And not just because I liked “rolled oats”. According to a survey I did on http://www.beliefnet.com, I’m either an Orthodox Quaker, a Liberal Quaker or a Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestant.
After some consideration, I think I’m a Liberal Quaker.
What does this mean?
Belief in Deity: Diverse beliefs, from belief in a personal God as an incorporeal spirit to questioning belief in a personal God.
Incarnations: Beliefs vary from the literal to the symbolic belief in Jesus Christ as God’s incarnation. Most believe we are all sons and daughters of God, with the main focus on experiencing and listening to God, the Light within, accessible to all.
Origin of Universe and Life: Emphasis is placed on spiritual truths as revealed to each individual. Many believe that God created/controls all events/processes that modern scientists are uncovering about origins. Many believe in scientific accounts alone or don’t profess to know.
After Death: Few liberal Quakers believe in direct reward and punishment, heaven and hell, or second coming of Christ. The primary focus is nondogmatic: God is love, love is eternal, and our actions in life should reflect love for all of humanity.
Why Evil?: Beliefs vary, as the focus is not on why, but how to eliminate wrongs, especially violence. Many believe that violence against another human is violence against God. Many Quakers believe that lack of awareness of God’s divine Light within all may result in wrongdoing. Many believe that evil is simply an unfortunate part of human nature that we all must work to eliminate.
Salvation: Beliefs are diverse, as dogma is de-emphasized. Most believe that all will be saved because God is good and forgiving, and the divine Light of God is available to all. Good works, especially social work and peace efforts, are viewed as integral to the salvation of humanity, regardless of belief or nonbelief in an afterlife.
Undeserving Suffering: Liberal Quakers do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God’s plan, will, or design, even if we don’t immediately understand it. Some don’t believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering. Quakers focus on reducing human suffering, especially that which is caused by social injustice or violence.
Contemporary Issues: Views vary, some maintaining that abortion violates Quaker commitment to nonviolence, but some view the right to choose abortion as an aspect of equal rights for women and/or as a personal matter between the woman and God. The American Friends Service Committee (an independent Quaker organization with participants of many faiths, which provides international programs for economic and social justice, peace, humanitarian aid) supports the woman’s right to choose abortion according to her own conscience.
I guess, then that it’s just as well that Quaker House is just down the road from my place in Sydney.