It seems odd to me that Pastors and their parishioners rarely recognize or mention the connection between parapsychological phenomena and religion. More specifically, I'm referring to the correlation between the Gifts of the Spirit referenced in 1st Corinthians, Chapter 12 and things like clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy, and mediumship.
On rare occasions when such topics are addressed in church, progressive Pastors may smirk and toss out one-liners about "woo-woo people" We live in a cynical society where a lot of folks seem to be from Missouri based on their "show me" attitudes. Conversely, Fundamentalist Pastors are more likely to advise their congregations to stay clear of such things, citing Old Testament passages from Leviticus. But should these phenomena be ignored or derided?
My father, Richard Ireland was a different sort of Minister. He founded an Interdenominational Church, the "University of Life" where such abilities were on display. Born with rare psychic abilities that manifested at the age of five, he saw them as a gift from God and used them to help people. My father's abilities were normal to my family - a part of daily life.
In a humorous example, my mother once swore off red meat for several months but one day surrendered to a craving, venturing out for a hamburger. Later that day as my father walked in the door he immediately asked, "So, Shirley, did you enjoy your hamburger?"
On many occasions I saw my father serve as an instrument of spirit communication, yielding moving, specific validations that gave me confidence in the reality of the other side of life. I'm referring to the realms of being where those we call "deceased" now dwell.
In the past few decades, I've received notes from individuals who shared fascinating stories about their interactions with my dad. Some even wrote, "Your father saved my life." In Biblical terms, my father was gifted with prophecy, healing, the working of miracles, and discerning of spirits. In modern vernacular, his abilities would be described as precognition, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychometry, and mediumship.
My father wanted people to understand the connection between his abilities and many of the miracle stories in the Bible. His contention was that such gifts were not reserved for a specific period of time but rather have always been around. Perhaps people became too materialistic and cynical over time, discounting the gifts and losing the ability to manifest them.
Dad also wanted people to realize that we are more than the bodies we occupy. Spirit communication provides evidence for the continuity of life after physical death, while also confirming the value and purpose of life, a concept counter to nihilistic perspectives so prevalent in the world today.
Significant evidence has been generated to support the existence of said phenomena. Early on, data was collected by the London-based Society of Psychical Research and the Duke University Parapsychology laboratory. More recently, the University of Virginia, Division of Perceptual Studies; the Scottish Society of Psychical Research, the University of Arizona Human Energy Systems Laboratory; and the Windbridge Research Center have all published compelling evidence for such phenomena.
In her work, Dr. Julie Beischel of Windbridge sites a phenomenon she calls "Anomalous information reception". This is a fancy way of saying that certain people have the ability to provide specific and accurate information pertaining to deceased persons, tied to a living sitter, without any advance knowledge about either party and no sensory feedback. As a person with an inquiring mind, but more so as a father who lost a son, this is of great interest to me because it indicates the persistence of consciousness and personality after physical death. Along these lines, I participated in a mediumship experiment at the University of Arizona taped for a
Discovery Channel feature.
Mainstream science assumes that the brain generates consciousness, which by default make us biological robots that cease to exist when our brain dies. But this is just an assumption since science has not solved the "hard problem of consciousness" and this position is unproven.
The theory that the brain produces consciousness (rather than facilitates consciousness as a transceiver) is quashed by near-death-experience cases where persons accurately describe conversations and events that took place when they had no brain or brain-stem activity. Witness the case of Anita Moorjani who was in a deep coma and near death. After her unanticipated recovery, Anita reported specific details about a conversation between the doctor and her husband that took place far down a corridor from her comatose body.
if spirit communication is truly possible then consciousness cannot be limited to the brain. If a discarnate personality can communicate specific, accurate information through an intermediary then they are conscious.
Returning to scripture, I'd like to draw your attention to certain passages. An example
of clairvoyance occurs when Jesus addresses a Samaritan woman drawing water from a well. In this dialog Jesus asks the woman, a stranger, to call her husband.
The woman replies, "I have no husband."