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Is there a spirit world?

  1. Jul 11, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    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.

     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2004
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  3. Jul 11, 2004 #2
    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.
     
  4. Jul 11, 2004 #3

    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?
     
  5. Jul 11, 2004 #4

    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2004
  6. Jul 11, 2004 #5
    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.
     
  7. Jul 11, 2004 #6

    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2004
  8. Jul 11, 2004 #7

    selfAdjoint

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    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.
     
  9. Jul 11, 2004 #8

    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?
     
  10. Jul 11, 2004 #9

    Evo

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    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.
     
  11. Jul 11, 2004 #10
    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.

    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.
     
  12. Jul 13, 2004 #11
    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".
     
  13. Jul 13, 2004 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    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
     
  14. Jul 13, 2004 #13

    Evo

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    What about the Holy Ghost - the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity? :wink:
     
  15. Jul 13, 2004 #14
    This would be exactly the wrong quetion to ask right after a nun just told you there's no such thing as ghosts.
     
  16. Jul 13, 2004 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Do you mean the Holy Spirit? :biggrin:
     
  17. Jul 13, 2004 #16

    Evo

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  18. Jul 13, 2004 #17

    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.
     
  19. Jul 13, 2004 #18
    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.
     
  20. Jul 13, 2004 #19

    selfAdjoint

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    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.
     
  21. Jul 13, 2004 #20
    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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