Re: MD quality religion

From: Matt poot (
Date: Mon Mar 29 2004 - 17:06:12 BST

  • Next message: "Re: MD quality religion"


    I dont mean to go of course, but...

    I am not really that fluent with biblical text, but have somewhat a grasp of
    the story about the Tower of Babel.

    I found it utterly fascinating, that the story describes humanity as
    "speaking one language", and the progress they made. They were building a
    Tower towards God. Then they were smote.

    They worked as a whole, together, as friend rather than foe.
    I think that the metaphorical value of this story is "good".
    Perhaps I am wrong?


    >From: "Platt Holden" <>
    >Subject: Re: MD quality religion
    >Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2004 08:29:39 -0500
    >Hi Wim,
    >Never mind DMB's congenital negativism. Your post describing the
    >"Religious Society of Friends" was a beautiful description of a beautiful
    >religion. It's so close to my own idea of religion as to be almost
    >indistinguishable. While you regularly gather with others in meetings to
    >seek and experience God, I intermittently gather with others in concert
    >halls, museums and the great outdoors to seek and experience DQ. While you
    >remain silent until you and others are moved to speak, I remain silent to
    >let the music, artwork or natural scene speak. But, these are mere
    >Thanks much for taking the time and trouble to explain what Quakers are
    >all about. If I weren't an atheist, I'd probably be a Quaker, too. :-)
    > > Dear (potential) fans of at least one religion (-: ,
    > >
    > > High time to present as my favourite religion: Quakers alias the
    > > Society of Friends', or rather the European variant, which I know best.
    > >
    > > Platt explained 17 Mar 2004 07:38:22 -0500 the difference between his
    > > religion of 'pursuing Dynamic Quality by creating and contemplating art
    > > well as by pursuing beauty in all my endeavors' and 'other religious
    > > activity' with: 'No need for intermediaries (church, rituals, priests,
    > > gurus) to experience DQ.'
    > >
    > > If you substitute 'God' for 'DQ' this was the exact starting point of
    > > Quakerism in 17th century England. And to cut a long (hi)story short:
    > > Quaker I know would probably agree with Platt's statement after some
    > > explanation of the role of Dynamic Quality in the MoQ.
    > >
    > > In 1643 19 year old George Fox was shocked by the failure of alleged
    > > Christians to live up to their Christian standards and (as he describes
    > > his 'Journal', which we might now call 'memoirs') was 'called' to leave
    > > home and search spiritual help. Consulting without success priests,
    > > dissenting preachers, so-called experienced people and everyone else he
    > > could find, he at last (in 1647) 'heard a voice' which said: "There is
    > > even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition". He became an
    > > preacher himself. He met people and religious groups with comparable
    > > experiences and spoke in services of more established churches, sharing
    > > essentially this message of the possibility of unmediated inspiration.
    > >
    > > This message became a unifying force for a growing group of people.
    > > Consequences drawn were a refusal to take oaths, refusal to pay
    > > (taking your hat off for a 'superior'), refusal to pay church taxes for
    > > upkeep of a 'hireling' clergy, equality of status between members of the
    > > movement, refusal of state authority over religious life, 'thee' and
    > > language etc. etc.. In this time of civil war there was some political
    > > space in England for the emergence of Quakers and other dissenting
    > > but they nevertheless faced persecution from the side of political and
    > > religious authorities feeling (rightly) threatened. (A lot of them
    > > emigrated to America, where now live larger numbers than in the whole of
    > > Europe.)
    > >
    > > The form Quaker 'meetings for worship' took derived mainly from the
    > > and individuals called 'Seekers', who joined Quakers in large numbers.
    > > Being disappointed in existing churches and human endeavours to reform
    > > them, they already had developed a discipline of waiting in silence,
    > > or together, for some sort of 'Holy Spirit' experience, like -according
    > > the New Testament- in the early Christian church.
    > >
    > > The organization of this movement under persecution can be credited to
    > > Margaret Fell, the (younger) wife of an elderly judge (who after his
    > > in 1658 married George Fox). She organized the writing of letters,
    > > track of people 'travelling in the ministry' and supporting Quakers in
    > > prison. Local 'meetings for worship' organized themselves in regional
    > > 'monthly meetings' where decisions on mutual support could be made and
    > > representatives to a London-based 'meeting for sufferings' (referring to
    > > inprisonments and other persecution).
    > >
    > > George Fox and his contemporary Quakers spoke traditional Christian
    > > language and did agree on what contemporary Christians considered
    > > Christian doctrines: the Unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the
