Journeys into the Paranormal

Photo by  Miriam Espacio  on  Unsplash

Falling Into a Harmony of Meaning

by Eric Elkin

He asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?
— Acts 8:30b

Art Bell passed away on Friday, April 13, 2018. It was a sad day for those of us who grew to love his late night radio show, Coast to Coast. His calm voice and genuine interest in the wild claims of callers made this late night journey into unexplained phenomena an engaging experience. No death date could be more appropriate than the king of paranormal dying on Friday the 13th. Even God must have respected Art’s significance.

Bell began his radio career as a late-night disc jockey on AM radio. Feeling like he was not getting anywhere, he started playing with other formats. He tried doing a political talk show, then switched to discussing conspiracy theories. After the Oklahoma City bombing, he didn’t want to be blamed for citing anti-government sentiments, so he turned to the paranormal. It was in covering UFOs, the occult, protoscience and pseudoscience where he found his niche.

No subject was off limits and, for the longest time, no caller was pre-screened. For me, it was all entertainment. Guests would talk about the power of orbs to shape weather patterns. There were discussions about mind-altering rays hovering through the atmosphere. Some suggested the government was working in partnership with aliens on developing cures for diseases. 

Every person who called in had researched their views extensively, each citing written reports. I found myself asking the same question as Philip, “Do you really understand what you are reading?”

What is our fascination with conspiracy theories? The surest way to broadcast success is to develop a show discussing government cover-ups, secret meetings to control life and alien abductions. Alex Jones took an insignificant public access television show and built it into an empire of influence solely based on conspiracy theories and obscure consumer products. Reporting hidden agendas is so popular it is shaping even mainline news formats.

Is it too optimistic to think, the truth always rises to the surface? I don’t think so. We are shaped by the information we receive. The words we digest directly impacts our view of the world, our community, our neighbors and ourselves. A soul inundated with conspiracies about people and forces out to get you cannot find rest. This kind of soul hungers for a sense of peace.

Sunday worship yesterday was an awesome experience. It was one of those times where all the words, both spoken and sung, fell into place and found a harmony of meaning. Not everything heard was without questions, but a sense of peace filled the sanctuary.  Statistics show, Sunday worship is not the most popular activity right now. But, in a world obsessed with conspiracy theories, perhaps it should be. 


Click to read: Acts 8: 26-40

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you have a “favorite” conspiracy theory? If so, which one and why?
  • How difficult is it for you to discover the truth when reading the news?
  • Where do you question the truth of scripture?
  • What do you accept as a mystery beyond understanding, but worth believing?

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