Spiritualism actually dates back to the olden days when it was considered superstitious but it later embedded itself in other major religions of the world. Even modern religions have some teachings and tenets of spiritualism in them such as the belief in the continuity of life or the afterlife. Spiritualists believe in infinite intelligence and that the physical and spiritual phenomena of nature are both the expression of infinite intelligence. They also believe that the existence and personal identity of an individual continues after death.
According to spiritualists, communication with the dead is a scientifically proven fact by the phenomena of Spiritualism and that the opportunity for the reformation of any human soul is always open here or hereafter. Spiritualists do not believe in death, instead they are of the opinion that physical bodies only cease to function but the human consciousness and essence or the part of us that laughs, thinks and loves (soul) continues to exist. Most people have long believed in the concepts of Spiritualism only that they do not know it has a name. They believe that life and the human consciousness does not end with physical death and that heaven is just a higher phase of life and not some unknown or distant place out there.
Death is therefore seen as a rebirth into this higher phase of existence where everyone came from and will eventually return to. Spiritualists further believe that through the gift of Mediumship which apparently everyone has, it is very possible to communicate with the dead. Someone is either born with this gift or they have to work at it. It is an ability that everyone possesses. Spiritualists just like any other human being grieve the death of a loved one as it is an essential part of the healing process. However, they express these emotions while wishing their deceased loved ones well as they transition back to spirit. While they may also feel sorrowful and heartbroken for their loss, they are happy that their loved ones have been reborn into a higher phase of existence.
Believing that the human consciousness, awareness and personality does not die helps spiritualists tremendously in grieving the loss of a loved one. Knowing that they are happy and comfortable and that they can even come and visit whenever they wish gives them a feeling of inner peace and comfort. Spiritualists believe that hanging on to someone who has passed on can hold back the people who have been left behind from progressing and ii also prevents the dead from moving fully into the light. Hanging on to a deceased loved one means refusing to accept that they are dead and choosing to remain in anger and denial.
History of Spiritualism
Spiritualism began as early as the 1840s and by 1897 it is said to have had over 8 million followers in Europe and the United States who were mainly drawn from the middle as well as upper classes. Spiritualism flourished and developed for almost half a century without a formal organization or canonical texts. This religion attained cohesion mainly through camp meetings, lectures, periodicals and missionary activities. During this time, most spiritualists were women who supported noble causes like the abolition of women’s suffrage and slavery. However, in the late 1880s, Spiritualism lost credibility as a result of accusations of fraud.
Spiritualism first started in the state of New York a region where many people believed that they could directly communicate with God and the angels. They also believed that God was fair and just and that he could not harshly judge or condemn unbaptized infants to hell. In this same state, earlier religious movements like Mormonism and Millerism had also emerged at the time of the Second Great Awakening. By the nineteenth century, most Americans were either in sympathy with the spiritualist philosophy or were members of a spiritualist church. Currently, spiritualism is practiced in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States through denominational spiritualist churches.
What Spiritualism Is and What It Is Not
While most churches only promise on faith, spiritualists claim that they have proof of the existence of life after death. Even Orthodox clergymen and women do not refute the existence of a genuine spiritual phenomena but they sharply differ with spiritualists when ii comes to the source of manifestations. In fact, they believe that Spiritualism trends dangerously close to demonology especially because religious orthodoxy holds the opinion that any form of communication with departed souls should not exist and those who attempt to do so risk involving themselves with deceptive evil spirits.
The National Spiritualist Association in an effort to emphasise their theological position defined Spiritualism as the science, philosophy and the religion of a continuous life that is purely based on a demonstrated fact of communication through Mediumship with people living in the spirit world. The association also defined a spiritualist as a person who believes in communication by means of Mediumship with the spirit world and one who endeavours to build his or her conduct and character based on the teaching that is derived from such communication. A medium is one who can be able to sense vibrations from the spirit world and decode messages from the spirits thus producing the phenomena of Spiritualism.
Spiritualism is regarded as a science because it attempts to investigate, analyze and classify facts and manifestations occurring in the spirit world. It is a philosophy since it is a study of the laws of nature on the visible and invisible sides of life based upon present observed facts. Spiritualism is a religion that tries to study the spiritual, mental and physical laws of nature which are basically the supreme laws of God. Spiritual power can be helpful and sometimes very essential which is what spiritualism is all about.
Spiritualism began as a platform for women to speak from and was used to fight for civil rights as well as freedom from slavery. Spiritualists fought for all these things because spiritualism had moral teachings and offered a moral foundation for people to build their lives on.