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SPIRITUALISM and Spiritism

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Author Topic: SPIRITUALISM and Spiritism  (Read 2537 times)
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« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2007, 07:20:52 am »

Developments after the 1920s

Main articles: Spiritualist Church, Spiritualists' National Union, Survivalism (life after death), and Spiritualist Association of Great Britain
After the 1920s, Spiritualism evolved in three different directions. The first of these continued the tradition of individual practitioners, organized in circles centered on a medium and clients, without any ecclesiastical hierarchy or dogma. Already by the late 19th century Spiritualism had become increasingly syncretic, a natural development in a movement without central authority or dogma.[4] Today, among these unorganized circles, Spiritualism is not readily distinguishable from the similarly syncretic New Age movement. These spiritualists are quite heterogeneous in their beliefs on issues such as reincarnation or the existence of God. Some appropriate New Age and Neo-Pagan beliefs, and others call themselves 'Christian Spiritualists', continuing with the old tradition of cautiously incorporating spiritualist experiences into their Christian faith.

The second direction taken by Spiritualism has been to adopt formal organization, patterned after formal organization in Christian denominations, with established creeds and liturgies, and formal training requirements for mediums.[17] In North America the Spiritualist churches are primarily affiliated with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, and in the UK with the Spiritualists National Union, founded in 1891. Formal education in spiritualist practice emerged in 1920, continuing today with Arthur Findlay's College of Psychic Studies. Diversity of belief among organized spiritualists has led to a few schisms, the most notable occurring in the UK in 1957 between those who held Spiritualism to be a religion sui generis, and a minority who held it to be a denomination of Christianity. The practice of organized Spiritualism today resembles that of any other organized religion, having discarded most showmanship, particularly those elements resembling the conjurer's art. There is thus today a much greater emphasis on "mental" mediumship and an almost complete avoidance of the miraculous "materializing" mediumship that so fascinated early believers such as Arthur Conan Doyle.[18]

The third direction taken by Spiritualism has been a continuation of its empirical orientation to religious phenomena. Already as early as 1882, with the founding of the Society for Psychical Research, secular organizations emerged to investigate spiritualist claims. Today many persons with this empirical approach avoid the label of "Spiritualism," preferring the term "Survivalism." Survivalists eschew religion, and base their belief in the afterlife on phenomena susceptible to at least rudimentary scientific investigation, such as mediumship, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, electronic voice phenomena, and reincarnation research. Many Survivalists see themselves as the intellectual heirs of the Spiritualist movement.[19]

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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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