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What is parapsychology?


Parapsychology is the study of paranormal activity—clairvoyance, ESP, telepathy, hauntings, etc. It has been classified as a pseudoscience, that is, parapsychology is quackery mistakenly regarded as being based on the scientific method. Parapsychologists are supported largely by private donations, and their work is not accepted by the scientific community as legitimate. After over a century of research, parapsychology has yet to produce any convincing evidence of psychic phenomena. Fuzzy photographs, fluctuating thermometers, and popular movies about ghostbusters do not count as solid evidence.

The lack of evidence does not conclusively prove that the paranormal world does not exist; in fact, the Bible clearly presents the supernatural realm as real. However, the lack of empirical evidence certainly suggests that attempts to discover the spiritual realm through the scientific method are futile.

Parapsychology is not a religion, but its adherents are convinced that the spiritual realm exists—and, according to the Bible, they are right about that. The question is whether it is really wise to attempt to contact the spirit world apart from God. Some people in the Bible tried to do this and wound up in trouble. During the time when Paul was in Ephesus, God was doing “extraordinary miracles” through him. Some of the Jews thought they could tap into that same power. A priest named Sceva had seven sons who tried to exorcize demons in the name of Jesus, but they had no authority to do so. When they spoke to the spirit in Jesus’ name, the evil spirit said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). Then the man possessed by the evil spirit “jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding” (verse 16). The point is, the spiritual world is real—but not safe for dabblers or for those who have no relationship with Christ.

Many people have experienced phenomena of the kind studied by parapsychology, in varying degrees. Often, these experiences involve contact with spirits or the manifestation of strange, unexplained abilities. Some people use drugs like DMT to get in touch with or better understand the spirit world or their own paranormal abilities. Others use occult practices or Wicca, and still others use pseudoscience. The Bible forbids any attempt to contact the dead, and involvement with occult practices is ungodly (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10; Galatians 5:19-20; Acts 19:19). Scripture indicates that the souls of the dead do not wander the earth (Hebrews 9:27; Luke 16:22–23). Any spirit claiming to be a departed human is lying (see John 8:44). Evil spirits are stronger and smarter than we are, and they have a vested interest in deceiving us and drawing us away from God, their enemy (2 Peter 2:10–11). Parapsychology is a foolish pursuit that leaves the “researcher” wide open to spiritual deception and eternal harm.

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022