Christainity and ‘The Ghost Hunters”

I am personally a huge fan of the show “Ghost Hunters” on the SiFi Channel. I spend at least an hour of day watching it on Hulu while a work in my office. Like most people, I am fascinated with the afterlife and any evidence for an afterlife should be edifying for humankind. As the evidence mounts for some type of paranormal, I find myself trying to fit this evidence into my biblical box.

Before sharing my position, let me first add a disclaimer. “The Ghost Hunters” TV show is just that, a TV show, so it should be mentioned that fraudulent evidence, and hoaxing are not out of the question. At least on two different occasions on the show, hoaxing is evident. To be more specific, during the episode on the Queen Mary, the camera was turned off while someone hid behind the bed. The camera was then restarted and the hidden person pulled the bed sheets down making it look like the sheets magically moved. On another occasion, while in Georgia, someone hid behind a glass door and got up and ran. Since the person was on the outside of the door, it appeared to be a spirit. Since Inferred camera can’t penetrate glass, it appeared to be black and ghostly as it didn’t put off any heat. Both were clearly hoaxes. In addition to this most of the evidence is weak at best. Apparent knocking, lights moving across the room, cold spots, odd sounds on a recorder, and spikes in magnetic fields are up to the interpretation of the “hunter”, and frankly can’t be looked at as evidence at all. Given that the Ghost hunters are believers in paranormal they will definitely have a paranormal bias in interpreting the evidence. Simply put, more research would have to be done to scientifically come to the conclusion of paranormal activity. In defense of T.A.P.S. the hosts of “Ghost Hunters”, they make this very disclaimer stating the 85% of all apparent paranormal activities can be explained.

However, there are some things that seem to be compelling as well. On many occasions the inferred camera picks up human shapes in the same room as the hunter, but when light is placed on the same spot there is nothing there. Moving tables and balls, breaking classes, ropes untying, and people flying off there feet for no apparent reason are all good examples of this evidence. Again, all of this could be a fraud, but putting an open mind to these proofs is the fair thing to do. We should give the Ghost Hunter the benefit of the doubt unless we have reason to suspect otherwise. I believe that we should analyze the evidence with charity, and hope that people would be as charitable in analyzing the evidence for Christianity as well.

I have no doubt that Christianity is true. I believe that the evidence for Christianity is profound, so where does that leave me when analyzing the evidence for “The Ghost Hunters”? Am I to dismiss what I see so that it lines up with my belief? Are we as Christians really willing to have faith for the sake of faith even if the evidence points in a different direction? Or is it better to see if our faith in Christ lines up with the evidence presented? Simply put, does the Bible leave room for ghosts, spirits, demons, and apparitions? I think it does

The traditional view of the Christian position is that when you die you go to Heaven or you go to Hell. So it seems that ghosts would be unlikely. However, according to Revelations, Hell is empty. Hell is the prison in which God will throw Satan and his minions after the second coming of Christ after his victory over evil. So the Bible doesn’t teach that non-believers are in hell, but rather in a place called Hades. Hades is best described as a holding cell for those destined to Hell. So in a nutshell, Hell is empty at least for awhile. This is not proof for ghosts running all over the earth, but it at least shows that Christianity doesn’t actually teach what most people think it teaches in regards to the dead. The question is, can people be removed from either Heaven or Hades and appear as a ghost? I think we have biblical proof for this position. In 1 Samuel Chapter 28, Saul, the king of Israel, is at war with the Philistines. He is distressed because God was turned his back on him. So Saul hires a medium to bring up the spirit of Samuel. She is successful in doing so, and Samuel prophesied that Saul and his son Jonathan would be dead and Israel would be defeated. How do we reconcile this? It seems that this is conclusive proof of the dead communicating with the living and it seems that it was ordained by God as Samuel directly foretold the future, and only an omniscient being (God) can foretell the future. Satan is not omniscient so this couldn’t have been a demon acting as Samuel. So assuming Saul is in Heaven, he would have to have left to make the trip back to Earth.

Are there examples of ghosts in the New Testament? Yes and no. We don’t have any examples of a ghosts actually appearing to anyone in the New Testament, but we do have a references from both the disciples and Jesus himself to the existence of Ghosts. Matthew 14:26 states, When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. These were traditional Jewish people who were at least open to the possibility of Ghosts. Even more compelling proof are Jesus’ own words. In Luke 24, (referring to the resurrection of Jesus) versus 36-39, it states:

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

Jesus says, “a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones”. This seems to me to show that Jesus believed in ghosts. If there were no such thing as ghosts, wouldn’t he have said so? Instead he described what ghosts look like!

In addition to ghosts, the Bible has many descriptions of contact with the paranormal. Jesus and the disciples cast out demons all the time. Angles appear to people time and again, we even have a physical spirit living within us (the Holy Spirit).

This evidence points towards a paranormal. Samuel was not a physical being, he was not resurrected or resuscitated. He was called up by a medium. Jesus himself attested to the existence of paranormal, spirits and even ghosts! So Christianity and the Ghost Hunters can live in harmony. However, we need to look at the evidence presented on the TV show from a skeptical eye, but if presented with overwhelming evidence, we should see if it can be explained within the truth of the Bible.

With that said, it should be noted that the Bible if VERY clear as to what happens to people when they die.  “They die ONCE and then comes the judgment” Coupled with the fact that the Bible teaches that God is NOT the author of confusion, we should likely conclude that, though ghosts may exist, they are probebly NOT children of GOD, but rather children of the author of confusion also known as Satan.

