What we believe

Quakers believe that there is “That of God in Everyone.”

Everyone? You mean even me?

Yes, every human being. This basic Quaker belief has many implications for other Quaker beliefs and for Quaker behavior and social action. It is the joyful affirmation that God is not only far off in the heavens but that God is also within us. We all therefore have direct access to God. This direct experience of the presence of God is the foundation of Quaker worship. In this quiet worship, we look within to find God and to help discern God’s truth for us.

We revere the Scriptures, but as George Fox, an early Quaker, once put it: “You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this; but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light, and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?”; Of course, we can be helped by the Biblical Scriptures, but they are not the ultimate authority of religious truth. As the Quaker, Howard Brinton, wrote of early Quakers: The Spirit of God which gave forth the Scriptures was still at work, as they believed, in the human heart. It was more important to hear what He was saying directly to them than what He once said centuries ago. Worship consisted in waiting upon the Lord to hear His voice and to feel His power. God not only spoke to those who wrote the Bible, but also speaks to us, if we but listen.

The Quaker meeting for worship is essentially comprised of this listening, or “waiting on the Lord.” We believe that everyone has this Inner Light, as it is sometimes called, and that this Light can be a guide to belief and action. Since there is that of the Divine in everyone, each human being is of infinite worth. George Fox admonished his colleagues to “walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.” We seek to follow this cheerful counsel, answering that of God in our neighbor, but also in our adversary, or in someone who has become oppressed or impoverished, or who has committed a grievous crime. Since there is that of God in everyone, not only in Christians, we respect other religious beliefs, feeling that there are many ways to God.

 

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