Guide The Dangers of Spiritualism

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Spiritualism — A Deadly Movement

If photographs captured the images of the deceased, this would mean that the spirits of the dead did dwell among us as ghosts. There was, however, a problem with the legitimacy of spirit photography. Largely promoted by modern Spiritualists, many of the photos presented as evidence in order to support their beliefs were actually faked.

The better known examples of fake spirit photography were produced by William H. Mumler b. Mumler was a self-professed medium who used photography as a means to communicate with spirits. He was not the only individual to do this, but there were others who also manipulated their spirit photos. This does not mean that all spirit photography was faked. In cases where legitimate photography occurred, the conclusions of modern Spiritualism monopolized how those photographs were used to define the spiritual world. For those paranormal societies that emerged apart from modern Spiritualism, photography remained a technology that could permit the spirit world to communicate with the living.

Regardless of how independent such paranormal societies claimed to be, most of these societies adopted — and continue to do so — the conclusions made by modern Spiritualists. Such conclusions were popularized by modern Spiritualists who made use of photography to promote their beliefs. Paranormal societies are simply carrying on with the same conclusions made by modern Spiritualists. In doing so, paranormal societies are not using photography to simply document any random paranormal activity, but to promote the belief that ghosts are the spirits of the dead.

Another form of technology that was used among modern Spiritualists, are sound recording devices. The use of sound recording devices became more prominent among paranormal researchers. The earliest known recording of spirit voices was unintentionally recorded in by the Russian ethnologist, Waldermar Bogoras b. Bogoras had no ties with people who were trying to use sound recording technology to communicate with spirits.

Although the earliest sound recording of what is thought to be spirits had nothing to do with either modern Spiritualism or paranormal societies, sound recording technology was quickly adopted in various ways. Thomas A. Edison b. If this reasoning be correct, then, if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected, or moved, or manipulated — whichever term you want to use — by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something.

He never succeeded in developing such a technology, but this did not prevent the existing sound recording devices from improving and becoming readily available to others to use for such a purpose. Born from the desires of modern Spiritualists, and people like Thomas Edison, sound recordings of spirit voices came to be known as Electronic Voice Phenomenon, or EVP. Today, there are a variety of ways to utilize EVP. What is not immediately recognized is how for most paranormal researchers EVP has become a substitute to using mediums. Consider how a medium is answered by a spirit through rapping sounds, objects moving, or actually has the spirit speak through him or her.

Similarly, the paranormal researcher using EVP asks questions of a spirit, and rather than having the response manifest itself in a timely audible or visual fashion, the recording is where the response is provided. In all such cases, the voice s heard on the recording are thought to belong to the spirits of the dead, rather than to a demonic manifestation. Once again, the similarity between the practices and conclusions of modern Spiritualists and paranormal researchers is clear.

What remains unclear, however, is how EVP can be justified without having to serve as a mediumistic alternative. What may justify the use of EVP may be a matter of the conclusions made, which will determine whether or not EVP is a substitute to mediums. Not all paranormal societies can be categorized as extensions of modern Spiritualism.

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The technology used by paranormal researchers to conduct their investigations does not always serve as a substitute to the practices of modern Spiritualism. Instead, it is the context in which the technology is used. If the technology is used according to ideas and practices belonging to modern Spiritualism, then the technology does serve as a substitute to mediums. Of course, most paranormal societies can be defined as extensions of modern Spiritualism if they utilize mediums or psychics. The use of technology does not always distinguish paranormal research apart from modern Spiritualism.


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Although briefly examined here in this article, technology has helped develop modern Spiritualism in its efforts to validate its belief system. The danger here is that some paranormal societies are merely extensions of modern Spiritualism and serve only to promote the same misguided beliefs leading people away from any serious and real understanding of spirits and the afterlife. Modern Spiritualism has deposited its beliefs and practices into mainstream society via paranormal societies.

In turn, the beliefs and practices of modern Spiritualism have become much more recognizable to the masses.

Ancient Spiritualism

The same is no longer true for the teachings of the Church, which have largely been ignored or misrepresented — especially in regards to explaining paranormal phenomena. The practices of modern Spiritualism are completely rejected, along with their interpretations and beliefs.