    > > and Humanity of Christ, the reality of Sin and then need for Salvation,
    > > resurrection of Christ and his redemption of Sin, the Bible being
    > > inspired etc.. George Fox was said to know the bible almost by heart and
    > > quoted it often. They refused to hold each other to the words in which
    > > were expressed though. In the words of George Fox as quoted by Margaret
    > > Fell in her description of her convincement experience: 'He is not a Jew
    > > that is one outward, neither is that circumcision which is outward, but
    > > is a Jew that is one inward, and that is circumcision which is of the
    > > heart. ... The Scriptures were the prophets' words and Christ's and the
    > > apostles' words, and what as they spoke they enjoyed and possessed and
    > > it from the Lord. Then what had any to do with the Scriptures, but as
    > > came to the Spirit that gave them forth. You will say, Christ saith
    > > and the apostles say this; but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of
    > > Light and hast walked in the Light, and what thou speakest is it
    > > from God?'
    > >
    > > The religious practice Quakers (or 'Friends' as we call each other)
    > > developed was one without ordained ministers, without the 'outward' kind
    > > 'holy' rituals called 'sacraments' in other churches (baptism, mass,
    > > eucharist and so on), without 'confession of faith' as requirement for
    > > membership, but with a strong sense of being able to experience God
    > > directly and intimately and to get guidance from that experience for
    > > everything from everyday behaviour, via special tasks (called
    > > you find on your path, to the general direction of one's life. 'Bring
    > > whole of your life under the ordering of the spirit of Christ ' as an
    > > advice from 'Quaker faith & practice, the book of Christian discipline
    > > the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in
    > > Britain' still reads. The main collective religious practices are
    > > for worship' (silent, usually sitting in a circle, in which anyone can
    > > to share a limited amount of words when feeling 'called' to do so) and
    > > monthly (regional), yearly (roughly national) etc. 'meetings for
    > > (interspersed with silence when necessary, guided by a sense of seeking
    > > together for 'God's will for the meeting', open to all members and
    > > attenders of the 'meetings for worship' in that area). They can be seen
    > > methods to practise this 'getting guidance'. 'Meetings for business' are
    > > also used to test individual guidance against collective guidance
    > > (including tradition and written sources of accepted wisdom) and vice
    > > versa.
    > >
    > > Accepted language in Quakers meetings is much more diverse now than it
    > > in the 17th century. I know of no real limits. You can combine being
    > > with being Buddhist or Universalist (recognizing what David B. called 27
    > > Mar 2004 18:14:46 -0700 'the values that are common to all religions or
    > > mystical core of all religions') or even agnostic as far as the
    > > of 'God' is concerned. Personal experience and practical application is
    > > preferred over theology however. The defining characteristics of Quakers
    > > are more in the (extreme simplicity and practicality of worshipping and
    > > decision-making) methods than in any content, except for that original
    > > -worded in very diverse ways, however- of the accessibility for all of
    > > direct Guidance.
    > >
    > > Despite Platt's objections (13 Mar 2004 08:59:41 -0500) Quakerism IS
    > > on 'faith', but only in 3 out of the 4 senses identified by Steve
    > > and Sam (21 Mar 2004 17:12:43 -0500 resp. 22 Mar 2004 07:16:59 -0000):
    > > trust (in Guidance), loyalty (to Quaker methods of ascertaining
    > > and conviction (the decision to live by it), but not factual belief
    > > (willingness to believe ideas that cannot be proved).
    > >
    > > Despite Platt's objections Quaker morality IS based on continuing
    > > revelation. It is also given an intellectual basis in lots of
    > > writings of Quakers, however, which have equal status as the Bible (and
    > > when applicability counts even more). These are loosely latched in
    > > anthologies of quotes and guidelines (like the above-mentioned 'Quaker
    > > Faith & Practice' of British Friends) that are revised roughly once in
    > > every generation.
    > >
    > > A life devoted to pursuing Dynamic Quality through art (Platt's
    > > would certainly fit a modern Quaker. Quaker religious practices can add
    > > that religion) the opportunity to share with others what you find in an
    > > environment that is sympathetic to any 'seeker' or 'student of religion'
    > > and skeptical of anyone who pretends that religion (that re-connects us
    > > with our source, DQ/God) can be a simple practising of existing methods
    > > that 'reliably precipitate a mystical experience'. Quakerism is BOTH
    > > profoundly mystical, experience-based, AND practical, bent on 'letting
    > > life speak'.
    > >
    > > Let me know if you have any questions.
    > >
    > > With f&Friendly greetings,
    > >
    > > Wim
    > >
    > >
    > >
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