Day: May 1, 2012

169. Dr. Michael Heiser On Why Christians Are Skeptical of the Supernatural

Interview with biblical scholar Dr. Mike Heiser examines how many Christians approach paranormal claims from curiously skeptical perspective. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with biblical scholar and author Dr. Michael Heiser. During the interview Heiser discusses his understanding of ghosts from a Christian perspective: Alex Tsakiris: What did you mean when you said, “Christians aren’t as open to the supernatural as they think they”, and that they, “think like skeptics.” What did you mean? Dr. Mike Heiser: …there are a lot of people who basically go through life thinking that unless their pastor or priest brought it up it’s either not true or it can’t be reported. I’ve had preachers and pastors tell me about doing a funeral service where they or somebody they known and trust saw the deceased person just sort of standing there for a moment.  Well, you start saying things like that and right away our reaction is , “well, maybe you were overcome by grief… maybe you need a physical… maybe you didn’t take your meds that day.” We tend to think like moderns in that we are very hesitant to accept anything that’s outside the material reality. Alex Tsakiris: Okay, I’m right there with you, Mike.  But what do we do with those encounters? What do we do with the deathbed visions, the near-death experiences, the ghostly encounters? How do we approach them? Dr. Mike Heiser: Well, I tend to think that these sorts of things are not either/or sorts of categories. I think there are a number of things that ought to be given equal weight. I believe in the supernatural. I don’t really like that term, but basically I believe in a non-human world. Since I do believe in that I’m not a philosophical Materialist. I’m willing to consider the possibility that the experience at a funeral was real. I’m willing to consider that this was really a point of intersection between our world and that other reality plane. Dr. Mike Heiser's Website Play It: Download MP3 (47 min.) Read It: Today we welcome Biblical scholar and author, Dr. Michael Heiser, to Skeptiko. Mike has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Biblical languages and a master’s in ancient history from Penn. He’s a frequent guest on a number of radio programs such as Coast to Coast AM. He’s also the author of a paranormal thriller, The Façade. Mike, thanks so much for joining me today on Skeptiko. Dr. Mike Heiser: Thank you very much for inviting me.