Is Spiritualism really modern.

Discussion in 'Modern Religions' started by peaceandkarma, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. peaceandkarma

    peaceandkarma Well-Known Member

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    What does everyone think of Spiritualism?
    • If Prophets talked to Angels, would they be considered as mediums today?
    • If Prophets healed the sick would they be considered as Spiritual healers today?
    • Spiritualism talks of departed spirits being asked what they have learnt on the earth plain. Is this the same as the Biblical Judgement Day?
    • What was the knowledge of the Gnostic Christains?
    All religions seem to me to tell a similar story, its just that people tend to view things the way they want to see them. To me the Prophets channelled spirit much the same way as mediums do today. This is my view point which others may not share. Is Spiritualism really a new religion as it seems to have been around for a long long time.
     
  2. Snoopy

    Snoopy Well-Known Member

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    According to good old Wiki (pedia, not leaks) it began in the 1840s in New York.

    s.
     
  3. peaceandkarma

    peaceandkarma Well-Known Member

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    Althought modern Spiritualism began with the Fox sisters, the practices which Spiritualists and Mediums do were performed by the Prophets in Biblical times. Would the Prophets feel out of place talking to modern spiritualists or even sitting in a circle.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Peaceandkarma — welcome to the forum.

    In the Christian Traditions, 'spiritualism' is generally rejected as setting up a false dichotomy between body and soul, or the natural and supernatural. Christianity is an holistic religion. Spiritualism sets up a dualism.

    Spiritualism as it's currently understood emerged from the Romance Movement, in response to the dehumanising effects of the Industrial Revolution. It's one of the themes of the Movement, along with the Sublime in art and music, the Gothic novel in literature, the renewed interest in Wicca and nature religion, the re-invention of faeries and angels, Theosophy and Anthroposophy and the renewed interest in esoteric orders ...

    No. Necromancy was practiced, and condemned, in Biblical times. Mediums are more akin to necromancers than prophets.

    Again, I think healing was not considered part of the prophetic ministry?

    No.

    Gnostic Christianity seeks to fit a holistic message into a dualist system, which creates all sorts of problems, inconsistencies and contradictions.

    Most notably, the various gnostic systems create elitist hierarchies which interpose numerous intermediate states between God and man, which can only be traversed by the possession of the 'keys of knowledge'.

    Indeed, common gnostic doctrines include that of the pneumatic, the psychic and the hylic, in which the latter — the most part of humanity — have no chance at all of a dialogue with the divine, and the psychic only through the intercession of the pneumatic.

    Gnosticism is concerned with knowledge, Christianity is concerned with being.

    The gnostics were, to Christianity, worse than the Pharisees to Judaism. The Pharisaic tendency focusses on the absolute letter of the law, as opposed to the spirit of the law, the gnostic tendency is to create laws, levels, hierarchies, etc., where none actually exist.

    Again, 'gnosis' is part of authentic Christianity, as is 'spirituality', but it cannot be separated from it.

    I think this is quite a modern view, it's not endorsed by religions as such, and it misses a fundamental point.

    All religions say pretty much the same thing with reference to man, because man is the same the world over. The tend to say different things with regard to God, however, and man's relationship to the divine.

    That, I suggest, would be a misreading.

    Prophets do not 'channel'. Prophets are chosen of God as God's instrument and mouthpiece, and often have no say in the matter (Enoch and Jeremiah, for example). 'Channeling' is a term invented fairly recently to explain a number of phenomena that can include the pneumatic, the psychic or the psychotic, so I would advise one tread carefully.

    Well I tend to view it not so much a religion, but a mark of psychic activity. It's not a religion as such. I'm sorry to sound negative, but I find the inherent contradiction of 'I am spiritual, but not religious', yet to be satisfactorily explained.

    In Catholicism, for example, we talk to God, to the angels, to the saints, to the living and the dead. Sometimes they reply, sometimes they do not. But we do not pursue these dialogues as a separate spiritual activity with their own aims and purposes.

    Like the Buddhist, we are advised to treat all such phenomena as just that, something that happens along the way, but it should not divert one's attention, nor one's aim.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  5. peaceandkarma

    peaceandkarma Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I can see your view in your post and I can also see mine. I must be too open minded. Spiritualism must be the oldest belief system in the world because if you look at any untouched culture in the world, say the Amazons Indians or an African tribe for example, they seem to have a shaman type at the centre of their beliefs.
     
