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kmt_sesh

Judeo-Christian bias?

13 posts in this topic

I love a good ghost story as much as anyone. I also don't dismiss the possibility of ghosts, as skeptical and conservative as I tend to be in paranormal matters. My own extended family has had some interesting experiences with hauntings, although I personally have never encountered a ghost.

I was home for a bit earlier today and was watching Paranormal State on the Biography Channel. I like that show, as obviously TV-ish as it tends to be. Much the same is true for other ghost-hunting television shows. They seem more for the sake of entertainment than for real paranormal investigations. Paranormal State is particularly big on Christian bias in paranormal investigations, which brings me to the reason for starting this discussion.

Doesn't this widespread and overt Judeo-Christian bias in paranormal investigations strike anyone as odd? Does the Judeo-Christian tradition possess such a mastery on all things spiritual and afterlife-related that all other forms of religion throughout the world are negated? Judeo-Christianity—and only Judeo-Christianity—has all the answers?

In posing these questions, I do not mean to demean Judeo-Christianity. I myself was raised Roman Catholic. For instance, in the television show Paranormal State you will often see references to demonic possession, the devil, and the recruitment of reverends or priests in the Christian tradition to help "clean" a house of a "demonic" entity.

I don't frequently visit this section of UM to post like this. As a poster I spend most of my time in the Alternative History section, where I can put my own experience to use in the research and study of ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Part of that experience has involved the studies of ancient Judea and the development of the worship of Yahweh, as well as the Bible. This involves the development of Christianity as well, naturally. From a strictly historical perspective, what strikes me as interesting in this Christian bias in paranormal investigations is the fact that the devil in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) is an ill-defined character, while in the New Testament (the Christian addition) the devil takes full form. In other words, from the perspective of secular historical studies, it's clear Satan as we understand him, as well as the wider concept of hell, are Christian adaptations to a much-older but more ambiguous concept of the "big evil."

I'm prattling on as usual, so I'll stop now and invite readers to contribute their thoughts on this subject.

Thanks.

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When I first came to UM,and was thought a bit off,because of my spiritual beliefs ,the topic of exorcism came up .

I pointed out,the catholics do *not* have the monopoly on exorcism .

It's a centuries old ritual ,that has been used by countless cultures and religions .I pointed out,even Muslims perform exorcisms ,and there are videos of some on YouTube .

Maybe two weeks later,a few of them popped up on um threads ....so someone was paying attention .

Having also been raised Catholic ,I find the entire; " only catholics and their church can do this",repugnant .

On many issues.Not just exorcism .

I too ,like Paranormal State . I think they are biased because the guy in charge is biased .I want to say,in a few episodes,he allowed the use of other panetheons. I believe native American and Wicca . I think so ,but when its demonic,in his opinion ,and Lorraine Warren has been called in ,they go the Catholic route ,because its in his comfort zone .

Because its been so ingrained upon the public ,that this is the norm ,people automatically go the catholic route ,when it comes to possession and the like .

At least two Hollywood movies have shown Jewish exorcisms .I want to say one was a remake of an Asian movie though .

This is just how its viewed by the mainstream now ,so I guess its also good for ratings ?

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I love a good ghost story as much as anyone. I also don't dismiss the possibility of ghosts, as skeptical and conservative as I tend to be in paranormal matters. My own extended family has had some interesting experiences with hauntings, although I personally have never encountered a ghost.

I was home for a bit earlier today and was watching Paranormal State on the Biography Channel. I like that show, as obviously TV-ish as it tends to be. Much the same is true for other ghost-hunting television shows. They seem more for the sake of entertainment than for real paranormal investigations. Paranormal State is particularly big on Christian bias in paranormal investigations, which brings me to the reason for starting this discussion.

Doesn't this widespread and overt Judeo-Christian bias in paranormal investigations strike anyone as odd? Does the Judeo-Christian tradition possess such a mastery on all things spiritual and afterlife-related that all other forms of religion throughout the world are negated? Judeo-Christianity—and only Judeo-Christianity—has all the answers?

In posing these questions, I do not mean to demean Judeo-Christianity. I myself was raised Roman Catholic. For instance, in the television show Paranormal State you will often see references to demonic possession, the devil, and the recruitment of reverends or priests in the Christian tradition to help "clean" a house of a "demonic" entity.

I don't frequently visit this section of UM to post like this. As a poster I spend most of my time in the Alternative History section, where I can put my own experience to use in the research and study of ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Part of that experience has involved the studies of ancient Judea and the development of the worship of Yahweh, as well as the Bible. This involves the development of Christianity as well, naturally. From a strictly historical perspective, what strikes me as interesting in this Christian bias in paranormal investigations is the fact that the devil in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) is an ill-defined character, while in the New Testament (the Christian addition) the devil takes full form. In other words, from the perspective of secular historical studies, it's clear Satan as we understand him, as well as the wider concept of hell, are Christian adaptations to a much-older but more ambiguous concept of the "big evil."

