147. Why do anatomists, physiologists, and those who study natural sciences generally accept materialism? “Physiologists relate everything to their senses. Human pride fancies knowing everything, and refuses to admit that there are things that transcend human intelligence. Science itself even spawns arrogance, since scientists think that nature can hide nothing from them.”
148. It is unfortunate that materialism is a consequence of scientifc studies that should, quite the contrary show people the superiority of the Divine Intelligence that governs the world. Should we conclude that those who embrace those studies are dangerous?
“Materialism, rather than being a consequence of those studies, is a false result arrived at by individuals who have drawn incorrect conclusions. These conclusions cause errors in perception and distort practically everything, including the best things. The idea of nothingness perplexes them more than they let on, and those who proclaim their materialistic convictions the loudest are more often than not, brash rather than brave. Most materialists only cling to this belief because they have nothing with which to fll the void. Throw a frm line to those who only see a gaping void before them, and they will grasp it eagerly.”
It is an aberration of the intelligence that leads some to see nothing in organic beings but the action of matter, and attribute all the phenomena of existence to this action. They see the human body as the action of an electrical machine. They have studied the mechanism of life only in terms of the functioning of the bodily organs. When they see this life terminated by the splitting of a single thread, they see nothing but this thread. They have looked to see whether anything remained, and never having witnessed the soul departing from the body, conclude that everything can be reduced to matter simply because this machine has become nothing more to them than an inert mass of fesh. To them, death is the extinction of all thought. This is a very dreary perception, because then good and evil would have no purpose, and every person would be vindicated in thinking only of oneself. All thoughts and actions would fall to the wayside in favor of material satisfaction, all social ties would be broken, and the purest feelings would be destroyed forever. Fortunately these ideas are only kept by the few rather than the general population. Their extent may even be limited to individual opinions, because they have not been offcially established in any doctrine. A society founded on such a basis would contain the poison for its own downfall, and its members would tear each other apart like vicious beasts.
Human beings instinctively believe that things do not end with this life. They are petrifed of oblivion. Regardless of how strongly they attack the idea of a future life, very few do not refect on what lies in store for them upon death. The thought of permanently departing from life is horrifying. Who could honestly view with complete apathy the prospect of being separated from loved ones forever? Who could confdently stare down the immense void of nothingness before them that will swallow up all their faculties and hopes and calmly say to themselves, “There is nothing after death and it will all be over. In a few days no memory of me will remain in the minds of those who survive me, and the Earth will bear no trace of my existence. All the good that I have done will be forgotten by the ingrates whom I have helped. There is nothing to reward me for this, no other prospect than my body being devoured by worms!” Isn’t there something frightening and chilling in this picture? Religion teaches us that our destiny could not be this bleak, and reason confrms it. But this vague and indefnite future does not satisfy our natural desire for proof. It is this lack of proof that generates doubt.
We have a soul, but what is it? Does it have a form, an appearance of any kind? Is it limited or undefned? Some say that it is a breath of God, others, that it is a spark or even part of the Great Whole, the principle of life and intelligence. What does this teach us? What is the point of having a soul, if it just disappears like a drop of water in the ocean? Isn’t this loss of individuality equivalent to extinction for us? The soul is said to be immaterial, but we perceive that which is immaterial as having no defned proportions and therefore no reality. Religion teaches that our happiness is contingent upon the good or bad we have done. What is the nature of the happiness promised to us in the bosom of God? Is it supreme happiness, eternal contemplation, with no other purpose than singing the praises of the Creator? Are the fames of Hell real or merely a fgure of speech? The Church itself assumes the latter, but what is this suffering? Where does it take place? In short, what will we do and see in this other world that is awaiting us all?
It is maintained that no one has ever come back to give us an account of that world. This simply is not true and the mission of Spiritism is to enlighten us regarding this future, and enable us, up to a certain point, to touch it and see it, not just through reasoning, but via the substantiation of facts. Spirit communication has eliminated the need for mere presumption or probability that poets embellish with fictitious and allegorical images, serving only to deceive us. It is a reality thrust before us, and the beings that live in the spirit world to come and describe their situations to us. They tell us what they are doing, recount the details of their new life, and show us the inevitable fate awaiting each of us according to our merits or wrongdoings. Is this anti-religious? No, it is quite the opposite, since it provides skeptics with faith, and inspires halfhearted believers with renewed passions. Spiritism is a most powerful support of religion and we should acknowledged it, God willing, for the purpose of revitalizing our wavering beliefs and principles, plus allowing it to lead us back onto the path of righteousness for the sake of our future happiness.