Death Discussions Part 1: Can We Talk to the Dead?
“They See Dead People!” was the eerie title of a haunting article in the November 7, 2005 issue of People magazine. “What is it with the dearly departed?” wrote an unnamed author, “Seems they’re everywhere lately. Ghosts, ghouls and spirits are invading prime time (Medium, Ghost Whisperer, Supernatural) and buying second yachts for pop psychics like John Edward”.1
Indeed. The idea of ‘talking to the dead’ has gone mainstream. As reported by People, Hollywood has recently produced multiple TV series centered around the fascinating possibility of contacting or being influenced by those on the ‘other side.’
NBC’s Medium is a prime example about a woman who helps law officers solve crimes through supernatural assistance from the ‘disembodied.’ Released in January of 2005, Medium continues to garner rave reviews. In the spring of 2005, NBC aired Revelations, a supposedly biblical apocalyptic thriller with a storyline that included the spirit of a dead girl mouthing messages through the placid lips of another comatose girl about the ‘End of Days.’ Not to be outdone by competition, CBS recently premiered Ghost Whisperer about Melinda Gordon, a woman able to “see and talk to dead people”.2
Not only is Hollywood fictitiously bringing the dead to life, but also real-life mediums like John Edward, James Van Praagh, and Carla Mae are raking in non-fiction dollars by connecting with real spirits on TV. James Van Praagh is Co-Executive Producer of Ghost Whisperer. The CBS website promoting the new show contains a section called “The Spirit World According to James Van Praagh” which even shows pictures of “spooky visitors” right on the set.3
Then there’s White Noise, a scary movie about a dead woman making contact with her grieving husband through “Electronic Voice Phenomenon” (EVP). EVP is the idea that the spirits of the dead can talk to the living by speaking directly through the ‘white noise’ or static of common electronic recording devices. Their words can be recorded and then played back. That’s what the movie describes. The most frightening thing is not the film, but the practice itself, which is actually promoted on the official White Noise web site as something people can really do.4 There’s even an “American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomenon” now offering resources, support and conferences.5
There has never been such promotion of ‘talking to the dead’ in all of history. Of course, the idea and practice has always been around, but it has usually been relegated to séances, Ouija boards, and isolated instances. Now Hollywood is behind it and books written by practicing mediums have become New York Times bestsellers.
Losing a loved one is incredibly painful, and it’s natural to wish they were still here. It’s perfectly normal to long to hear their voice and feel their touch. But is trying to contact them advisable? Is this the best way to receive comfort? Make no mistake about it: real spirits do inhabit our atmosphere, and they often do claim to be the spirits of the dead. But are they really? Our family used to have a housekeeper named Mary who told us point blank that after her husband died his spirit visited her. “I saw him myself,” Mary reported. “His spirit walked right through the screen door into my bedroom and talked to me!” Was it really her husband? How can we know? Just because a spirit looks, talks, and acts like a dead person, is this proof it is really that person?
Personally, I believe the Bible. Paul wrote, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). This means that no matter what our sight, senses, or feelings may tell us, we should trust God and His Word first and foremost. This is the true Christian position. So what about talking to the dead? Does the Bible say anything about it? Get ready for a shock: The Bible categorically forbids all communication with the spirits of dead people.
In Deuteronomy 18:9-12, God lists various occult practices that His people should avoid like the bird flu. “When you come into the land,” God commanded, “you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.” What abominations? Note carefully: “There shall not be found among you anyone… who conjures spells or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord” (verses 10 and 11, NKJV, italics added). Again God warned, “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 19:31, NKJV, italics added).
These verses are clear. God forbids any involvement with “mediums” or “spiritists,” and He specifically forbids trying to contact the dead. NBC, CBS, James Van Praagh, John Edward, Carla Mae, the producers of White Noise, and countless others may promote it, but God plainly says, don’t do it!
Why not? Is God trying to prevent us from finding comfort, or receiving real guidance from deceased loved ones? No. His reason is simple. Mysterious non-physical entities may look like, talk like, and act like the dead, but according to a careful study of the Book of books – they are not the dead. Who are they then?
Revelation lifts the veil by declaring, “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14, KJV, italics added). Here the Bible warns that the tricky activity of “spirits of devils” will ‘go global’ right before the Day of the Lord.
This is happening right now.
God loves us and wants to protect us.
He wants us to avoid having “fellowship with devils” (1 Corinthians 10:20, KJV).
To be continued…
- People magazine, Nov. 7. 2005, p. 91.
- See http://www.cbs.com/primetime/ghost_whisperer/about/
- See http://www.cbs.com/primetime/ghost_whisperer/blog.php
- See http://www.whitenoisemovie.com/
- See http://aaevp.com/