Feeling that we'll get to see our long-lost loved ones gives us a good feeling, I'll agree with that, ER.
Can I say I believe that? No. But it's weird. I also believe in ghosts and the paranormal. And religious folk write that off. "No such thing as ghosts."
Not always. Many of them write it off by saying if it's supernatural and ain't from God, it's the Devil (or his demons) trying to trick you.
Believe me, I could go into a lot of loooong posts on this subject.
It's all interesting to me.
Well, gosh, where to begin? Again, I was once what most people would call a charismatic, born-again Christian. Now, there's differences in opinions, of course, but basically charismatics believe that the bible is LITERAL truth (world was created in SIX days, Jesus did walk on water, perform miracles, etc, both Old and New Testament are true, Methuselah lived to be 969 and so forth.) They also feel if you believe hard enough, that things like healing and other miracles can occur today. Some Christians even take this belief so far as to say that ANY medicine beyond prayer is not from God (thankfully, the people I hung out with were a bit more reasonable than that.) I do, though, remember one incident when I was talking to my Pastor and I casually mentioned having trouble with my asthma recently, he asked, rather seriously, "By the way, how long are you going to keep that around?" Implying that it was my lack of belief that was preventing God from miraculous curing my asthma. Neatly enough, our Pastor wore glasses, but I didn't think to point this out to him.
Back on subject, they also tended to believe that God sends the Holy Spirit to endow people with gifts, like healing, seeing visions, getting supernatural insights into people, and praying in tongues.
Now, again, all these are hotly debated without various denominations, but I'm just focusing on the group I'm most familiar with. The church I went alot of the people could "speak in the Spirit" which was, either speaking in another language, or speaking in a language only Angelic beings can understand, or, as I believe now, just babbling incoherently. They also believe that just as there's God, the Holy Spirit, and angels, there's also devils. And they're primary goal is to lead us away from God. Again, how much power they actually have is up to debate, but my group tended to believe that ANYTHING supernatural that occurred that the practitioner didn't directly attribute to God was from the Devil or one of his minions. As such, they weren't too big on stuff to do with say, New Age materials, magic, the Pagan elements of Easter/Christmas or Halloween. Now, some are more reasonable than others, but I know Christian couples who literally won't let their kids watch any shows that have anything to do with magic, irregardless of the content because, you know, magic's of the devil. Even if it's something seemingly cute and innocent like Care Bears or Disney fairy tales.
And as I said, before, Ghosts, in their world, do not exist. A "ghost" (if it's real and not just some kind of hoax or effect) is actually just a demon masquerading as a ghost so they can fool people. Psychics? Again, if they're real (as in, they have real talent and not just frauds making generalizations) then they're also demonically influenced (maybe even full out possessed if they go into a "trance" state). They get this belief from such verses as Leviticus 19:31 "Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God." In fact, in Acts 16:16 it says, "One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl with a spirit of clairvoyance, who earned a large income for her masters by fortune-telling." (Some translations say, "Demon" instead of Spirit, dunno off-hand what the original Greek word is.)
It's actually kind of an interesting theory if you think about it. I mean, imagine you have all these thousands (or maybe millions) of invisible, immortal creatures (demons) who, we presume, have perfect memories and some of them hang around people all day, just watching them. Getting to know them, their actions, what they say and do. I'd say someone like that would get to know you pretty well after a short period, huh? They could probably even predict what you'd do in a given situation. So, among other things, one of them could play "telephone tag" with another demon and the second demon could whisper stuff into, say, a "psychics" ear and viola! You think you're talking to someone who can REALLY see the future. Because, after all, how could they know so much about you, a person they've never meet?
Now, of course, the question might arise, why? Why in the world would demons spend all their time doing all this crazy stuff? Why all the elaborate ruses and hoaxes? Well, to get you away from God, of course! The world is some big spiritual game of chess according to some Christians.
BTW, side note on the whole using psychics/ghosts thing, someone else pointed out the verse in the Old Testament where King Saul (the guy who was in charge before David took the throne, NOT the Saul/Paul of the New Testament) went to see the witch of Endor and, at his urging, she apparently manages to summon the spirit of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel, chapter 28:3–25). Supposedly, the prophet appears, grips about being "woke up" and reaffirms that Samuel is screwed. (But again, all that's yet another thread I go into but I won't for now.)
So, the debate from this goes, what really happened? Some believe that God allowed Samuel to appear in the one instance just so he could give Saul one last rebuke. Others says it was actually a demon masquerading as Saul. Another theory (which I hadn't heard before, just read it on Wikipedia) is that the witch was actually a ventriloquist and she faked the whole thing. There's an interesting source on this in Wikipedia "Hans-Josef Klauck, Brian McNeil Magic and paganism in early Christianity: the world of the Acts of the Apostles p66 2003 "A classical example is King Saul's visit to the 'witch' of Endor. The Septuagint says once that the seer engages in 'soothsaying' and three times that she engages in 'ventriloquism' (1 Sam 28:6–9)."
But again, based on all the various other verses in the bible against spiritualists and the fact that Saul only did this act out of desperation and STILL got told off it's still considered by many to be proof God doesn't endorse trying to talk to the dead.
So, anyway... what do I think? I dunno. I've heard some stories from Christians over the years about encountering people who were supposedly demonically possessed. They'd show signs like being about to bend their bodies into unusual (and normal unobtainable positions), supernatural strength, speaking in languages they don't know, etc (yes, pretty much everything you've seen on pretty much every "Exorcism" movie ever. Of course, even if any of those "signs" are true, they each also have medical explanations. Like with most everything now, while I find it interesting to read/discuss about, I reserve belief for what I can actually verify for myself.