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The Quakers: a religion Richard Dawkins could sign up to - Comments

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 1 by SaganTheCat

link to article needs fixing (goes to the quaker site)

I think Jocelyn Bell (discoverer of pulsars) is one of these if i remember a documentry correctly. seems an odd sort of religion as it doesn't have a problem with science so is more of a meeting group than actual worship but I don't get why you'd want to. god isn't important therefore there's now special hand waving or magic spells needed so i jsut don't get its purpose. why not join a snooker club or something?

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 11:25:02 UTC | #877345

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 2 by Jos Gibbons

I won't speak for Dawkins, of course, but there's one point I think worth making: even if the Professor could join religion X, why would or should he? Wouldn't that end up making a bigger issue in his personal life out of his ... non-belief than he currently intends to? It's one thing to organise a belief, but to organise a non-belief that is already coherently formed enough ... I've never seen the point of not-really-theist Quakerism. Why give yourself a group label at all?

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 11:40:58 UTC | #877354

Moderator's Avatar Comment 3 by Moderator

Link now fixed. Thanks for spotting it.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 11:46:05 UTC | #877355

keyfeatures's Avatar Comment 4 by keyfeatures

Why would you have to call yourself a quaker though? What benefit is there to aligning yourself to such a movement? Why take on the limits of such a label?

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 12:25:47 UTC | #877378

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 5 by wolfhoundGrowl

yeah, I'm a Humanist loosely involved in Quakerism, I list it as an activity of mine though, not as my religion.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 15:51:38 UTC | #877466

Marcus Small's Avatar Comment 6 by Marcus Small

I quite often attend meetings if I have a Sunday off. Used to go quite a lot when I was younger. Love the shared stillness and silence, its very different to solitary stillness and silence.

As to the label Quaker, that began as a term of abuse, like many persecuted people they turned the slur around and made their own. The official name is The Religious Society of Friends. That's what it is a meeting of friends whose beliefs may differ but never the less value the connectedness such a meeting.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 17:13:13 UTC | #877494

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert

A used to run an atheist chat room a long time ago, and we used to have a Quaker who would often come and chat with us. She was a lovely girl, but had been raped several times by boyfriends, and she chose not to resist their attacks because of her commitment to pacificism.

And so no, I don't regard Quakerism as a 'good' religion, there are no good religion as far as I'm concerned.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 17:31:54 UTC | #877501

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 8 by nancynancy

I went to a private Quaker junior high and high school for six years in the 1960s, and as an atheist I can honestly say I would never, ever decide to become a Quaker and I strongly doubt Prof. Dawkins would either.

Every week we had a weekly assembly with heaping helping of Christian hymn singing from the hymnals. Once a month we had an unimaginably boring silent "worship" session that went on for 90 long minutes. During this time I stared at my fingernails, practiced conjugating Spanish verbs, and struggled to stay awake. Every fifteen minutes or so the silence would be broken by someone who was inexplicably moved to recite a verse from the Bible -- usually the one about the "seasons" from the folk song Turn, Turn Turn. Most maddening of all was the absolute and unwavering insistence on pacifism and nonviolence. This would be lovely if we lived in a perfect world, but as we saw on 9/11, we don't.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 18:40:14 UTC | #877524

Marcus Small's Avatar Comment 9 by Marcus Small

Comment 8 by nancynancy

Most maddening of all was the absolute and unwavering insistence on pacifism and nonviolence. This would be lovely if we lived in a perfect world, but as we saw on 9/11, we don't.

But you have to put that alongside the absolute and unwavering insistence on a commitment to work for social and international justice.

I read this the other day, don't know whether its true.

The money required to eradicate hunger for everyone in the world has been estimated at $30 billion a year. IT IS A HUGE SUM OF MONEY … about as much as the world spends on the military every eight days.

There can be no peace without justice, and those actively working and campaigning for both are to be commended.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 18:51:40 UTC | #877530

Ygern's Avatar Comment 10 by Ygern

I wouldn't. But I'm not looking for a replacement for religion.

I know some atheists do, if nothing else they miss the community and fellowship they got from the old religion.

Not me.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 19:07:31 UTC | #877533

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 11 by wolfhoundGrowl

Quakerism is a religious practice, in the first instance for Christians, but now-a-days for anyone of any religious or philosophical persuasion. It isn't a religion in and off itself, it won't give you a belief system, just an avenue for living your belief system.

