Frequently Asked Questions About Spiritism
What is Spiritism?
Spiritism is a philosophical doctrine developed in Europe in the 19th century by Allan Kardec and is based on a long series of phenomena, including observations and communications with the spiritual world using the scientific method. The philosophical, scientific and religious aspects of this doctrine were compiled in several books including: The Spirits' Book (1857), The Mediums' Book (1861), The Gospel According to Spiritism (1864), Heaven and Hell (1865), and The Genesis According to Spiritism (1868).
Spiritism is a science dealing with the nature, origin and destiny of Spirits, and their interaction with the physical world. (Source: What is Spiritism: 53 Ed. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 2005)
The main ideas of the Spiritist Doctrine are summed up in the section Most Important Points, which can be found in the introduction of The Spirits’ Book.
What Happens When We Die?
In the same way that all human beings are under the natural laws explained by biology, after the death of the physical body, the Spirit continues to be under these same laws. The recovery of consciousness will happen faster or slower according to the Spirit’s moral evolution and detachment from matter. The superior spirits teach us that death is a natural process, and our soul continues its existence in the spiritual world, evolving and preparing himself to continue his evolution in a future corporeal life.
What becomes of the soul at the moment of death?
"It becomes again a spirit; that is to say, it returns into the world of spirits, which it had quitted for a short time."
(Source: The Spirits’ Book, Chapter III – Return from the Corporeal to the Spirit Life.)
How can the soul that has not attained to perfection during the corporeal life complete the work of its purification?*
"By undergoing the trial of a new existence."
What is the aim of reincarnation?*
"Expiation; progressive improvement of mankind. Without this aim, where would be its justice?”
Is the number of corporeal existences limited, or does a spirit go on reincarnating himself forever?*
"In each new existence, a spirit takes a step forward in the path of progress; when he has stripped himself of all his impurities, he has no further need of the trials of corporeal life."
*(Source: The Spirits’ Book, Chapter IV – Plurality of Existences.)
What is God?
The limitations of the human's body and mind do not allow us at this evolutionary stage to understand the nature of God. If we still are not able to fully understand His creation, we are not able to understand His nature.
Will man ever become able to comprehend the mystery of the Divinity?
"When his mind shall no longer be obscured by matter, and when, by his perfection, he shall have brought himself nearer to God, he will see and comprehend Him."
The inferiority of the human faculties renders it impossible for man to comprehend the essential nature of God. In the infancy of the race, man often mixes the creator with the creature, and attributes to the former the imperfections of the latter. But, as his moral sense develops, man's thought penetrates more deeply into the nature of things, and he is able to define a more rational idea of the Divine Being, although his idea of that Being must always be imperfect and incomplete.
What proof do we have of the existence of God?
“The axiom which you apply in all your scientific researches, 'There is no effect without a cause.' Search out the cause of whatever is not the work of man, and reason will furnish the answer to your question.
To assure ourselves of the existence of God, we have only to look abroad on the works of creation. The universe exists, therefore it has a cause. To doubt the existence of God is to doubt that every effect has a cause, and to assume that something can have been made by nothing.”
When we say that God is eternal, infinite, unchangeable, immaterial, unique, all-powerful, sovereignty just and good, do we have a complete idea of His attributes?
"Yes, judging from your point of view, because you think that you sum up everything in those terms; but you must understand that there are things which transcend the intelligence of the most intelligent man, and for which your language, limited to your ideas and sensations, has no expressions. Your reason tells you that God must possess those perfections in the supreme degree; for, if one of them were lacking, or were not possessed by Him in an infinite degree, He would riot be superior to all, and consequently would not be God. In order to be above all things, God must undergo no vicissitudes, He must have none of the imperfections of which the imagination can conceive."
Why am I Suffering From Something that I Believe I do not Deserve?
Freewill is a divine gift that gives us autonomy to make our own choices. Nevertheless, our actions are regulated by the Law of Cause and Effect. Therefore, even though we are free to choose what we wish to do, we are all responsible for the positive or negative impact of our choices.
The multiplicity of existences (reincarnation) gives us the opportunity to evolve intellectually and morally, fixing past mistakes. The majority of our present sufferings has its origin in wrong choices from the past, from this or from former incarnations. These behaviors which we may or may not remember today, are the root of our suffering.
We can conceive that man will be happy upon the earth when the human race shall have been transformed; but, meanwhile, is it possible for each man to ensure for himself a moderate amount of happiness?
"Man is the artisan of his own unhappiness. If he obeyed the Law of God (Love one another), he would not only spare himself much sorrow, but would also build the happiness that is compatible with the existence on Earth." He who is perfectly sure that the future life is a reality regards his corporeal life as being merely a traveler’s momentary halt in a wayside inn, and easily consoles himself for the passing annoyances of a journey which is bringing him to a new and happier position, that will be all the more satisfactory in proportion to the completeness of the preparations he has made for entering upon it.
We are punished, even in the present life, for our infraction of the laws of corporeal existence, by the sufferings which are the result of that infraction and of our own excesses. If we trace what we call our earthly ills back to their origin, we shall find them to be, for the most part, the result of a first deviation from the straight road. This deviation caused us to enter upon a wrong path, and each subsequent step brought us more and more deeply into trouble.
(Source: The Spirit’s Book, Fourth Book, Chapter I)
Where Can I Learn More About Spiritism?
The Spiritist Codification is comprised of 5 books, as described below. They were written by Hippolyte León Denizard Rivail, also known as Allan Kardec, between 1857 and 1868, in France.
The Spirits’ Book
Published in 1857, The Spirits’ Book explains the fundamentals of Spiritism, such as the nature of the Spirits, their manifestations and how they relate to men. It also explains the moral laws, provides information about present and future lives and the destiny of humankind.
The Mediums’ Book
The second book published by Allan Kardec in 1861, The Mediums’ Book, deals with the teachings of the Spirits in various kinds of manifestations, the means of communication with the invisible world, the development of mediumship, the difficulties and also the embarrassments that one can face during Spiritist practice.
The Gospel According to Spiritism
The Gospel According to Spiritism was published in 1864 and provides a deep explanation of Jesus’ moral teachings and how they serve as a basis for Spiritism.
Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell was published in 1865 and explains the passage from the material life to the spiritual one, future penalties and rewards, angels and demons, etc. Several testimonies are given by souls about their physical experience and life after corporeal death.
The Genesis According to Spiritism
Published in 1868, The Genesis According to Spiritism examines theories about Earth’s creation and progress.