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What makes a Quaker a Quaker?

Discussion in 'Religious Society of Friends ' started by Katzpur, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I was talking to a poster on another forum awhile back who said she is a Quaker, but a non-Christian. She said that many Quakers are Christians, but that not all are, and that some, in fact, are agnostics. Is this information accurate? I have always thought that Quakers were Christians. If this isn't the case, what common beliefs do all Quakers have? There must be something to unite devout Christians, non-Christians who believe in God, and agnostics if they can all call themselves Quakers. Would someone please educate me? Thanks!

    Kathryn
     
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  2. ayani

    ayani member

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    hey Katzpur-

    yes, that's true. Quakers have long been supportive of diversity in beliefs. some Quakers beleive in a trinitarian God, others in a unitarian God, are unsure, or don't believe in a personal God. while Quakerism began as (and in many ways still is) a Christian sect, there are many Quakers who for one reason or another do not identify as Christian. i am one of those Quakers, and my reason lies with my disagreement with trinitarian thought.

    in general, all Quakers place a strong value on social justice, human equality, the importance of personal revelation to one's spiritual life, the importance of social and spiritual community, and living simply.

    thank you for asking! i'm still learning about Quakerism, so any questions are great for me, too!
     
  3. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Ok.... here's one;) :
    What is your disagreement with trinitarian thought?

    Scott
     
  4. ayani

    ayani member

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    my mother, a devout Lutheran, was asking me the same thing last night...

    i've never been able to "feel anything" for the idea of a three-personed God, or the idea of Jesus as himself specifically divine. i feel that there is something of God within all of us, and that that was part of Jesus' message, too. i believe that Jesus was a great spiritual teacher whose examples of concern for social justice, his piety, love, and simplicity of life style should be looked to as ideals of a spiritual life lived close to God. but i do not feel that Jesus was divine, any more than you or i are.
     
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  5. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing your faith with us!

    Love to hear more sometime....

    Scott
     
  6. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member It's My Birthday!

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    Please forgive me if this is too far off topic, but I encountered a most interesting and unexpected piece of American history while visiting the Hoover site at West Branch, Iowa.
    The story of Scattergood Hostel is a story of one of the many unheralded acts of quiet kindness and compassion that I associate with the Quakers.
     
  7. ayani

    ayani member

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    Deut-

    thank you for sharing that with us... i had no idea this had ever gone on.

    it reminds me of a parable where two men met eachother on the beach. the tide had gone down and there were thosands of stranded starfish lying on the sand, unable to get back to the ocean. one man was going around, picking up starfish one by one and throwing them back in the water. the other man came up to him and said "how silly! there are thousands of starfish here n this beach, and most of them will surely die before the tide comes back in. you should give up! how can what you're doing possibly make a dent or matter?" the first man paused, bent down and picked up a starfish, and tossd in back into the waves. he grinned and said "mattered to that one!"
     
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  8. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason Doctor of Thinkology

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    Well, Gracie - you have enlightened at least one individual with this post. I did not know that about Quakers. Interesting, indeed.

    Thank you,
    TVOR
     
  9. ayani

    ayani member

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    you're very welcome, Voice! i'm so glad to see the little Quaker sub-forum getting used!
     
  10. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Thanks for the info, Gracie. Would you say that the Quakers are at all like the Unitarians? I get the impression that they share a lot of your values, and I know that most of them are non-Trinitarian. Actually, in my opinion, one can be a Christian and not accept the doctrine of the Trinity (at least the Trinity as defined by the 4th and 5th century creeds) -- because I am and I don't! Of course, a lot of people will say that's proof I'm not a Christian.

    Kathryn
     
  11. ayani

    ayani member

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    hey Katzpur-

    well, Quakers and Unitarians do share alot of liberal spiritual values. but UU is its own religion, and Quakerism is still under the unbrella of Christianity, though some individual Quakers may reject that classification for themselves. while in, from my experience, you will not hear alot of explicite talk of God or Jesus in a Unitarian church (things left more inclusive and open to interpretation), Quakers don't shy away from refering to God and Jesus, though thoughts on the nature of God and the person of Jesus are very much allowed to vary from person to person.

    :D
     
  12. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Thanks for your explanation, Gracie!
     
