Should Christians believe in ghosts?

Friday the 13th - File photo
Friday the 13th - File photo

Ask yourself this question. Am I superstitious? Do I avoid black cats? Do I walk around ladders? Do I have a problem with putting a 13th floor on a high rise?

Well, the truth is, many people are superstitious today. Obviously, architects recognize that fact when they omit that particular floor number on buildings and in elevators. Even though we know that the floor immediately above the 12th is in fact the 13th.

Many people place more credence in superstition than in faith. I find it amusing that so many are willing to believe in anything except the truth. They spend years chasing ghosts, Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster and crop circles, while carefully avoiding true Christianity…or they might even go so far as to incorporate their brand of Christianity with their very unchristian beliefs.

I am continually astounded by programs like Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State. Each week, these shows attempt to track down and record evidence of disembodied spirits. Most of what passes for “evidences” are subjective personal experiences like a mysterious touch or a distant creak or thump. So how many people really believe in ghosts?

Frighteningly, more than one in five Americans told CBS News pollsters recently they have seen a real-life ghost in some form…and whether or not they’ve seen one, even more Americans believe that ghosts actually do exist. Forty eight percent of Americans say they believe in ghosts. People from 18 to 45 are the most likely to believe, with older (and wiser) Americans much less likely.

But what does the bible say? 2 Corinthians 5:8 says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Hebrews 9:27 says this, “For it is given men once to die, and then the judgment.”
There is no middle ground, no earthly limbo. The existence of ghosts flies in the face of these verses.

To give the biblical account credit, there have been a few instances when ghosts actually walked the earth. One of these was when the Lord sent Elisha to see King Saul while he was visiting the witch at Endor. But in that case, the Lord sent the spirit of the dead prophet to teach both the witch and the king a lesson.

First Samuel 28 tells the story. Let’s start with verse 3. “Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” “There is one in Endor,” they said.

So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” Saul swore to her by the LORD, “As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this.”Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

This medium knew that the appearance of this man of God was not the work of her conjuring or of her spirits. Otherwise, why was she afraid? She instantly knew the truth of the matter supernaturally as well as the identity of the king who had expelled her and her ilk.

The only other incident I can think of was when Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. On each of these occasions, God was glorified.

Other incidents reveal that what someone thought was a ghost was in fact a real live person. When Jesus was walking on the water, the superstitious disciples thought it was His ghost. (Matthew 14:26)

And when Paul was miraculously released from prison, the young woman at the gate thought she was being visited by Paul’s angel or ghost.

After the resurrection, Jesus challenged the faith of His disciples when He appeared to them in the flesh. Luke 24:36: “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’”

So if the ghosts of the bible are the exception, then what are all these people seeing? What are they experiencing? They can’t all be mentally ill. They can’t all be making it up. The sheer weight of the poll numbers reveals that one of every two Americans believes in these manifestations.

I have some thoughts about this. The first is that many of these manifestations are real. But they are not the spirits of departed loved ones or maniacal killers. Rather, they are demonic entities masquerading as ghosts to delude humanity and distance the gap between God and the supernatural. The enemy is never as effective as when he is not sensed.

Keith Green used to sing a song called, “No One Believes in Me Anymore,” in which the devil is amused by the fact that he can operate in complete anonymity if people are led to believe that he either doesn’t exist or what they are experiencing is not the devil, but dead Aunt Kitty trying to make contact from the other side:

“And have you heard that God is dead
I made that one up myself
They dabble in magic spells
They get their fortunes read
You know they heard the truth
But turned away and followed me instead
I used to have to sneak around
But now they just open their doors
You know, no ones watching for my tricks
Because no one believes in me anymore.”

What are your thoughts about ghosts? Write your comments at the end of the article and if you take a position of faith, please use scripture references.

This article is Part 1 in a series.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Our Prattville or its editor or publisher.

Article by Cameron Reeder

© 2009 Our Prattville. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.

2 thoughts on “Should Christians believe in ghosts?”

  1. Believe? Do I believe in ghosts? I am a Christian and I don’t know if I believe in ghosts. I am a paranormal researcher and investigator trying to find out for myself if they exist. I believe in God as a matter of fact and faith but to believe in earth-bound spirits will take some actual physical proof. I approach an investigation from a strictly scientific point of view, neither trying to prove or disprove anything, only documenting what takes place and then reviewing that data for any anomolies. If anything is found then I try to recreate the experience as to eliminate all possible reasons for the anomoly. Most “evidence” can be explained and debunked through recreation but there are things that I cannot explain so I keep looking.

Comments are closed.