I believe that historically, many of the world’s problems were caused, at least in part, by religion. The Crusades of the Middle Ages, sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church to restore Christian access to the Holy Land which had come under the influence of Islam, is one such example. This appears to have led to the chaotic situation we now have in the modern world, in which there have been atrocities carried out by extremists claiming to represent Christianity and Islam, but who are merely using the religious differences to generate hatred between peoples.
Throughout my life I had little interest in religion except for the ‘hatch, match and dispatch’ use of the church. Religion, I felt, had its place in life but, much to the irritation of the clergy, it was only being used by many people who wanted to be married in church, (because that was what you did), their children Christened, (just in case there was such a place as Hell), and ceremoniously buried or cremated to ensure their place in Heaven.
I also became aware that many people who were members of the various Christian religions, were fearful of contradicting the hierarchy of the church, fearful of questioning the teachings of the Bible and fearful of going to hell if they did not accept the dogmatic teachings of Christianity
Over time my interest was aroused about stories of life after death and the work of mediums, sometimes through watching television programs and reading books as well as by having occasional conversations with friends and work colleagues.
Perhaps inevitably during my teenage years I and my friends experimented with an Ouija board, managing to frighten the life out of ourselves with immature questions such as ‘is there anybody there?’ and ‘who will be the first to die?’
I have since learned that if you ask for ‘anybody’ you will get ‘anybody’ and that without an experienced medium in attendance all sorts of unpleasant things can happen.
The religion of Spiritualism was often mentioned and I became aware of Spiritualist Churches and the work that they do, including Spiritual healing, mediumship, which can reunite people with loved ones who have passed away, and the understanding of Spiritualist philosophy which is based on the Seven Principles of Spiritualism.
Through Spiritualist publications like Psychic World, Two Worlds and Psychic News I learned more about Spiritualism and how there was no dogma attached to its teachings, rather that people were encouraged to ask questions and to only accept that which they felt comfortable with. The religion is based on proof rather than faith and I felt very comfortable with its teachings.
I read many newspaper articles written by Michael Roll, chairman of the Campaign for Philosophical Freedom, which sought to break the controlling power of orthodox religion, who introduced me to the writings of Thomas Paine, ‘the most valuable Englishman ever’, according to the title of a documentary broadcast by the BBC in 1982 and presented by Kenneth Griffith.
The final book written by Thomas Paine was ‘The Age of Reason’ first published in 1794 after he had been imprisoned in the Bastille during the French Revolution. It sets out to show how the Bible is not the ‘word of God’ and how, because of the meeting of the Council of Nicǣa in 325 AD, many of the stories it contains are contradictory and often not written by the authors whose names are credited to the writings.
One day, in 2001 I received a package by post to my church containing three cd’s from a man who did not identify himself, who had been a trainee priest requesting that the information contained in those cd’s be published so that a wider audience could benefit from his experience in the Catholic Church.
He sets out to explain that the Bible is not the truth and that many of the stories contained within its pages were ‘modified’ to maintain the church’s power over the people.
By using the same books that claim many things to be true, he sets out to prove them to be false.
It is with all the experiences of my life, including many stories I have read that support my opinions, that I have written this book which may upset some people who are committed Christians, but will perhaps open free thinker’s minds to the possibility that they have been misled.
Perhaps other people who, like me have questioned many of the things they were taught about religion but have never received satisfactory answers, will learn a little more about religion and the harm it has done to mankind over many centuries, and continues to do.
Modern Spiritualism is said to have begun after events that took place in Hydesville, New York State on 31st. March 1848 and there are many signed statements from residents in the town confirming the validity of the events, but I would argue that it was the re-emergence of the beliefs that originated over two thousand years ago, and was once the true representation of what religion should be about.
The Seven Principles of Spiritualism were communicated through the mediumship of Emma Hardinge Britten from Robert Owen, the famous philanthropist and co-founder of the Co-operative movement.
They form the basis of Spiritualist philosophy and are presented and explained in chapter 14 of this book.
Throughout this book, I have quoted many of the sayings of Thomas Paine, Albert Einstein and others, along with teachings inspired from the Spirit world, such as Silver Birch, the Spirit guide who communicated through Maurice Barbenell, and my own guide, Fine Feather, whose teachings have been well documented in my first book, ‘A Wonderful Spiritual Journey’. These sayings and teachings have been a source of inspiration to me and challenge the reader to decide for themselves how they compare to the teachings of the Bible as analysed by the anonymous trainee priest who went to great lengths to explain how the Bible has misled generations of people.
Published: 1 March 2017