Giving Pep to the Churches
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Giving "Pep" to the Churches
Spiritualism Advances Because Man Demands Proof Instead of Faith.
In talking at the resent growth at Spiritualism, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ascribes it to the steady realisation that mankind cannot live on faith alone, but wants proof, and he claims that Spiritualism supplies that want.
Slowly, but surely, a new faith is being born in the world, fostered by the indisputable evidence of life after death and the certain proof that those who have gone beyond can, and do, communicate with the living. The last month has been the most vital period in the history of Spiritualism. It has gained thousands of new adherents, and has, to my mind, made more progress than during the whole of the past ten years. But it has been largely due to ten years' hard work.
The recent Paris Congress was a revelation of the world-wide hold of our faith. It was attended by representatives of twenty-five nations, and the delegates, white and black, included Rishi, an energetic Hindoo, personalities from Arabia, Cuba, and many other places — civilised, commercialised, and, to some extent, backward — all filled with extraordinary, but understandable, enthusiasm. The Congress was a proof of the fact that Spiritualism is sweeping over nations, creating hope and good will.
Mankind has come to realise that it cannot live on faith alone; it wants proof. In the past it has believed in doctrines without appreciating or knowing of their fulfilment. We are in a position to supply the proofs that men and women crave of life after death, and our position is unassailable. I am not saying anything new; it was just the same in Christ's time. When St. Paul spoke of "The gifts of the Spirit" he meant abut we to-day call "mediumship." We have simply travelled in a great circle.
While in Paris I was asked to deliver an illustrated lecture. It was not a success. Some misunderstanding occurred with the photographs — the slides were put in upside down and sideways, and almost turned the affair into a fiasco. In reply to my enemies, we have so many, who naturally gloated over the affair, I engaged the largest hall in Paris to repeat my talk. An hour before the time fixed the street was blocked by a huge crowd, and the police were reinforced. The doors were closed at the scheduled time, but nearly a thousand people rushed the police, burst open the entrances, and poured into the already packed building like a drove of bullocks. Eventually I started, and for nearly two hours you could have heard a pin drop. Over 4,000 people, many of them scoffers who had come to jeer and became interested, sat as still as mice, drinking in the great truths I was able to expound.
The Paris Press said the meeting was truly wonderful, and treated the subject with a dignity and intelligence that we rarely get ever here. In fact, the opposition of the newspapers, some enlightened journals excepted, has been the great stumbling block to Spiritualistic progress.
It is not nice for a spirit photograph to be laughed at and termed a "spook" when it happens to be that of one's dead mother.
I have now done ten years of research work and propaganda, and I intend to carry on with it, because on every hand and is all possible ways I am daily convinced of its truth. We are not out to change religion, as many of our enemies delight in saying; we are out to revitalise it. The Church dogmas of to-day need "pep," as the Americans would say, and "pep" is spirit communication, the actual proof of survival after death. The Churches of the world have cut themselves off from these salient facts, but soon they will be bound to acknowledge them, if they are to keep their hold on earnest seekers after light.
Our critics, and other more indulgent folk, think that a Spiritualist can at all times give an exhibition of psychic phenomenon. Nothing can be further from the truth. Phenomena are regulated by physical laws which must be studied and obeyed. They can't be turned loose on a music-hall stage or for the amusement of a party. For instance, the phenomenon of actual spirit materialisation which I have seen several times on the Continent is almost unknown in England, but our voice mediumship is good. This in due to the climatic conditions.
NEW STYLE PHENOMENA.
The gradual growth of Spiritualism has created new tendencies and a new outlook. We are getting away from the coarser phenomena associated with our early days, such as table-rapping and chair-lifting. These were but experimental manifestation of the spirits attempting to communicate with the living in difficult, unsympathetic circumstances.
Spiritualism now is more a matter of the mind, a concrete example of the progress we are making in giving an answer to what is undoubtedly the world's greatest problem: "Is there life after death?" We say "Yes." We have proved it beyond all doubt.