  6. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Inspired by Mahatmas, it helped change the Western world significantly throughout much of the 19th Century. Without it, we'd be far more materialistic. I know things seem that way to some folks already, and we wonder, how could it be any worse? I even wonder if we'd have made it through the World Wars if certain movements such as Spiritualism and the Labour Movement had not been inspired ... as they were.

    • If Prophets talked to Angels, would they be considered as mediums today?
    Some of them would certainly have been. Joseph Smith spoke with the Angel Moroni, and Mormons consider him a Prophet. But I think our world is far more skeptical, and the Scientific and Industrial Revolution definitely changed our thinking ... to which we may add Darwinism and the impact of modern Psychology on mass consciousness.

    There is so little acceptance by some people today of things that were simply taken as granted during the days of Spiritualism, that we really have done a bit of back-pedaling, in my opinion. Plenty of the most enlightened and inspired of the Prophets of Biblical times wouldn't be accepted as anything except quacks today.

    Perhaps the best cases I know of to illustrate what I mean, are the contributions made by Theosophists and other esotericists in this tradition. Some reject their claims out of hand, although H.P. Blavatsky was quite interested in Spiritualism early on ... prior to the founding of the Theosophical Society. She came into contact, through various means, with Mahatmas in the East and West, traveling to meet Them in several cases. Some of her experiences have been attested to by so many eyewitnesses, sworn to with evidence placed in the British Museum, etc. ... that no sane individual would deny her claims if properly and thoroughly investigated.

    Who ever said our society, especially the religious components, was strictly composed of sane individuals? ;)

    Yet there are dozens upon dozens of cases where HPB delivered prophecy after prophecy which not only came true, but which revealed (reveals) that the Mahatmas were and are exactly what she claimed. She was perhaps the greatest Prophet our world has ever known, certainly dedicating her life to the Service of Humanity ... and claiming only to serve as an amanuensis, or Sibyl, rather than as the actual source of what she wrote and taught.

    • If Prophets healed the sick would they be considered as Spiritual healers today?
    Again, I don't think so. We do everything we can to discredit such individuals. Matthew Manning is the best case I know of a modern day healer, also possessing mediumistic tendencies displayed during his teen years ... including the ability to channel or `ghost write,' and even `ghost draw' [for Picasso, Durer, et al]. His story can be investigated on the web, his web page readily accessed. He is an excellent example of someone who took tremendous potential for good or ill, a gift which could have potentially had any number of applications, and invested it for healing.

    The success stories for Matthew Manning and others should speak for themselves. Yet how does the world of today greet such cases? In laboratories they have been studied, and WHAT conclusions have we drawn? Aren't our filtering glasses more firmly attached to our heads than ever when we hear of such cases? The Prophets of old would probably be burned at the stake for what some would perceive as demon-possession and the like. In fact, I think that's exactly how Christ Jesus was sometimes greeted ... and He had to flee the unruly mob.

    • Spiritualism talks of departed spirits being asked what they have learnt on the earth plain. Is this the same as the Biblical Judgement Day?
    If the true individual is being contacted, usually possible only a few months following death, then all that they can describe will be their experiences up until that point. If they have been heavily influenced by a tradition that believes in Judgment Day, then sure, I think they could describe their Purgatorial experience as precisely that. Yet Tibetan Buddhists will know that they have actually simply moved through the Bardo. And an ancient Egyptian would have ventured across the Fields of Aanroo.

    In all of this, who's the more accurate? Which experience is correct? The question becomes even more difficult when, at a seance, the sitter becomes en rapport NOT with the actual individual, but - in the case of the seeking of those who have been dead for years - simply a SHELL. The galvanized shell may appear, and because this astral corpse retains all of the memories of the true person, though in an unpleasant, sickly cast, this false contact with the departed may result in a tremendously skewed, negative characterization of what the actual person went through after death.

    After all, the TRUE Individual eventually dissociated from the lower, self-centered vibrations which characterize the lower astral plane, and they have moved on to greener pastures, as the proverbial expression goes. It may well be that the shell retains memories of the most unpleasant of all of after-death conditions, as it tends to vibrate in association with the lowest sub-strata in its gradual, decaying state. The shell may convey true horrors which some individuals experience, although usually these don't last very long at all ... and are transcended entirely once we are better and properly oriented to the afterlife condition.