The testimony of Nonviolence is open to interpretation, from the traditional pacifism to more moderate and in my opinion more realistic perspectives.

However, IMHO it's all like sport, some people like football, I hate football, much rather have a gi on than a football kit.

Well, I also like Quakerism ... others don't. It's that sort of thing, it's not about truth, it's about likes and dislikes.

One thing must be remembered, Quakerism is not about rules and only ever offers guidelines.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 20:58:29 UTC | #877586

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 12 by Stevehill

I'm not advocating it, but as religions (??) go it's better than most.

We looked seriously at a Quaker school for our (so far atheist) kids, because one of the UK's seven private Quaker schools - with brilliant academic results - is a few miles away. We ended up happy with a (free!) state school alternative.

But that school limits "worship" (silent contemplation) to 15 minutes a day and talking to a lot of kids there, they were all quite happy about that: "at least nobody's trying to turn me onto jihad" was one comment from our visit.

If I have a wider point it is that at least some atheists probably do want some sort of community and fellowship, but have no idea how to go about it.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 20:58:35 UTC | #877587

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 13 by SomersetJohn

I am trying to decide which is the important bit!

THE religious SOCIETY OF FRIENDS or The RELIGIOUS society of friends.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 21:28:02 UTC | #877594

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 14 by QuestioningKat

When I was still going to church and deconverting, a couple who were formally part of the Quaker religion set up a weekly meeting which I attended for the experience. So I began as an agnostic and when the series of meetings ended, I realized I no longer believed. No, this religion is really not for atheists. I learned that there are different types of Quakers; one group is more liberal than others. The couple commented that they left the Quaker church because they were tired of the more fundamentalist Quakers who participated in their church.

Several years prior I actually attended a Quaker service and though the music was uplifting and the congregation obviously socially active, I felt like crawling out the building on my hands and knees. I have been to several liberal churches and the Unitarian church is probably the closest fit.

Interestingly, there is a "sect" of Hinduism that is atheistic - completely materialists, no afterlife, etc. I found this to be interesting and wonder how this works out for them. I understand that there is much hatred and anger towards these individuals.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 23:41:24 UTC | #877625

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 15 by QuestioningKat

Comment 12 by Stevehill :

If I have a wider point it is that at least some atheists probably do want some sort of community and fellowship, but have no idea how to go about it.

Absolutely, I think this is necessary for many people. Not all atheists are scientifically minded. Many can also be creative, reflective, involved with personal improvement, or a combination of whatever. It is difficult to build this type of community when many of the people are still sitting in the pews to get their personal enrichment. I also feel that there is a misunderstanding and false dichotomy among theist that losing a belief in God would lead to an bland, artless, drab, unappreciative existence that would consist of endless analyzations and documentations. But as someone says here how do you round up a bunch of cats?

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 23:54:10 UTC | #877628

besleybean's Avatar Comment 16 by besleybean

Personally, I belong to a Humanist group.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 08:07:48 UTC | #877699

mmurray's Avatar Comment 17 by mmurray

Comment 12 by Stevehill :

If I have a wider point it is that at least some atheists probably do want some sort of community and fellowship, but have no idea how to go about it.

Make friends at work or through common recreational pursuits. I'd suggest they go out for a drink with them but that's covered in another thread.

Even scientists go out for dinner and drinks after a day at work or a day at a conference.

We should be wary of giving up all the good things in life to the religious. They didn't invent moral behaviour and they didn't invent friendship and caring for others.

Michael

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 08:53:59 UTC | #877709

mmurray's Avatar Comment 18 by mmurray

Comment 15 by QuestioningKat :

Comment 12 by Stevehill :

If I have a wider point it is that at least some atheists probably do want some sort of community and fellowship, but have no idea how to go about it.

Absolutely, I think this is necessary for many people. Not all atheists are scientifically minded. Many can also be creative, reflective, involved with personal improvement, or a combination of whatever.

When did being "scientifically minded" become mutually exclusive from being "creative, reflective, involved with personal improvement" ?

Michael

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 08:55:32 UTC | #877711

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 19 by wolfhoundGrowl

Comment 14

You aid this (Quakerism) is not for atheists

The atheists involved in Quakerism would disagree.

