Fandango’s Provocative Question this week arose from his fascination with the seeming large percentage of Americans that believe in ghosts. My initial take on the rise in people believing in such beings was to muse that there must have been a corresponding rise in the number of tradesmen, particularly builders and carpenters who have refused to enter into the afterlife willingly. This would explain the increase in spirit levels.
Okay, pun out of the way. There are many mysterious occurrences in life. Many of these defy “scientific” explanations. The belief in the supernatural is at the root of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and it shouldn’t be that surprising that people therefore seek a supernatural explanation for these events.
I myself have had some of these experiences. Without labouring the details there have been items that have changed position in the absence of anyone being home, and one occasion when my grandson’s baby-bottle which was left prepared for him found its way into his crib/cot without either me or my wife rising to get it for him in the night.
It is interesting to note that in Matthew 14:26 it says, “When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.” What is clear is that the disciples believed in ghosts. Jesus, however, does not correct them about the belief in such beings, but merely clarifies that he is not one. This cannot in good conscience be used as a “proof” that Jesus believed in ghosts, or condoned such a belief in others, but it does at least show he wasn’t focused on the belief as an error. This may be because there were more important lessons to be taught, but it is still a point to ponder.
I must admit to being a theist, and therefore support the belief in spiritual beings (angels, demons, and God himself), but as far as lingering departed spirits as yet bound for an afterlife, I am admittedly uncertain. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus does suggest a more immediate departure, however.