Thursday, March 30, 2017


I believe Rod Dreher is Eastern Orthodox. I don't share his belief in Purgatorial punishment. 

Evidence of the existence of ghosts disproves atheism inasmuch as atheists typically deny the afterlife. Most atheists, at least Western atheists (in contrast to Buddhist), are physicalists. 

Oddly enough, many Christians agree with atheists regarding the nonexistence of ghosts even though Christians traditionally believe in the immortal soul, which is separable from the body.

Although I think death seals our eternal fate (I reject postmortem salvation), that of itself doesn't imply that there can be no contact between the living and the dead (or the damned). Of course, necromancy is forbidden, but that doesn't mean contact is impossible. And there's an elementary moral distinction between soliciting initiating contact with the dead, which is prohibited, and having the dead initiate contact. 

1 comment:

  1. There can be transitional phases in the afterlife, like Rachel's soul leaving her body in Genesis 35:18-9 or Lazarus being carried to Abraham's bosom in Luke 16:22. Even if that transitional phase only lasts for seconds, minutes, days, or some other short period of time, it could explain some of the paranormal phenomena we see. A deceased person could be on earth for a short time after death or in some other context, even without being a wandering spirit who's confined to earth until the day of judgment.

    Dreher refers to how difficult it is to explain some paranormal phenomena from a Christian perspective. But it's difficult from every perspective I'm aware of, including every other organized religion and a paranormal view of the afterlife (a view based primarily on paranormal phenomena). Life in general is large and complicated, which is part of what makes life as good as it is, so we should expect the afterlife to be large and complicated to some extent. Christians have difficulty with some aspects of the afterlife, but so does everybody else. The difference is, Christians have less difficulty justifying their conclusions than non-Christians do on balance. We have a larger framework (Divine revelation) in which to fit and analyze paranormal phenomena, a framework for which we have far better evidence than there is for any rival framework.

    There's a danger when people like Dreher bring up issues like these without explaining why Christianity should be preferred over its competitors. For a variety of reasons (people's wishful thinking about afterlife issues, inaccurate media coverage, etc.), people often have the impression that paranormal phenomena are more positive and more consistent than they actually are. Not much attention is given to the negative and inconsistent side of NDEs, mediumship, and such. Even proponents of a paranormal view of the afterlife sometimes admit that the phenomena are much more complicated and inconsistent than people commonly think. See here, for example.

    I'm glad that Dreher made some positive references to Christianity in his article, but he ought to have gone further.