What is Spiritualism?
Spiritualism has a belief in God, Natural Law, and spirit communication. Spiritualism is called a religion, a philosophy, and a science.
Spiritualism is a Religion
Spiritualism believes in God. God goes by several names such as Infinite Intelligence, Mother Father God, or most often the “God of your understanding”. Spiritualism does not define God in any particular manner if you were to ask every Spiritualist what God is, you would get a different answer for each person you spoke to, but a general consensus might be that God is an everpresent, positive force in the universe. A belief in Spiritualism often does not require you to change your view of or definition of God. Spiritualism has been called a “religion of conviction not conversion”.
Spiritualism is a Philosophy
Spiritualism believes in Natural Law, which provides a basis for a philosophy of life. The Declaration of Principles is a general set of principles that Spiritualists believe in and go by. While the specifics vary across Spiritualist organizations and countries, generally, the principles acknowledge the existence of God in an undefined way, belief in spirit communication, personal responsibility, the golden rule, and Natural Law.
Spiritualism is a Science
Science is concerned with the collection of observations and facts, and Spiritualism also concerns itself with the collection of observations and facts regarding spiritual communication
and spiritual phenomena. Spiritualism does not believe that everything is already known and set in stone.
There is much to learn about the spirit world and spiritual phenomena. Spiritualism is willing to accept new facts and new truths as they come up, even if they refute present thinking and ideas. Spiritualism is one of the few religions that is willing to ask questions, encourages people to do so, and will honestly admit that it doesn’t know when necessary.
Spiritualists don’t often concern themselves with trying to prove spiritualism to the scientific community. The scientific community largely believes in lab experiments, which in many cases are nearly useless in relation to spiritualism and spiritual phenomena. Lab experiments are supposed to approximate natural conditions. Spiritual phenomena occurs under natural conditions not approximately natural conditions.
The rationale often used by the scientific community is often like using a flashlight to prove that darkness exists. You shine the flashlight in an area and say that you are looking for the darkness. All you can see with the flashlight is the light it produces. You therefore conclude that there is no darkness because you can’t see it with the light.
There is a variety of case studies, some experiments, and physical evidence that you can look at regarding proof of spiritual phenomena. Weeding out the counterfeit phenomena is important. Phony phenomena has only aggravated and confused matters. The best proof comes from your own experiences.
Spiritualism is a continuous learning experience. There is much studying and reading you can do to increase your understanding. As far as proof is concerned, it is up to each individual to prove it to him or her self. Be objective. Ask questions and be skeptical. Some of the finest Spiritualists are also among the most skeptical.
Does Spiritualism believe in God, Jesus, or the Devil?
Does Spiritualism believe in God?
YES! Absolutely. Spiritualism lets you define God in your own personal way. Spiritualism does not dictate that God be a person on a throne or even a person at all. Your definition of God is personally yours, and Spiritualism recognizes that. It is certainly possible to have a religion that does not define God, because there is more to Spiritualism than just a definition of God.
If you have to have someone define God for you in concrete terms, then you won’t be comfortable with this, but nevertheless, Spiritualism definitely believes in God. Spiritualist literature commonly refers to God as “the God of your understanding”, or “infinite intelligence”. If I haven’t made it clear already, let there be no doubt – Spiritualism believes in God.
Does Spiritualism believe in Jesus?
Not the way Christians do. Spiritualism does not believe in the Jesus-as-savior concept supported by many Christian religions. However, Jesus is viewed as one of the greatest mediums that ever lived on the Earth plane, and the Christian Bible may be used as a source of inspiration for a lecture, but Spiritualism does not give either Jesus or the Christian Bible a central role. Spiritualism does not limit itself to any particular Spiritualist or other material – it is free to draw inspiration from material found in Christian and other religions provided that there is an appropriate fit.
Does Spiritualism believe in Hell or the Devil?
