidence that their deceased ancestors are remaining present in their daily lives. Others fear such elements, seeing them as bad omens or signs of something fearful to come. Each of these various factors, and countless others, plays a role in an individual’s perception of supernatural beliefs and practices, and can vary dramatically.