People of religious faith have traditionally confessed the belief in the human soul, as well as the after-life. A significant number of religious practitioners continue to hold these beliefs in the 21 century. Meanwhile, paranormal investigation and afterlife research has been launched into the 21st century popular culture. This intensified fascination with the paranormal may be attributed to television, including Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, and The Dead Files, among others. Yet, 21st century people of religious faith struggle to reconcile these confessions with the paranormal phenomena of disembodied (human) spirits. This post is a simple introduction to a series, which will seek to aid in this reconciliation process.
Hinduism and Buddhism   

The faith traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism do confess the existence of and the reincarnation of the human soul. This human soul may become “trapped” on the earthly realm as a disembodied soul (e.g. ghost) between incarnations.


Paganism is the traditional, non-Christian faith traditions in various cultures, including the Romans, the Norse Vikings, and the Celtic Druids. Although these traditions are diverse, there is recognition of the human soul and an after-life. The Celtic Druids, in particular, embraced various practices that acknowledged the disembodied human soul.  

Vodun (aka Voodoo)  

Vodun is the traditional African religion, whose name is derived from the God (Vodun) of the West African Yoruba people. The Vodun faith has an intimate relationship between the human soul and the Lao (e.g., spirits), which often includes deceased leaders. 

Native American Spirituality  

Native American spirituality is vast, similar to Paganism. Although the Native American traditions are diverse, there is recognition of the human, animal, and nature spirits. These spirits have an intimate relationship with each other, as well as with the Great Spirit. 


The religious tradition of Judaism does confess a human soul and Shoel (the after-life). Shoel is the separation of the human soul from the presence of God (Yahweh). Additionally, the Jewish tradition includes the narrative of Lilith (Adam’s first wife), which provides an open, faithful space for the disembodied soul. 


The vast religious traditions of Christianity do confess a human soul and the after-life, heaven and hell. Similar to the divine dualism of heaven and hell, Christian traditions tend to embrace divine dualisms (God-Devil, Angels-Demons) with minimal gray in-between. 


Islam faith traditions do confess a human soul and the after-life, which is similar to Judaism. The traditional sects of Islam do not embrace the disembodied human soul or paranormal entities; however the Sufis (the Islamic mystical sect) recognizes reincarnation, disembodied human souls, and paranormal entities. 


People of religious faith in the 21st century continue to struggle with their religious convictions and the paranormal phenomena in our popular culture. Perhaps, this series may assist in the journey of reconciliation through exploring the theology and histories of these faith traditions.