In our last blog I quoted
(1883-1954), you’ll recall, is spiritualism’s foremost scholar, historian,
philosopher and writer. One of those quotations, the one that distanced
spiritualism completely from Christianity, was probably no surprise to seasoned
spiritualists but for newcomers it might have been a shocker. And for those
outside the movement Findlay ’s
pronouncement of separation from the Western World’s predominant religion
merely reinforces what evangelical Christians have been saying about us for
more than 100 years. Findlay
It’s important to note that when modern spiritualism was born in the mid-nineteenth century it was not the first religious movement to raise doubts about Christianity. The role played by Deists in founding of the United States of America is well known and Deists openly denied many of the traditional doctrines of Christianity such as the trinity, virgin birth and so on – doctrines that conservative Christians insist must be believed if one is to avoid the wrath of God in the form of hellfire in the life hereafter.
Concurrent with Deism was the spread of Unitarianism and Universalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson being one of Unitarianism’s most outstanding spokespersons. Unitarians, as their name discloses, deny the trinity and a whole lot more. It’s safe to say that those in most Unitarian congregations nowadays never mention the atonement, salvation, heaven and hell, inspiration of the Bible or a host of other teachings that are bread and butter for traditional churches. Universalism, of course, teaches that all religions are valid, each being a separate path to God – something that is anathema to orthodox Christians. (In the United States the Unitarians and Universalists merged into one denomination in 1961.)
|Unity Church, Spokane, Washington|
Like Spiritualism, Unitarianism, Deism and Universalism, New Thought was an early break-away from orthodox Christianity. New Thought does not officially endorse the findings of spiritualism although those in the movement do expect an afterlife similar to what is revealed by spiritualists. Reincarnation is also generally accepted as well and a great many New Thought folks would, I believe, espouse most of what spiritualism reveals if they only knew what it was. Over the years I’ve worked with Unity congregations, teaching classes and occasionally lecturing for Sunday services so I feel very comfortable with these churches.
|William Walker Atkinson|
All of the movements we’ve been looking at have been denounced over and over again by orthodox Christians, primarily because of what the groups refuse to accept as truth. Members of each of these groups have at times experienced acts of unkindness and in some instances actual persecution simply because they did not believe dogmas that the Christians thought essential. And each of these groups has repeatedly been denounced by clergy as being non-Christian.
So is it surprising that
says what he does about spiritualism – “Spiritualism and Christianity have no
connection whatever”? The other religious movements above can legitimately say
the same thing. Findlay
My point in going through all this church history is to show that over the past couple hundred years there have been many who have discovered the same thing spiritualists did – that most of the core teachings of Christianity are, indeed, not worthy of acceptance. When one examines the earliest church history – the first through the third centuries – it becomes obvious that most of the earliest Christians knew nothing of the dogmas that are seen nowadays as core beliefs. (
covered this early church history and the evolution of dogma in his book The
Psychic Stream.) Findlay
In the next blog I will examine a famous modern-day clergyman who is leading a large pack of Christians in a new movement that also says it’s time to abandon superstitions of the past that have left their mark within the church in the form of doctrines that simply are not acceptable to a rational person. All this refutes, I believe, the assertion that spiritualists are unique in their approach to orthodox Christianity. Furthermore, many still within the churches are questioning deeply what they’ve been told.
call for a new Reformation may well see fruition just around the corner! Findlay