I'm prattling on as usual, so I'll stop now and invite readers to contribute their thoughts on this subject.

Thanks.

I think it is exactly opposite happening here.

I think paranormal investigators are more concerned with "ghost" hunting and similar stuff that is not accepted by judeo-christian beliefs. Mainstream christianity discourages belief in ghosts. It is only pagan relgions that encourage such beliefs.

Most paranormal television shows propagate these beliefs about ghosts and elementals and many other concepts that are outright rejected by Christianity. So I think the bias is the other way around.

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I do not think the Judeo-Christian bias is a universal one, but is rather culture specific. I am not sure if you are also interested in non-Western cultures, but in contemporary Egypt for example dealing with possession and the supernatural in general is multi-layered. People go to Coptic priests, or Muslim sheikhs who use their respective books. A third option is that of folk practices. Some are clearly African in origin like the Zar ritual which aims to appease, not exorcise, the spirit using trance dancing and animal sacrifice. Some practitoners including Coptic priests, claim that the texts they use (incantations) are of ancient origin and were hidden in monasteries. In villages close to ancient ruins, the tombs and temples are also used. In one village the figure of Isis is invoked by women in particular. They call her 'the kind lady', and say she was a widow who raised her son alone, but do not know her name or her myth. In other villages mud 'ka-houses' are still left as votive offerings for local 'wali' or saint. The definition of evil, and the rituals designed to deal with the supernatural are defined by culture and may cross 'time barriers'.

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I've never experienced a contact with a "ghost" and do not believe in them based on the fact that Biblically I've never seen any reference to them except some poor translations of the word Holy Spirit. We are not to attempt to contact the dead. I might well be misunderstanding the text so I'm not dogmatic about the issue but as I said, I've never "met" one. I HAVE experienced a presence in a room I was renovating that can only be described as evil. It occurred suddenly and was so strong that when I wasn't actually working in the room I kept the door closed. The hair on the back of my neck would stand on end even when walking past the room through the hallway. This went on for several days and I was constantly thinking of the room and repulsed by it at the same time so I finally followed the advice of a pastor and prayed blessings over some olive oil (symbol of the Holy Spirit) I entered the room and dipped my finger in the oil and made a cross over the window and door and prayed that whatever was there leave in the name of Jesus. Call it self deception but from that day to this I never felt the sensation again and stopped being troubled by that room. I just got out of bed - in that room - from a peaceful night's sleep.

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Doesn't this widespread and overt Judeo-Christian bias in paranormal investigations strike anyone as odd? Does the Judeo-Christian tradition possess such a mastery on all things spiritual and afterlife-related that all other forms of religion throughout the world are negated? Judeo-Christianity—and only Judeo-Christianity—has all the answers?

In posing these questions, I do not mean to demean Judeo-Christianity. I myself was raised Roman Catholic. For instance, in the television show Paranormal State you will often see references to demonic possession, the devil, and the recruitment of reverends or priests in the Christian tradition to help "clean" a house of a "demonic" entity.

I've noticed this in other such shows, and it doesn't strike me as odd at all. I think the bias we're seeing is just representative of the fact that the majority of the U.S. is Christian, and it tends to to be zealous Christians (in this country, at least) who are obsessed with concepts like the devil and hell. If these shows attract a predominantly Christian viewership, then they'll keep putting out material that panders to this audience. I also think the success of exorcism movies, with decidedly Catholic spins on things, in the last half-century has lead many to try to cash in on this.

Edit: I have seen some shows where Native American smudging or "New Age" techniques were used, but these were in a minority of episodes.

Edited by Cybele

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Doesn't this widespread and overt Judeo-Christian bias in paranormal investigations strike anyone as odd? Does the Judeo-Christian tradition possess such a mastery on all things spiritual and afterlife-related that all other forms of religion throughout the world are negated? Judeo-Christianity—and only Judeo-Christianity—has all the answers?

That's religion for you. "We have all the answers, do it our way or go to hell."

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I don't find it odd that the human participants on an American TV show bring up Judeo-Christian concepts in the program. I do find the universal denial of Christ informative.

I also find informative the universal characteristics the supernatural carries across all cultures.

1) It is always steeped in fear and dread

2) The experiences are very usually truly terrifying to people. The terror described is imply not a terror of the unknown. It is a deep terror that the experience is exposing the person to something genuinely dreadful. It is never a truly joyful experience. At best people become accustomed to it and learn to accept it as some kind of informative experience, but never a deeply joyful experience

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Doesn't this widespread and overt Judeo-Christian bias in paranormal investigations strike anyone as odd? Does the Judeo-Christian tradition possess such a mastery on all things spiritual and afterlife-related that all other forms of religion throughout the world are negated? Judeo-Christianity—and only Judeo-Christianity—has all the answers?

