The term paranormal refers to a group of beliefs and phenomena that are rejected by mainstream science, including such topics as unidentified flying objects, psychic abilities, and ghosts. Many paranormal topics concern ideas that are commonly considered to be in the sphere of religious doctrine, such as miracles, the afterlife, or the existence of spirit entities. Despite this overlap, many definitions of the paranormal frame it as something distinct from religion. Sociologists of a religion attempting to analyze paranormal beliefs and experiences are confronted by the problems of defining the paranormal and also theorizing its complex relationship with religion.

The distinction between religion and the paranormal is often a folk taxonomy, meaning these terms are used in an ad hoc fashion rather than a scientific or ...

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