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Quaker Beliefs

Quaker Beliefs  

Quakers have no statements of faith, but experience has taught us:

  • Everyone has access to God / Spirit  
  • God / Spirit is in everyone
  • We can continue to learn about ourselves, others and God throughout our lives
  • All of life is to be valued   

On this page:

A search for truth, not an arrival

In Quakerism there is a strong belief that it is the responsibility of each individual to find their own way to that which we call God, Spirit, the Inner Light.

From the earliest days, Quakers were asked, "... but what canst THOU say?"

In other words – what is your experience, how do you encounter the divine?

This means that every Quaker will respond from their own experience – and it will differ from one Quaker to the next.

Most Quakers would agree on the following::

  • There is ‘that of God’ in every living being and that everyone has within them the potential for goodness.  
  • Everyone, without exception, is of equal worth and has the potential to respond to the Inner Light.  
  • It is the individual responsibility to seek and respond to the Inner light. There is no need for any form of priest or minister to act as an intermediary.  
  • Truth is an ongoing revelation. There is no point in the past at which definitive teachings were given which are applicable for all time. Rather the essence of love and truth which are at the heart of all will find different expression according to the times.
  • All of life is sacred.    

Diversity of Belief

The Religious Society of Friends – the official name of Quakers – formed in England in the 1650s in the context of civil war, religious and political upheaval and intolerance.

It was deeply rooted in the Christianity of the time and remained so for 300 years.

In more recent times however, people right across the religious spectrum have found meaning in Quaker understandings and now there are Quakers who are also Muslim, Buddhist, humanist, atheist, Jewish as well as Christ-centred Quakers. Hear the experience of one Muslim Quaker here: Why I am a Quaker and a Muslim.

In New Zealand and the United Kingdom most Quakers belong to the liberal tradition, where the style of worship is unprogrammed, while in the US and Africa, many are strongly evangelical in their faith. You can read more about Quakers around the world on the Friends World Committee for Consulation website: Friends worldwide

Find out more about what Quakers believe in this "Quaker Speak" video. QuakerSpeak is a project of Friends Journal in America.