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Ghosts and how to relate to them.

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by Tellyontellyon, Jul 24, 2021.

  1. Tellyontellyon

    Tellyontellyon Active Member

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    In the Buddhist tradition we have a class of being we can be born into called Preta, or hungry ghosts (especially if we tend to being greedy!). In Buddhist belief these beings suffer terribly and have tiny mouths the size of the eye of a needle and an enormous stomach. They are always incredibly hungry and thirsty, even if they find a drop of water or a crumb of food it is transformed into pus, blood, faeces etc., and becomes very painful to swallow. There is no satisfaction or peace for these miserable beings.
    In Buddhism we regard these beings with compassion and try to help them, we dedicate food to them and try to liberate them from that realm to have another rebirth.

    ❤️ What is the Christian understanding of ghosts and how do Christians deal with or help ghosts?
     
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  2. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Most conservative Protestants/Evangelicals do not believe in ghosts. The vast majority of them believe that all haunted houses result from demons and not from deceased human souls. Some Mainline/moderate Protestants do believe that deceased human souls can become ghosts. Many Catholics seem to believe that ghosts are possible, probably because they believe in Purgatory. I will let Orthodox Christians answer for themselves. For those Christians who believe in ghosts, what do they do to try and help them? I would say that they offer prayers for them. If this fails to help them move on, then they might ask a priest or minister to come and perform a house blessing and/or an exorcism. If the ghost seems friendly or does not really bother the family to any extent, they may just decide to live with the ghost and do nothing much at all.

    I will add that as one who believes that most hauntings come from ghosts and not demons, that your desire to help the ghosts move on is admirable. Having said that, it seems unclear how much ability that we have to assist them. They appear to be trapped between dimensions. Some experts claim that many of the ghosts do not even realize that they are dead. It is possible that some of them are in a sort of Catholic-like Purgatory, though I personally think that they are more likely in a state resembling the traditional Catholic Limbo rather than Purgatory.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  3. Emet_Ziton

    Emet_Ziton Member

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    The Bible has little to say about ghosts, but here is a story from one of the books of the Bible, the book of Samuel, about a ghost.

    Then the woman said (to king Saul), “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul.” And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid; but what do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a divine being coming up out of the earth.” And he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage. Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul answered, “I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and answers me no more, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do.” And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has departed from you and has become your adversary? “And the LORD has done accordingly as He spoke through me; for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. “As you did not obey the LORD and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the LORD has done this thing to you this day. “Moreover the LORD will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the LORD will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!” Then Saul immediately fell full length upon the ground and was very afraid because of the words of Samuel; also there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day and all night.

    Aside from that, there isn't anything said about helping ghosts in the Bible, that I know of (and I have read the whole book through, though that was many years ago). I've also never had anyone ask the question before. It's a very compassionate question to ask!

    I have had a number of encounters with supernatural beings in my life. I don't know if they were ghosts or...or what they were. Certainly I've shouted the name of Jesus at beings I was pretty sure were demons. I've never even considered that they may be lost, wandering souls, and that I, with a connection to God, might have power to help them. That's a beautiful thought.

    Thank you. I'm richer for having read your post.
     
  4. Isilwen

    Isilwen Well-Known Member

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    I can attest to that! I believe in ghosts as a prior Catholic and now Episcopalian. I wouldn't say it's because of purgatory though. I think it stems from seeing my great-grandmother one time in my old childhood home.

    I have even gone as far as done investigations, kinda like the Ghost Hunters a few times with a paranormal group in Upstate, NY when I lived there. We investigated someone's home, never got any evidence. Also investigated Rolling Hills in East Bethany, NY. Several of the popular TV shows like the aforementioned Ghost Hunters and others have all gone there and investigated as well.

    We did get some evidence of some things there. One EVP had a disembodied spirit answer one of my questions that I asked of one of my group. Saw shadow people. In one instance we were in a pitch-black hallway on the second floor and there were cabinets banging and footsteps.

    So yes, I fully believe in ghosts.
     
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  5. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Quite a few people have reported seeing the ghosts of dead relatives. This is one main reason why I do believe in ghosts.
     
