July 29, 2017

Religion and the Paranormal: Friends or Foes

Fifty-Seven: Brother Fire

Image by Anna Gay via Flickr

Happy Monday, dark passengers. Today we kick off a shiny new series on the relationship between the paranormal and religion that will span the month of April. Readers from this site’s predecessor will remember that we’ve discussed this before, but now’s the time to go deeper, to really examine that which we believe, that which we know and all the areas in which they collide. Why? Because  it’s been at the forefront of my mind for a LONG time now.

And I know I’m not alone.

Yes, I know this as fact even without my psychic mojo because you’ve told me. (Some of you, at least.)

Religion and the Paranormal Series Highlights

So, what can you expect in this series? Here’s a taste:

  • Do religious beliefs have an effect on paranormal manifestations?
  • Are psychics evil?
  • Can psychics be Christians? (and vice versa)
  • Empathic abilities vs. the spiritual gift of discernment
  • Psychics vs. Prophets
  • Does the paranormal undermine religion?
  • Was Jesus a lightworker?
  • Similarities between channeling and prayer
  • Personal experience stories and reflections*

Religion and the Paranormal Terminology

Before we can dive into the material, I think it’s important for us all to be on the same page in terms of, well, our terminology. We’ll define some of the more focused concepts as we go, but the following list includes the broad strokes of this topic:

Occult

  • Not revealed
  • Secret
  • Mysterious
  • Of or relating to supernatural agencies, their effects, or knowledge of them.

*Editor’s note: Notice it says nothing about “evil” or “Satan”…

Paranormal

  • Seemingly outside normal sensory channels
  • Not in accordance with scientific laws

*Taken from Princeton University’s WordNet database

Religion

  • The service and worship of God or the supernatural
  • Devotion to a religious faith
  • A personal set or institutionalized system of religious beliefs, attitudes, and practices
  • A cause, principle, or belief held to with faith and ardor

Supernatural

  • Of or relating to phenomena beyond or outside of nature
  • Relating to or attributed to a divinity, ghost or devil
  • A television show about 2 brothers who hunt monsters (Not part of the official definition)

Unless otherwise noted, all definitions came from my handy dandy copy of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary – hard copy, of course, because we all know how much I love the smell of books.

Can you put that in plain English?

Sure thing. For purposes of this series, and any subsequent writings on this or any related subject, Your Dark Passenger regular staff writers use the following distinctions:

  • Occult – We try not to use this one because of the negative connotations placed upon it by the modern church. If it does get slipped into a post, we use it to mean practices relating to the supernatural in all their forms, not specifically as they apply to witchcraft, devil worship or magic.
  • Paranormal – Most often, we use this as the umbrella topic for discussions of ghosts, hauntings and psychic phenomena. (The term psychic is also an umbrella term, but not one we’ll get into today.) Cryptids, vampirism, energy work, crystals and chakra balancing also normally go here.
  • Religion – We use this as the catch-all term for ORGANIZED systems of belief, regardless of the worshipped deity or dogma. (Actually, because of their vehement denial of any sort of divine force, atheism can fall into the class of religion, but again, that would be a topic we’ll have to save for another time and place.) Please note that religion and spirituality are often used as mutually exclusive terms on YDP because one can be spiritual without subscribing to the strict rules of a particular religion. Conversely, one can also be religious without being spiritual if he or she blindly follows a religious doctrine without a higher understanding of that which they believe.
  • Supernatural – Unless we’re reviewing or discussing an episode of the show, we use this as the blanket term to cover the existence of God, a god, gods, Satan, devil, angels and/or demons. (Pick your favorite terms.) We haven’t yet, but if we were to discuss the gods/goddesses of mythology, they too would fall into the realm of the supernatural.

Side note: Legendary creatures, such as the mythical (aka fictional) vampire, sometimes fall into the realm of the supernatural because of the “god-like” powers usually attributed to these creatures. This is not to be confused with modern vampirism, which falls squarely into the realm of paranormal because it currently remains outside the scope of scientific explanation.

Now that we’re all on the same page, or at least familiar with the terms, we’ll dive into the relationship between the paranormal and religion tomorrow with a look at how your personal religious beliefs may color the paranormal manifestations you experience.

Because I’m aware that I’m basically lighting the fuse on a powder keg with this series, it bears mention that nothing presented over the coming weeks is meant as an endorsement of or an insult towards any one system of belief. Christianity may receive numerous references, but that’s more a function of my own background knowledge than anything else.

As always, discussion is not only welcome, but strongly encouraged…Just keep it respectful. Flaming, trolling and personal attacks on the views of other readers, guest posters or other staff writers will NOT be tolerated. Period. (I’m a big girl who knows what I’m getting myself into, but won’t subject others to the vitriol that is so often a part of discussions of this nature.)

*If you have an opinion or personal experience story on how your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) have shaped your views on the paranormal and you’d like to guest post on YDP during the month of April, please click on “Contact Us” at the top of the screen to get in touch.

Jen

“Let your dark passenger come out to play…Be your own nemesis!”

© 2010, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Remember, using content from this site without prior written permission will either land you on Dexter’s table or set off the zombie apocalypse. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.

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About Jen Whitten

Jen Whitten is a paranormal researcher and writer, specializing in psychic development, Empaths, modern day vampirism and dealing with entities. She regularly discusses the paranormal realm, as well as the dark inner workings of the mind.

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