The Religious Society of Friends has its roots in Christianity. However, present-day Quakers hold a wide variety of beliefs, and some consider themselves nontheist, agnostic, or even atheist. For this reason, it is difficult to make any blanket statements about Quaker theology. Many say that Quakerism is a way of life rather than a set of beliefs.
Nonetheless, there are certain principles that many unprogrammed Quakers–and especially theist unprogrammed Quakers—share. These principles have been summarized by lifelong Quaker Arthur Larrabee of Central Philadephia Monthly Meeting as follows:
- There is a living, dynamic, spiritual presence at work in the world which is both within us and outside of us.
- There is that of God in everyone.
- Each person is capable of the direct and unmediated experience of God.
- Our understanding and experience of God is nurtured and enlarged in community.
- The Bible is an important spiritual resource, and the life and teachings of Jesus are relevant for us today.
- The revelation of God’s truth is continuing and ongoing.
- We welcome truth from whatever source it may come.
- Our inward experience of God transforms us and leads us into outward expressions of faithful living, witness, and action.
- Modeling God’s presence in our lives is more important than espousing beliefs.
Watch the video below for a more expansive version of Larrabee’s take on Quaker beliefs.