  6. Old Lady

    Old Lady ...yet not I, but the grace of God that is with me Supporter

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  7. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

    +2,439
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    Many years ago, I was sleeping in a bed with someone in Salem, Massachusetts (witch city). The mother of the person I was sleeping with was a practicing witch. They told me that their house was haunted. I didn't really believe in ghosts at the time. Until that night. I woke in the middle of the night to see a young girl with golden hair kneeling at the edge of the bed. I sat up and rubbed my eyes then realized I was looking at the streetlight shining on the sheet covering my friend's bent raised knee.
    So I believed in ghosts for about five seconds.
     
  8. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    I've heard that the "hungry ghosts" of Buddhism are the reincarnated souls of people who have done wrong in a past life, and are now being punished for it. I've heard of a similar thing regarding hell among indigenous Chinese religion where those who are greedy and selfish are sent to a certain level of hell after death and have six foot long chopsticks attached to their hands. The chopsticks are so long they cannot feed themselves with them, but can only feed those around them as a punishment for being selfish. There is nothing similar within Christianity. The closest you'll find is our prayers for the departed, that God might be merciful to them in the next life.
     
  9. shineyourlight

    shineyourlight Well-Known Member

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    I do not believe in ghosts and I am a Christian. I do believe that demons portray themselves as ghosts. I've had a lot of supernatural things happen to me growing up in my parent's home. Then I blessed it and cast out everything and nothing has happened since.
     
  10. Strathos

    Strathos No one important

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    The only ghost that a Christian should be communicating with is the Holy one.
     
  11. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Necromancy is a form of sorcery. Conjuring the dead is only a delusion. Many fall victim to it.
     
  12. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    This sounds like a metaphor for desire. Kill it.

    "Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it."
     
  13. angelsaroundme

    angelsaroundme Well-Known Member

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    That may or may not be relatable to the intercession for the dead in Christianity. This has fallen out of favor with the dwindling belief in purgatory.

    "'Catholic teaching regarding prayers for the dead is bound up inseparably with the doctrine of purgatory and the more general doctrine of the communion of the saints, which is an article of the Apostle's Creed. The definition of the Council of Trent (Sess. XXV), 'that purgatory exists, and that the souls detained therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but especially by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar', is merely a restatement in brief of the traditional teaching which had already been embodied in more than one authoritative formula — as in the creed prescribed for converted Waldenses by Innocent III in 1210 (Denzinger, Enchiridion, n. 3 73) and more fully in the profession of faith accepted for the Greeks by Michael Palaeologus at the Second Ecumenical Council of Florence in 1439: '[We define] likewise, that if the truly penitent die in the love of God, before they have made satisfaction by worthy fruits of penance for their sins of commission and omission, their souls are purified by purgatorial pains after death; and that for relief from these pains they are benefitted by the suffrages of the faithful in this life, that is, by Masses, prayers, and almsgiving, and by the other offices of piety usually performed by the faithful for one another according to the practice [instituta] of the Church' (ibid., n. 588). Hence, under 'suffrages' for the dead, which are defined to be legitimate and efficacious, are included not only formal supplications, but every kind of pious work that may be offered for the spiritual benefit of others, and it is in this comprehensive sense that we speak of prayers in the present article." - CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Prayers For the Dead (newadvent.org)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
  14. drich0150

    drich0150 Regular Member

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    there are no ghosts. just 'familiar spirits' or demons who know you well enough to pretend to be you or someone you love. don't mess with them.
     
  15. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    This has nothing to do with departed souls or purgatory.

    Ghosts are projections from our own unconscious. Young children occasionally entertain imaginary friends. Ghosts are in the same category, most of them are friendly dead relatives.

    But some ghosts are not friendly and may be experienced by several persons. These are mass delusions. Ghosts do need need our help. It is people who encounter them that need our empathy and compassion.
     
  16. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I will admit that many or most people that claim to live in haunted houses are probably not actually doing so. However, I believe that there is way too much evidence to the contrary to say that no ghosts exist. The best series on television dealing with the subject is Celebrity Ghost Stories. This series shows celebrities who come out publicly and tell their own experiences. If it was only a handful of them who claimed to experience hauntings, then maybe we could write it off as hallucinations. However, literally scores of them have shown up on Celebrity Ghost Stories and relayed what they have seen and heard.
     
  17. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    A lot of people have hallucinations and delusions. Just consider all the people that believe the "election was stolen" or the millions who believe in false religions. Numbers do not prove truth.

    Preta the hungry ghost does not need our compassion. Those who believe in him need our compassion.
     
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