Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Christian’s Take on Ghosts

In recent posts on the debate between those who embrace the Theory of Evolution and those who embrace Creationism, I noted that scientists tend to like certainty and focus their attention on ideas that can be proven empirically. By contrast, religious faith involves concepts that are not provable in the same way, and requires an acceptance that we humans don’t have all the answers. Around the time of Halloween, I read an interview where an author discussed similar themes. The link below contains the interview.

In the interview, the author, Gary Jansen, indicated he is a Christian. He also indicated that his family’s home was haunted. He apparently wrote a book about the experience expressing that the experience was initially frightening, but ultimately deepened his religious faith. I have no doubt the interview was considered by CNN as a Halloween fluff piece, but perhaps surprisingly I thought it was actually rather interesting. Not exactly the typical story of Christians at Halloween.

I’m not exactly an expert on the subject of ghosts, but it is interesting that the concept seems to exist in all human cultures. Both the Old and New Testament have references to the concept. I’m not a theologian, but the concept of ghosts doesn’t seem to jive with basic Christian theology. Nonetheless, I know at least a few Christians who have shared with me that they believe earnestly in ghosts due to first hand experiences.

Many years ago, my husband and I were also intrigued by a sermon given by our pastor at a church where we were once members in Houston. He gave the sermon just after Easter, and the topic of his talk was that Jesus’s resurrection gives us courage to face each day despite the knowledge that our life on this planet is finite. I forget how it was relevant, but the pastor began his sermon with a ghost story anecdote. In much more compelling detail than I can currently remember, he described how he and another priest were living in the priests’ quarters at the church, and they were woken up several nights in a row by music. As I recall, each thought the other was playing the piano at night and was trying to not be annoyed with the other. Finally, one night it was particularly loud and woke the pastor up. He went downstairs to the room where the piano was. No one was in that room and the other priest was in his bedroom upstairs. I’m not doing the story justice, and can’t remember all the details. But when the priest told the story, it was very creepy. My husband and I were amazed that this priest apparently believed in ghosts. He told the story in such a sincere and calm manner. It was parenthetical to the focus of his sermon on the resurrection. Our pastor was a very somber, intellectual man. He was a very lovely and gentle person, but he was so rational and cerebral. He was also a learned theologian. As a result, this pastor was the last person we would have imagined to endorse the concept of ghosts!

Isaiah 29:4
Then deep from the earth you will speak; from low in the dust your words will come. Your voice will whisper from the groundlike a ghost conjured up from the grave.

Luke 24:39
Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.

1 comment:

  1. The fallen angels impersonate ghosts: