Is there a spirit world?

Ivan Seeking
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...Spiritualism as a movement began in 1848...
One night in late March, 1848, the two little Fox sisters — Margaret and Kate (also called Catherine), said they heard strange knockings in the cottage where they lay in their beds. Haunted houses were nothing new but this was different.

As the story goes, when Margaret snapped her fingers twice and told the rapper, "Do as I do," he knocked twice. "Count to 10," she commanded, and there were 10 rappings.

Neighbors and skeptics came over to witness this strange communication with the spirit world. At times there were as many as 500 people in the Fox house at one time to hear the sounds.

It was discovered that by means of a code (for instance, one rap for "yes," two raps for "no," three raps for "don't know"), the spirit would answer questions about the future. It wasn't long before Margaret, Kate and their older sister Leah took up spirit rapping as a profession.

Spiritualism was born. [continued]
http://reviewappeal.midsouthnews.com/news.ez?viewStory=23385

I find this a little misleading. These beliefs are ancient. Consider the following from a Bible search. Note that this is presented purely in a historical context. No religion specific arguments please.

Search words "medium" 14 results. |

Leviticus 19:31
" 'Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
(Whole Chapter: Leviticus 19 In context: Leviticus 19:30-32)


Leviticus 20:6
" 'I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.
(Whole Chapter: Leviticus 20 In context: Leviticus 20:5-7)


Leviticus 20:27
" 'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.' "
(Whole Chapter: Leviticus 20 In context: Leviticus 20:26-28)


Deuteronomy 18:11
or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
(Whole Chapter: Deuteronomy 18 In context: Deuteronomy 18:10-12)


1 Samuel 28:3
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.
(Whole Chapter: 1 Samuel 28 In context: 1 Samuel 28:2-4)


1 Samuel 28:7
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.
(Whole Chapter: 1 Samuel 28 In context: 1 Samuel 28:6-8)


1 Samuel 28:9
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?"
(Whole Chapter: 1 Samuel 28 In context: 1 Samuel 28:8-10)


2 Kings 21:6
He sacrificed his own son in [ 21:6 Or [ He made his own son pass through ] ] the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD , provoking him to anger.
(Whole Chapter: 2 Kings 21 In context: 2 Kings 21:5-7)


2 Kings 23:24
Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD .
(Whole Chapter: 2 Kings 23 In context: 2 Kings 23:23-25)


1 Chronicles 10:13
Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD ; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance,
(Whole Chapter: 1 Chronicles 10 In context: 1 Chronicles 10:12-14)


2 Chronicles 33:6
He sacrificed his sons in [ 33:6 Or [ He made his sons pass through ] ] the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD , provoking him to anger.
(Whole Chapter: 2 Chronicles 33 In context: 2 Chronicles 33:5-7)


Isaiah 8:19
When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?
(Whole Chapter: Isaiah 8 In context: Isaiah 8:18-20)


Isaiah 19:3
The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists.
(Whole Chapter: Isaiah 19 In context: Isaiah 19:2-4)


Jeremiah 27:9
So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, 'You will not serve the king of Babylon.'
(Whole Chapter: Jeremiah 27 In context: Jeremiah 27:8-10)
 
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Yes, spiritism is very old indeed. In Bible does warn people to say alway from spiritism and astrology. Also look in many ancient mythologies and you'll find lots of otherworldly realms filled with spirit creatures. What first comes to mind for me is Native American mythology, I think I here the word "spirit" coming from them more than any others.
 
selfAdjoint
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Ivan, I am curious about the repeated occurrence of the stock phrase "mediums and spiritists" in your quotes from different books of the Bible, evidently written at different times. I note that in the King James translation the Leviticus quotes come out "them that have familiar spirits [and] wizards." A person with a familiar spirit was not what we should call a spiritist, but what we should call a witch. Likewise a wizard is not the same thing as a medium. Care to comment?
 
Ivan Seeking
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Oh boy, you got me there. I did some checking and as nearly as I can tell, "spiritist" refers to a person who holds the beliefs of spiritualism, and a medium is a person who communicates with the dead. It appears that since most mediums are spiritists, that is since they believe in an afterworld, the meanings have merged. My guess is that in its original form, the word spiritist refers to any person who has spiritual beliefs of an afterlife that are not based on or that violate the old or new testaments. A medium is merely the channel for communication between the living and the dead. Since channeling is forbidden by biblical teachings, the medium is a spiritist.

This is a composite impression from a number of defintions - ie it is only a best guess. Most sources list the two words as synonyms.
 
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word spiritist refers to any person who has spiritual beliefs of an afterlife that are not based on or that violate the old or new testaments
Actually the old and new testaments have no concept of an "afterlife" at all, there is only resurrection. Although not many Christians or Jews (ancient Hebrews did not believe in an afterlife) still believe this because during Christianity's earily days many Greeks were firm believers in an eternal soul that lived for ever. So an idea of an afterlife where your soul left your body and went to heaven or hell was created (without biblical support) to conserve this idea that no one can really die forever. These ideas also spread into Judaism soon after. The Bible clearly states that the dead are unconscious and aware of nothing.
 
Ivan Seeking
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Good point. I hadn't thought about the distinction; though I don't think this is consistent with all forms of Christianity. Consider for example the Catholic's pergatory.

Edit: Actually, lets not. This opens up too many problem areas for our discussion. Suffice it to say that the Catholics have their beliefs and other disagree.
 
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selfAdjoint
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Ivan Seeking said:
Good point. I hadn't thought about the distinction; though I don't think this is consistent with all forms of Christianity. Consider for example the Catholic's pergatory.

Edit: Actually, lets not. This opens up too many problem areas for our discussion. Suffice it to say that the Catholics have their beliefs and other disagree.
Just one historical note. Some Jewish sects believed in an afterlife from the time of the Maccaben wars, and the beginnings of the idea of purgatory date to then also. The story I was told was that after a fierce battle with the Greeks, the people went out to collect their heroic dead, and found to their dismay that many of these were carrying pagan good luck charms. Jewish thought of the time dictated that anyone who did this would never "shine like the stars". In order to resolve the cogitive dissonance, some thinkers posited an after-state in which the sinful but basically good soul could work off the bad judgment.
 
loseyourname
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So are you just asking us when a belief in spiritualism began or are you asking us if we believe in spirits?
 
Evo
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Ivan Seeking said:
Consider for example the Catholic's pergatory.

Edit: Actually, lets not. This opens up too many problem areas for our discussion. Suffice it to say that the Catholics have their beliefs and other disagree.
I was raised as a Roman Catholic, and they believe in ghosts/spirits, as in "Saints", who are dead people that you can ask favors of and they listen to you and will help you. Also, as is shown in the thread on the electronic devices in the town in Sicily, there is a belief in demons.

Ivan, you are right, belief in spirits and those able to communicate with them go back to the beginning of time. The article you cited should have more accurately stated it as the beginning of a new breed of "spritualists/mediums" and a renewed interest in it.
 
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Good point. I hadn't thought about the distinction; though I don't think this is consistent with all forms of Christianity. Consider for example the Catholic's pergatory.
Its not consistent with almost all forms of Christianity. Many forms of Christianity do believe in an afterlife and spiritism despite any biblical support. Most notibly would be many South American christians who mix christian beliefs with Native American ones.

I was raised as a Roman Catholic, and they believe in ghosts/spirits, as in "Saints", who are dead people that you can ask favors of and they listen to you and will help you. Also, as is shown in the thread on the electronic devices in the town in Sicily, there is a belief in demons.
One of the reasons I'm not Catholic anymore. Although I do believe in satanic forces through the actions of men I do not believe in ghosts or spirits, as in mortal men's souls haunting people after death.
 
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Evo said:
I was raised as a Roman Catholic, and they believe in ghosts/spirits, as in "Saints", who are dead people that you can ask favors of and they listen to you and will help you. Also, as is shown in the thread on the electronic devices in the town in Sicily, there is a belief in demons.
I was also raised Roman Catholic, and although they definitely believe in an afterlife, the nuns were adamant with us that there were no ghosts. The concept of the spirit of a dead person wandering around the earth haunting places was something they worked hard to dispute. The souls of the dead went either directly to heaven, hell, or purgatory. Hell was a one way street. Purgatory was bad or not so bad depending on how much sin you had left to "purge" before being allowed into heaven. Heaven was great.

Anyone who got into heaven was a saint. Anyone who could pass the churches criteria for sainthood based on certain information about their life, could be officially designated as a saint. The churches list of saints is, of course, not considered complete. To be designated as saint, is just a way of saying that the church is really, really sure that person made it to heaven.

The nuns who taught at my school would have strongly objected to calling anyone who was in hell, purgatory, or heaven a "spirit" or "ghost". They were "souls". We always spoke of "the souls of the dead".
 
Ivan Seeking
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selfAdjoint said:
I note that in the King James translation the Leviticus quotes come out "them that have familiar spirits [and] wizards." A person with a familiar spirit was not what we should call a spiritist, but what we should call a witch. Likewise a wizard is not the same thing as a medium. Care to comment?
I realized that I hadn't answered completely here. I believe that in the original meaning, a medium is still a witch or wizard [warluck] since he or she calls forth the powers of evil [ie not of the bible].

Here is the site used for the original quotes.
http://www.biblesearch.com/readtext.htm [Broken]
 
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Evo
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zoobyshoe said:
I was also raised Roman Catholic, and although they definitely believe in an afterlife, the nuns were adamant with us that there were no ghosts.
What about the Holy Ghost - the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity? :wink:
 
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Evo said:
What about the Holy Ghost - the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity? :wink:
This would be exactly the wrong quetion to ask right after a nun just told you there's no such thing as ghosts.
 
