Frequently Assaulted Quotes
New Age and OccultismFalse claims:
False claim #1: "Writing that his father had a lifelong "faith in what for lack of a better name, one must call Spiritualism," the son of famed biblical Greek text editor B. F. Westcott admits to considerable public alarm at his father's activity." (Jack Chick, Battle Cry, July/August 1993 issue)
This combination of claim and quote comes from the July/August 1993 issue of "Battle Cry", the newspaper put out by Jack Chick. The quote above still appears on Chick's website at the time of this writing. Similarly, Gail Riplinger writes "Westcott's son writes of his father's lifelong "faith in what for lack of a better name, one must call Spiritualism. . ." " (Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, p.407). The context is from where Westcott's son discusses Westcott's short-lived involvement in the "Ghostlie Guild" when he was a young man still in university (see James May's article and Robert L. Sumner's article for more information), and the entire paragraph the quote is lifted from is as follows (bold added):
"What happened to this Guild in the end I have not discovered. My father ceased to interest himself in these matters, not altogether, I believe, from want of faith in what, for lack of a better name, one must call Spiritualism, but because he was seriously convinced that such investigations led to no good." (Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, Vol. I, p.119)
There are several problems with the claim as made by Chick and Riplinger. First, and most importantly, notice that the quote had "want of" (lack of, e.g. Psalm 23:1) chopped off the front.. Westcott did not have "faith" in Spiritualism, he had "want of [(lack of)] faith" in Spiritualism. Secondly, it was one of two reasons he ceased to interest himself in the the matters the Guild was involved in, shortly after it was formed (notice Chick and Riplinger both falsely use the word "lifelong"). Thirdly, nothing in the quote (or surrounding material) even hints at "public alarm", let alone "considerable" or even Westcott's son admitting such. Chick's claim is completely fabricated, and the quote he chopped to support his claim actually says the exact opposite when the context is examined. The entire quote is somewhat difficult to parse as it stands, but it's easier to breakdown if viewed as follows: "Westcott ceased, not altogether (not entirely) from want (lack) of faith in Spiritualism, but also because such investigations led to no good." Was the reason that Westcott ceased due to want (lack) of faith in Spiritualism? Yes, but it was "not altogether" the reason - it was also because "he was seriously convinced that such investigations led to no good".