Analyzing the Paranormal and Occult: 2/11

This week I was interested in the section of Chapter 4 in McGuire’s book that discussed the “Paranormal and Occult” (McGuire 120). The section made me think about how “belief in paranormal occurrences is fairly widespread” (McGuire 120). Most of the people I interact with believe in some sort of paranormal aspect of life. From what I have observed, belief in the paranormal/occult can be as simple as the belief in ghosts or as complex as a completely altered worldview that revolves around mystical occurrences. I have noticed that the paranormal and occult is particularly prevalent and appreciated in popular culture for entertainment value. There are countless movies and television shows that are about ghosts and other paranormal experiences. In addition, astrology and horoscopes are present all over the internet and social media. These types of paranormal beliefs are seen more than those that are from other cultures. It seems unfair that certain types of paranormal/occult experiences are appreciated in Western society but non-western “beliefs and practices are [seen as] characteristic only of the poorly educated or of recent immigrants from other cultures” (McGuire 121). It is unreasonable to value some beliefs over others, especially when they are of considerable importance to an individual. In addition, many people do not realize that official religions have aspects that are paranormal/occult. For instance, in the Christian faith, it is widely believed that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Why is it reasonable for one to believe Christ rose from the dead, but it is unreasonable for someone to believe that they still have connections to those that have past? We cannot make a double standard that only accepts certain cultures’ and official religions’ beliefs as “worthy”. Even if we do not agree with someone else’s beliefs, we have a duty to respect them as we would want our beliefs to be respected.