Ivan Seeking
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What about the Holy Ghost - the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity?
Do you mean the Holy Spirit? :biggrin:
 
Evo
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jimmy p
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It is crazy. I was brought up Roman Catholic too. This part of the faith do not believe in spirits but will happily believe in the Holy Spirit. But Spiritualism, which believes in the same god, DO believe in spirits. Seems very contradictory of Roman Catholics.
 
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RE: "Margaret, Kate and their older sister Leah took up spirit rapping as a profession"

SO that is where M Marg Margaret, Katey B and Soul Sista' Leah got their start.
 
selfAdjoint
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Ivan Seeking said:
I realized that I hadn't answered completely here. I believe that in the original meaning, a medium is still a witch or wizard [warluck] since he or she calls forth the powers of evil [ie not of the bible].

Here is the site used for the original quotes.
http://www.biblesearch.com/readtext.htm [Broken]
Now the ancient Jews mostly didn't believe in ghosts, but they did believe in angels and demons, and I presume that the witch of en-dor had a demon as her familiar spirit. This was also the view during the witch burning times of the early modern period; a familiar, such as a black cat, was thought to house a demon.

BTW, the male word for witch is witch. Warlock is just a dialect word for witch, used by Robert Louis Stevenson. The Old English word for a male witch was wicca, pronounce witch-ah, and a female witch was wicce, pronounced witch-eh. Both endings were later lost. Modern witches derive mostly from 19th century books, and their etymology is mostly bogus.
 
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Regarding familiars:

The highly suspect, but none-the-less interesting books by Carlos Castenada go into great detail about this.

In the later book called The Fire From Within Don Juan, the Yaqui Brujo tells Carlos about the non-organic beings.

This is a vast, vast collection of beings that are conscious, and have some sort of reality, but which are composed of a kind of energy that makes interaction between them and us nearly impossible. A brujo can learn to see into the worlds of the non-organic beings, lure one out, and make it a slave to his or her will. They are essentially formless and depend on the mind of the brujo to give them some sort of appearance.

They are also neither good nor bad, just incredibly different than humans. Don Juan tells Carlos, that to a brujo who is able to see from the vantage point of different realities, a human looks to be heat energy, while a non-organic being looks more like electricity.

The reason they can be enslaved is that they are incredibly responsive to extreme human emotions. They seem to enjoy any human emotion, the stronger the better, and they seek it out. The brujo, who can control his emotions extremely well, can therefore also control the reactions of his pet non-organic being.

Don Juan does not refer to them with the term 'familiar" though. In his tradition they are called "allies".

Needless to say, when they aren't under complete and strict control, they will create mischief. The apprentice brujo would be lost without the master there to help him learn to control the ally. Because they like emotion they will take the form they sence will elicite the most emotion from the apprentice, which is normally something terrifying. These are not to be toyed with by curiosity seekers.

I found this explanation extremely intriguing. I wonder about it now and then when I hear that someone whose been playing with a ouija board seems to have attracted a mischief making spirit.
 
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I read a lot of philosophical arguments on the existence of the spirit world here, but no scientific arguments. So, I'd like to pose some questions. First, I should probably state my base assumptions here: 1. The Universe contains all that exists. 2. Anything that exists in the Universe must obey all the laws of the Universe. Now, the questions:

1. How does the existence of spirits square with the Laws of Thermodynamics?

2. What is the physics by which we see spirits/ghosts?

3. What is the physics behind their (the spirits) interactions with the material world? How do they satisfy Newton's Laws?
 
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I remember a while ago reading some scientists hypothetical on what it be like to be a being who could percieve/exist in the 4th dimension. And it completely explained all the things that have puzzled me that ghosts/spirits are able to do. Walking through solid objects, materialising, making predictions about the future. Really nothing that unuseall
if you realise that they just exist in a higher dimension.
 
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From Overdose:

" Really nothing that unuseall if you realise that they just exist in a higher dimension."


I think you missed an important point. By assumption 2, any event in the universe, including the 4 dimensions we experience directly, must be able to be traced back to one of the physical laws that govern the operation of the Universe. How do these "higher dimensional" beings accomplish this?

By the way, we perceive/exist in the 4th dimension (time) too.

And finally, can anyone give an example of something that exists in only one dimension? Everything that I can think of exists in at least two dimensions, time and at least one spatial dimension. And, if you really want to get technical, I'm not sure anything can exist in less than 4 dimensions. Even the "one-dimensional" line you draw on a piece of paper has some thickness.
 
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You know, it never fails. As soon as I offer some explanation of something, I think of a better way to say it. So, my apologies for repeating myself somewhat, but here's a slightly different, and better I think, version of my previous post

By assumption 2, any event in the Universe, including the 4 dimensions we experience directly must SATISFY all the physical laws that govern the operation of the Universe. For example, if something's state of motion changes in this Universe, by Newton's 2nd Law, a force must have been applied, and again by Newton's 2nd Law, you can't apply a force without having some mass. So, how do these higher dimensional beings accomplish this?
 
Ivan Seeking
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Time is treated as the fourth dimension. I think we exist in time.

if you realise that they just exist in a higher dimension
You have to be careful here. What exactly do you mean by "dimension"?
 

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