Sample Philosophy Paper on Spirituality: Abby Judson and Ruben Briggs

Spirituality has been discussed in various papers to provide insights regarding individual affiliation to a particular form of belief. Beliefs guide the functions, norms, and behaviors of people in society because of the need to identify with a particular unforeseen power that manifests in their lives daily. It is for that reason that this analysis evaluates sources that provide details on the issue of spirituality and its connectedness in society and the value it brings in daily life. The most essential aspect is to determine the line of thought that researchers use in explaining the changes that occur among people for them to subscribe to a particular line of thought. This paper compares two accounts of the origin of spiritualism and its relationship with materialism. Spiritualism binds the living to the unforeseen realities, which confirms that it began from nothingness and materialistic people do not subscribe to the idea of its existence.

Two philosophers, Abby Judson and Ruben Briggs Davenport provide critical analysis of the spiritual realm as it explains the connection between human beings and the unforeseen force. In their discussion, they both provide statements that provide an understanding of the spiritual world. The first excerpt by Judson shows that spiritualism began at some point and it was from nothingness that people started creating the meaning of spiritualism and its impact. The fundamental discovery in the excerpt is that different economic backgrounds contribute to different ideas of spiritualism (Judson 11). Davenport makes a similar observation that spiritualism is dead in the hands of materialistic people because when he was growing up, the elder sister professed spiritualism but when she was married to a rich man, she opposed the ideas in the doctrine, which made Davenport and his younger sister Kate angry. Social backgrounds have an immense impact on people’s beliefs about spiritualism.

The shared culture among people is a bit stronger when people have common background and issues affecting. Divine spiritualism has indicated differences in the way people interact with it depending on the economic classes that exist. For instance, materialistic people have low disregard for spiritualism because of the appeal of the material world where they can see or touch the wealth they have unlike poor people with ideas that regard it from a higher perspective. According to Davenport, the “Mothers of spiritualism” were living in poverty and had to depend on themselves before they opened their eyes to the reality of the world (26). Spiritualism could be imposed on other people and grow in intensity to be stronger over time. The mothers of spiritualism had dropped more and more out of sight, till the public hardly recognized their names” (Davenport 26). The idea of the text is that spiritualism had turned the two sisters into individuals with undesirable character. They were remarkably selfish and cold-hearted because they did not want to mix with people with different ideas. However, they had to escape the bondage and denounce it to live a happy life free from the affliction of poverty and the lack of material possession.

Unforeseen realities may lead to conflict between or among people with different views about spiritualism. The fact that some people believe that spiritualism binds the living and the dead; another counter-argument has emerged that depicts the lack of God’s approval of spirits joining people with the dead. It trickles down to the unfathomable nature of the origin of this value that some people acknowledge while others have a profound objection to its application in humans’ lives. Apart from physical confrontations, the conflict of ideas is evident because “a materialist believes that matter is all that there is, and spiritual substances do not exist. He thinks that the soul of a man is the result of a particular organization of matter in the body” (Judson 11).  The belief that a materialist person has a conflict with those that a poor person has because of the different perspectives of life that govern the universe.

The conflict extends to similar ideas from Davenport because of the misunderstanding that developed between the sisters when Davenport and Kate were introduced to the issues of spirits by their elder sister who later abandoned them when she married a rich man. Davenport explains the way the elder sister used him and Kate to make money because they were innocent and their mother was a fanatic of these things. Davenport observed that he could kill her without using weapons because of the tight spot she left them when she introduced matters of spirituality to their innocent souls. She abandoned them and started to oppose them every time. The excerpt indicates bitterness and conflict that could arise because of differences in faith. The misunderstanding that exists among different people provides an opportunity to understand the divergent concepts that exist regarding spiritualism.

Spiritualism may disgrace those who profess it because it emerged from nothingness and its existence is delusional. The concept of spiritualism is mystical and coins its beliefs on the religious and cultural phenomena that provide a particular link between the unseen and realistic worlds. Davenport explains that spiritualism was something to be loathed because it was a curse to the people holding fast to it and it would lead to more problems that could kill the person (Davenport 30). Corruption and fraud are likely to grow from the spirit that a person believes in, which is a source of disgrace and leads to poor connectedness with the reality of the world. Davenport observed that spiritualism was present in inferior men and women unlike those who did not subscribe to this idea and appeared to be strong and in control of their lives.

The concept of spiritualism makes God manifest and money-getters have lower chances of believing in God.  The discussion that Davenport provided indicated that those practicing spiritualism were foolish and the fanaticism they had would make them lose money to appoint that they would lose hope and die (31). The statement is a clear indication of the difference in opinion regarding the materialistic people who only consider monetary factors as the representation of the actual reality while the poor are delusional and lack direction in thought and logic. The concept is similar to that of Judson who explained the ideas of Plato regarding the emergence of spiritualism from nothingness but coining itself into reality, just as the shadows of men from on the wall when the light behind them throws the shadows (Judson 12). The reason for money-getter to avoid issues of spiritualism is the need to focus on other preoccupations that have positive outcomes that operate under mythical considerations that will give nothing in the end.

The fear of spirit forces people to act in a particular manner. The spirits are a threat to those who believe in them to the extent that some people wait to reconnect with the spirits of the dead. According to Davenport, Mrs. Kane was “Brooding upon the troubles that had been brought upon her by spiritualism and her guilt in connection with it.” The desire for a simple life was long gone because of the many ideas that spiritualism brought to the people practicing it. For instance, Mrs. Kane wanted to commit suicide because of the troubles that emerged from her spiritual beliefs. People in the text that were practicing some form of religion experienced challenges that drove their lives to almost a tipping point. Mrs. Kane narrates the way she attempted to look for a sign for the spiritual realm, but she was not successful. She even went into a graveyard to communicate with the dead, but she was not successful to indicate that the spiritual realm did not exist.

Spiritualism is good if it focuses on the positive side to improve the life of the person. The shadows can only become realities if one believes in this idea. The communication intelligence to the world of spirit is not for the rich because the poor are more religious. The term Christianity that creates a form of spiritual connection of the members of the church has received criticism for being biased. But this term, though broad, is limited as compared to spiritualism…widely and sadly the sects have strayed from the precepts taught by the ideally pure Nazarene” (Judson 19). The quote explains the good part of serving Christianity for its identity but has led to the alienation of other groups that do not believe in Christ.

Finally, essential items about spiritualism have emerged to facilitate a deeper understanding of the concepts. Some people view factors connected to the spirit as fraudulent and untrustworthy. Both papers evaluated have indicated skepticism towards spiritual factors and have provided a clear understanding of the arguments propagated. In the two arguments, it emerges that both writers believed that spiritualism is subject to a particular group of people, mostly poor, while materialism is the preoccupation of the rich, who do not believe in spirits. Therefore, spiritualism connects the living and the dead but rich people do not believe in these ideas.



Works Cited

Abby A. Judson, Why She Became a Spiritualist: Twelve Lectures Delivered Before the Minneapolis Association of Spiritualists (1891)

Ruben Briggs Davenport, The Death-blow to Spiritualism: Being the Story of the Fox Sisters as Revealed by Authority of Margaret Fox Kane and Catherine Fox Jencken (1888)