Who You Gonna Call?

11 01 2008

Confession time.

I love the show Ghost Hunters.  I also think I will (eventually) come to enjoy it’s spin-off series Ghost Hunters International.  In fact, all throughout my life, I have loved ghost stories.  My shelf is full of volumes of short stories, regional stories, and others.  Hold on with the holy water, I’m not practicing the occult.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has this entertainment confession either. Mike Patton at Parchment and Pen has written his confession as well.  He uses our apparent shared taste in entertainment to address an overly often ignored aspect of a Christian world-view: What place does ghosts have in a Christian world view?

Already I can see some of you waving it off and making some sort of snorting sound as a way to vocalize how absurd you think the discussion is.  Hold on a second. Imagine this scenario: someone comes up to you in church (maybe you’re the pastor, maybe you’re a fellow person in the congregation they trust) and they confess to you that it seems like their house is haunted.  Is waving it off as an absurdity really going to help that person when there is something obviously disturbing their home, whether it be real or imagined? When I was in my last semester at WVU, I led a group called “Theology Thursday” which was a time where we got together and people were allowed to ask any question on the Bible or Christianity, and we’d set out to answer that question.  Ghosts came up as a topic at least once to my memory, maybe more than once.  People want to know what the Bible says about these kinds of things.

Anyways, back to the article, Michael sets out by defining three particular views, each with their weaknesses and strengths:
1. All paranormal activity, if authentic, is demonic in origin
2. Ghosts may be spirits of disembodied people, without explanation of why they are left
3. All ‘paranormal’ activity can be described via natural explanations.

I tend towards option number one, with the understanding that quite a bit of ‘paranormal’ activity is probably explainable naturally. As one commenter says, “sometimes a squeaky door just needs oil.” The third view, however, lends more towards the naturalistic world-view and general denies not only the concept of “ghosts” but also angels and demons.  I also must reject view #2 because it is my belief that in the intermediate state, souls of those who died are brought into God’s presence or await judgment. I don’t think there’s is any evidence that one might ‘slip through the cracks’ so to speak.  I would recommend reading through the comments as well, as there is discussion on the “strengths” and “weaknesses” given.

If you’re wondering, yes I have had experiences that I can’t explain.  Can my experiences be explained naturally? Probably, but I’ve had difficulty thinking of reasons. We must remember that experience does not trump revelation, but is to be explained through revelation.

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8 responses

11 01 2008
Mike Aubrey

Christopher Wright’s book, The Mission of God has an excellent discussion of this topic and its relations to “other gods,” demons, and the like.

its worth reading.

12 01 2008
Robert

Brian,
Interesting discussion.

Are you originally from WV? I’m a transplant living there now but originally and most of my life I’ve lived in CA….culture shock…in a good way..

bob

12 01 2008
Bryan

I am originally from WV. I’m actually in WV for another week before heading back to school. Where abouts are you at? Church planting or some other reason?

14 01 2008
R. Mansfield

We’ll have to get together sometime to swap experiences. I have a few myself.

I also have a different theory about ghosts that is based in a quantum view of time.

14 01 2008
Bryan

Rick,

Absolutely. See e-mail.

15 01 2008
Joshua

I actually know one of the guys who occasionally appears on Ghost Hunters to pray, read Scripture and comment on activity. His name is Keith, ever see him?

15 01 2008
Bryan

Yeah, isn’t he one of the demonologists? Has a twin brother?

12 02 2008
grunyan

I saw where one writer suggested that maybe in Scripture, there is a difference between a demon and what is sometimes called an “unclean spirit.” The suggestion was that the latter may be a disembodied human spirit…disembodied by way of certain sorceries, like “astral projection.” I’m thinking a theory like that might fit as 1a. in your list.

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