I recently listened to Alex Tsakiris' interview with Leslie Kean, a journalist who's published some books on paranormal phenomena. The books discussed during the program (one on UFOs and one on the afterlife) seem to have a lot of good material, and I've ordered both. I expect to eventually read them, but it may be a while before I get to them. What I want to do in this post is make some comments about the interview.
Kean's book on the afterlife seems to have some overlap with Patricia Pearson's book that came out in 2014, which I reviewed here. There's also some overlap with Tsakiris' interview of Pearson. I'll refer to perspectives like those held by people such as Tsakiris, Pearson, and Kean as a paranormal view of the afterlife.
One of the persistent problems with that view is that it's too focused on the evidence we have from near-death experiences (NDEs), séances, and other such phenomena, while neglecting other evidence, such as philosophical arguments for the existence and nature of God, the philosophical issues raised by a paranormal view of the afterlife, and evidence for organized religion. If you read my review of Pearson's book, you'll get more of an idea of what I have in mind. I had a brief exchange with Tsakiris years ago, in which I gave him some examples of people he could interview who could discuss modern evidence for Christianity, the sort of evidence Tsakiris often discusses on his program in other contexts (psi, precognition, NDEs, etc.). As far as I know, he's never interviewed the people I suggested or any equivalent. He sometimes interviews Christians, but primarily on topics that aren't about the evidence for Christianity in particular.
Kean isn't a Christian, and she doesn't seem to know much about the evidence for organized religion or what problems are posed for organized religion by the interpretations of paranormal phenomena advocated by people like her and Tsakiris. But Tsakiris is more familiar with those problems, and he, rightly, often tries to get his guests to comment on the subject. Often, as with Kean, those guests either don't know enough about the subject to offer much on it or they don't want to offer much.
Why is it that Kean, Pearson, and so many others like them know so little about the evidence for organized religion, especially Christianity? We live in a nation in which the large majority of people, hundreds of millions of them, are identified as Christian in some sense. Yet, parents, grandparents, friends, pastors, teachers, and other people with influence in individuals' lives don't show much interest in the evidence for religious matters in general or organized religion specifically. Somebody like Kean can live in a culture like ours for decades, spending much of that time working as a journalist, and not have much familiarity with traditional or modern arguments for Christianity and other organized religions. We've decided, as a culture, to largely avoid saying much about religion in a growing number of contexts (politics, schools, businesses, the mainstream media, etc.), and evidential matters pertaining to religion get discussed even less. The consequences are devastating, and we see some of the ramifications in Tsakiris' interview with Kean.
During the interview, Tsakiris briefly referred to the issue of potential hierarchies behind paranormal phenomena (beings like angels and demons having more power than humans, God being above angels and demons, etc.). He also referred to how some Christians dismiss a lot of paranormal phenomena in general or large portions of it as demonic. I agree that many Christians are too dismissive of paranormal phenomena and too quick to attribute phenomena to demons. Often, they seem unaware of one or more of the alternatives to the demonic view or are careless in evaluating which view to adopt when addressing a particular phenomenon. But the broader concept of hierarchies is central to thinking rightly about the paranormal. If there is a God, and lesser beings (demons, humans, etc.) sometimes exhibit paranormal abilities, we should think in terms of the quantity and quality of paranormal phenomena and place the phenomena in hierarchical categories. God can allow other beings to perform miracles, yet outperform those other beings (e.g., Moses outperforming the magicians of Pharaoh, Christ outperforming the Antichrist). So, we should look for the greatest demonstrations of power and evidence of other Divine attributes in fulfilled prophecy, healings, etc. I've written about issues like these in my series on Craig Keener's book about miracles, a review of another book on miracles, and elsewhere.