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AquilaChrysaetos

Christianity and the Paranormal

19 posts in this topic

The most common belief system concerning the paranormal, is the assumption that the majority of all paranormal activity captured or recorded are the spirits of the dearly departed. Now, I know that there is plenty of evidence to support these claims, however what I find difficult to understand is how many people who claim to be Christians support this very theory.

My question is for those such Christians. Where do you base these assumptions on? The belief that the souls of the dead can linger here on Earth seem to be in direct opposition of Christian and biblical teachings. I'm not meaning to insult or badger you, I'm only attempting to understand.

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Maybe they don't want to go through the light because they are afraid of where they may be going. Then some of them just don't want to leave because of unfinished business or maybe they don't realize their dead.

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Maybe they don't want to go through the light because they are afraid of where they may be going. Then some of them just don't want to leave because of unfinished business or maybe they don't realize their dead.

Yes, I understand that, but that's not my point. Where is this idea ever mentioned by Christ, or anyone else in the bible? Where do you base this on?

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The most common belief system concerning the paranormal, is the assumption that the majority of all paranormal activity captured or recorded are the spirits of the dearly departed. Now, I know that there is plenty of evidence to support these claims, however what I find difficult to understand is how many people who claim to be Christians support this very theory.

My question is for those such Christians. Where do you base these assumptions on? The belief that the souls of the dead can linger here on Earth seem to be in direct opposition of Christian and biblical teachings. I'm not meaning to insult or badger you, I'm only attempting to understand.

To understand why some Christians believe in elements of Spiritualism it is all fairly straightforward if we understand history.

The original belief, at least in America, was that upon death one would remain buried until the Resurrection during the Second Coming.

When the Civil War occured this belief was shattered since many died losing parts of their body, being mutilated, because of the industrialization of war it was a new phenomenon, so there no longer was a body in tact in many cases to be resurrected, this posed a problem for many American families.

No longer could American Christians hold onto the view, and heaven became the view that the "spirit" continued to live even as the "body" decayed, the view was the the spirit would live on in "the other side" where life would be pretty much as it was then, a small house, family, etc,...

Then the religion of Spiritualism a few decades after the Civil War became popular in America. It was the belief that we could get messages from the departed.

How can Christians believe in elements of Spiritualism? Because it is very natural for humans to adopt and mix views they are exposed to, it is part acculturation, part blended-faith or syncretism.

The course of history decided what we belive, it was a natural course of events that led to this, Christians throughout history have always been influenced by the views ot the countries they find themselves in, throughout history those countries have been vastly varied. Would a Christian in 2nd century Rome have the same views as one from today in China? Probably not.

Edited by I believe you

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Yes, I understand that, but that's not my point. Where is this idea ever mentioned by Christ, or anyone else in the bible? Where do you base this on?

Who says it's based on Christ or the bible? Perhaps it is based on personal experiences people have had with the departed or ghosts, it is more likely that when the unexplained occurs a person of any faith will try to fit that into the frame work of their denomination or teaching, they may see it as the proof they seek that there is life after death even though they have no idea why the spirit is not in hell/purgatory or heaven but hanging round as though stuck on earth instead.

Personally, I take it as a "sign" that we do not have all the answers, there are different levels of being outside this material/carbon based version of life. This tells me we are more likely to know very little about alternative dimensions/realms or whatever than we are to have the answers based on our "extrapolating" from our experiences that which is comforting and makes us believe we do know what we are dealing with

We could be seeing departed loved ones when the sentient "being" is actually only reflecting back to us something that is familiar and therefore will set us at ease because they don't want to frighten us and wish to communicate somehow OR they wish to confuse us and gain an upper hand by having us trust them somehow - just one theory of a miriad of theories/possibilities when dealing with the paranormal which I am not sure we can gain any real answer to at this time.

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Correction: looked into it and it appears Spiritualism was already popular during the Civil War.

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Who says it's based on Christ or the bible? Perhaps it is based on personal experiences people have had with the departed or ghosts, it is more likely that when the unexplained occurs a person of any faith will try to fit that into the frame work of their denomination or teaching, they may see it as the proof they seek that there is life after death even though they have no idea why the spirit is not in hell/purgatory or heaven but hanging round as though stuck on earth instead...

