21 September 2009
Most People Are Superstitious
We have all seen or practiced a superstition. Human beings are superstitious by nature. People who claim that they are not superstitious are either in denial or unaware of their superstitious behavior. A lot of us believe in myths and superstitions that do not have logical explanations. Atheists, agnostics, and free thinkers often see all religious belief as a form of superstition. Some beliefs are as old as the written word, yet they have woven themselves into the fabric of everyday society. What are superstitions? A superstition is an irrational belief about the relationship between certain actions and their effects. A superstitious person believes that the future can be caused or influenced by completely unrelated behaviors. Superstition is not based on reason. A superstition is a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or misinterpretation of correlations as causes. Science tends to claim that all superstitious practices are pointless, but even science in its beginning was based on magic, numerology, and alchemy. Many of these practices have carried on even into our day. So many people waste their time and money on things like UFO’s, Bermuda triangles, ghosts, and witchcraft. Despite science's attempts to turn the old ways into useless or forgotten beliefs, the remnants of them are still around. True, the intent is not there, but the practice is. Whether people know it or not, they are incorporating these old practices into their everyday lives. Superstition prevails in our daily lives, for example, crossing our fingers for good luck or avoiding the path of a black cat. Today, when speaking of one's good fortune, it is common to knock on wood, though most people do not know why. The ancient Celts began this practice as a way of thanking the wood fairies, who were seen as responsible for good luck. Another great example is that we still bless someone who has just sneezed. At one time, it was believed that people’s souls were expelled from their bodies by an explosive sneeze. Therefore, to say "Bless you!" was a protective oath to safeguard the vulnerable soul from being snatched up by Satan. Although few of us would bless a sneezer thinking of its original intention, the practice is still considered a matter of etiquette, and is very common even today. There are many aspects of wedding superstition, and they are some of the most commonly practiced. For instance, engagement and wedding rings are worn on the forth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart. Probably the most superstitious group in our society is the athlete. Baseball players will not step on the foul line as they leave the field of play. Football players have exact pre-game rituals that can’t be interrupted. For example, Brian Dawkins of the Philadelphia Eagles will stalk the end zone before a game, pacing back and forth, not talking to anybody. Dawkins then has an intense one-on-one conversation with a football before the game to get himself, and the football, ready to go. While all of these can seem absurd, they are what people adhere to in a religious fashion. In conclusion, in spite of advances in scientific knowledge, people are still superstitious. Most people are not aware of how prevalent these practices really are. Superstitions affect our daily lives, our marriages, sports traditions, and matters of etiquette. There are superstitions about everything, and most people have superstitious beliefs and practices of one kind or another.