THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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Spiritist controversy


We have been asked many times why we do not respond, in our Review, to the attacks of several tabloids against Spiritism as a whole, against its adepts and sometimes even against us. We believe that in certain cases silence is the best answer. Furthermore, there is a kind of controversy from which we normally abstain: the one that can degenerate into personal attacks. That not only disgusts us but would also take such an amount of time that we cannot uselessly spare, besides being of little interest to our readers that subscribe to the Review for their instruction and not to be able to read more or less witty diatribes. Moreover, once we had entered into such a path it would be difficult to exit. That is why we prefer not to start. We shall never satisfy the scandal lovers.

However, there is controversy and then there is controversy. There is one before which we shall never retreat – it is the serious discussion of the principles that we profess. Nevertheless, even here there is a distinction to make. If handling only general attacks addressed to the doctrine, without a determined objective other than criticizing, and if they come from people that systematically reject everything that they cannot understand, those do not deserve our attention. The terrain daily conquered by Spiritism is a peremptory answer and should demonstrate to them that sarcasm has not granted them great results. One should also notice that the endless jests that have victimized the adepts of the Doctrine are gradually extinguishing. It is the case of asking if there are reasons to laugh at so many eminent persons for having adopted the new ideas. Some may hardly smile these days, just out of habit, while others absolutely no longer laugh and wait.

We should also notice that among the critics there are a lot of people who speak without knowing what they are talking about and that do not even make the effort to learn. In order to respond to them it would be necessary to restart the most elementary explanations and repeat what we have already written, which seems useless to us. That is different with those who studied it and did not understand all of it and those that really want to enlighten themselves, and that raise objections in good faith and with previous knowledge. We accept the controversy in such a terrain, without the presumption of resolving all questions. The Spiritist science is in its beginning and has not yet revealed all of its secrets, however great the already unveiled wonders might be. Which science does not have mysterious and inexplicable facts? Let us thus confess, without any shyness, our insufficiency about the points that we cannot explain yet. Therefore, far from repelling the objections and questions, we ask for them, as long as they are not irrelevant and do not make us uselessly waste time with frivolousness, since this is a means of our enlightenment.

That is what we call useful controversy and it will be useful whenever it takes place among serious people that are respectful enough not to lose decency. We can think differently without diminishing our mutual respect.
After all, what are we all looking for in such a thrilling and fecund question of Spiritism? Enlightenment! We look for light, before anything else, from wherever it may come, and if we express our own way of seeing things it is not a personal opinion that we intend to impose on others. We open that to discussion, prepared to renounce to them if demonstrated that we are in error.

We daily sustain such a controversy in our Review, through the answers or the collective refutations that we publish with respect to this or that article. Those who honor us with their letters will always find the answers to their questions, whenever it is not possible to respond in a particular letter, fact that is not always physically possible. Your questions and objections always constitute another group of study cases, that we personally utilize; and we feel happy to extend such a benefit to the readers, as long as facts, which are correlated to those questions, are presented.

We feel also happy to give verbal explanations to the persons that honor us with their visits and in the public conferences, characterized by a common understanding, in which we mutually clarify ourselves.

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