No and No. This doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want to and still end up in a good place in “heaven”. Natural Law has a way of taking care of the “I can do what I want – no consequences” idea that people seem to fear if there is no belief in Hell or the Devil.
Does Spiritualism believe in Reincarnation?
Spiritualism as a religion, especially in the United States used to be anti-reincarnation but has recently made an official change to a more neutral position. It is a mixed issue, primarily because people have received conflicting answers and experiences from Spirit relating to reincarnation. Since Spiritualism as a religion used to be anti-reincarnation, I would say that Spiritualism doesn’t believe in it. No one has measured it though. Many Spiritualists believe in reincarnation, but no one is running around taking surveys to find out if it is a majority. Believing in reincarnation is not a conflict with Spiritualism, at least not as I see it. The basis of Spiritualism is spirit communication, which says nothing about whether you or the spirit you are communicating with have been reincarnated in the past, present, or will be in the future.
Why would people get conflicting answers from Spirit about reincarnation? I would say that part of the problem could be that the spirit people around you are there based on the law of attraction. Since “like attracts like”, Spirit people around you are similar to you. So if you don’t believe in reincarnation, you may attract those who also don’t believe in it. Naturally, it’s not as arbitrary as it may sound, but it may apply.
I would also say that not everyone in the Spirit World has studied or learned enough about reincarnation to say whether it is true or not. It may sound unusual to think of spirit people as having beliefs and that they do not “know everything”, but remember that they are people – just like you. When your body dies and you go to the Spirit World, you are still the same person you were on the Earth plane, and that includes your beliefs in God and reincarnation and all the other aspects of your personality.
I think the problem people have with reincarnation is that they think you are recycled endlessly like just so much waste paper, and you have to start out as some type of lower form of life and incarnate upwards from there. I don’t buy into that, but my personal belief is that reincarnation does exist. I believe that a person’s soul is an entity which has many aspects to it. Those aspects are individual incarnations. I prefer to think of an individual incarnation as an aspect, and the soul as the greater aspect. Individual incarnations are related to the soul in the same way flower petals are to the flower – all connected and integral. You as an individual on the Earth plane are one incarnation that is part of your soul, which has multiple (and likely concurrent) incarnations. Some of your incarnations may even be on the Earth plane at the same time you are. Incarnations aren’t limited to the Earth plane – there is the Spirit World and many other worlds an aspect could incarnate on.
A soul chooses an incarnation in order to learn something. While an incarnation may not consciously have all the knowledge of its greater aspect, it does have some access to that knowledge. When an incarnation expires, the knowledge is not lost because it is part of the greater whole, which continues. The physical form that a particular incarnation takes is secondary to the learning that is to occur.
It is a real change of reference to think this way. All your life you have been going along thinking you are a complete individual entity. I suppose that if you asked a flower petal what it thought of itself you would get the same thing. Then you learn that you are an aspect of something larger. It does not diminish my individuality to think of myself this way.
Does Spiritualism believe in spirit boards (Ouija), Tarot cards, Astrology, and the like?
Note that Ouija is a trademark of Hasbro. The generic term used on this site to refer to these boards is spirit board.
Strictly speaking, Spiritualism as a religion generally does not endorse or believe in these as valid methods of mediumship.
My personal opinion is somewhat different. I believe that the spirit board is the most misused item there is relating to Spirit communication. My belief is that nearly anything can be used as a method of mediumship if used in a sincere and honest way. This would explain why some people use Tarot cards, Astrology, etc. I think that a medium can use the method that works for them, whatever that method may be. If that happens to be the spirit board, so be it. My past experience with the spirit board (long before I became involved in Spiritualism) has been quite positive.
My belief is that the “magic” is not so much in the method used but more in the person using it. If the spirits find that they have to use the cards or whatever in order to communicate with you, then they will use them. The limitation is at your end, not theirs.
Personally, just because the religion of Spiritualism does not officially endorse or use these methods, I don’t look down on them or on people who use them. It does not invalidate those methods either. I just think that you should put the weight of your faith in yourself and your Spirit guides and teachers – the method(s) used are a secondary consideration.
