I have long held the belief that if Jesus Christ himself came back and walked among his followers, he’d be ridiculed as crazy, called a charlatan, or largely ignored. This in spite of the fact it is a Christian belief that Jesus will one day return and walk among his followers.
It’s a mystery to me – this whole belief thing. It seems that there are things it is okay to believe, and there are things it isn’t okay to believe. Big, invisible guy in the sky wearing white robes and pronouncing judgment on sinners? Check! Douche bag politician who talks out of both sides of his mouth and has someone’s hand up his ass jerking him around like a puppet? Sure, why not? The convention of love and marriage between one man and one woman? It’s a keeper. But step away from that and start to believe in or live something that doesn’t meet convention, and suddenly that’s not okay.
It’s interesting to watch people’s reactions when they find out that I am in the paranormal field. On the one hand, they know me as a reasonably intelligent person who leads what appears to be a very conventional life – married, homeowner, two kids, dogs, job, black soccer mom SUV, responsible, upright citizen, yadda yadda yadda. So when I pull out the whole paranormal thing, I often can see the cognitive dissonance actually frying brain cells. After all, how on earth could I believe in ghosts? People often ask me that outright – usually saying something along the lines of, “You seem pretty smart. Why the hell would you believe in ghosts?”
Usually I am too polite to reply, “You seem pretty smart. Why the hell do you believe in God?”
After all, I’m guessing not one of those people who starts to re-asses my level of intelligence or sanity has ever actually seen God with their own eyes or heard Him with their own ears. And yet I have both seen AND heard ghosts. Can I prove it? Nope. I have some recordings, of course. But mostly what I have are those personal experiences that have told me that there is something going on here. In all of my life, I’ve never had such a solid personal experience of God. Ever.
I get this next one a lot, too.
“How can you reconcile your belief in God with a belief in ghosts?”
Actually, it’s pretty easy. I do believe in God. Kind of. Not the personal Christian God, but a different God altogether. I believe that God is the underlying intelligence in the universe. God is the stuff that makes up everything. You are God, and so am I. I guess you’d call it the Einsteinian God. God is what we come from before we’re born, and what we return to after we die. And in searching for ghosts, I’m trying to figure out just what that is. Are we souls? Do we remain wholly ourselves before birth and after death, or does something else happen altogether? That is what I am looking for when I search for ghosts.
I believe in ghosts. And I’m pretty sure that many people have reassessed my intelligence and my sanity because of that. Probably people in my own family. But I can assure you, I am no fool. I never go down without a fight, which is why the church has never completely had my number. Belief, for me, comes only after experience. After seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting – or some other physical sensation that allows me to know there’s something there. I understand that this isn’t a popular stance in this age of faith. But here’s what I know. I’ve seen, heard, smelled and felt ghosts. Never tasted them – but that’s probably a good thing. I doubt they taste like marshmallows. That is what drives my belief. Experience. To me a less reasoned, less intelligent stance would be the refusal to believe there is something going on out there in spite of my experiences. And once I have as powerful of a physical experience of the personal Christian God as I’ve had of ghosts? Then I’ll believe in that, too. Until then, my faith lies in personal experience. No matter how crazy, unintelligent or “out there” that makes me look.