...We could be seeing departed loved ones when the sentient "being" is actually only reflecting back to us something that is familiar and therefore will set us at ease because they don't want to frighten us and wish to communicate somehow OR they wish to confuse us and gain an upper hand by having us trust them somehow - just one theory of a miriad of theories/possibilities when dealing with the paranormal which I am not sure we can gain any real answer to at this time.

You bring up the very point I was eventually going to approach.

To me, it may be more likely that demons impersonate the dead in an attempt to throw others off and bring people further away from the truth. I say this because there have been numerous accounts and recorded evidences that would support this theory. Such as EVP's where a voice changes entirely mid-sentence, and numerous accounts from spiritual mediums claiming to see "residual energy from the living" that is for some reason conscious. There have even been EVP's where when asked by paranormal investigators what the entities names were, they answer with the same name as a dead loved one. However immidiately afterward they are given the command: "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to tell me your name." and the same voice responds as "Legion." or something entirely different. Sometimes the voice changes, and sometimes entities change their appearance right before spiritual mediums eyes. Many so called "loved ones" have shown malicious behavior in death in which such behavior has never been known of them during their lives.

If it isn't based on Christ, or even the bible, then many may in fact currently be getting duped. And if you ask why they would do this, the answer seems simple, that many have disregarded Christ because of such activities.

I know you may say I'm simply fitting it into my own belief system, but at least take it as seperate evidence to another possible theory. ;)

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Correction: looked into it and it appears Spiritualism was already popular during the Civil War.

I'm definately going to look into this. Thank you for all the great information. :tsu:

Edited by AquilaChrysaetos

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You bring up the very point I was eventually going to approach.

To me, it may be more likely that demons impersonate the dead in an attempt to throw others off and bring people further away from the truth. I say this because there have been numerous accounts and recorded evidences that would support this theory. Such as EVP's where a voice changes entirely mid-sentence, and numerous accounts from spiritual mediums claiming to see "residual energy from the living" that is for some reason conscious. There have even been EVP's where when asked by paranormal investigators what the entities names were, they answer with the same name as a dead loved one. However immidiately afterward they are given the command: "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to tell me your name." and the same voice responds as "Legion." or something entirely different. Sometimes the voice changes, and sometimes entities change their appearance right before spiritual mediums eyes. Many so called "loved ones" have shown malicious behavior in death in which such behavior has never been known of them during their lives.

If it isn't based on Christ, or even the bible, then many may in fact currently be getting duped. And if you ask why they would do this, the answer seems simple, that many have disregarded Christ because of such activities.

I know you may say I'm simply fitting it into my own belief system, but at least take it as seperate evidence to another possible theory. ;)

I would say that but I would also agree that those that blindly imagine they know what they are dealing with in the paranormal realms should consider a great many possibilities and understand first and foremost that they can be duped by their own mind and by that which can extract familiar peoples and personalities from their mind or their history in the material world - we just don't know.

Interestingly, two stand out experiences I have had have NOT been related to familiar or family members and there have been a few that have but have not tried to impart anything.

Anyway, the two most inexplicable have been a ball of orange coloured light in my bedroom about the size of a basketball, the other was what I can only desribe as a kaleidescope of coloured lights on my stairwell, which my dog was none too happy about. In the end, the occurrences themselves are no longer the most interesting part of the experiences - people's explanations are far more interesting.

I have been told it is my "guardian angel", someone departed who is watching over me, a messenger, a spirit guide and so on and so forth. Fact is, I do not know what these were, I know I felt no threat when I saw them but was scared of the unknown and I know they didn't impart anything to me, in fact apart from their appearance my best description is that they were as benign as a fly or moth in the room would be to me.

Those who insist on a "name" for my experiences keep prodding me to consider they were this or that but I keep thinking - what if we are completely wrong? Your demons may be wrong and my friend's guardian angels may be just as wrong. It is a slippery slope to put a label on something just so we can sleep at night don't you think?

