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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Spiritualism: Reply to Mr. Pollock

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Spiritualism: Reply to Mr. Pollock is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in the Daily Echo (Northampton) on 26 october 1923, and reprinted in Light on 10 november 1923 in the Light on Things in General section.



Editions

  • in Daily Echo (Northampton) (26 october 1923 [UK]) as Spiritualism: Reply to Mr. Pollock
  • in Light (10 november 1923 [UK]) in the Light on Things in General section


Spiritualism (Daily Echo Northampton, 26 october 1923)

Daily Echo (Northampton)
(26 october 1923, p. 5)

Letter From Sir A. Conan Doyle.

Reply to Mr. Pollock.

To the Editor of the Daily Echo.

Sir, I observe that in your report of Mr. Pollock's remarks at a recent meeting to attack Spiritualism, he is quoted as saying "Sir Arthur said that there was no room for Christianised Spiritualism." This, like much more of the address, bears no relation to the facts.

We certainly have no room for such Christianity as Mr. Pollock expounds with such bitterness. It belongs to days which are happily gone for ever. We have, however, plenty of room for the broad sweet teaching of Christ, which is quite another matter.

In my "Vital Message" (p. 182), I write: "Enough has been said to show the reader that it is possible to put forward a view of Christ's life which would be in strict accord with the most modern psychic knowledge, and which, far from supplanting Christianity, would snow the surprising accuracy of some of the details handed down to us, and would support the novel conclusion that those very miracles which have been a stumbling block to many truthful, earnest minds, may finally otter some very cogent arguments for the truth of the whole narrative."

In the face of that passage what becomes of the assertion of Mr. Pollock? Is it not manifestly untrue as regards my teaching?

It should, however, be understood by those whose minds are broad enough to understand it, that the essentials of Spiritualism are the belief in the continuance of personality after death, and the possibility of communication. This may be reconciled, not only with every form of Christianity, but may lie added with advantage to every great religion in the world. It is only with the materialist that we have an absolute division of opinion.

Some speaker remarked that Mr. Vale Owen's lecture was not interrupted, and that, therefore, Mr. Pollock's should also have been uninterrupted. But the difference is that Mr. Vale Owen spoke like a Christian and a gentleman, without making injurious and malicious assertions about those with whom he disagreed. These naturally arouse protest.

Yours,

Arthur Conan Doyle
Windlesham

Crowborough
Sussex

Oct. 25, 1923




Light on Things in General (Light, 10 november 1923)

Light (10 november 1923, p. 713)

The "Northampton Echo," in its issue of October 20th. published a report of an Anti-Spiritualist meeting held recently at the Town Hall, Northampton, the speaker being a Mr. Algernon J. Pollock, of Weston-Super-Mare. The object of Mr. Pollock's address was a reply to the Rev. G. Vale Owen's recent lecture in Northampton, in the course of which the speaker said:—

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is either a very ignorant or a very dishonest man. If it was not ignorance and blindness which characterised his utterances, then it was wickedness and blasphemy. Sir Arthur said that there was no room for Christianised Spiritualism, but Vale Owen thought there was. They could not agree among themselves. Twenty or thirty years ago Spiritualism was blatantly and openly anti-Christian, but to-day it sought to throw a cloak of Christianity around it. The whole of Spiritualism was a lie. The departed could not communicate with this world.

The above remarks of Mr. Pollock brought forth from Sir Arthur a well deserved rebuke in the form of a letter which was published in the "Northampton Echo" in its issue of October 26th. The letter reads:—

Sir, I observe that in your report of Mr. Pollock's remarks at a recent meeting to attack Spiritualism, he is quoted as saying "Sir Arthur said that there was no room for Christianised Spiritualism." This, like much more of the address, bears no relation to the facts. We certainly have no room for such Christianity as Mr. Pollock expounds with such bitterness. It belongs to days which are happily gone for ever. We have, however, plenty of room for the broad sweet teaching of Christ, which is quite another matter. In my "Vital Message" (p. 182), I write: "Enough has been said to show the reader that it is possible to put forward a view of Christ's life which would be in strict accord with the most modern psychic knowledge, and which, far from supplanting Christianity, would snow the surprising accuracy of some of the details handed down to us, and would support the novel conclusion that those very miracles which have been a stumbling block to many truthful, earnest minds, may finally otter some very cogent arguments for the truth of the whole narrative." In the face of that passage what becomes of the assertion of Mr. Pollock? Is it not manifestly untrue as regards my teaching? It should, however, be understood by those whose minds are broad enough to understand it, that the essentials of Spiritualism are the belief in the continuance of personality after death, and the possibility of communication. This may be reconciled, not only with every form of Christianity, but may lie added with advantage to every great religion in the world. It is only with the materialist that we have an absolute division of opinion. Some speaker remarked that Mr. Vale Owen's lecture was not interrupted, and that, therefore, Mr. Pollock's should also have been uninterrupted. But the difference is that Mr. Vale Owen spoke like a Christian and a gentleman, without making injurious and malicious assertions about those with whom he disagreed. These naturally arouse protest.






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