Why do some people attack Spiritualism?
Why do certain individuals and/or religions, such as Christian fundamentalists, react so violently to Spiritualism? They say that it is the “devil’s doing”, and you’re sure to go to Hell if you believe in Spiritualism, or anything even remotely like it.
For the sake of discussion, I will refer to these people/organizations as extremists (whether they are Christian, fundamentalist, both, or other is another issue altogether). Irate attacks on Spiritualism and a belief that Spiritualism is of the Devil are their typical assertions. Here are a bunch of ideas, in no particular order.
Extremists condemn what they fear and do not understand. Fear and ignorance are very powerful motivators. Attacks generated by fear and ignorance has been a recurrent theme throughout history. Religion has always been a target. The United States was founded by pioneers who fled from such attacks, but many years later turned around and persecuted one of their religious groups – the Mormons/Latter Day Saints. It proves the lesson that if you don’t learn from history, you’re condemned to repeat it.
Perhaps they attack because they don’t see the presence of God in Spiritualism. A common extremist viewpoint is that people are “just going off and doing whatever they want” without believing in God, but believing in “fortune tellers” instead. The conclusion is that since you have no belief in God, you are therefore of the Devil or an open opportunity for the “Devil’s handiwork.”
For some extremists, it’s a Jesus issue. Jesus saved everyone, you have to believe in Jesus to be saved, and if you don’t, then you’re off to Hell. Spiritualism is not Jesus-as-savior, so therefore it must be worthless.
Maybe it’s a control issue. Commonly, extremist individuals and religions have a very rigid belief system and outlook. Such religions tell their followers “this is what you will believe” and expect you to follow it without question, because that is the way it has always been. God is a static being surrounded by a static religion. But Spiritualism and mediumship is not static – it’s dynamic. Bringing God into the here and now (let alone your deceased grandmother or uncle) is a threat to that static rigidity, and that makes them very uncomfortable. Extremists may not want to hear that Spiritualism encourages you to think for yourself, ask questions, and even (heaven forbid) doubt. This can become very threatening to someone who needs to have everything spelled out and set in stone.
For the most part, Spiritualism does not dictate on moral issues, which isn’t appealing to those with very rigid thought and belief systems. Spiritualism uses Natural Law and Declaration of Principles, neither of which spell out exactly what you should do in a given moral situation, but do provide guidance. This is likely to be very irritating and unthinkable to those who must follow the exact dictates of others and are afraid to look inside themselves for the answers.
Negative experiences with mediumship and related spiritual phenomena is a major cause of negative reactions to Spiritualism. If you have no training and no one to teach you, and then go off and explore mediumship, you could run into problems. Someone who just opens themselves up without any protection or training may attract negative spirits. Those spirits are usually the kind that like to scare you, lie to you, or otherwise take advantage of you. If these are the first spirits you encounter, you’ll likely jump to the conclusion that all spirit encounters are similarly negative, and Spiritualism is to blame.
Hearing scary stories of other people’s experiences can be enough to turn someone into an extremist. All the “evil spirit” stuff on TV and in the movies that scares (and thrills) people doesn’t help matters. Unfortunately, too many people have stronger beliefs in TV and movies than they do in God and goodness. It’s a shame. The same energy focused in a positive spiritual direction could make life in this world far better.
What is an attack like?
An attack by an extremist usually consists of a single argument or two, repeated over and over again. The most common argument is that you need to be saved, and if not, you’re going to Hell. It is often followed by, and supported with, passages from the Christian Bible that condemn mediumship.
Insulting my religion and expecting me to buy into yours is not what I would call an effective selling technique. Nonetheless, it’s the most common strategy used by attackers. Thankfully, Spiritualism is called a “religion of conviction, not conversion”. Spiritualism is not out to convert anyone. You have the freedom of choice, and the ability to decide, on your own.