For the last couple of weeks I've been catching up with the Lord of Spirits podcast. This consists of two Gen X Eastern Orthodox priests talking about the spirit world - angels, demons, giants and so on.
It's a great listen and quite amusing because our hosts don't shy away from pop culture references in explaining their concepts.
There is too much to summarize in a single post, but one of their most intriguing concepts is that the spirit world not only exists, but is just as active as it was in Biblical times. One of the difficulties in modern Christianity is reconciling both the worldview and the written record of ancient days with the world we see.
To the Hebrews and early Christians, the world was packed with spirits. Angels were constantly dropping in to give messages and advice, and demons were running amok possessing people. Modern secularists will tell us that these were merely natural phenomena turned into supernatural events by ignorant and superstitious people.
Sadly, a lot of mainstream Christians also think this is true, including a great number of Protestants who reject the notion that there could be more than one spiritual rival to God. In contrast to the Orthodox (and Catholic) view of seraphs, saints and cherubim, they see only the Big Guy and everyone should just talk directly to him - no need to bother with the receptionist, messenger boys or any of the other heavenly bureaucracy.
Obviously this is sweeping generalization but it is so common as to be the default.
Opposing the secularist model, the hosts posit a new one in which the spirits are still there, it's just that people are trying to rationalize them away. "I don't see angels, so there can't be any" seems to be the preponderant view.
At the same time, however, we see people turning to non-Christian faiths that are on far shakier ground in terms of standards of proof. Neopaganism is a going thing, in part because it also meshes better with our identity-driving world. If there can be no universal faith open to all (because Christianity is racist), the next best option is updating the old tribal gods.
Consider also the number of shows hyping ghost stories or supernatural event. These things often feature high-tech gadgets to record distant voices, cold spots, etc. seeking to validate the spirit world in a scientific way. Yet here again, no reference to religion is apparent - when spirits are encountered, the investigators simply try to talk or merely psychoanalyze them.
I'll have more thoughts on this in later posts, but for now I'll close by recommending that you give it a listen.