Quaker Beliefs

Quakers are religiously diverse. Our beliefs range from Evangelical to Conservative to liberal. There are however some common beliefs: 

Element of God's Spirit in Everyone

Friends believe from experience that there exists an element of God's spirit in everyone. which they referred to as the Inner Light. For many Friends there is a strong mystical component to their faith that integrates the experience of God’s presence with the reality of one’s life. An integrated life of Spirit and Civic duties leads to an understanding that all aspects of life are sacramental. Friends do not differentiate between the secular and the religious. No one day or one place or one activity is any more spiritual than any other.

The Inner Light

The natural extension-- the reality-- of the personal experience of the inner Light is the core belief that this element of God (Inner Light)  is accessible to all people. Hence there an is inherent worth and equality of people independent of their gender, race, age, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.

Opposition to War

Quakers have had a consistent tradition of opposing war. This belief is rooted in that of the beliefs of the early Christian movement, which was strongly pacifist, and finds its personal strength in a life lead by a living faith refreshed regularly with times retirement to listen inwardly to God’s Spirit. Together with the Church of the Brethren, and the Mennonites- Amish, these churches are known in America as the historic peace churches because of their long-held pacifist testimony to the world.

Personal Revelation, Checked with Biblical Scripture and Group Discernment

Friends find that ongoing personal revelation is best understood when checked to be consistent with Biblical scripture and group discernment. Some Friends do not regard the Bible as the only source of belief and conduct. They rely upon their Inner Light to be essential in the understanding of scriptures as they apply to current issues of spiritual and civic life as well as understanding Biblical contradictions. They also feel free to take advantage of scientific and philosophical findings from other sources. Individual Quakers hold diverse views concerning life after death. Few believe in the eternal punishment of individuals in a Hell.

Statements of Faith

Friends do not have a specific creed. However, some groups of Friends have written statements of faith. For example, Friends United Meeting (FUM) includes beliefs in:

  • True religion as a personal encounter with God, rather than ritual and ceremony.
  • Individual worth before God.
  • Worship as an act of seeking.
  • The virtues of moral purity, integrity, honesty, simplicity, and humility.
  • Christian love and goodness.
  • Concern for the suffering and unfortunate
  • Continuing revelation through the Holy Spirit.

[Outline from http://www.religioustolerance.org/quaker2.htm