Belief

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Quakers do not share a fixed set of beliefs. Our unity is based on shared understanding and a shared practice of worship, not on our beliefs all being the same. There is no need to be in unity with Quakers on every issue in order to be part of our meetings.

There is a great diversity within Quaker meetings on how we think of God, and we use different kinds of language to describe religious experience. Some Quakers have a conception of God that is similar to the Protestant impulse from which we arose, and these folks would use similar language. Others are happy to use God-centred language, but would conceive of God in very different terms to the traditional Christian trinity. Some describe themselves as agnostics, or humanists, or non-theists and describe their experiences in ways that avoid the use of the word God entirely. Some use feminist language. Quaker faith is built on experience and Quakers would generally hold that it is the spiritual experience which is central to Quaker worship, and not the use of a particular form of words (whether that be “God” or anything else).

Not all our beliefs are so diverse and our commitment to Quaker process is unifying. Some of our spiritual insights, which we call our testimonies, spring from deep experience and have been reaffirmed by successive generations of Quakers. These testimonies are to integrity or truth, equality, simplicity, peace and community.

One consequence of our testimony to equality, for instance, is that we welcome people from all races and backgrounds, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons. We have a fundamental commitment to equality and inclusion. We affirm the love of God for all people. You can find out more about Quaker beliefs and attitudes by reading pieces from our Faith and Practice book where we quote many Quakers, old and young, living and dead. Order it through Quaker Book Service.