    So, a Fundamentalist Christian could well preserve, either directly or simply in the evacuated, decaying astral shell ... such memories as would correlate with what s/he expected to encounter of the `Judgment Day,' while I would argue that the true Record exists only within `the atom,' meaning that it is [also] preserved in the `Book of God's Remembrance,' as the Bible puts it. This, the true Akasha, is always accessible, but only to a properly trained, high-grade medium ... and in such cases, misinterpretation or interpolation of meaning is unlikely to occur.

    • What was the knowledge of the Gnostic Christains?
    These understood the true Nature of the Christ, at least insofar as accepting that what Jesus embodied, they too could and would gradually come to embody. No less is what Christ taught, and there are dozens of Scriptural passages which the astute individual will be able to trace in support. Sure, there has been much which has been systematically expunged from the Gospel record ... yet "the Truth of the Ages" is said to still reside within the New Testament.

    That such is true is made evident in the words and teachings of St. Paul, in the writing of John the Evangelist and even in the consistency of the Four Canonical Gospels. Dozens of other sources all contribute to our understanding of - not one group, but many groups, which all recognized a great deal more in Jesus of Nazareth than many modern Christians would care to admit. Ironically, it would only make their case and the Christian Faith much stronger; yet where caveats and compromises must be made there is often an understandable resistance.

    Knowing what the given name `Jesus' means is one line of inquiry, as also a questioning of the origin and meaning of `chrestos' ... as distinct from `Christos.' There are excellent writings, extensively researched, along these lines ... for those who want to know where the name of their religion, and the title of the Christian Savior, originates. Many do not understand that this is not the man's last name!

    I believe that the Gnostic Christians were quite familiar with an esoteric Christianity which it is pointless to refute today. There were, unfortunately, already special interests existing just 400 or 500 years after the appearance of Jesus ... and how the Gnostics were treated - being forced underground and systematically exterminated - tells us a great deal about how Church tradition evolved from there on out.

    Cases such as Hypatia of Alexandria illustrate what great intolerance the early church fathers demonstrated when it came to anyone who dared to openly question their doctrines ... much less teach a different one. And when such Fathers as Origen and Clement dare to teach different, again, we find the response: Conform or ELSE!

    What DID the Gnostics teach? Indeed, what you suggest, P&K. Your take on it is a pretty good summary:
    I would only add, that I believe the Presence of the Christos overshadowed Jesus of Nazareth 2100 years ago, and that nearly 100 years ago a similar event may already have occurred in the world of the early 20th Century. Clearly, this was not recognized by most Christians, or even more than perhaps a handful of individuals for what it was. But the world changes much in 100 years, and the 20th Century proves to be exceptional only in that this is true 100fold moreover.

    Thus, as some also believe, I am quite certain that Christ is active in the world today, and of that I am certain. Belief is one thing; gnosis is definitely another. Faith, even on my best of days, is what helps me to try and remember to remain humble, yet NEVER to forsake what I have learned, based on what I have experienced, and based on what I have been taught. As we are sometimes reminded, the best teacher of all is usually EXPERIENCE ... which does not mean that we must jump in front of a bus to learn the consequences, but simply, once you get kind of used to the talk, don't forget to WALK THE WALK! :)

    Christ, I am quite certain, overshadows both Groups and Individuals in the world today by the many hundreds [and thousands] ... thus, I would suggest for the sincere and interested student, consider further inquiry into the ample evidence that this is indeed the case ~ IF you feel that you are even remotely open to such an idea. I phrase it thus, because I am as certain that you can find such evidence, as I am that I'm sitting here.

    That Teaching, after all, is thoroughly Biblical. And I wasn't the One Who uttered it ... all those years ago. ;)

    Namaskar, and God Bless!
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I think the shaman fulfils an archetype, although I'm not sure contemporary Spiritualism follows in the shaman's footsteps.

    Having said that, some systems have progressed within shamanism, and some shamanic systems are highly sophisticated compared to others ... Shinto is a shamanic system that I have a huge respect for.

