To this day, I’m still not really sure what happens to people after they die.
As a small child growing up in a Presbyterian church, I was told people go to heaven if they follow the golden rule. After all, rewarding good behavior makes sense as a toddler.
However, as a teenager, I started to question this assumption. Like many people who experience college, I had the chance to talk with others who believed in different things.
After many of these conversations, I started to question the entire concept of heaven.
Was there really a place where people could live happily ever after with the big man upstairs for all of eternity? If so, how could some ensure their seat at the VIP booth in the club that is heaven?
This train of thought also led to another seemingly obscure topic:
If making it into heaven is a binary decision, where do ghosts fit in?
In order to even ask this question, one would have to assume the ghosts do, in fact, exist.
There are many believers out there, and my girlfriend is one of them.
From growing up with scary stories and household excitement around Halloween, she has come to the conclusion that not only do ghosts exist, but they can appear in many different forms.
I disagree. I don’t believe in ghosts, and I never have.
And you know what? This is completely OK. I actually prefer it this way.
I can’t imagine being with someone who agrees with 100% of my own beliefs. What would discuss? How would we challenge each other?
I think it’s fine to disagree with someone else’s opinion, as long as you still respect the fact that, in the end, it is still their opinion.
In fact, I think it’s important to take it a step further and attempt to understand why someone believes in what they believe in.
In terms of this haunting debate (see what I did there?), I’ve done my best to look at it from my girlfriend’s point of view. I’ve watched my fair share of Ghost Hunters, listened to podcasts that seek to explore the existence of supernatural beings, and gone to various scary movies. For the most part, these forms of media all have one thing in common:
They’re made for believers, by believers.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of shows, stories, and other pieces of content made for a specific audience by members from that same group.
Personally, I don’t think this leads to a very convincing argument. This is like building a puzzle with only one type of puzzle piece.
Instead, why not facilitate holistic discussion including skeptics and people with various opinions on the matter. If done correctly, these discussions will create healthy debate, which can lead to mutual understanding.
The most important thing to remember is to approach these discussions with a sense of empathy. Why does this person believe in what they believe in? What personal experiences have led them to where they are today?
Whether you disagree with your girlfriend or someone else entirely, these questions can help push your own boundaries and beliefs.
Ignore these questions, and ghosts will be the least of your worries.
This post reflects the views of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!