Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Remember When . . . Science and Religion Started Fighting?

It was about a hundred and fifty years ago. Society was still Victorian, complete with strict morals, expectations, and a rising influence of middle class prosperity and individualism. Younger sons of gentry were still expected to go into the church whether they felt a call or not, and scientists had made such amazing leaps and bounds in understanding the invisible forces of the world that in consequence, that world was changing.

People still cried out for faith in something. They still wanted to believe. But science told them they must have proof. Fashionable people were making a whole culture around questioning one's faith. And the church . . . well, it was still more about lip-service in a lot of places. How can lip-service possibly fight against scientific evidence?

And so Spiritualism was born, along with two types of people involved in it--the spiritualists, who were masters at suspending their disbelief in the face of even the most outlandish claims, and the psychical researchers, who approached this new quasi-science-faith with what they told themselves were scientific principles, though often they thoroughly messed them up.

The goal of Spiritualism? To prove scientifically that there is life after death, and so a God. They wanted to prove faith. They wanted to communicate and ask questions of those who had gone before them. They wanted to question, and to find answers.

I've undoubtedly mentioned this movement on here before at some point, because I have a story idea that revolves around this bizarre, oh-so-popular Victorian trend. Strangely, I keep thinking of this story as something that exists--something I ought to be able to talk to people about. Yet all I've written in it is 10 pages, LOL.

So I broke out a rather intimidating tome I bought three years ago to research Spiritualism and figure I'll do my homework on the story while finishing up a few other projects. I have a feeling I'm going to be coming across some really interesting things to share with y'all, and thought I'd first remind everyone of what in the world this strange movement was all about.

So brace yourself--the war between science and religion is underway in research world, and it spawned some truly bizarre little battles. Careful of flying shrapnel--in this particular war it was reputed to take the form of moving chairs and knocking on walls. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to the education! I always liked that story idea.