In here will go many articles on Quakerism.
My understanding of why Quakerism matters.
QUAKERISM is uniquely placed to maximise our benefit from SCIENCE and RELIGION. Some Quakers obscure this, but then all religions can be irresponsible even fatuous. Sadly science too has proved no reliable refuge from irresponsibility and fatuity. Three points – words, knowings and life.
WORDS. At the age of 10, I came across Isaac Pennington, an Early Quaker who wrote that over time “words would of themselves, ‘open’ unto me” – which I took to mean that meanings vary. The same word could mean different things to the same individual at different times. Since I saw this happening to me, personally, such a depth of wisdom enormously impressed me, and still does. Words such as pain, fear and intent have maximum meaning, but zero definition.
KNOWINGS. ‘Science’ is Latin for knowing – I ‘know’ the car will start when I turn the ignition key. But as Hume pointed out, the links in this chain of reasoning don’t always work. In addition, there are more such chains than you can think of, none of which has a knowable First Cause – our reasoning, our knowledge, our ‘science’ is thereby triply flawed.
LIFE. Life moves about under its own steam – quite what that ‘steam’ might be, we can never know – and in one sense, it doesn’t really matter, provided we don’t let our ignorance of it impede our enjoying it. Indeed, and this is where responsible religion trumps science – if we can develop Fear Free Zones, via trustworthy support, then we can gain as much security, stability and peace of mind as we need. Try it.
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Next follows a series of articles I wrote for The Friend, the Quaker Weekly, not all of which appeared in print.