Aims of the Nontheist Friends Network
The Network’s aim is to provide a forum and supportive framework for Friends who regard religion as a human creation. We want to ensure that our Religious Society of Friends is an inclusive rather than an exclusive Society. We seek to explore theological and spiritual diversity and their practical implications, in respectful acceptance of different views, experiences and journeys.
“Quakers do not share a fixed set of beliefs.
Our unity is based on a shared practice of worship, not on our beliefs all being the same. There is no need to be in unity with Quakers on every issue in order to be part of our meetings.
Many people have a personal understanding of God; often this is based on Christian teachings, or on other religious traditions. Other people are aware of or seek a spiritual environment but would not define it further. Quakers are no different!
There is a great diversity within the Quakers on conceptions of God, and we use different kinds of language to describe religious experience. Some Quakers have a conception of God which is similar to that of orthodox Christians, and would use similar language. Others are happy to use God-centred language, but would conceive of God in very different terms to the traditional Christian trinity. Some describe themselves as agnostics, or nontheists, and describe their experiences in ways that avoid the use of the word God entirely.
Quaker faith is built on experience, and Quakers would generally hold that it is the spiritual experience which is central to Quaker worship, and not the use of a particular form of words (whether that be ‘God’ or anything else.”
The above statement was published on the website of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain www.quaker.org.uk during 2013 to describe a Quaker approach to belief, language, and experience. We are glad to reproduce it here, as it confirms that the perspectives of the Nontheist Friends Network has an accepted place in British Quakerism, as a Listed Informal Group of Britain Yearly Meeting.
Update 30 March 2018 (Good Friday).
Interestingly an almost identical text appears on the website of Baltimore Yearly Meeting and BYM Net today. It looks as if one BYM copied and pasted from the other BYM but we don’t know in which direction!
This Nontheist Quakers web site has been created to provide British Quakers who may consider themselves to be atheist, agnostic, or nontheist with a readily accessible source of information about this interesting and growing strand of liberal Quakerism.