I have just come to realize why i define myself as a quaker: it is a spiritual discipline and practice, rather than a set of beliefs.
To me, “Rising to Unity” is the listening for, and awareness of “That Which Is” … a place to grow the Light Inside … and to do this, I need to be drawn aside into the Silence.
Words, Thoughts and Beliefs are inadequate to this Knowingness / No-Thing-ness …
Katie’s comment resonates with my observation early in that post:
Human beings tend to miss out on most of their own experience, because they try to put it into words.
Quaker universalism has its historical roots in the first Friends’ practice of diving beneath the shimmering surface of beliefs into the nameless depth of the ocean of Light.
But what is “belief”?
For some, “belief” means being able to subscribe to a normative set of doctrinal statements. As a Lutheran teenager, I was able to confirm publicly that all of my conscious understanding of Jesus could be summed up in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and so on.
For others, “belief” refers to a wordless certainty arising from inner experience, a Knowingness/No-Thing-ness, to use Katie’s poetry. As an adult Quaker, I am certain inwardly that Jesus—both the historical man and the sacred archetype—is the perfect type of human being who shepherds me through life, yet I cannot confirm this publicly, because it is experimental knowledge, not conceptual knowledge.
In your own usage, what do you understand the term “belief” to meaning? What different meanings might it have?
Is “belief” something which must be agreed to? Is it something to be experienced in a way which transcends the possibility of agreement?
How do notions of “belief” and of “universalism” come into play with each other?