Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pentecostal Christianity and The Paranormal

This past winter I started reading more about the paranormal and listening to a few podcasts related to ghost hunting, extraterrestrials and psychic phenomena. Some of what I read and hear strikes me as dismissably silly, but some of the rest of it has really captured my attention.

I'm not going to go into who or what I do or don't believe right now. I just want to make one simple observation. The cosmology (view of the cosmos/universe, not, in this case, the scientific study of the cosmos) I see expressed by people involved in the paranormal bears a striking resemblance to that held by Pentecostals.

Every Pentecostal who was reading my blog has now stopped, never to return. *sigh*

What a lot of people don't know about me is that I spent a substantial chunk of my youth involved with Pentecostal churches of one sort or another. What distinguishes Pentecostals (and to a lesser extent, charismatics) from other Christians is their view of the relationship between the physical world and the spiritual world. Pentecostals believe in the direct interaction of humans with angels and demons, the healing spiritual power of "the laying on of hands" and the validity (in some cases, necessity) of a range of other transcendent experiences.

The language is different. The details are different. Most Pentecostals would condemn a lot of what goes on under the "paranormal" banner as Biblically prohibited witchcraft. Still, each of the Pentecostal practices and beliefs I alluded to above has a direct parallel in the contemporary paranormal community. Whether it be energy healing or cultivating a personal relationship with one or more angels I am struck by similarities.

There is a lot of information about both Pentecostal Christianity and the paranormal out on the web. Here are just a few links to get you started.

This is a link to my favorite paranormal podcast/web radio show. This is the same show that was kind enough to use one of my songs on the air recently.

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