Monday, July 28, 2008

Paranormal in Religion

There is a thought that vampires, shape shifters, and others really exist. Individuals who are devoutly religious have difficulty with that idea because others are not mentioned in the major books of faith (Bible, Torah, Koran). Surely, if the others truly existed they would be mentioned? After all, the creation stories make mention of all sorts of creatures. Why not them?

I have my own ideas. I was raised in a very fundamentalist protestant home. And yet I wondered. The dinosaurs weren't mentioned in the Bible. But undeniably, they existed. North and South America weren't mentioned... weren't even hinted at, yet they are here. The Bible, while a holy book, was not ever meant to be an encyclopedia. Why would we expect it to contain all knowledge?

I think that there are many, many things on earth that we only dimly perceive. Some of those we are not ready to deal with so we willfully refuse to see. Others we don't see because we don't know how to look. We don't observe. Ask five individuals at a crime scene to describe the perpetrator. You'll get five different descriptions.

We also live in a world where we have little knowledge of those who live around us. Truly. How many of us know more than a handful of our neighbors? I freely confess that I only know one of the neighbors in my building (twelve apartments). I know one other enough to greet her when I happen to see her outside. And I know the two sisters who live next door to me enough to recognize them. So for all I know, I could have a vampire or werewolf or faery living in my building.

And then there is the issue of intolerance. We don't like people who are not us. To some extent religion has fostered that notion. If someone were to confess that they are a were or vamp there would be a public outcry. It's one thing to fantasize about such things or read about them in a book. It's another thing to come face to face with them. Instead we take comfort that they must not exist because our religious leaders tell us so.

I wonder...

Anny

9 comments:

  1. Indeed that is the case. But I know That the Koran mentions Dijns as the 'Other' race besides the Humans, I have wondered if they could actually be extra terrestrials or the aliens...

    But what you say is so true. We feel that the 'others' don't exist until otherwise proven, or simply put, seeing is believing. But then again, the mind sees what it is either conditioned to see or chooses to see!

    Excellent post Anny!

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  2. excellent points to kick off the week!

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  3. Great thoughts on this, Anny. I don't believe religious books necessarily cover all things that may be living in this world or others. Are there different dimensions of existence that are separate but somehow connected with OUR dimension? Interesting to think about.

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  4. Great post Anny! I have always said that legends don't live this long if there is no truth behind them. It drives the Mr. nuts that I may or may not believe in Vampires and Ghosts. But hey, where did the stories come from and why are they still here? One little book led millions to believe in the son of God, why should werewolves and faeries be any different?

    XoXoXo
    Dakota

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  5. Thank you ladies! Mona, I know that the Bible (old testament) also mentions giants and other races. Interesting that people mostly ignore that part, huh?

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  6. The book of Tobit, which is part of the Apocrypha, a set of Biblical books that only some denominations include as canonical, includes a demon, Asmodeus. Every time a young woman, Sarah, gets married, Asmodeus comes along and kills her husband on their wedding night. While other books of the Bible mention demon possession, this is a little different and might fall into the category of "Other," since he's given a name and needn't possess a body in order to act.

    One of my favorite authors, Charles DeLint, mostly writes stories in which those considered "Other" (animal spirits mostly, with lots of American Indian and Celtic influence) are present and active in "real life."

    Also check out Robin McKinley's book "Sunshine," a vampire story set in a world just a little bit askew from ours. Religion doesn't come into it much, but it's still a great read about how our world could be.

    Personally, I don't know how I feel about the presence of Others, though it has little to do with religion. I tend to think that most such stories spring out of half-understood reality and take on a life of their own in the imagination. But I hope there are such things as the fae.

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  7. But they ARE in the Bible, Anny. I did a whole blog on it a year ago...

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  8. Excellent post, Anny. I think it is the intolerance fostered in most organized religions (though usually only spewed forth and pounded down the throats of others by zealots) that send the spiritually confused down the path of alternative religions or into silent resentment against a belief they wish they shared with their family and peers.

    I believe there are truly good and well... righteous people in every religion that are strong in their beliefs and content in the knowledge that they’ve found an image of “God” that suits them and it makes them feel whole and happy and that’s enough. It’s the ones that embrace their, often newfound, belief with such fervor they feel the need to convert, conquer, ostracize or kill any that hold a different view that really scares the dickens out of me.

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