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October 14th, 2010
01:46 PM ET

Can you believe in Bigfoot and the Bible?

UFOs and the Bible - how do you believe in both?

That’s one of the questions that aroused the curiosity of three sociologists who wanted to examine the religious values of believers in the paranormal.

In “Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture,” the authors asked if religious people are more prone to believe in the paranormal.

Carson Mencken, one of the book’s co-author’s, says more conservative Christians, for example, tend not to think too much about UFOs and Bigfoot.

The people who believe literally in the Bible don’t have room for it. More conservative denominations of congregations are less likely to believe in the paranormal; those with more liberal backgrounds are more likely. Spiritualists are strong supporters of the cosmic, hard-core paranormal. To atheists, it’s all hooey.

To research the book, the authors visited houses that were reputedly haunted, spoke to people who said they had guardian angels, and had their palms read.

Christopher Bader says many paranormal devotees don’t see themselves as flaky - it’s the other paranormal believers they wonder about.

You’d think Bigfoot people would understand people who believe in UFOs. But they think, `Those UFO people are crazy.’ They don’t see themselves as similar to people reading their auras.

I’ve long heard old folks say that people of faith shouldn’t dabble in the occult or paranormal. I once interviewed the last surviving priest who actually participated in the incident that inspired the horror film, “The Exorcist.”

The boy’s possession (the “possessed" kid was changed to a girl for the movie) was allegedly triggered by his decision to use a Ouija board to contact a dead relative.

Is a person of faith who delves into the paranormal taking a risk? Or are they, in the words of some people in “Paranormal America,” just being flaky?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • United States

soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Alissa Shores

    http://www.yekra.com/sirius/#!/deployment_code=20296114mlzssg

    May 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  2. buffoon

    "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter," Thomas Jefferson.

    http://bit.ly/jesusfable

    February 23, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Steve the real one

      buffoon
      "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter," Thomas Jefferson.
      --–
      I have not researched this so I'll say this. If jefferson actually said this he was spiritually blind, as you are for following that staement. Watch out for that ditch!

      February 23, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Michael

      Steve and Buffoon –

      Jefferson's quote was in response to Calvin's approach to Jesus, and to John Adams trying to persuade him to become reformed in his thinking. He begins his correspondence to Adams by saying, "I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was demonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did. The being described in his 5 points is not the God whom you and I acknowledge and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world ..."

      See the full letter here: http://www.amazon.com/Adams-Jefferson-Letters-Complete-Correspondence-Jefferson/dp/0807842303

      This quote was simply a disagreement between two men about a specific religious issue.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.