Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Respectfully narrated doco about Spiritualism, somewhat betrayed by the soundtrack's synthesiser and xylophone, which make it feel rather unreal.

I guess the challenge in making this was to overcome the viewer's potential to reject the unfamiliar, yet this show mostly pulls it off. Everyone in this film is pleasant and friendly, and no-one seems to have been portrayed negatively, which is to be applauded.

Though, like so many faiths, Spiritualism means different things to different people (one interviewee says their loved one remains with them, while another says their father is sorry not to see him married), the club-like sense of community makes it easy for new members, and viewers, to feel welcomed.

What I did find a little uninviting, and I guess it's a fairly universal reservation about people of any belief, was the apparent resolve of a few of the subjects.

I guess I think that any faith, by definition, must be partly-subjective. I include my own Christian faith in that, as despite my choice to believe in it, I'm forever challenging it too. This seems to be normal at my church, although evidently not at all of them.

This interviewee, for example, seems to agree with the principle, if not the experience.

Narrator: "Have you been to other churches?"

Interviewee: "Not too much, no. I've, I've read about, erm, different, a few different religions and things... I just don't like the way you've got to take someone else's word for it. 'This what the book says, if you don't believe it, you're not one of us and, you know, you will be, you will be condemned to Hell' sort of thing. I, I don't agree with all that."

Narrator: "You don't feel any of that when you come here?"

Interviewee: "No. No, not at all."

(maybe he's been watching programme one of this series)

A couple of contributors were portrayed as having chosen Spiritualism because they had had experiences that are consistent with many religions, such as healing and knowledge, but which had then been interpreted within a Spiritualist context. There must have been more to those journeys than was possible to fit into one short TV programme.

However there was also a doctor interviewed, who as an objective adherent openly struggled to reconcile his experiences as he searched for truth. His story about being supernaturally told to ask one of his patients about her deceased father would sit quite comfortably within a doco about Christianity, in which context it would probably be interpreted as a story about the Holy Spirit. I'm sure other religions would offer other explanations, but I'm not familiar enough with them to suppose one.

Anyway for me, this doctor's struggle came across as the strongest witness, simply because of his objectivity in determining the truth. I hope I identified with him as a result of the approach that I try to take to my own set of beliefs.

Given that this film seems to set out to promote Spiritualism (there are no challenging questions here except from one of the subjects' friends), the narrator's tone throughout this makes it possible to listen to and respect the participants, despite the potentially unfamiliar, and fairly inoffensive, philosophy that they have arrived at.

Review of Revelations: How To Find God here.
Review of Revelations: Muslim School here.
Review of Revelations: Commando Chaplains here.
Review of Revelations: The Exhumer here.
Review of Revelations: Muslim and Looking for Love here.
Review of Revelations: Divorce Jewish Style here.
Review of Revelations: How Do You Know God Exists? here.


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