  13. ayani

    ayani member

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    you're very welcome! :) :)
     
  14. roli

    roli Born Again,Spirit Filled

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    What, if I may ask are your doctrinal differences and views in relation to that of the Christian.
    I did read a little of your roots but never found the mention of :
    1)salvation
    2) blood
    3) atonement
    4) redemption
    5)sin
    6)judgement
    7)righteousness
    8)Holiness
    9)SANCTIFICATION
    It seemed they emphasized adherence to a system rather then conformity to a diety
    They were more or less an organization then a church of God
    Could you expound a little
     
  15. ayani

    ayani member

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    well, like i've said, Quaker beliefs are pretty diverse, but i'll try to give you an outline based on the Hicksite Quakers' beliefs i'm most famialr with. also be aware that many of the terms you've mentioned above just aren't part of Quaker theological speak, but i'll do my best. warning: gross generalizations ahead!

    salvation and blood- many liberal Quakers understand living a simple, pious life style as its own salvation. there is not alot of emphasis placed of Jesus' death as a means of salvation, as Quakers tend to focus more in Jesus' life and teachings then his death.

    sin, atonement, redemption- Quakers generally believe that sin results from not listening to the voice of God's love within us, from acting selfishly and judgementally based on this shutting out of God's voice. there is no formal process of atoning for sins, though during meeting some Friends will rise and voice concerns that they are struggling with to the congregation, and ask that they pray for them in their striving for the right path. Quaker's generally don't believe in orginal sin and beliefs vary as to the role of Jesus as a saviour of souls. many Quakers see the teachings of Jesus, however, as a model for a simple life of love and service lived close to God, which in its own way is spiritualy redeeming in this life.

    judgement- few Quakers tend to see God as a judge, more of a subtle spirit. Quaker beliefs about the afterlife vary, though the general idea is that good deeds and love matter more in the end than creed.

    righteousness- the Quaker ideal of livelihood is one based on simplicity, service to others, pacifism, and striving to hear God in all aspects of life. i think that's pretty much the running definition of Quaker righteousness.

    holiness- ah, this one's tricky. well, God is surely holy. but many Friends would also contend that all aspects of life are holy, and that all human life is holy, as well. which is not to say that the concensus is that God is synonymous with all things, no. but God is with all things and people, and His influence and guidance can be witnessed and heard if one uses the open senses of the spirit.

    sanctification- could you clarify this term some? see, this is one of those terms i'm just not familiar with within the context of Quakerism. what is being sanctified?

    ok, i hope that helps a little! appologies if i've confused things further (that does happen sometimes!) let me know what else i can try to answer!
     
  16. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason Doctor of Thinkology

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    Well Gracie, I have to say that you handle yourself very well, you are well spoken, and you are a fine ambassador for your belief system.

    It is doubtful that I'll be joining a Quaker village anytime soon, but I must say that I find a great deal of peace within your posts.

    One question - is your avatar a picture of you, or is it a generic picture of a Quaker woman?

    Thanks,
    TVOR
     
  17. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Don't take any notice of that grumpy old TVOR, gracie; he's running low on sugar today. Sanctification 1 : an act of sanctifying
    2 a : the state of being sanctified b : the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion.:)
     
  18. angellous_evangellous

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    Don't Quakers have to "quake" in order to be a Quaker, in the classical sence?

    BTW: Richard Foster rocks my world!!
     
  19. ayani

    ayani member

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    TVOR- ah, the avatar. no, it's not me. just a young Quaker woman. i chose it mainly because she represents to me the ideal of Quaker peace and simplicity, and partly because she's really pretty. :D

    michel- ah, ok. thank you! well, Quakers pretty much understand that all along one's spiritual path there are opportunities to grow in God. some might call that grace, some might call that other things. while Quakers don't practice baptism, there's a small ceremony when one decides to become a member of a Quaker meeting. very small and simple, as we generally shy away from religious ritual.

    angellous- in early meetings, Friends who were speaking under the influence of God or taken by His spirit would dance, speak in tounges, shout, and "quake". however, many Friends began to look upon these activities as being over-wrought and distracting from true spirituality, and the trend died out. now the only quaking i've ever witnessed Quakers do looks an awful lot like square dancing!
     
  20. angellous_evangellous

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    Yeah, I knew that most Quakers don't Quake anymore. Is pacifism the main belief that seperates Quakers from mainline Protestantism? I would say that is the only belief that you won't find in most American denomenations and is truly unique to Quakers.
     
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