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There is nothing spiritual about Spiritualism

  1. Apr 25, 2005 #1
    Let me begin with the dictionary meaning of Spiritualism. There are two meanings which I was able to deduce.

    First- A philosophy, doctrine, or religion emphasizing the spiritual aspect of being.

    As everyone knows the book-stalls are flooded with books on spiritualism which supposedly claim to help you lead a better and more fulfilling life. Every other day some book on spiritualism tops the best-seller list with each author claiming to have the 'magic solution' to all the problems in our lives. I wonder how many of these books sincerely and realistically attempt to improve our lives(no offence to be taken here). There are billions of other commercial stuff like wind-chimes, magic gems, lucky stones etc. sold in the name of Spiritualism. Too many naive people get lured into buying these stuff. IMOH, these things are nothing but a money-making racket :mad:

    Countless celebrities(too many to be named here)endorse the miracle effects of Yoga, Reiki, tantric healing etc. While the profound effects of Yoga, Reiki cannot be denied I wonder how many of these celebs are spiritual in the true sense of the word. Are they ever going to stop their vulgar dispaly of flamboyance and extravaganza?

    There are millions of Spiritual healing centers across the world. Most of them have started becoming less spiritually oriented and more commercial and more like a holiday venue. In this context let me quote an example. In my city(Mumbai), a well-renowned businessman wanted to cut down the mangroves in the city coast and set up a Spiritual and Meditation center. While one cannot stress the importance of mangoves to the eco-system, is awfully sad how hypocritic the ideology of Spiritualism is in this context!

    Going by the other definition of Spiritualism- A belief that it is possible to communicate with the spirits of the dead.

    The Fox Sisters are considered to be the founders of the Modern Spiritualist movement. Leah, Margaretta and Kate Fox were three sisters from 19th-century New York who claimed to communicate with the spirits of dead people. They claimed to have communicated with the spirits of the dead. They endured plenty of criticism and and fell on hard times. By 1888 they renounced their claims of special powers; they admitted they'd fooled everyone by simply cracking their toes to mimic rapping sounds from the dead. Ultimately they were frauds who made a living out of pretending to talk to the spirits of the dead. Yet there are plenty of people who still believe their story and have hundreds of followers.

    Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle was an early defender of Spiritualism. Magician Harry Houdini was a famous skeptic who fought the popularity of Spiritualism and exposed several frauds. Religious leader Ellen G. White did not dismiss the Fox sisters as frauds -- she claimed the communicating spirits were the work of Satan :grumpy:

    SO, is Spirituality is one of the many unexplored sciences currently demanding our attention? Are we being truthful and factually correct, free from religious dogma and fictitious reality in our understanding of Spirituality?

    This essay is entirely based on my opinion. Feel free to correct or criticise me in anyway :smile:

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2005 #2


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    The more a spiritual view attempts to systemize the SPIRIT of any human, the more they miss the point. Spiritualism should stop being a system of "how to's" and more of "learning to create and adapt an expression of one's self". To such a spiritualism, doctrines, systems and styles are false.

    In my opinion, all current spiritual views, systems and styles fail to deal with this. They are so reliant on the goal, that they miss the art.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2005
  4. Apr 30, 2005 #3


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    Reshma, while I understand your frustration with the exploitation of modern spiritualism, please do respect that being spiritual might mean one's own path to enlightenment. That path can be an individual one, which religion doesn't not even acknowledge as being an option from my own perspective. So, you may think celebrities, and those who practice yoga, and all of the other examples you gave are superficial, that is your own perspective, and not an absolute one. Those folks may really get something out of it although you see it as insincere. American society (and I do apologize I do not know where you reside) is superficial in my opinion. But the woman who used crystals, or the man who practices reike (like my father does) sees this as sacred to them, and that is an individual experience. Doesn't mean that you will derive the same benefit from it as they do, and that may be perhaps due to your own life experiences.

    Spiritualism to me is the ability to find one's own way to a state of mind that is content with who one is while accepting that other's find that state of mind of who they are differently-not better, not worse, but different.
  5. May 2, 2005 #4
    Reshma, being from Ind, how can you even say that?
    India's culture, civilisation, entity all is religion,religion and religion!

    I guess you are frustrated because you did not even know the difference btw spiritual and ritualistic things.

    Now, I guess you never went through any major religious book per say.
    As our curricualr activity we went through all the majors,
    From Hinduism's Gita to Islam's Quran, and Bible: both Old and New.

    I would agree to the fact that from the surface they look like *ritualistic*, take apart Gita, but they are not.

    "Truth can not be achieved by reharsing, practising, ezersizing or even by praying. The almighty will choose the one. You need to be prepared."

    I guess this holy quote put an end to the dispute.
    No ritual can take you to the truth.
    Some morons will think that all the religions are different, but they do not know that all are the different paths to reach the Almighty.

    So, from science perspective, we do not bother about the existence/non-existence of God.
  6. May 2, 2005 #5
    Many people think spiritualism has to do with the supernatural but that's silly. Spiritualism is the result of mental or physical exercise that changes the chemical balance of the brain. Drugs can have the same effect.
  7. May 3, 2005 #6


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    Spiritualism to me is the ability to find one's own way to a state of mind that is content with who one is while accepting that other's find that state of mind of who they are differently-not better, not worse, but different.

    That's just one side of spiritualism. The one that believes in contentment and tolerance, but it ignores more aggressive spiritual ideologies which may not believe in the same end goals yet are still spiritual.
  8. May 3, 2005 #7
    Kerrie- Thank you for your refreshing view on this topic :smile:. Yes, I was being too extreme in my views on spiritualism. Of course like you said the path to spiritualism should be an individual one and nothing can be imposed on someone. But unfortunately there is so much media hype on this issue that it is difficult to find out what is right for YOU.
    I have a slightly different view on this. I think in general most societies are materialistic although their material needs maybe different.
    Speaking of my location, you probably might have heard of Bombay now known as Mumbai :wink: .
  9. May 3, 2005 #8
    I have just given my independent view on this(isn't everyone entitled for that?) and I think I am clearly taking a global stance and my location is not of much relevance here.
    There! You missed my point completely! I want views on this topic free from any form of religious dogma and fictitious reality. Speaking of religious books, you are right, I haven't read much of them but I do not wish to discuss much on that because personally I don't like to discuss about it and I would be violating forum rules in doing so.

    By the way, thanks for your inputs.
  10. May 3, 2005 #9
    I think spirituality is something very personal....a billion people will have a zillion different views on the subject. a person who views spirituality as a means of achieving a higher goal in life will, i think, not talk about it...but prefer to practice it in silence.
    so, essentially, the people you're talking of are far from being even remotely spiritual....
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