What does spiritualism have to do with me?

Some people think of spiritualism as something that belonged to the Victorian age—having a strong influence during the late 1800s, particularly in the United States. The spiritualists' national newspaper, The Banner of Light, was published in Boston and New York, and nineteenth-century spiritualists gathered for meetings at Walden Pond and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

At the same time, however, something quite different was happening in Massachusetts. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was writing a book entitled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In it she included a chapter called "Christian Science versus Spiritualism." In that chapter, Mrs. Eddy explained: "When the Science of Mind is understood, spiritualism will be found mainly erroneous, having no scientific basis nor origin, no proof nor power outside of human testimony. It is the offspring of the physical senses. There is no sensuality in Spirit. I never could believe in spiritualism" (p. 71).

While many of us may think of spiritualism only in terms of dark seances, crystal balls, and so forth, films such as Ghost and even Casper have brought this mode of thought before large numbers of people. Today, spiritualists are often called "channels," and several channels have had best-selling books published in the last few years. Classes on channeling are now being taught on many college campuses. So it's useful to understand why spiritualism and the spirituality taught by Christ Jesus are different.

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In next week's SENTINEL
October 30, 1995

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