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Modern Spiritism is based on the philosophy of Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail. Writing under the name of Allan Kardec, he proposed the study of the nature, origins, and destiny of the spirits, as well as their relationship with the physical world.

Written in French, Kardec's books that have been translated into English include The Spirits Book, The Book on Mediums, The Gospel According to Spiritism, Heaven and Hell, and The Genesis According to Spiritism. The religious philosophy is based on these five books, collectively known as the Spiritist Codification.

Spiritism is Spiritualism, but Spiritualism is not necessarily Spiritism.

Spiritism is a form of Spiritualism which suggests that human beings are immortal entities that inhabit physical bodies temporarily, before being reincarnated for the purpose of attaining intellectual and moral perfection, and that communicating with the spirits may have a beneficial or malevolent impact on the living.

Spiritism is a philosophy that lays the foundation for the relationship between the spirit and physical worlds. Questions of creation and destiny are covered by Spiritism.

Spiritism is also a science. Although those outside of the field would deny it, Spiritists believe that, although nothing has been proven thus far, the science behind Spiritism is nevertheless provable, and will be proven in time.

In the meantime, Spiritists lean on the information provided by mediums throughout the world, and on the fact that people are aware that there is a world beyond their senses.

Because they base their beliefs, and structure their lives on that which has not been proven, Spiritism is also a religion. Many Spiritists would deny this, insisting that Spiritism is a doctrine, and a way of life, but not a religion. However, there is a moral code, and Spiritists believe in a Supreme Being, and a set of divine laws that are implanted in everyone, so that each individual can instinctively sense the right path.

Spiritists do not so much believe that the spirits are ghosts of formerly living people, but that they are spirits which are not currently in a physical body, either because they have not yet been reincarnated into a new body or because they have achieved the highest degree of the spirit hierarchy.

Spiritists believe that incarnations are always progressive, and never retrograde, but that the number of incarnations that are necessary to achieve perfection is dependent upon the amount of effort that is made. Spirits are created ignorant, but learn through each incarnation.

Before being incarnated into a physical body, a spirit has its own personality, and this retained.

When a spirit re-enters the spirit world, it finds there everyone it has known on earth, and it eventually regains all of its former existences.

Good spirits will try to lead an individual on the right path, and to give comfort and courage to those in need. Bad spirits enjoy seeing people fail, and will tempt them to do evil.

The moral teachings of Spiritism can be summed up in the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In Spiritism, this maxim is applied over many lifetimes.

Most Spiritists believe that earth is not the only inhabited planet in the universe and that the spirits that may be communicated are likely to have been incarnated into physical beings on other planets, as well as on earth.

In Spiritism, Jesus is considered to be the greatest moral example for mankind. He incarnated on earth in order to show mankind the path to spiritual perfection. Most Spiritists consider Spiritism to be a Christian religion. They tend not to believe in miracles, but clarify the words and actions of Jesus as spiritual phenomena, or as a law of nature rather than as something miraculous.

The highest order of spirits are those who have reached the degree of perfection that Jesus displayed. On the other end of the scale are those spirits who have chosen evil, or who have retained the ignorance that they were created with. There are other orders in between, but each spirit has its own specific attributes.

Spiritists believe that communication between the material and spiritual worlds occurs all the time, to one degree or another. Some people are barely able to sense communication from the spirit world and may be unaware of their influence. Others, known as mediums, have highly developed abilities to communicate and interact in other ways with the spirit world. Such communication may be audible, visual or through writing, such as psychography or automatic writing.

When mediums communicate with spirits, such communication is rarely with a high order spirit, as high order spirits will not speak of mundane matters or with mediums who are not themselves advanced.



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