I know some Quakers who consider themselves atheists which seems odd since they are members of the RELIGIOUS Society of Friends," as the official name of Quakers is (cap.s added). I would say that I, a current and lifelong Friend, or Quaker, do not believe in a "supreme being" or many other things people define God as. I believe in God as anything and everything that is beautiful, awesome, life-giving, life enriching, and/or life promoting, such as kindness, patience, beauty, science, art, and of course love. Early Quakers did make the mistake of rejecting such things as music and art seeing them just as distractions from divine truth. As Alain de Botton has found beautiful, artful things a useful source of inspiration, so have Quakers, with a little time. As The School of Life finds lessons and helpful truths in many places, so does anyone truly in search of and open to finding God. It is unfortunate that anyone thinks the choice is a narrow one between believing in God as very specifically and narrowly defined by a single tribe or organization or rejecting God entirely. Help is where you find it, and to the extent that we all find sources of comfort, strength, and guidance in many places God is real, whether you call it God or not. However, it is not an easy thing to be a human or to find the strength and direction we need, and it helps to work at this with others, in community, using or at least trying out some well-tested practices and reminders of what really makes life good. That is what organized religion should be about. Unfortunately, things like greed, lust, arrogance, wrath, etc. too often cause people to misuse power, so organizations which give certain individuals more power than others, as religious organizations have tended to do, run the risk of falling into imbalance and corruption. Quakers have avoided creating positions of power, recognizing all individuals' access to a continuously revealed divine truth-- but it ain't easy being a Quaker. So what are people really looking for?
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