Posted June 26, 2010
"SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE AND SPIRITUALISM"
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, born in Edinburgh, Scotland to Irish parents, was a prolific writer who wrote stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes. He also wrote historical novels, poetry, nonfiction, science fiction, and plays. After attending a Catholic Jesuit preparatory school, he became an agnostic, totally rejecting Christianity. Also a doctor, his slow practice provided him time to write.
During the late 1800's, spiritualism - attempts to find proof of existence beyond the grave - became quite popular. Along with many others, Doyle became active in this pursuit after suffering from depression from losing his first wife Louisa, his son Kingsley, the deaths of his brother Innes, his two brothers-in-law and his two nephews shortly after World War I. However, he did favor Christian Spiritualism and encouraged the Spiritualists' National Union to accept the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as an eighth precept. He also joined The Ghost Club, a renowned paranormal organization that focused on the scientific study of alleged paranormal activities in order to refute or prove the existence of paranormal phenomena.
If Doyle eventually accepted that Jesus existed and believed God's Word, then he knew spirits existed. King Saul had "expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land." When the king disguised himself to visit a remaining medium, she brought up the deceased prophet Samuel. Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" 1 Samuel 28:15.
Joseph was another example. He was believed to be a diviner. When he sent his brothers back to their father Jacob, he hid his cup in Benjamin's grain sack. When Joseph's steward was sent to search their possessions, he said, "Isn't this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination?" Genesis 44:5
So what happened with King Saul? If it was fine for Joseph to practice divination, why was it so evil in Sauls' day? Why did God have King Saul kill all of the mediums and spiritists or as we call them today - psychics and fortune tellers?
After God handed down the Ten Commandments, he also gave Moses other laws the Hebrews were to abide by. "These are the laws you are to set before them." One of those laws was "Do not allow a sorceress to live." Exodus 22:18 Sounds like a pretty harsh command. However, during King Saul's time, he was speaking to his people by dreams, Urim, and prophets. God wanted his people to come directly to Him through His own means. Because of Saul's disobedience, the Lord chose David as His replacement - a man after His own heart - who would love Him and obey His commands.
But what about today? I think God's law on the subject still stands. Obviously, when the witch of Endor (KJV) saw Samuel's ghost, she cried out, and immediately knew the man who had asked her to bring him up was King Saul. When bringing up spirits, maybe she wasn't always sure who or what was going to appear - the reason for her shock. So evidently evil spirits can manifest themselves as well.
But what if we don't try to contact a deceased person, they just appear on their own? I know many people who have had this happen. Some have told how a close relative appeared to them briefly and they later found out the person had just died at the same time their spirit appeared miles away. My mother was also told in a dream that her uncle had died while fighting in WWII on the island of Leyte in the Pacific right before the telegram arrived. I was warned several years ago my daughter would be in a bad wreck. Within one week she totaled her car. I recently felt the presence of Philip Lynott's spirit when researching his life and song writing for a blog article (see Philip Lynott - Black Rose Rocker) . Matthew 27:52-53 says that when Jesus died on the cross, "The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people." Sounds ghostly to me.
But back to Sir Arthur. He wrote in his The History of Spiritualism, "My one aim in life is that this great truth, the return and communion of the dead, shall be brought home to a material world which needs it so badly." What most people don't know is that he sacrificed his talent, wealth, and risked part of his reputation towards the end of his life for a neo-Christian cult connected with similar cults all over the world. He was trying "to give man the strongest of all reasons to believe in spiritual immortality of the soul, to break down the barrier of death, to found the grand religion of the future."
Sure, we may experience odd manifestations and strange happenings, however, pursuing those things takes our eyes and hearts away from God.
Divination, necromancy, palm reading, and fortune telling have been around for a long time and astrology falls along those lines. Frauds who charge money are known to prey on those who are desperate to talk with loved ones who have passed and those who desire to know what the future holds.
Before the Ouija board was invented there was the reading of tea leaves, coffee grinds, looking into the depths of crystal balls, and palm reading. The Ouija board was believed to have been invented by a man named Charles Kennard and originally called a Good Luck Board. Later, William Fuld took over the selling of the board before Parker Brothers began packaging it as a children's toy that has historically outsold all other board games.
Web sites advertise the Ouija board this way: "Order your magically blessed and spell charged Ouija Board. The spirit board is a tool to access occult knowledge."
One person advised, "Smudge your board with a sage bundle or any purifying incense. Light a white candle, state, in a clear strong voice, that no negative or harmful energies be attracted to your Board. Tell any negative forces that may be present that they are now banished and dismissed. Some like to say a prayer or some words of protection prior to using the board. Ask for a helpful and positive entity to make itself known to you before beginning questions." If there's a 50-50 chance of bringing up something evil, why would anyone want to call up the dead and take that chance?
Sometimes, fortune tellers act as counselors by offering advice about a client's problem. They encourage their clients to exercise their own willpower. However, that's not God's way. Even His Son Jesus was notorious for saying, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will."
Obviously, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle realized that man had already been given the strongest of all reasons to believe in spiritual immortality of the soul, that the barrier of death had already been broken by Jesus or he wouldn't have wanted to add the eighth precept - the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. What he failed to realize was that King Solomon and others had already made the mistake of mixing other beliefs and pagan practices into true worship to their detriment. "So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done." 1 Kings 11:6
We have to accept God's Word on faith, that there is existence beyond the grave. The dead may
seek us out for reasons we don't understand at times, just as many have experienced angel visitation,
but to seek out the dead and worship angels instead of God
could leave us treading on thin ice. Instead of the world needing to hear from more dead ghosts, the world needs
to be listening to more of the Living Holy Spirit.