The Church believes that the Lord is the God of the living, and not of the dead. Communication between the material and spiritual world does exist, and examples can be found in the Old and New Testaments, in the hagiographies of the saints, in liturgy, through prayers, and so on. All these examples belong to the Church. The Church does not only exist in the present and material world. Those who have moved on from this life enter a new one in heaven. The body of Christ is the Church — the people. Here on earth, the Church is referred to as the Church Militant and is made-up of those who struggle against sin.

There is also the Church Triumphant made-up of those who are in heaven — the saints. Through the grace of God, both the Church Militant and Triumphant are connected. The Church Militant and Triumphant make up the body of Christ — the Church is comprised of the living, and not the dead. The intercession of the saints, for example, represents this bond and demonstrates how any real communication does exist between the souls of the spiritual and physical world. Of course, prayer given onto the Lord serves as the best example.

The angels are also included in this relationship between heaven and earth. However, there are also the fallen angels who continually attempt to hinder this relationship between mankind and God, and do this by presenting humanity with heretical teachings like those found in modern Spiritualism. Individuals or groups who are presently engaged in paranormal research need to take care in their practices, and to examine their conclusions carefully.

Otherwise, they may be doing greater harm than good.


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  4. Christian paranormal researchers can make the same errors. This problem is not a new phenomenon, but existed in the early Church whereby mixed opinions occurred. Justin Martyr, in his first Apologies , holds to the belief that the spirits of the dead can be contacted, thereby proving the existence of an afterlife.

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    However, there are other Church Fathers like Hippolytus of Rome who went to great lengths exposing the practices of those people claiming to contact the spirits of the dead, as frauds. The problem is an old one, and perhaps the line between a proper or improper approach to the nature of paranormal phenomena is hard to see. Paranormal phenomenon represents an opportunity for people to question and learn something about the spiritual reality. The attraction towards the paranormal stirs strong emotions and thoughts that can have a lasting impression on individuals.

    November 22, Is there such a person that can be Christian believe the bible as is…….

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    And still know and feel things. Can God give a gift like that to someone? Someone that has the gift of knowing things or intuitions? November 23, In the near future the OCPRS will provide an article about this topic since you and many others have asked a very common question. You are commenting using your WordPress. This past week Tricycle caught up with scholar David Webster over email to discuss his recent foray into contemporary trends in spirituality, Dispirited: How Contemporary Spirituality Makes us Stupid, Selfish and Unhappy.

    Why I Am Exposing The New Age Movement

    Webster holds a Ph. In the book, Webster critiques what he views as the dominant—and pernicious—trends in contemporary spirituality that collude with a culture of consumption to bypass the most valuable challenges of religious practice. What is the principal danger of following a self-made spiritual path as opposed to a specific faith or number of faiths? When we put together a set of concerns from a buffet of beliefs, building our own spiritual platters, one of dangers is that we drop, or fail to select, those elements that challenge us.

    Most notably, we can choose to not select those elements that fail to fit our preexistent ethical outlook. A religious tradition may contain elements that we are really drawn to, that speak to our experience very profoundly, but it will also have aspects that we find really difficult. These aspects have, nonetheless, remained part of the tradition for a reason. Maybe those reasons are outdated, or political, but it might be the case that they exist because prior practitioners have ultimately come to believe that they offer vital challenges, ethical or otherwise.

    Either way, even if we come to reject certain aspects—and this is how faith traditions change—we have to take all aspects seriously and engage with them. What distinguishes the contemporary spirituality you critique from the study and even adherence to a faith without affiliating with it? Following my experience of mixing with Westerners sympathetic to Buddhism over the last two and half decades, I would say that many resist describing themselves as Buddhists for complex reasons.

    I would say that I have encountered all these things, but we need to be wary—they might lead us into a pit of self-regarding solipsism or be used as a well of detail that obscures fundamental existential truths. I actually think Buddhism is rather good at encouraging us to face the latter, but in drawing out aspects, there seems a real need for caution and a rigorous honesty with oneself.

    You conceive of contemporary spirituality as entailing a willful prejudice against critical thought. We see this in Buddhist circles sometimes as well.

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    How did discursive reasoning come to be scorned in the spirituality movement? I think there are two drivers for this. The first is a mystic, monist, obsessively inclusivist approach to truth which regards all paths as equally valid and all religious or spiritual outpourings as an expression of the same unsayable hidden one-ness. Buddhism offers space for a really interesting conversation about how reason and experience interact.