What is Spiritism?

Allan Kardec

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Visitor - Spiritism obviously tends to revive beliefs founded on the extraordinary and supernatural. However, in our positivistic century, this seems to me to be a problem because it acknowledges popular superstitions and errors that reason has condemned.

A.K. — An idea is superstitious only because it is erroneous; it ceases to be superstitious the moment it is a recognized truth. The issue, therefore, is to know whether there are spirit manifestations or not. Now, you cannot brand something as superstitious until it can be

proven that it does not, in fact, exist. You will say: my reason refuses to accept such manifestations. Nevertheless, those who do believe in them — and who can hardly be regarded as fools - also call upon their reason in addition to the phenomena; so, which side should you take? The great judge in the matter is the future, just as it has been with all scientific and industrial subjects that were at first branded as absurd and impossible. You judge a priori according to your own opinion; we judge only after having taken a long time to watch and observe. We would add that, as enlightened as it is today, Spiritism, on the contrary, tends to destroy superstitious ideas because it shows what is true or erroneous in popular beliefs; everything that is absurd about it has been added out of ignorance and bias.

I would go even further and say that the positivism of our century is precisely what led us to accept Spiritism, and that it partly owes its rapid spread to positivism, and not, as some claim, to a return to the love for the extraordinary and supernatural. The supernatural disappears when exposed to the light of science, philosophy and reason, just as the gods of paganism vanished before the light of Christianity.

The supernatural lies outside the scope of the laws of nature; positivism, on the other hand, accepts nothing outside such laws. But does it know all of them? Throughout time, phenomena whose causes were unknown have been regarded as supernatural; each new law discovered by science, however, has diminished the borders of the supernatural. Well then! Spiritism has come to reveal a new law according to which conversing with the spirit of a deceased person rests upon a law that is as natural as the one that enabled electricity to establish contact between two individuals hundreds of miles apart. The same applies to all the other Spiritist phenomena. As far as Spiritism is concerned, it repudiates every extraordinary effect, i.e., those outside the laws of nature. It performs neither miracles nor prodigies; rather, by virtue of a law, it explains certain effects that have until now been reputed as miracles and prodigies, and as such demonstrates their possibility. Thus, it has broadened the realm of science, and in doing so, it has become a science itself. However, because the discovery of this new law has entailed moral consequences, the codification of such consequences makes it, at the same time, a philosophical doctrine.

From the philosophical point of view, Spiritism responds to people's aspirations concerning the future because it is positive and rational, and that is why it is suitable for the positivist character of the century. You'll understand all this once you put forth the effort to study it.

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