Have any of you tested out the “Belief-O-Matic” on the BeliefNet website yet? If not, you should, it’s loads of fun discovering what you (apparently) believe about God, the origin of the world, suffering and a whole host of other things. If you haven’t had your theology good and mixed up in a while, take the Belief-0-Matic for a spin and you can be just as confused about yourself as I am about me!
Here’s my top 5:
1. Orthodox Quaker (100)
2. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (86)
3. Seventh Day Adventist (85)
4. Eastern Orthodox (84)
5. Roman Catholic (84)
Here is what I, as the good Orthodox Quaker that I am, apparently believe. As I read through it, I’m left scratching my head at some things. (ie, my take on Creation is quite a bit more complicated than that and all this talk of “Divine Light” sort of creeps me out.) Now that I know what my true religious orientation is, I can finally pursue my lifelong dream of producing and selling my own brand of hand-churned butter!
Belief in Deity
There is a Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty. God is personal and incorporeal.
Jesus Christ is God’s only incarnation. God is manifest within all as the light. Jesus possessed the light to the highest degree and is “the Light” within.
Origin of Universe and Life
The most orthodox Quakers hold to the authority of the Bible, and the book of Genesis–that God created all in less than seven days and less that 10,000 years ago. But many would maintain that a biblical “day” is not a literal 24 hours.
Most orthodox Quakers believe in direct reward and punishment, heaven and hell, the second coming of Christ, and resurrection of the dead (similar to conservative Christian view).
Some Orthodox Quakers adhere to similar beliefs as conservative Christians–belief in original sin and Satan. Many believe that lack of awareness of God’s divine light within, or rebellion against it, is the cause of wrongdoing, and that alienation from God leaves one vulnerable to temptation or Satan.
Some Friends (the formal name of the group) churches include rites of baptism and communion, but sacraments to God are most often considered to arise from inward experiences, a personal encounter with God, rather than church ritual. Salvation is found internally through union with Christ, the divine Light within all. Many Quaker churches, e.g. evangelical, believe similarly to Conservative Protestant, that salvation is a free gift from God, with faith, independent of good works. Yet moral behavior and good works are viewed as essential to showing faith and obedience to God. Good works, such as humanitarian service, social justice, and peace efforts, are an expression of Christian love. Simplicity and humility are viewed as essential to living a Christian life.
The most orthodox Quakers maintain that Satan causes suffering. Suffering is allowed by God as part of His divine will and plan. Quakers focus on reducing human suffering, especially that caused by social injustice or violence.
Social-betterment programs and nonviolence are fundamental to Quakerism. Some Orthodox Quaker churches are very accepting of homosexuality, and others condemn it as contrary to God’s will.