This TV programme is American. 73% of Americans are Christians. So it's hardly surprising that it has a Christian bias.

But if you were to watch an Arab or Indian paranormal reality show things would be different.

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the catholics do *not* have the monopoly on exorcism .

It's a centuries old ritual ,that has been used by countless cultures and religions .I pointed out,even Muslims perform exorcisms

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7wpBPFZh18

You can also exorcise spirits by reading the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, which is the Hindu holy book. Obviously there were ghosts and spirits around before Jesus came to earth.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7wpBPFZh18

You can also exorcise spirits by reading the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, which is the Hindu holy book. Obviously there were ghosts and spirits around before Jesus came to earth.

Oh I know ,it was just one example . Exorcisms are performed by just about every culture ,not necessarily in conjunction with religious beliefs

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I love a good ghost story as much as anyone. I also don't dismiss the possibility of ghosts, as skeptical and conservative as I tend to be in paranormal matters. My own extended family has had some interesting experiences with hauntings, although I personally have never encountered a ghost.

I was home for a bit earlier today and was watching Paranormal State on the Biography Channel. I like that show, as obviously TV-ish as it tends to be. Much the same is true for other ghost-hunting television shows. They seem more for the sake of entertainment than for real paranormal investigations. Paranormal State is particularly big on Christian bias in paranormal investigations, which brings me to the reason for starting this discussion.

Doesn't this widespread and overt Judeo-Christian bias in paranormal investigations strike anyone as odd? Does the Judeo-Christian tradition possess such a mastery on all things spiritual and afterlife-related that all other forms of religion throughout the world are negated? Judeo-Christianity—and only Judeo-Christianity—has all the answers?

In posing these questions, I do not mean to demean Judeo-Christianity. I myself was raised Roman Catholic. For instance, in the television show Paranormal State you will often see references to demonic possession, the devil, and the recruitment of reverends or priests in the Christian tradition to help "clean" a house of a "demonic" entity.

I don't frequently visit this section of UM to post like this. As a poster I spend most of my time in the Alternative History section, where I can put my own experience to use in the research and study of ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Part of that experience has involved the studies of ancient Judea and the development of the worship of Yahweh, as well as the Bible. This involves the development of Christianity as well, naturally. From a strictly historical perspective, what strikes me as interesting in this Christian bias in paranormal investigations is the fact that the devil in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) is an ill-defined character, while in the New Testament (the Christian addition) the devil takes full form. In other words, from the perspective of secular historical studies, it's clear Satan as we understand him, as well as the wider concept of hell, are Christian adaptations to a much-older but more ambiguous concept of the "big evil."

I'm prattling on as usual, so I'll stop now and invite readers to contribute their thoughts on this subject.

Thanks.

I've always wondered about this...

What if the ghost was an atheist? If I can come back I'm going to terrorize someone. When a religious book is read to "exorcise" me I'm going to use EVP's to quote Dawkins.

Then I will sing something from Lady Gaga.

I will be horrifying.

BTW - kmt

When did you become all powerful? :) Congrats!!

Nibs

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Thanks for all of the comments, folks, and I apologize for taking so long to rejoin the discussion.

I must admit to some measure of embarrassment because several of you mentioned something obvious that I missed: the Western bias of Western television shows. That certainly explains it.

Let's admit to something else that's obvious: No religion has a monopoly on afterlife concepts nor can any religion truly tell us what happens to us when we die. Do we become ascendent spirits which rise to a type of "heaven" or do we become earthbound forms of energy (i.e., ghosts)? Or is this physical existence all there is and nothing at all happens after we die? No one knows. But that's the purpose for religion, after all: to explain the unexplainable, to answer questions which really have no answers.

On the face of it, quite simply no one knows for sure what happens after death. There is no scientific, empirical evidence to tell us. All of these TV shows use fancy "scientific" equipment to help in their investigations, and sometimes it's credible. At other times some of the equipment strikes me as farcical, such as Ghost Adventures' "ghost-talking box" (I can't remember what they call it, but it seems absurd to me). And some of these shows rely on the altogether unscientific, namely psychics. I enjoy the show Dead Files but its psychic seems a bit melodramatic to me. I was watching an episode this evening and she was explaining banshees to a homeowner. I mean, banshees? She's using Irish folklore for investigative purposes?

I had a good chuckle over that.

-----------------------------------------------------------

HerNibs: Thanks, and good to see you again. I was made a Mod a couple of weeks ago, so it's recent. LOL I don't know about the all-powerful part, but don't tempt me! :devil:

Kidding.

Say, if you do pass and wish to come back, set up a new account at UM. I'll bet other message boards don't have a resident ghost haunting them. That would be cool.

Just don't post any audio files of you singing Lady Gaga. That's not an EVP I'd care to hear.

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