As a Christian, I look at the possibility of paranormal as a little evidences for a life beyond this one even of if the evidence comes from Satan.  Think of if this way, there is no better proof for the existence of good than the existence of evil (you can’t have one without the other). As Christians, we should be using this popular show as a point of dialog with non-believers. If someone believes in an afterlife and has apparent proof of one, they are at least half way to the truth, so instead of fighting an uphill battle, why not reconcile their view with ours? As long as we can fit that belief with the pale of orthodox Christianity, we have no problem. The belief in ghosts does not deny the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, the fall of man, the work of the cross, the nature of the Church, the nature of revelation (the Bible), or the resurrection of Christ.  So in my mind, fighting people’s belief in paranormal is not a battle worth fighting.
Happy Ghost Hunting…

IMPORTANT POINTS

  • USE GHOST HUNTERS TO OPEN PEOPLE’S MINDS TO THE POSSIBLITY THAT GOD TRULY EXISTS AND THAT EVEN GHOSTS CAN BE A CLUE TO HIS EXISTANCE.  
  • BE CHARITABLE AND UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S MINDS.  INSTEAD ASK COMPELLING QUESTIONS TO HELP THEM SEE THE TRUTH.
  • USE YOUR HEAD AND MAKE YOUR POINT.  DON’T JUST SAY “I DON’T BELIEVE IN GHOSTS”
  • ASK QUESTIONS LIKE: “WHERE DO YOU BELIEVE GHOSTS COME FROM”  OR “DOES THE EXISTENCE OF GHOSTS MEAN THERE IS AN AFTER LIFE?” ANOTHER GOOD QUESTION MIGHT BE, “HOW IS IT THAT YOU CAN KEEP FROM BECOMING A GHOST IN THE AFTER LIFE?”
  • KEEP UP WITH THE CURRENT FADS, CULTURES, AND BELIEFS AND BUILD YOUR STORY AROUND THEM
  • NEVER SACRIFICE THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLE TO MAKE YOUR POINT.  THE BIBLE COMES FIRST.
  • TRUTH IS ON YOUR SIDE!
  • HAPPY HUNTING
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  1. I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading this post. I happened to be looking for interesting posts and this one popped up first. I am a member of Indiana Ghost Trackers. I have been active in other groups for years. I really enjoy going out on ‘hunts.’ Mostly to find actual scientific evidence for so-called paranormal activity. While there usually is a reason for things people see and hear sometimes we get thrown for a loop. I am also a Christian and often think about what we do from this standpoint. Thanks for writing this post. Makes a lot of sense!

  2. Thanks so much for your insight. As a born-again Christian who follows Jesus AND a person with interest in the paranormal I see such “evidence” as supporting my beliefs in God.I see paranormal research as yet another way in which God reveals Himself to us.

      • Craig
      • September 17th, 2010

      Why do we need the paranormal to believe in God? Why do we need evidence of “ghosts” to believe in an afterlife? The Holy Bible is the only proof we need.

        • schooloffish
        • September 17th, 2010

        No external evidence is necessary for the existence of God to be true. Incidentally, that includes the Bible. God indeed does exist and must exist if anything is to exist. However, if God does exist, then everything that he created must have two characteristics: (1) Have been created good (as the Bible tells us God created everything and made it good) and (2) must be consistent (God’s, characteristics means that all things are created with a master plan in mind). So our belief in a thing, God or ghosts, is not relevant to weather or not the thing exists exists. The bigger issues is what do we do with the things that seem to have evidence for their existence but may disprove the existence of God or go against what we see as a characteristic of the Christian God? Ghosts, at first glance, seem to fit into this category. This article was an attempt to show that ghosts in and of themselves are not evidence to disprove Christianity or the Christian God.

        The Holy Bible may indeed be the only proof you need, and I too believe the Bible is the inerrant, word of God, but it is not the only proof that actually exists that proves the existence of God. So we are free to use other proofs as well as the Bible. We should filter the other proofs through the Bible, but we are free to use whatever we’d like to show that God indeed has revealed Himself to us. Paul even appeals to the fact that the world itself screams out the existence of God (natural theology). He didn’t state “just trust what I and the other apostles have to say about the issue”. He said, You already know in your heart that God exists because “creation screams it out”. In other circumstance he simply appealed to what we already have been told – which is an appeal to the scriptures. So Paul felt free to use whatever evidence he felt was going to reach the culture he was speaking with. To the Greeks he used natural theology and to the Jews and fellow believes he used the scriptures.

        We are living in an extremely post-modern culture that rejects absolute truth and the “Bible tells us so” argument isn’t very affective with them (just as it was to the Greeks), so though I agree with you in principle, I would highly suggest the you open you mind a bit to God’s other proofs of his existence and show the emerging generation that the gospel is in everything.

  3. As an individual who is a Christian as well as active in paranormal investigation and research I really appreciated your thoughts on this topic. While I feel that the Bible leaves room for ghosts I do believe it strongly instructs against seeking out psychics or mediums as an acceptable way to get advice or guidance (see Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:10-12 and the example of Saul you stated from 1 Samuel 28:7-25).

    I echo mandajane’s comment that this as another way that God can reveal himself to us and also demonstrate to us that He and He Alone is the ultimate power and authority.

    • Juan David
    • May 3rd, 2010

    Im just want to know where I can found the hades in the Bible.

      • schooloffish
      • May 3rd, 2010

      Mt 11:23; Lk 10:15; Mt 16:18; Lk 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; Rev 1:18; 6:8; 20:13 – Strong’s (G1492). The King James version translates it as hell in all but one location 1 Cor 15:55 where it uses “grave” . If you are using the King James version, fine, but you might want to cross reference with an ESV, NASB as well as they are based on Greek Alexandrian new testament manuscripts which are quite a bit older texts than the Majority texts and are closer in age to the actual autograph (70 to 120 years from original). Hope that helps…

  1. January 28th, 2012
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