Why the sweeping statement?

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 09:25:06 UTC | #877715

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 20 by wolfhoundGrowl

'm really conufsed at all the fear of the word 'religion' around here.

if we accept that religion was created by humans, and approach religon from that perspective ... what are you all so afraid off in that?

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 10:25:12 UTC | #877728

Marcus Small's Avatar Comment 21 by Marcus Small

I am with WolfhoundGrowl on this one, but then I would be I suppose. But here's the the thing you find yourself philosophically atheist or agnostic, but you also find yourself with a religious sensibility or temperament (I've making little shrines, 'sanctifying' space, making up little rituals for as long as I can remember). One can either ignore such a sensibility or temperament. Or you can do something with it.

Not everyone is like this, I know.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 11:48:40 UTC | #877742

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 22 by Tyler Durden

Comment 21 by Marcus Small :

I've making little shrines, 'sanctifying' space, making up little rituals for as long as I can remember. One can either ignore such a sensibility or temperament. Or you can do something with it.

Sounds like a mild case of obsessive-compuslive disorder (OCD), completely normal. Some OCD rituals are a safety mechanism, and are thought to have evolved to aid survival i.e. checking doors, windows, the stove; washing our hands; safety of our children.

This doesn't mean the ritual is religious in nature, or that the god of this religion exists, just that your brain is in need of patterns, ritualistic comfort, from a cognitive or behavioural perspective - and seeks habitual reinforcement to counteract the unknown.

Not everyone is like this, I know.

Not true, humans are habit-forming primates, and our brains seek patterns, and certain rituals as a comfort. It still doesn't make religion true.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 12:18:24 UTC | #877750

Marcus Small's Avatar Comment 23 by Marcus Small

Comment 22 by Tyler Durden

It still doesn't make religion true.

I was not saying that it does, it just tells me why I live in this way. Doctrine can be just so much hot air. How should I live? is a much important question to me than, What should I believe?

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 12:53:27 UTC | #877760

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

comment 23 by Marcus Small

I was not saying that it does, it just tells me why I live in this way.

Does it? When did you last walk on water or provide a very cheap wine service?

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 13:43:07 UTC | #877777

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 25 by Tyler Durden

Comment 23 by Marcus Small :

Comment 22 by Tyler Durden

It still doesn't make religion true.

I was not saying that it does, it just tells me why I live in this way. Doctrine can be just so much hot air. How should I live? is a much important question to me than, What should I believe?

You need to be told how you should live? Biology predates religion by millenia. To paraphrase Hitchens, without religion, you would kill, or be a danger to, others?

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 14:01:47 UTC | #877782

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 26 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 20 by wolfhoundGrowl

'm really conufsed at all the fear of the word 'religion' around here.

if we accept that religion was created by humans, and approach religon from that perspective ... what are you all so afraid off in that?

It's not the religion I fear, it's the lunatic adherents of the religion that cause the problems. A religious book can sit, unopened in all it's impotent, inefficacious grandeur, it's when someone opens the book of religious texts and professes meaning to the multitudes that the rules therein dictate actions to be carried out in obedience to the instructions in the texts or certain interpretations that they have, supposedly, divinely gleaned from the texts, that's when the wheels fall off the wagon. Like all myths, religions are just man made yarns, but when belief is chucked into the mix, all sorts of weird things start to happen. People lose their lucidness and are prone to do unthinkable barmy stuff. That's what gives me fear.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 14:46:21 UTC | #877789

Marcus Small's Avatar Comment 27 by Marcus Small

Comment 24 by Steve Zara

When did you last walk on water or provide a very cheap wine service?

Last Winter and Last Sunday. :-)

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 15:31:40 UTC | #877805

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 28 by wolfhoundGrowl

Comment 26 ... what you have just described bears no relevance to Qaukerism whatsoever.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 15:40:01 UTC | #877809

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 29 by Alan4discussion

Comment 16 by besleybean

Personally, I belong to a Humanist group.

I used to belong to a botanical society and a Humanist group, both of which held meetings in the local "Friends Meeting House" at that time!

Sat, 08 Oct 2011 15:27:19 UTC | #879001

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 30 by wolfhoundGrowl

lol

Sun, 09 Oct 2011 20:29:50 UTC | #879216