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The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement

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Author Topic: The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement  (Read 2109 times)
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2009, 01:11:00 am »

What historically was the importance of the rise of Spiritualism? Spiritualism was the last great religious excitement before the American Civil War. Thereafter the United States became industrialized and more materialistic in its outlook, and religious and spiritual outbreaks no longer took place with the energy and excitement with which such occasions had previously been marked. Changes were to occur within the Burned-Over District as well, since it was no longer purely Protestant after 1865. Now, with a small Jewish and a much larger Roman Catholic population, and with a more materialistic outlook on life, the fires have gone out in the Burned-Over District.

Revivalism continues, of course, but in a much weaker form than in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It does not attract the mass of the population, no matter what the more conservative religious leaders would have one believe today. If nothing else, the revivals did lead to a fracturing of American Christianity and to the creation of hundreds of new units calling themselves Christian. Does this proclivity of churches and faiths to split and to increase mean that the revivals of the Burned-Over era made America more religious? That is one of the questions impossible to answer, although most non-denominational surveys seem to indicate that only between 30% to 40% of Americans faithfully go to church today, despite the overt nature of public religiousness in American life.
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