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I agree. There is no way to truly know. I don't think there is anything wrong with speculation, it can and has in many cases, moved science itself forward. The problem lies with accepting one speculation as absolute fact. I am inclined to believe my own theory expressed here (obviously) but am still open to other possibilities. It's certainly honorable to look at things purely scientifically though, and not give in to one belief over another. I commend you for that.

I am just still however curious as to what evidence these "Christian Spiritualists" have to base their claims, as I have evidences to support mine. Yet of course, no true proof.

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I agree. There is no way to truly know. I don't think there is anything wrong with speculation, it can and has in many cases, moved science itself forward. The problem lies with accepting one speculation as absolute fact. I am inclined to believe my own theory expressed here (obviously) but am still open to other possibilities. It's certainly honorable to look at things purely scientifically though, and not give in to one belief over another. I commend you for that.

I am just still however curious as to what evidence these "Christian Spiritualists" have to base their claims, as I have evidences to support mine. Yet of course, no true proof.

I, also have wondered about this topic. As Christians we are actually forbidden to seek contact with the dead or with those who communicate with "familiar spirits". For myself, I would be very troubled to have contact with an entity that appeared to be a dead loved one. I would believe it was a demon spirit sent to deceive me into an action that could damn me. I believe that people have experiences of this nature all the time and they appear to be coming from creatures of light and love. Satan himself was transformed into a being of light so that he could deceive.

Good topic!

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I, also have wondered about this topic. As Christians we are actually forbidden to seek contact with the dead or with those who communicate with "familiar spirits". For myself, I would be very troubled to have contact with an entity that appeared to be a dead loved one. I would believe it was a demon spirit sent to deceive me into an action that could damn me. I believe that people have experiences of this nature all the time and they appear to be coming from creatures of light and love. Satan himself was transformed into a being of light so that he could deceive.

Good topic!

Thank you. I just happen to be one to believe the "wolves in sheeps clothing" analogy from Christ doesn't only apply to humanity.

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Thank you. I just happen to be one to believe the "wolves in sheeps clothing" analogy from Christ doesn't only apply to humanity.

Naturally, but in the same way that it doesn't apply to all humanity, it also need not apply to the all paranormal events enmasse.

Personally, I fall back on cause and effect or "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". If something fails that litmus test I discard it. For instance, if someone claims a dead uncle is telling them to forgive a friend or family member for something, I would say "no harm no foul". If, on the other hand something was advising someone to sacrifice their neighbours pet cat to lift a curse - warning bells go off all over the place.

It can, and usually is, far more subtle but the principle remains that being advised to do something that will bring suffering to another sentient being directly or indirectly, no matter how "justified" it is made to sound or appear is coming from an inferior paradigm internal or external take your pick.

Let's add "thou shalt no judge" and then you can understand how when something advises someone to turn away from or to persecute others in the name of God is highly questionable. Fact is, God is perfectly capable of handling the good the bad and the ugly, he doesn't need us to make that judgement on others but we can pray for others and lighten their burdens in doing so - as well as our own as a by-product, that makes far more sense to me.

Jesus healed, forgave and loved, and in the end went willingly to his crucifixion, he forgave all and his next to final words were "forgive them, for they know not what they do". Those words are very poignant to me and if he could do that when in such pain and at point of death, then why can't we do that when faced with much lesser persecutions and slights?

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Where is this idea ever mentioned by Christ, or anyone else in the bible? Where do you base this on?

If you only believe in things that Jesus mentioned in the Bible, you're missing out on a hell of a lot of things.

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If you only believe in things that Jesus mentioned in the Bible, you're missing out on a hell of a lot of things.

Not if he is as he says, the only perfect being that's existed. What more would one need?

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Not if he is as he says, the only perfect being that's existed. What more would one need?

I don't understand what your point is meant to be here. Earlier in this thread you were trying to imply that ghosts were demonic because Jesus didn't specify their existence.

To quote yourself:

Where is this idea ever mentioned by Christ, or anyone else in the bible?
The direct implication is that because Jesus or the BIble doesn't mention it, therefore it's somehow anti-Christian or anti-Biblical.

