If I see a ghost, does that mean there is life after death?
I can appreciate a good ghost hunt. A while back I wrote a related story about one of my more memorable ghost hunts on my autism parenting blog. I didn’t see a ghost myself, but I enjoyed getting in the way of a very serious “spirit interview.” I’m a skeptic who loves the unknown. Most of it can be easily explained, but occasionally the unknown inspires compelling questions about how our brains work. I don’t want theories, I want better explanations. And I like to overthink things.
But if I had seen a ghost, what would that mean….? Would it be hallucination? A psychic image? A demon? Or, would it be an actual deceased person? That last possibility leads to a million more questions I don’t have answers for. We love exploring the unknown so much that sometimes we forget how unknown it is. Often people believe they see a ghost and assume it is a deceased person who is trying to communicate, or who is lost between worlds. That’s the myth that’s been passed down, anyway. It is reinforced in movies and books. It is the answer we know and like, so as typical human beings we go with it. It is what keeps us from figuring out the unknown as quickly as we could.
This mistake is also made when it comes to god. Have you ever experienced god? I’m not talking about answered prayer or knowledge of his presence. I mean in a tangible way that makes people think you are crazy. I haven’t. I did once ask god to take away my ear infection pain and he responded immediately. Immediately. That should have been my first clue something wasn’t holy. But the doctor didn’t believe me when I said the pain had stopped, and so I believed god was the source of my “miracle.”
I know. It’s not a very good story. But what can I say? God pretty much ignored all the big stuff in my life. At the time I thought my prayer was answered by god, but the only evidence was that my pain was gone. Why does that mean it was god? Was it my own brain? Coincidence? Magic? A demon or ghost healing? I don’t know. I am guessing one of the first two options. But I do know that the experience told me nothing about god. One unexplained experience and suddenly I have to believe in not just god, but the Christian god? It makes no sense. And yet people jump to conclusions like this on a regular basis.
Skeptics are quick to challenge miracles. It’s true that we seldom have all the details, and firsthand accounts can be sketchy at best. But some of them may be true. Why not? Weirder things have happened. I no longer think god cured my earache, right? But the pain did stop. If you say something happened to you, who am I to say you are wrong? I don’t know. I wasn’t there.
So let’s say every miracle is true. You know what else is true? Miracle stories never offer additional information about god. In fact, the only connection these stories have to god is the insistence of those involved that it was god. That’s still just their best guess, and a guess they apply frequently. But if you can believe god is real, then why would you doubt a million other less strange answers? Really, there are at least a million. Don’t get skeptical on me now.
I have experienced enough bizarre moments outside the walls of religion to know it’s best to never jump to conclusions. If I ever see a ghost, I will not believe in life after death. And if I ever see a miracle? I doubt I’ll believe in god, either.