Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Questions and Answers 113 - 117

Psychic Abilities

Question 113: Do you believe psychics have real abilities?

Answers: It depends what you mean by "real abilities." I think a better way to ask the question, and what I think your implying, is whether or not psychics can predict the future. Let's be clear on one thing: many psychics are frauds. However, there are psychics out there who truly believe they have the ability to predict the future. It seems to me that what they do is follow their intuition, but they believe they have more accurate and sensitive intuitions than an average person, which is an ability they believe can be harnessed by anyone with some training, sort of like what they call a sixth sense. When they are wrong about something, they simply shrug it off as a misinterpretation of their intuition. Most psychics would not call this intuition, as they like to speak of it in spiritual terms, but I believe what they are speaking about is intuition. There could possibly be a demonic element as well, where a demon may suggest to them something they know will be true, and in this way deceiving both the psychic and the one getting their reading. This is true for mediums as well. I once knew a former professional psychic who converted to Christianity who explained to me that she now believed that when she was a psychic that it was a mixture of both intuition and demonic. When I was younger I myself was tempted with something that could be described as psychic ability when I was able to predict things that were virtually impossible to predict, but I quickly dispelled it and interpreted it as a demonic temptation.

Ghosts and Orthodox Christianity

Question 114: Is a belief in ghosts acceptable in Orthodox Christianity?

Answer: I'm an Orthodox Christian, and I believe in ghosts. By ghosts I mean spirits of human beings who make their presence known in some way after death. Probably not in the same way as you often hear about ghosts in popular culture, but I think there is overwhelming evidence in the reality of ghosts, and I have had my own personal experiences as well, though I believe such an experience is rare. Orthodox literature also has many instances of the assumption that ghosts are real.

Why Ghosts?

Question 115: What do you think accounts for the existence of ghosts? Don't all spirits after death go either to heaven or hell?

Answer: This is a difficult question to answer in a brief response. I believe there is evidence of ghosts appearing in places where great tragedies occurred, for example. Or perhaps a ghost gets bound to the earth for a certain period of time due to their earthly attachments. There are many possibilities. I remember when I was a child a family friend committed suicide by hanging himself in his basement, and the priest went to the basement to do a sanctification service to sprinkle it with holy water. One reason for this was to ward off all evil from the place, but back then it was also explained to prevent the basement from being haunted. I want to be clear that I do not believe ghosts dwell permanently on the earth, or are trapped here in any way, but are able to enter into our earthly realm with divine permission, or, as I said before, it is possible they stay here for a certain short period of time after death. These things are mysteries however, and no one really knows what happens to us after death, but God is sovereign over all things. That being said, I heard an interesting story from a paranormal investigator the other day at a lecture I attended that I believe has some truth to it. He said that when he was a little boy he saw a shadow figure with a distinct human shape appear at his bedroom door. This apparition was the reason for him becoming a Christian, becoming a paranormal investigator, brought him all over the world as an investigator, got him to meet numerous people and life-long friends, got him to help many people, got him to work full time in medicine, and brought him to do all the charitable work he does which is quite numerous. He considers the ghostly apparition of his youth to have been a good thing that helped shape the course of his life. Something to at least consider.

Paranormal TV Shows

Question 116: What do you think of the various paranormal television shows? Are they real?

Answer: I was planning on writing something more in depth on this issue, but for now I will just say what two people involved in the two biggest paranormal television shows said to me. One who worked on Ghost Hunters told me that everything on the show is real, but sometimes drama is created to make it a good television show, otherwise it would be very boring. For example, you will notice on these shows that music is often used to heighten and influence the senses. This is because the places they go to are very quiet, and silence doesn't work well for television. He also told me that a few years ago he met with executives on the Travel Channel to do his own paranormal show, but he wanted to concentrate on positive experiences. This idea was immediately turned down because it wasn't scary enough. This is why what you find now on these shows is a heavy emphasis on the demonic, which most paranormal investigators will tell you is actually a very rare occurrence, but demonic makes good television. The other paranormal investigator I spoke with works on Ghost Adventures, and he told me basically the same thing, that there is too much of an emphasis on the demonic elements of a haunting, which are in fact very rare. I was also told that producers of these shows will tell the investigators to give more dramatic reactions when things happen, since the bigger reactions make better television. This being said, both insist that for the most part, what you see is real and unscripted, but some shows have indeed forged evidence in the past, though this is more rare if non-existent today.

Haunted Houses

Question 117: Do you think it is fine for a Christian to go to haunted houses around Halloween time?

Answer: Well, you're asking a Christian who has literally gone to numerous haunted houses over the years, perhaps hundreds of them. I don't see anything wrong with haunted houses. Personally, I don't like to get scared, nor do I ever get scared in them, but I mainly go to evaluate them and enjoy the atmosphere, and many of them I consider to be beautiful pieces of art. If something does sort of scare me, though this is extremely rare, then I consider that place very good in achieving its purpose. However, there are some places today, known as extreme haunted houses, where they make you do things to psychologically torture you in an extreme way, and you have to sign a waiver to get in, their purpose being to get you to quit; these I would discourage not only Christians to attend, but anyone, though I wouldn't stop anyone from doing it if they wanted to do it. Having gone to numerous haunted houses, I just don't understand why there would be a general objection to them, unless on a personal level you really don't like to get scared or don't like macabre atmospheres, or you're against some safe innocent fun, or if you're too young or have health problems. Haunted houses aren't for everyone, but some people look at them as a safe place to have some fun with friends or family, and I find absolutely no reason to condemn something like that.

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