Jesus never mentioned anything (remotely specific) about the existence of exoplanets, smartphones, the Internet, Justin Bieber, telescopes, MRI scanners, NASA, the Arabic numeral system, etc. I could go on, but you get the point.

How is the undeniable existence of these things not mentioned by Christ any different from his lack of mention of spirits of people who die and hang around to be seen by us. Did Christ explicitly deny such a thing was possible any more than he denied things in my list above were possible?

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Shouldn't this be in the spirituality section?

He also said you shouldn't eat any fruit that was from a tree less than 5 years old. You know how crazy you sound to grocers when you ask them if they know if the tree your orange came from was 5 years old?

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I don't understand what your point is meant to be here. Earlier in this thread you were trying to imply that ghosts were demonic because Jesus didn't specify their existence.

The direct implication is that because Jesus or the BIble doesn't mention it, therefore it's somehow anti-Christian or anti-Biblical.

Jesus never mentioned anything (remotely specific) about the existence of exoplanets, smartphones, the Internet, Justin Bieber, telescopes, MRI scanners, NASA, the Arabic numeral system, etc. I could go on, but you get the point.

How is the undeniable existence of these things not mentioned by Christ any different from his lack of mention of spirits of people who die and hang around to be seen by us. Did Christ explicitly deny such a thing was possible any more than he denied things in my list above were possible?

I was trying to imply that it is possible that ghosts are demonic because Jesus didn't specify their existance. I never gave an absolute. I only gave a possible assumption of mine.

Now it is true that Christ never mentioned those things, however, every single thing you mentioned (except of course exoplanets and the Arabic numerical system) are all things that only exist in the distant future. Not only that, but every one of those are completely insignificant and would completely divulge from his overall message. However, the theory that when people die they stay here, would more than be an important fact to emphasize to people, considering just about his whole message concerns the human afterlife.

He never mentions anything like that, which would naturally leave me to question the theory. That's all I'm saying.

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Of course, I look at this in an abstract way, not being a Christian apologist, although not having a quarrel with most Christians because of their religious beliefs.

Even if you adopt as typical of Chrisitanity what is in fact a minority view among Christians, sola scriptura, you would still have to consider John's closer (21: 25)

There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.

That would seem directly to blunt

Not if he (Jesus) is as he says, the only perfect being that's existed. What more would one need?

Sola scriptura would say nothing more is needed, as regards to "salvation, faith and maybe morals." But even sola scriptura doesn't extend to other things you might be interested in, like other people's ghosts. Maybe Jesus had something to say about it, or maybe he didn't. If it isn't recorded in the canon, though, then it would seem that you're on your own.

The majority of Chrisitans belong to churches that don't teach sola scriptura anyway.

...but every one of those (features of modern secular life) are completely insignificant and would completely divulge from his overall message... considering just about his whole message concerns the human afterlife.

Whether some comment by Jesus on ghosts was mission-critical would depend on what you believed his overall message to be. You may bave noticed that Chrisitans have a variety of ideas about that. Also, it would depend on what ghosts are. People who are involved in their study differ about that almost as much as Chrisitans differ about Jesus' message.

BTW, I would disagree even as a sola scriptura matter that "just about his whole message" as it is recorded concerned human afterlife. Jesus has very little to say about the topic, as cannot be a surprise when a Jewish preacher addresses a Jewish audience. His focus, as you would expect, was on how to live this life in this world. The pay-off was to be collective, something affecting the Jewish nation and maybe all humanity, rather than individual good outcomes.

I was trying to imply that it is possible that ghosts are demonic ...

Then in Chrisitan terms, you are addressing something called the discernment of spirits (as the phrase is used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12: 10; there is a somewhat different usage by Igantius Loyola which I'd like to put aside for the time being).

If I were a Christian apologist, then I would look to this letter of Paul as my proof text that a Christian might be called to the investigation of the paranormal (12: 7-11)

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Hey, if the Spirit (whom Nicene Christians consider to be God, just as they consider Jesus to be God) wishes to call some to discernment, then who am I to cite scripture against God? I'm in enough trouble already.

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