What is Spiritism?

Allan Kardec

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Visitor - I agree that, among Spiritism's detractors, there are many thoughtless individuals, such as the one you have just mentioned. But alongside them, aren't there some truly worthy persons whose opinions carry a certain weight?

A.K. - I wouldn't deny that at all, but I'll respond by saying that the ranks of Spiritism also contain a good number of individuals who are no less worthy. I'll say further: the overwhelming majority of Spiritists is composed of intelligent and studious persons. Only bad faith would lead anyone to say that they have been recruited from among naive women and the uneducated masses.

Besides, one decisive fact answers this objection: despite their knowledge and official positions, none have managed to hinder Spiritism's progress. Hence, there is no one - even the most obscure pamphlet writer - who has not flattered him or herself for having dealt it a deathblow. Instead, all of them, without exception, have unwittingly helped to popularize it. But doesn't the fact than an idea has resisted such efforts and has advanced undaunted through the hail of blows dealt to it prove its power and the depth of its roots? Doesn't such a phenomenon deserve the attention of serious thinkers? More than a few diese days have declared that there must be something to it; that maybe it is one of those great, irresistible movements that shake up societies from time to time in order to transform them.

That is the way it has always been with all the new ideas called upon to revolutionize the world. They run up against obstacles because they have to fight against the very self-interests, prejudices and abuses they have come to overthrow. However, since they are part of God's designs for fulfilling the law of progress for humankind, nothing can stop them when their time comes. It is the proof that they are the expression of truth.

Moreover, as I have already stated, this powerlessness of Spiritism's detractors shows,firstofall, an absence ofgood arguments, since the ones used against it are not convincing. Such powerlessness, however, has to do with another cause that has frustrated all their schemes. They are alarmed by Spiritism's progress, in spite of all they have done to stop it; they have been unable to discover the reason for such progress because they have been looking in all the wrong places. Some have seen it in the great power of the Devil, who would thus show himself stronger than they are, and even stronger than God. Others have regarded it as an increase in human madness. The mistake of all of them is in believing that Spiritism has only one source, and that it rests on the opinion of only one man; thus, they think that if they can ruin this one man, they can ruin Spiritism. They are searching for this source on the earth, whereas it is to be found in the spirit world. It is not in one place; it is everywhere because spirits manifest everywhere, in every country, in the palace as well as the hovel. Hence, the true cause lies in the very nature of Spiritism, which does not receive its impulse from one person only; instead, it allows anyone to receive communications directly from spirits, and thus to be reassured of the reality of the phenomena. How can millions of persons be persuaded that all this is nothing more than conjuration, charlatanism, trickery or a feat of skill, when they themselves can get results without anyone's help? Could they be made to believe that they are their own accomplices and produce deceit and trickery only for their own sake?

The universality of spirit manifestations, which have appeared at all points of the globe to disavow the detractors of Spiritism and to confirm the principles of the Doctrine, is a power that cannot be comprehended by those who know nothing about the invisible world, just as the speed of sending a telegraph message would be incomprehensible to those who know nothing about the law of electricity. It is against this power that all denials have been shattered, because it is like telling persons who receive the rays of the sun that the sun does not exist.

The qualities of the Doctrine notwithstanding - qualities that are more pleasing than the qualities that oppose it - the manifestations are behind the cause of the setbacks of those who have been trying to stop its progress. In order to succeed, they would have to find the means to keep spirits from manifesting. This is why Spiritists are so unconcerned about their maneuvers: they have the experience and authority of the phenomena on their side.

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