Quote of the Day: “Life isn’t all beer and Skittles!” – the character Puddle from Radclyffe Hall’s “The Well of Loneliness”
Time for a crash course on Liberal Quakers! There are Moderates, Evangelicals, Conservatives, Liberals, and everyone in between. I’m just going to stick to Liberals because it applies to me and it’s what I know. But what I explain here doesn’t apply to all Liberal Quakers since it’s so loose.
Liberal Quakers believe that God (which is not a gendered term) is within all living things. Therefore, most Quakers are pacifists. A lot of Quakers are vegetarians, too, and I was for a few years; I came to believe that being an omnivore is part of the evolution process and is not a spiritual issue for me. I won’t eat meat that involves torturing the animal such as veal, duck foie gras and kobe steak. Killing people isn’t part of evolution, therefore it’s immoral. And most Liberal Quakers are very politically active, especially with civil rights issues, because we should all be socially equal since we’re all spiritually equal.
There are Christian Liberal Quakers. The Society of Friends started as a Christian denomination but it’s not a requirement to be a Liberal Quaker to believe that Jesus was a/the savior. I believe he was just a really wise guy, but no more or less special than anyone else. There are Quakers from all backgrounds and they may or may not integrate anything from Islam to Confuscianism into their beliefs.
The Society of Friends has no set dogma, no hierarchy. There are meetinghouses in which there are weekly/quarterly/etc. meetings (and some of those might have a pastor). People come and sit together in silence. They’re supposed to be having a spiritual experience, reflecting on God within them. If someone feels that God wants her/him to speak, she/he does – but most Quakers actually prefer silence. I have yet to attend a meeting and I would like to eventually . . . but I don’t see why this spiritual experience has to be at a certain time in a set building.
There’s no set belief about the afterlife. I think that our bodies and individual selves die, but the strand of God in us just goes back to this ephemerial God and then just goes back into another living being – Universal Soul reincarnation rather than individual soul reincarnation.
The general belief is that there is no evil being or force. People just do bad things for psychological reasons and natural disasters are just part of meteorology and plate tectonics.
I’ve come a loooooonnnngggg way from Conservative Catholic to Agnostic/Catholic to NeoPagan!! The difference here is that I followed what these religions taught because it’s what they taught. I quit all that, I got away from the hierarchy and the pointless details that come between the individual and God (and I’ve had too many spiritual experiences to believe that God doesn’t exist) and formed my own personal beliefs. It just so happened that I discovered that my personal beliefs were those of Liberal Quakers. I joined because Liberal Quakers fit me, I haven’t had to fit into them.