    So I think my answer is:
    No, Spiritualism is not modern at all, it's as old as man, but the way in which it is practiced is modern, it's the product of modern tendencies, the revolt against the dehumanising effects of industrialisation. If you look at the Romance Movement of that era, you can see where and how Spiritualism fits in to its schemata. Put another way, without the movement, it's unlikely it would have caught on as it did.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  8. peaceandkarma

    peaceandkarma Well-Known Member

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    Hi AndrewX, I also share your thoughts on Church leaders of the time pushing the Gnostic Christians underground and then persecuting them because they didn't see things the same way. When I read the Bible I find that Jesus explains his parables to his disciples when asked. As his parables are metaphoric there meanings are hidden. I find it a shame that people can still use the Bible's passages to oppress others as oppression was againest Jesus's teachings. Jesus never turned anyone away and his seems to be lost. Although I view myself a Spiriualist I think Jesus is a good example to follow. If we all followed the true teachings of religion all religions would live side by side and live in peace instead of competeing against one another.:rolleyes:
     
  9. peaceandkarma

    peaceandkarma Well-Known Member

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    Hi Thomas, I think the same as you. Spiritualism has been around since man first started religious practices. Over time it just gets re-labeled as something new, much the same as music does. Its this re-labeling and the differences that gets created between religions which is something that shouldn't be happening. If Muslims veiw Jesus as a Prophet and Christians and Muslims recoginise the Prophets in the Old Testament, why do Jews, Christains and Muslims compete with and fight each other:confused:
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Indeed. In the Christian Tradition it is regarded as a Gift of the Holy Spirit: "To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; To another, faith in the same spirit; to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit; To another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the discerning of spirits; to another, diverse kinds of tongues; to another, interpretation of speeches" 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

    Well the Jews don't recognise Jesus at all, and the Muslims regard Him as a prophet, whilst the Christian message, indeed His own words, declare Himself to be more than that.

    The question as to why they fight extends beyond the religious dimension, and indeed most of it has little, in reality, to do with religion.

    It's about conquest.

    God bless,

    Thomas.
     
  11. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    "If Muslims view Jesus as a Prophet and Christians and Muslims recoginise the Prophets in the Old Testament, why do Jews, Christains and Muslims compete with and fight each other?"

    Abdul-Baha asked the same question.. Of course when people focus on the differences of doctrines they will never be united..but, if they focus on the areas where they are united..belief in God and in right conduct following the teachings they can work together.

    As to spiritualism, Baha'is would not encourage people to go to mediums as there has been a lot of fraud and deception... but we do acknowledge it's possible to be intouch with deceased loved ones and for them to be close to us...

    Mrs. S. asked some questions with reference to the conditions of existence in the next world, and the life after death; she said that having recently lost a very near relative, she had given much thought to this subject. Many thought that re-union with those we had loved, and who had passed on to the future life, would only take place after a long period of time had elapsed. She wished to know whether one would be re-united with those who had gone before immediately after death.
    'Abdu'l-Bahá answered that this would depend upon the respective stations of the two. If both had the same degree of development, they would be re-united immediately after death. The questioner then said, how could this state of development be acquired? 'Abdu'l-Bahá replied, by unceasing effort, striving to do right, and to attain spiritual qualities.
    The questioner remarked that many differing opinions were held as to the conditions of the future life. Some thought that all would have exactly the same perfections and virtues; that all would be equal and alike.
    'Abdu'l-Bahá said there would be variety, and differing degrees of attainment, as in this world.
    The question was then asked as to how it would be possible with no material bodies or environment to recognize different entities and characters, when all would be in the same conditions and on the same plane of existence.
    'Abdu'l-Bahá said if several people look into a mirror at the same moment, they behold all the different personalities, their characteristics and movements; the glass of the mirror into which they look is one. In your mind you have a variety of thoughts, but all these thoughts are separate and distinct. Also you may perhaps have hundreds of friends; but when you call them before your memory you do not confuse them one with another: each one is separate and distinct, having their own individualities and characteristics.
    Replying to another questioner, he said that when two people, husband and wife for instance, have been completely united in this life their souls being as one soul, then after one of them has passed away, this union of heart and soul would remain unbroken.

    ~ Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, pp. 73-75
     
  12. peaceandkarma

    peaceandkarma Well-Known Member

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    Hi Arthra, I like your reply. When I read the Bible I like to find its message thats within its pages. I see Jesus's "Love thy neighbour" as treat people how you would like to be treated yourself. If everyone did this then every religion and or political view would live in peace. I can see same views held by both Jesus and Bubbha, the only difference being the chioce of words. I've got a Koran which I've looked at, but one day I'll read it properly. I was supprised to see John the Baptist in there.
     
  13. Waymarker

    Waymarker Free Christian

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    It's been around since ancient biblical times, possibly longer, but the bible absolutely forbids it because there's no way of knowing if what 'comes through' is an angel, or a demon pretending to be one.
     

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