Unlike most other major religions, Spiritualism does not tie its adherents to a creed or dogma. Rather, the philosophy of Spiritualism is founded upon seven basic principles which were developed and derived through the mediumship of one of Spiritualism’s greatest pioneers, Emma Hardinge Britten, inspired in 1871 by the communicating spirit of Robert Owen (the founder, when alive in the physical body, of the Co-operative movement).
These Seven Principles act as guidelines for the development of a personal philosophy of how to live one’s life. They are stated as follows, with an interpretation of their meaning:-
1. The Fatherhood of God
By the study of Nature - that is, by trying to understand the Laws of Cause & Effect which govern all that is happening around us - we recognise that there is a creative force in the universe. This force, or energy, not only created the whole universe, but also life itself in its many forms and is continuing to create today. The effects of this eternal creation can be seen around us and this leads us to the evidence that 'God' - 'The Creative Force' - manifests directly, or indirectly, in all things. We know this power as God and as we are part of the Life created by God, we acknowledge God as our Father.
2. The Brotherhood of Man
Because we all come from the same universal life source we are, in effect, one large family, small individual offshoot from the whole. This means that all mankind is part of a brotherhood. A brotherhood is a community for mutual support and comfort. We are all members of the same divine family. We need to share our joys as well as our burdens; we need to understand the needs of other individuals in order to assist them as part of our service to each other. As we learn to give so must we also learn to receive thereby achieving the necessary balance for our life. We must look not only to the material necessities of our fellow creatures but also to their spiritual needs and help those in need to become strong and worthy of their relationship in the Family of God.
3. The Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels
All religions believe in life after death but only Spiritualism shows that it is true by demonstrating that communication with departed spirits can and does take place. Spiritualist Churches provide one of the venues where communication, through mediumship, is possible and many loved relatives and friends take advantage of this opportunity to continue to take an interest in our welfare. There are also spirit people/teachers who are dedicated to the welfare and service of mankind. Some (e.g. Silver Birch) bring inspiration and teachings whilst others work within the healing ministry.
4. The Continuous Existence of the Human Soul
It is scientifically proven that matter (being part of the creative force, or energy) cannot be destroyed; it merely changes its form. Spirit, as part of the Creative Force is, therefore, indestructible. On the death of the physical body, the spirit continues as an integral part of a world, which interpenetrates our world but in a different dimension. This world is referred to as the Spirit World. In spirit life we have a spirit body, which until we progress far enough, is a replica of our earthly body. We are the same individuals in every way with the same personalities and characteristics and we change only by progression, or otherwise, as a result of our own efforts. Our personal responsibilities do not stop at death.
5. Personal Responsibility
This principle is the one which places responsibility for wrongful thoughts and deeds where it belongs - with the individual. It is the acceptance of responsibility for every aspect of our lives and the use to which we place our lives depends entirely upon ourselves. It is not possible for any other person, or outside influence, to interfere with our spiritual development, unless we are willing to allow this. No one can put right the wrongdoing except the offender. As we are given freedom of choice (freewill) so also are we given the ability to recognise what is right from what is wrong. We are totally, as well as personally, responsible.
6. Compensation and Retribution hereafter for all Good and Evil Deeds done on Earth
As with all the other Principles, the natural laws apply and this one echoes the law of Cause and Effect (as you sow, so shall you reap). One cannot be cruel and vindictive towards others and expect love and popularity in return. It must be understood that the compensatory or retributive effects of this law operate now - on earth - they do not wait until we begin to live in the Spirit World.
7. Eternal Progress open to every Human Soul
In every heart there exists the desire for progress and to every human spirit belongs the power to progress in wisdom and love. All who desire to tread the path that leads to perfection are able to pursue it. The rate of progress is directly proportional to the desire for mental and spiritual understanding. If we do our best in earth life to follow our inward prompting or intuitions; we shall find progress very easy, on earth as in spirit; if not, every step in advancement will follow a struggle against imperfections, which we ourselves will have worked into our natures. Within the Family of God, with all the advantages that our realisation of that state can give us, we are all given the opportunity to be responsible for our own eternal progress.
As a final note to these principles, Spiritualism, through an intelligent and thorough investigation of its Seven Principles, reveals the understanding, the deepest significance of service to others and transforms life from selfishness to unselfishness, from individualism to social co-operation.Only on such a foundation can love and truth and all other spiritual values have any practical meaning or reality.
Reproduced from the SNU website; http://www.snu.org.uk