When Raymond Lodge died in 1915, his story seemed at an end until his father began an emotive, dangerous and controversial journey into the afterlife, resurrecting Raymond, turning the ideas of Victorian religious tradition on their heads and fuelling a new debate into the relevance of God in the Twentieth Century.
When Raymond Lodge perished when fighting in France in 1915, his father, Sir Oliver Lodge, set out on a controversial quest to discover the truth about life after death. A renowned physicist and member of the Fabian society, he took a scientific approach to his journey into spirituality and published his work under a cloud of criticism. What he discovered changed his own views on the paranormal, but at a cost to his reputation. War-torn Britain was a smelting pot of agnostics and atheists. The heights of Victorian religious fervour had fallen into secular disbelief or disinterest. The war not only changed everyone’s lives, but it also changed their outlooks. Believers became atheists and atheists became believers. At the centre of it were people like Sir Oliver Lodge trying to rationalise not only religion, but warfare. Alongside him were famous celebrities such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, yet at the other extreme were well-known figures who mocked everything Lodge was doing. The effects of the First World War on British spirituality were both dramatic and conflicting. Through Sir Oliver Lodge’s harrowing story, we can glimpse a snapshot of a country in emotional turmoil, trying to find meaning in madness and to understand how God could have forgotten them. While organised religion lost popularity, movements such as spiritualism and the art of medium-ship would gain ground, turning the country into the strange concoction of mixed religious beliefs we are familiar with today.
The First World War not only shaped our modern spirituality, it shaped our atheism.
234 x 156 mm
15 May 2014
41 black-and-white photographs
Sophie Jackson has worked as a freelance journalist and historian since 2003 with her articles published in numerous magazines in the UK and US, particularly Medieval History Magazine and Family History Monthly. Between 2007 and 2009 she was the editor for The History Magazine before returning fulltime to freelance work. She specialises in social history and has written several books on the secret history of the Second World War and has worked as a history consultant for the Heritage Lottery Fund.