E-mail from George Barker to Psychic News (September 24, 2006): Raising the Profile of Spiritualism
2006-September-24 Filed in: Religion
YOUR ARTICLE IN PSYCHIC NEWS 23 SEPTEMBER ABOUT A FORUM RE RAISING THE PROFILE OF SPIRITUALISM.
(Secular believers might prefer "Survivalism")
I feel the same - don't we all - about the difficulty of informing people that death is going to another place and that all this fervour for religions or materialisms of various forms is nonsense.
I wonder whether a united front is possible. Look at the sections and subsections in our movement. SNU (I am in it) claims not to have a creed but some well-meaning deceased lady has downloaded some "Principles" to them, which have been adopted and repeated ad nauseam at services to the extent that we might as well have a creed. However we are only about 25% a faith religion.
The Christian Spiritualists here and the American equivalent of the SNU have creeds as long as your arm. You have to believe to belong! So they are 99% credal religions.
And there must be lots of smaller sects - some with only one church with varying views.
Then of course there are the message hunters who don't go to churches but to theatrical Colin Fry type events.
The Campaign for Philosophical Freedom is so disgusted with all this that they wouldn't be seen dead in a spiritualist church and I don't blame them. [However I have a foot in both camps, because I think a church can be a good social club where new people do drop in and find out about the facts and theories about life after "death", without being conned into parting with more than (if the church is lucky) a £1 coin on a plate.]
The CFPF is doing its best to persuade bodies that are part of the establishment to take part in proving for themselves these things that we know, but since people, as you say, have wrong perceptions of us, they will only take notice of official bodies.
The CFPF are in favour of regarding proof of life after death as a purely secular matter, devoid of religious content.
Unfortunately, beyond this, we have to settle for a provisional belief.
I mean that I, like many others, accept that life after death is a fact, partly because of communications personally received and partly because of secondhand but in my opinion reliable evidence.
I cannot confirm here and now the other things that we think because so many discarnate spirits tell the same story, are true about the afterlife. We have a provisional belief but wait to check their veracity later.
(Of course people who are mediums, and those who have had near death experience, may well feel that more than simple survival has been proven to them.)
There we encounter a difficulty. The CFPF deny religion and want a secular approach. The Christian Spiritualist Union and the Americans have a creed stating they believe in all sorts of things I only have a provisional belief in, and they sing old hymns praising God (Why does He need praise?) and asking Jesus Christ to intercede for them. In between the two extremes we have the SNU singing jolly hymns and banging on about their principles, and there are sundry other sects.
We cannot all sing from the same hymn-sheet.
I am in favour of strengthening the secular approach. Concentrate on helping the CFPF to convince the establishment in the UK that death not being the end is a secular fact.
I personally also have in mind that it would be good to get a knowledge of what "survivalism" is and what the survivalists are like, warts and all, to the media stars who pontificate unceasingly on our television screens, so that they don't talk so much nonsense about the subject. Even if I wrote a magnificent work on the subject, would any of the target readers take it in?
I hope my thoughts are of interest to you. I ramble somewhat but can be excused, being 88
- George Barker, B.Sc., M.I.Mech.E.
He was an insightful researcher of afterlife phenomena:
"Perhaps because I'm a crabby cynical nonagenarian I have a feeling that these self-proclaimed skeptics know from all their involvement in psychic matters that we are right, but their incomes and pensions depend on continuing to substantiate orthodoxy as long as possible." (April 8, 2013)
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The Rise and Fall of the Spiritualist Movement - by Michael Roll (July, 1999)