Today I want to address Christians only. Not because I don't like non-Christians. In fact, I often like them more! (No offense to you Christians out there. I like you. I really do. At least I might if I got to know you. Maybe you just made a bad first impression...). Anyway, I just don't think non-Christians will be all that interested in the topic...
Okay, I'll get to the point. I want to address one of the most common misinterpreted, misquoted, and misunderstood Scriptures in all of Bibledom. This is a passage I can guarantee 99% of you have a false view of - not because you have studied it and come to a false conclusion, but because nearly every pastor in the history of the modern church, and the ancient church as well, has misled you. Again, not necessarily because they are trying to deceive you... Know what, it's really hard to explain it without you knowing what it is. How about I just tell you what it is and then explain myself? Okay, here goes.
In 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul says this: (I am reading from the wildly popular NASB)
"we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."
This is what Christians hear:
"To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
I do not wish to belabor the point or over-explain, so please allow me to clarify the error here by the use of analogy. Suppose I said to you:
"Skeeter, (that's what I call everyone who reads my blog until I know their true name, so if you would prefer not to be called Skeeter please introduce yourself in the comments)
Anyway, I say to you...
"Skeeter, I can't wait to leave work and be at home with my wife."
Would you assume that, by making this statement, I mean this:
"To be absent from work is to be present with my wife"
If you answered yes then there is truly no hope for you, for you have been most assuredly robbed of your brain, and it's probably already been sold on the Black Market, likely to Rob Zombie, or any zombie really.
No! I might be stopping by the supermarket on the way to pick up dinner, or maybe I have to get the car washed, or maybe I'm going to stop at Starbucks to work on my blog and write a few more pages of my screenplay (yes, I am doing those things NOW). I could do any number of things before I go home, and even once I get there my wife still may not be home yet, so it would be false of you, Skeeter, to just assume I mean that leaving work means I'm instantly at home with my wife, and nowhere else, EVER.
Listen I'm not saying when we die and go to heaven Jesus won't be there. There's not going to be a Sharpie-scrawled cardboard sign on the Pearly Gates that reads, "Gone Fishin'! Come Back Later."
That's just dumb, Skeeter. Jesus probably wouldn't misspell "fishing."
And I'm not trying to convince anyone that we exist as spooky g-g-g-ghosts for an indeterminate amount of time before we get to see Jesus. Although, I can think of more than a handful of people I would LOVE to haunt the crap out of, both literally and figuratively.
All I'm trying to do here is get us all to think a little harder about our beliefs. Why do you believe the way you do? Have you done the hard work to prove to yourself what you believe is true, or are you just holding onto someone else's intellectual efforts?
When it comes to this passage, I don't know if you are aware of this, but this is the linchpin for the argument that all ghosts are demons. I'm not advocating any other theory of ghosts, so please don't go to the internet and start accusing me of running my own paranormal investigation team called, North County Top Researchers and Investigators of Alien Life and the Supernatural (NoCTRnALS for short). Actually, I just might start that group. With a name that sweet, how can I not?
Seriously though, I don't personally adhere to any firm belief about the phenomena. I'm just saying, Christians are way quick to cry "demon!" when in so many situations that explanation just doesn't fit.
You can actually do both if you want.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment, will ya?! And introduce yourself, Skeeter!