Ghosts: Ghost and Paranormal Activity Essay

Submitted By ericmaus1994
Words: 1557
Pages: 7

"His servants told him, 'There's a woman at Endor who can talk to the spirits of the dead.' That night, Saul put on different clothing so nobody would recognize him. Then he and two of his men went to the woman, and asked, 'Will you bring up the ghost of someone for us?' The woman said, 'Why are you trying to trick me and get me killed? You know King Saul has gotten rid of everyone who talks to the spirits of the dead!' Saul replied, 'I swear by the living Lord that nothing will happen to you because of this.' 'Who do you want me to bring up?' she asked. 'Bring up the ghost of Samuel,' he answered. When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed. Then she turned to Saul and said, 'You’ve tricked me! You’re the king!' 'Don’t be afraid,' Saul replied. 'Just tell me what you see.' She answered, 'I see a spirit rising up out of the ground.' 'What does it look like?' 'It looks like an old man wearing a robe.' Saul knew it was Samuel, so he bowed down low." Christian scholars are split over what the apparition was. Some say it was a demon, a fallen angel, impersonating Samuel. Take note that it came up out of the earth instead of down from heaven, and that Saul did not actually look at it. Saul had his face to the ground. Other experts feel God intervened and did cause Samuel's spirit to manifest itself to Saul. Would this make it a ghost? Samuel, after all, was dead. And there his spirit was, talking to Saul. A proper definition would be in order, yet a universal one is hard to track down. The world over has many differing definitions and names for ghosts, poltergeists, phantoms, apparitions, or whatever title suits the particular area. Generally, a ghost is believed to be the spirit of one dead, haunting one particular location, somehow trapped here in the physical realm. Ghosts are often described as a simple emotional rent in the ‘metaphysical curtain’, leaving behind traces of whatever event occurred in that particular place, a murder or a suicide for example. Ghosts have been a popular subject for millennia, appearing in countless stories, from 'Macbeth' to 'A Christmas Carol', and even spawning their own folklore genre: ghost stories. Ghosts are perhaps the most common paranormal belief in the world. Part of the reason is that belief in ghosts is part of a larger web of related paranormal beliefs, including near-death experience, life after death, and spirit communication. The idea that the dead remain with us in spirit is an ancient, one that offers many people comfort, and fills others with dread. In his book, Surprised by Hope, author N.T. Wright lists three different types of popular belief that people hold concerning life after death. The first two deal with the complete annihilation of the soul vs. the complete absorption of the soul into the wider world. "Finally," Wright says, "at the popular level, belief in ghosts and the possibility of spiritualistic contact with the dead has resisted all the inroads of a century of secularism."1 Within Christianity, there are three primary views or perspectives taken that concern this issue. First is the belief that all paranormal activity has a naturalistic explanation. This view holds that all ghostly activity, if all the information were available, would be easily debunked with a purely naturalistic or scientific explanation. Within this view, it is illegitimate to suppose a 'ghost of the gaps' mentality, which claims that there is too much paranormal activity to be pinned down by science. Everything has a rational explanation behind it, that explanation usually being that the draftiness of the building caused the change in temperature, or something along those lines. God does not allow (within this view) for the spirits of the dead to linger here on earth. This view, however, also tends to discount all demonic activity with a scientific explanation, as well as biblical miracles. It tries to understand everything outside of our comfort zone, to trap all things supposedly