Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Spirit World

How do I know that there’s a God? Well, I know that there are lying spirits (demons). This firsthand knowledge is important, especially for someone like me, a skeptic by nature, imbued with the Western prejudice against the world of spirits in general.

I have two cousins who used to do the Ouija board when they were 10 and 12. It terrified them, but we adults pressured them to do it at a family event. The results were nothing short of amazing. The disk raced around the board, as the girls placed all four hands upon it, spelling out words as fast as we could record them. The words became sentences, and then thoughts and stories, communicating things that the girls were incapable of knowing, even beyond their ability to express them.

We skeptics then blindfolded them. This didn’t impede their performance in the slightest. Even today, my family has no natural explanation for what we saw.

I had been so impressed, that I persuaded my girlfriend into doing the Ouija with me. The spirits that we conjured were very liberal in their use of profanity, but answered all our questions. I had naively assumed that they could be trusted, assuming that these spirits were ascended, enlightened beings who had evolved past any interest in lying. We asked them the big question – “Is there a God?” To this, they answered “Ouija!”

My parents had also been burglarized, and so we asked the spirits to disclose the identity of the perpetrators. They gladly identified neighbors of my parents. Immediately, I decided that I would take revenge upon them, but fortunately, the police apprehended the real perpetrators before I could take action.

I mention these things because many are as naïve as I had been. Young people especially are attracted to spiritism. It offers the quick-road to power and prestige at what seems to be a minimal price. Recently, a student told me of her own experiences:

As a teenager I often hung out with large groups of people varying in age, some my age and some adults and little children. One week, during the winter, we decided to perform séances for 3 nights. Incidences occurred, but for the first 2 days, I was stuck babysitting the little ones, so I couldn’t see what was happening. I was usually told the next day by someone in the group of by a boyfriend of mine at the time. He would tell me that he couldn’t remember because as soon as the praying or chanting started he would fall asleep and when it was over he would wake up to find that his cross hanging around his neck would be broken and on his lap. When the séances were on although I was in a closed room but I could still hear a lot of commotion going on and even some screams. I had to be at one of these things to see what was going on, so the last night of the séances I decided to speak up and say I didn’t want to take care of the kids that night. I sat with my boyfriend and the chanting/praying started. We were all in a circle sitting around the room I don’t remember holding hands. The person who was the medium was the same for all the nights of the séances. It was a woman and she would sit at the head of the circle in a chair and start the chanting and we all listened. Right away my boyfriend fell asleep and I knew something was going to happen. I looked at the woman and her face seemed darker so I left my chair and approached her out of curiosity. Why was it I could see her body but by her head it looks like a dark shadow was there, so when I came close I noticed her eyes seemed crooked and were looking straight ahead as if she didn’t know I was there. I called her name and she didn’t answer. Someone from the group told me to stay seated and they proceeded to talk to this woman but the voice that came out of her was a man’s voice and very deep. I was a little scared and tried to wake up my bf, but he wouldn’t wake up, so I sat next to him. All of a sudden out of nowhere, the woman started screaming and ran toward the kitchen. Some of the men that were there including her husband ran after her to try to calm her down but the voice kept saying he had to throw her out of the window. Finally after she was pulled to the floor and she was restrained one of the other people started praying over her. After that I decided not to partake in any of those things again, it was too scary.

Evil is real. If you haven’t had these types of experiences, don’t simply dismiss it. Its ability to disguise itself as something pleasant, even moral, has duped many people, as the Bible warns: “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).

Evil is alluring; it promises quick results. Meanwhile, it asks you to turn off your critical faculties. Sandra Ingerman, a shaman, writes:

• “As you read this book and wonder whether or not what I am talking about is real, I ask you not to enter into a battle between the right brain [reason] and left brain [intuition]. Simply read the material and experience it...Does the information that comes from the shamanic journey work? Does the information make positive changes in a person’s life? If so, who cares if we are making it up?
” (Soul Retrieval, 3)

Immediate results trumps reason or any consideration of the costs further down the road. Nor is education any guarantee against naïveté. In “Mama Lola; A Voodoo Priestess in Brooklyn,” Anthropologist Karen McCarthy Brown explains how and why she took a leap into Voodoo”

• “Although the Iwa [spirits] who possess Alourdes [the Voodoo priestess] are often called sen-yo (saints), they are not saintly types in the traditional Christian sense. For example, in stories about the soldier spirit Ogou/Saint James, he not only liberates his people but also betrays them. Ezili Danto/Mater Salvatoris, the mother, cradles and cares for her children but also sometimes lashes out at them in rage. The Voodoo spirits are not models of the well-lived life; rather, they mirror the full range of possibilities inherent in the particular slice of life over which they preside. Failure to understand this has led observers to portray the Voodoo spirits as demonic or even to conclude that Voodoo is a religion without morality—a serious misconception.”

However, McCarthy doesn’t explain why this is a “misconception.” It is amazing that while knowing that these spirits aren’t “saintly types,” she would subject herself to them. Nor does she attempt to think through the philosophical implications of her ill-conceived leap. If the spirits are the highest form of being and they aren’t very moral, then it would be pure hubris to try to be more moral. This might even be offensive to the spirits.

What happens to societies who have made this leap into spiritism? In the short run, they might find some immediate benefits. The spirit world is real and powerful. However, there is the fine print. It is no accident that we have no examples of spiritistic societies that have advanced, having hospitals, justice systems, and charities. Instead, these societies are horribly violent – a testimony to the type of beings that spiritism invokes.

Nevertheless, our mysterious God allows them a degree of sovereignty. Why? Well, for one thing, skeptics like me delight over tangible evidence of the spirit world. And if there are demonic spirits, there certainly must be a benevolent God who keeps them in check.

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