The other day a person in my church re-posted on FB an interesting photograph of large snowflakes from a storm in Kansas. On the mid-right side of the picture there is an unusual combination of snowflakes that form a snow angel. I traced the source backwards to another FB page that was open to the public. I do not know the person but did note there were a number of other pictures that suggested an interest in the supernatural, although the person did not suggest that the picture posted was anything other than an unusual combination of snow flakes.
There was something familiar to me as I looked at the picture. It reminded me of the fairy craze in Great Britain that followed WW1. Perhaps the most famous were the Cottingley Fairies.
The Cottingley Fairies have been decisively debunked since the late seventies and early eighties. One of the perpetrators of what is now known as The Cottingley Fairies Hoax was one of the young girls involved. She admitted to the hoax in 1981 although most people found the claims of real fairies absurd from the start.
Still, many others did not, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle had a deep and abiding interest in spiritualism as did many people in Britain and America.
Spiritualism is the belief that the human spirit survives after death and continues, self-aware, to communicate with us via séances and mediums. Spiritualism differs with spiritism in that the latter affirms reincarnation where the former does not. (CARM)
The connection between spiritualism and fairies is simply an interest in the supernatural that runs contrary to what is revealed in the Bible about the supernatural.
In my opinion people interested in such things, apart from idle curiosity and research purposes, are searching for knowledge of the supernatural apart from what God has chosen to reveal in the Scriptures. That so many believed in the Cottingley Fairies even though they appeared to be paper cut-outs from the start should tell us something about human nature.
First, although some might think the Cottingley Fairies Hoax was cute and the gullible deserved to be taken in, the fact it was a hoax says something about the deceitfulness of the human heart.
Some may argue that the whole affair was harmless, but it’s important to note that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a person of considerable influence and he defended the photos vehemently thus leading many of the naive astray in their belief system. The perpetrators are equally guilty no doubt benefiting financially from the hoax.
Second and most importantly an interest in the supernatural apart from Scripture is dangerous. The most remarkable supernatural event in Scripture is the resurrection of Christ, an event that Christians worldwide will celebrate March 31st. This event was attested to by more than 500 people, yet many are skeptical while others deny it all together (even professing Christians) while still others would lump the resurrection in the same category as believing in fairies.
The apostle Paul wrote in the First Letter to Corinthians:
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
(1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV)
Paul recognized that without the resurrection of Christ there is no valid Christianity. The event is either true or it is not and if not, then our faith is in vain (pointless) and we are still in our sins.
Some perhaps many, find their hope in spiritualism (an aspect of New Age today) or even a belief in fairies to give them hope. Paul points out that our only hope is found in Christ and if their hope is in something or someone else then they are still in their sins. To be still in one’s sins is the greatest risk of all for to die without trust in Christ alone and his work on the cross has eternal, supernatural consequences.
Believe it or not?