Under the heading "Spiritualism," the Report says:
While recognizing that the results of investigation have encouraged many people to find a spiritual meaning and purpose in human life, and led them to believe in survival after death, grave dangers are seen in the tendency to make a religion of Spiritualism. The practice of Spiritualism as a cult involves the subordination of the intelligence and the will to unknown forces or personalities and, to that extent, an abdication of self-control.
A well-known contributor to LIGHT, who takes the pseudonym of "Gerson," thus comments on the above:
There is undoubted danger in "the subordination of the intelligence and the will to unknown forces or personalities," but the practice of spirit communication does not, as the Bishops appear to think, necessarily involve such subordination. Another danger, in their view, is "the tendency to make a religion of Spiritualism." Light, and those who associate themselves with its attitude, have never felt any inclination to do this. The possibility of spirit communication is simply a fact in Nature, and we do not approve of exalting any fact in Nature into a religion. At the same time a lofty form of religion may be associated with a fact in Nature. The recognition of the beauty and order of the universe does not in itself constitute religion, but in so far as it inspires reverence for the Source of that beauty and order it is a help to the religious spirit.
At the English Church Congress in 1920 the Rev. M. A. Bayfield read a paper on "Psychic Science an Ally of Christianity," and in the course of it he said:
Many of the clergy regard psychic science with suspicion, and some with positive antagonism and alarm. Under its popular name, Spiritualism, it had even been denounced as anti-Christian. He would endeavour to show that this branch of study was altogether an ally of our faith. Everyone was a Spiritualist who was not a materialist, and Christianity itself was essentially a Spiritualistic religion.
He went on to refer to the service Spiritualism had rendered to Christianity by making possible a belief in the miraculous element in the Gospel.
Dr. Elwood Worcester, in a sermon entitled "The Allies of Religion," * delivered at St. Stephen's Church, Philadelphia, on February 25, 1923, spoke of psychical research as the true friend of religion and a spiritual ally of man. He said:
* JOURNAL, American S.P.R., June, 1923, p. 323.
It also illuminates many an important event in the life of the Lord, and it helps us to understand and accept occurrences which otherwise we should reject. I think, particularly, of the phenomena attending the baptism of Jesus, His appearance on the Sea of Galilee, His transfiguration, above all His resurrection appearance to His disciples. Moreover, this is our only real hope of solving the problem of death. From no other source is any new solution of this eternal mystery likely to come to us.
The Rev. G. Vale Owen reminds us that though there are Spiritualists who are distinctly Christian Spiritualists, Spiritualism is not confined to Christianity. There is, for instance, a Jewish Spiritualist Society in London. The Church at first regarded Evolution as an adversary, but finally came to accept it as in accordance with Christian faith. So he concludes that:
Just as the acceptance of Evolution gave to Christianity a broader and more worthy conception of Creation and its Creator, so the acceptance of the great truths for which psychic science stands should turn an agnostic into a believer in God, should make a Jew a better Jew, a Mohammedan a better Mohammedan, a Christian a better Christian, and certainly a happier and more cheerful one.*
* "Facts and the Future Life" (1922), p. 170.
It is clear from the foregoing extracts that many clergymen of the Church of England and other Churches are agreed upon the good influence Spiritualism has upon religion.
There is another important source of information for opinions respecting the religious tendencies of Spiritualism.