Sunday, November 7, 2010

Religion and the paranormal

Ghosts and Christianity

I wrote this post awhile ago but I was a little hesitant to post it, mostly because I don’t want to offend people of other faiths or beliefs who might be reading this blog. But after a day a researching the subject, I had someone randomly mention the topic to me. The person had no idea I’d been studying this, so it seemed a bit like a sign that sharing it would be a good thing. I think a lot of people are curious and have questions about it, so at the least I hope to get some people thinking. I’ve written this article from a Christian perspective, but I think some of the ideas can be applied to other religions as well.

One thing that plagues many people interested in the paranormal is a deep routed religious belief that ghosts either don’t exist or are a manifestation of something evil. While believing (or not believing) in ghosts is a personal decision, it’s unfortunate that many people avoid ever dealing with the subject simply because they are confused or uncomfortable about it. I was raised Christian and still consider myself one. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe spirits are a real possibility. In fact there are many Bible verses that mention the existence of ghosts.

A few examples:

Samuel chapter 28:7-25

Describes an incident where Saul asks a medium to bring up the spirit of Samuel. Samuel appears to them as an old man and speaks with them.

Mark 9:4

Mentions that Elijah and Moses were seen by Peter, James, and John talking with Jesus.

These are only two of many verses in the Bible that mention people seeing ghosts or the spirits of the deceased. So if the Bible mentions them being around, why are so many Christians afraid of the idea?

The Bible says that when people die, they go to be with God. But the Bible isn’t really clear about how we spend our time once we are in the presence of God. I think it’s plausible that people could go to heaven, then return to Earth to visit loved ones or complete unfinished tasks.

The Bible also isn’t clear about the actual physical location of heaven or hell. Many people believe in the idea of other dimensions. Perhaps heaven (or hell) is located in the same physical space as earth. Maybe the spirits people see and experience are glimpses into these other dimensions.

A popular belief in the Christian faith is that ghosts are really demons masquerading as human in an effort to confuse people. And maybe they are. But if demons are out trying to mislead people, I’m inclined to try and figure out how. It’s part of my curious nature. And it still wouldn’t explain why Jesus let his disciples see him talking with Moses and Elijah. He clearly wanted them to gain some insight from seeing the dead walking on Earth. I think he was trying to show them that life doesn’t stop with the death of our bodies. And what an interesting lesson that is.

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