Remote viewing (RV) was a scientific-sounding term used to describe a specific type of clairvoyance or extrasensory perception (ESP). Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience defines remote viewing as “seeing remote or hidden objects clairvoyantly with the inner eye, or in alleged out-of-body travel.” For example, if an object is locked in a container in another room, a remote viewer can supposedly describe that object’s appearance, texture, smell, etc., without having to be in the room or open the container. Spiritualist literature uses the terms telesthesia or traveling clairvoyance to describe remote viewing.
The term remote viewing was coined by Stanford physicists and parapsychology researchers Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff during their studies in the 1970s. Puthoff was a practicing Scientologist prior to and during this research. There was enough evidence that their work was flawed that later scientists relegated the idea of remote viewing to the status of a pseudoscience.
Various governments around the world have conducted experiments in paranormal activity, including remote viewing. The benefits of having a remote viewer “spy” on the secrets of another country were tantalizing. The U.S. government’s focus on remote viewing was called the Stargate Project; it was funded from 1975—1995. That project was finally ended because it failed to produce any useful information or application for military purposes.
There are many proponents and practitioners of remote viewing and other paranormal activities. While the “evidence” is typically anecdotal, belief in RV continues to persist. Remote viewing’s connections to spiritualist organizations, Eastern mysticism, and other non-Christian faith systems are foundational and instructive.
The ultimate root of these philosophies is the belief that man is god in a not-fully-evolved state and has a latent power that needs to be tapped to solve the world’s problems. Remote viewing is seen as one of many potential abilities of the human mind. In these philosophies there is no God, no fall, no need for a Savior, no evil or sin. Man is his own savior.
Deuteronomy 18:9–12 states, “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you . . . who practices divinations or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.”
To say that this passage is a strong warning against involvement in any occult practice is an understatement. God is serious about whom and what we put our faith in. But the warning is also a recognition that there is more to this world than we experience with our five senses. But the only true source of power is God—not ourselves, not Satan, not occult practices. Jesus worked miracles in His ministry, including what some might call remote viewing (John 1:47–49). But was Jesus’ knowledge of Nathaniel a sign of Jesus’ great mind power? No. It was a demonstration of His divine nature, as Nathaniel himself readily recognized, saying, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” (verse 49).
Paranormal activities like ESP, clairvoyance, remote viewing, etc., are a counterfeit of God’s work, empowered by the enemy of our souls in an attempt to deceive. First John 4:1 gives this timely advice: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”