Jeffrey Kripal argues that we need to make room for the paranormal in the study of religion, and that consciousness should be at the forefront of our study.

Listen Now

This episode has not been transcribed yet. 

Consider a donation to pay for the cost of editing a transcript?

About this episode

Jeffrey J. Kripal tells David G. Robertson about his approach to studying “paranormal” and “supernatural” phenomena.

The conversation begins by explaining how Kripal came to be studying figures like Charles Fort and Whitley Strieber from a background in Hinduism. He then argues for a New Comparativism within the study of religion that will put “the impossible” back on the table again, and encourage a more even conversation between the sciences and the humanities. His suggestion is that we should put consciousness at the centre of studies in religion, suggesting a new approach to the sacred, and opening up new theoretical avenues.

Studying Non-Ordinary Realities, and Religious Studies and the Paranormal.

 Fund the RSP while you shop! Use an Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, or Amazon.com affiliate link whenever you make a purchase. There’s no additional cost to you, but every bit helps us stay on the air! 

We need your support!

Want to support us directly? Become a monthly Patron or consider giving us a one-time donation through PayPal

Related Resources

The Politics of Religious Freedom and the Criminalization of Blackness

Response

Bishop Brathwaite’s story points out to us the degree to which the ghostly histories of enslaved and colonized peoples continue to haunt the present from the graves of colonial infrastructures and through repurposed modes of colonial regulation. We can include in this the category of religion and its promised freedom as sites for such hauntings as well
Focus on Fieldwork: An RSP Remix

Podcast

In the first RSP Remix, Dave McConeghy guides us through recent RSP discussions of fieldwork and its impact on scholarship. This episode features excerpts from conversations with Christopher R. Cotter, Spencer Dew, Liz Bucar, Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, Robin Veldman, Elizabeth Pérez, and Cristina Rocha.
Religion and Multiculturalism in Canada and Beyond

Podcast

Through personal stories and historical accounts not always included in the telling of multiculturalism in Canada, Fletcher explores the merits of belonging. Defining the term "belonging" we learn the reality of Canadian multiculturalism and re-conceive how Canada can move forward to truly be an inclusive society. Fletcher explains the importance of her work in this book, and how is can be use by religious studies scholars in the current political landscape.

Responses to this episode

The Truthiness of Consciousness as the Sacred

I find it our duty to walk the line that holds us from letting the veracity of a claim dictate our field’s observational models or orientations. A single informant’s truth is anecdote, not evidence. Seven or so minutes into David Robertson’s interview with Rice University’s Jeffrey Kripal, Kripal cuts to the heart of an issue that plagues contemporary religious studies scholars: Do we have the tools and will to seriously examine experiences of the fantastic in the present age?

Human Consciousness & Religious Reality

Essentially, Kripal calls out the religious studies world for not having a sufficient appreciation of the power of imagination and invites scholars and the interested public into a new comparativism that moves away from strict materialism. It was real to me. There I was, curled into a corner, comforter wrapped around my shaking limbs and sweating torso, twisted in terror in the sinister hours of the morning.

Other EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY

Roots as Scripture and Scripture as Roots

Podcast

Since its release in 1976, Alex Haley's "Roots" has been a source of inspiration for generations of Americans. For Assistant Professor Richard Newton, Haley's novel reveals the way that scriptures play critical roles in rooting, uprooting, and routing our lives. Listen now to this fascinating discussion with Dr. Newton about his new book "Identifying Roots: Alex Haley and the Anthropology of Scriptures" with RSP Co-Host Breann Fallon.
Wouter Hanegraaff on Western Esotericism

Podcast

In this interview, Professor Wouter Hanegraaff tells us about what he dubs “the biggest blank spaces of neglected territories in the study of religion”, namely Western esotericism. He tells how he first came over the German Folklorist Will-Erich Peuckert’s book Pansophie (1936) and discovered a group of renaissance thinkers he had never heard of, ...
New Directions in the Study of Scientology

Podcast

Scientology seems almost exclusively to be considered fair game (pun intended) for ridicule and criticism among New Religious Movements, and this may have much to tell us about the theoretical models scholars are using, and the institutional factors at play in the legitimisation of particular traditions in the academic and popular discourse. We discuss insider scholarship and the control of information; the Free Zone and the Church; strategic use of the category 'religion'; and how we see scholarship developing in the post-Hubbard era
After the World Religions Paradigm…?

Podcast

In this week's podcast, We discussed some of the problems with the World Religion paradigm, most notably its colonial heritage and Christocentrism. Given its dominance in the public perception of "Religion", however, can we as teachers get away from it? Is there a pedagogical approach which focusses on issues of power and domination, and challenges, rather than reinforces, ...
Embodied religious practices, child psychology and cognitive neuroscience

Podcast

Bahler discusses the notion of ritual as a locus of power in terms of structure and agency. His recent book, Childlike Peace in Levinas and Merleau-Ponty. Intersubjectivity as a Dialectical Spiral (Lexington Books, forthcoming) focuses on neuroscience to grasp the topic power relations at the confluence of religion and other social influences on one’s trajectories.
Understanding Evangelical Opposition to Climate Action

Podcast

Evangelicals don't oppose climate activism for the reasons you think. Listen to expert Robin Veldman and find out why "embattlement" matters more than eschatology when it comes to rejecting climate science.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The views expressed in podcasts, features and responses are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Religious Studies Project or our sponsors. The Religious Studies Project is produced by the Religious Studies Project Association (SCIO), a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (charity number SC047750).