Quaker roots

Posted on januar 10, 2011


For the obvious facts, visit Wikipedia.

The Religious Society of Friends (as quakers prefer to call themselves) emerged in the 17th century. In the preceiding centuries, Europe had seen several small groups of independant christians. The Catholic church had fought hard against this «heresy». Several of these groups were mysticists and had quite a lot in common with the quakers.

I have always been fascinated with what the majority dislikes. I also think I have an open (though critical) mind. To me it seems clear that Quakerism has a lot in common with other mystical religious expressions, like the Sufi in Islam or Buddhism in general, and that christian heresy is a big part of its roots. Some would even label Quakerism a heresy in a negative way from a dogmatic christian point of view.

I would label quakers heretics in the most positive way. Qakerism is in its roots anti-dogmatic in every way. Quakers may have very diverse belief systems: There are Quaker Pagans, Quaker Jews, Quaker Budhists, and at least three forms of Quakerism: Conservative, Evangelical and Liberal. In most (maybe all?) of Europe quakers are liberal, but especially in the U.S. you’ll find the other two as well.

Most quakers are christians, like me. And there is some debate about wether or not Quakerism is a christian denomination. The roots are no doubt christian, but there is no obvious reason it should be christian today.

I don’t think it matters so much how you label a group. The important thing is God working through us, and that we are open enough to recognize the Light. There are many different ways to be in the Light and I don’t think the form matters. We as humans are not set to judge anyway, and I for sure am not planning to. I f.ex. think it would be interesting to use shamanism as one way of being in touch with the Light. That is also a mystic experience and I think mysticists have a lot in common, no matter the religious branch.

What matters to me in a religious setting is that I get respect for who I am and for what I believe to be true. In order to get that respect, I must give it to others as well. I also know a few people who got their relationship with God and Christianity ruined by conservative christians and I understand very well why they don’t want to label themselves christian.

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