Talking to the Dead: Spiritism Alive in America

By Richard Young | Posted September 11, 2023

Maybe you remember the 1965 sitcom “My Mother the Car,” which was about a man whose deceased mother reincarnated as an antique car. Even sillier, the mother communicated with her son through the car’s dial radio. Perhaps Americans at the time had better taste than we give them credit for because the series was canceled after only one season due to abysmal ratings.

Yet, however silly its premise, “My Mother the Car” was just one entry in a long line of pop-culture shows and films dealing with the afterlife. Some of these shows have also been immensely popular, including more recent fare like the scripted “Medium” and “The Ghost Whisperer,” and also supposed “reality” shows like “Long Island Medium” and “The Dead Files.”

That studios continue pumping out such content in pursuit of profit reveals something about humanity’s preoccupation with the dead. After all, we all know people who have died—friends, family, acquaintances. We all have experienced just how cruel, merciless, and real death can be. A person is here one moment—talking, laughing, loving—and the next, gone. No shades. No degrees. Just dead.

It’s also no wonder, then, that for all recorded history, humans have longed to communicate with the dead. Some faiths are entirely based on the idea that the dead live on in the form of a disembodied spirit. From Eastern religions dealing in ancestor worship to Western technology supposedly bringing us in contact with PMPs, “post-material persons,” humans have been utterly obsessed with the idea.

Interacting With the Dead

Thus, whatever you believe about the afterlife, you shouldn’t be surprised by the results of a recent poll reporting that “53% of Americans say they’ve had interactions with loved ones who have passed away. Of these, 46% experienced the interaction within a dream, while 31% claimed it took place in some other manner.” The Pew Research team also said that “substantial shares say they’ve had interactions with dead relatives in the past 12 months” (emphasis added).

It’s clear, then, that even in an age of secularism in the United States, millions of its citizens still believe that the dead live on. Whether they are participating in seances or reporting Near Death Experiences, they also believe that the dead can actually communicate with the living.

Even for those who find seances to be primitive religion, some scientists are claiming that quantum physics can help cross the gap between the living and the dead. The Soulphone Foundation is working on devices, it says, that “will someday allow you to visit with your ‘deceased’ loved ones. That may sound impossible or too good to be true. However, definitive, replicated, and multicenter scientific experiments run in 2019 show it isn’t.”

The State of the Dead 

Still, a rather substantial problem remains, one that even many Christians do not understand.

According to the Bible, the dead lay in the grave unconsciously until the promised resurrection at the end of time, when Jesus returns. Scripture says: “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). 

“Man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep. … His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; they are brought low, and he does not perceive it” (Job 14:12, 21). 

“[A dead man] returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psalm 146:4).

Over and over, when talking about a king who died, the Bible uses the phrase “slept with his fathers” (1 Kings 2:10; 11:43)—as opposed to saying that the king went off to some otherworldly existence to be with his fathers.

In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul talks about the importance of the resurrection of the dead at the end of time, stressing that, without this resurrection, “those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (v. 18)—which makes no sense if “those who have fallen asleep in Christ” are already enjoying the bliss of heaven or the nightmare of hellfire. If, however, the deceased are indeed unconscious, Paul’s words make perfect sense.

End-time Deceptions

With whom are these people talking to if not the dead?

The book of Revelation teaches that the people of Earth are engaged in a supernatural battle between good and evil: “The great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (12:9). And among those deceptions, perhaps the most successful, is that the dead live on immediately after death and that the living can communicate with them.

Scripture also warns that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12), and that “in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1Timothy 4:1). It isn’t a stretch to believe that if the dead are truly unconscious, such evil supernatural agents would certainly take advantage of it when more than half of Americans are convinced that the dead are actually alive.

And if Satan, in the form of a snake, could convince Eve to disobey God—what could an evil spirit masquerading as a dead loved one convince someone to do?

To learn more about what Scripture really teaches on this important topic, and to help protect yourself from one of the greatest lies ever told, check out our Bible study “Are the Dead Really Dead?”

Listen to Talking to the Dead: Spiritism Alive in America below
Richard Young
Richard Young is a writer for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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