Quakers have beliefs, but not creeds or dogma. To Quakers (or Friends) the primary source of spiritual inspiration, and the central belief, is that each individual is endowed with a measure of the divine, called the 'Inner Light', or 'that of God'. Quakers hold that each person can experience the Inner Light in their daily lives. Seeking this measure of the divine is at the heart of Quaker worship and life.
Are you a Quaker in Disguise?
Even though you may not be a Quaker, you may still have beliefs that closely align with what Quakers believe in, according to Belief Net (www.beliefnet.com) an online multi-faith community. According to a survey available on their web site, more people identify as Quakers than there are actual Quakers. Take the survey yourself to find out the faith or beliefs you most identify with. You might be surprised by the results!
"The Inner Light is the doctrine that there is something Divine, something of God in the human soul"
- Rufus Jones, 1904
We believe that this concept of a "that of God in everyone" is part of an individual's soul or inner being, and was inspired in part by the Biblical passage (John 1:9) referring to the "true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world". What individuals do with this Inner Light is in large part left to their free will and choice. Quakers recognize that there is the potential for good and evil in all of us, but believe that we can turn to this light, choosing to become 'children of God' or 'children of the Light'.
Believing in the possibility of a direct experience with the divine is not unique to Quakers, but Quakers are unique among Christian religions in the importance they place on the importance and availability of this experience. Quakers hold this direct experience as the primary source of religion, de-emphasizing other sources such as books, set prayers, and rituals. Although Friends believe in the value of the Christian bible as a source of inspiration and a guide, they do not believe it should have the final say, or that it is infallible.