Godless for God's Sake
On May 28, 2011 At 1:53 pm
Responses : 5 Comments
The problem with Quakers is that they don't have a creed, so you can't really say what they believe. In recent years a number of Quakers have declared themselves to be "non-theists" or atheists. And yet all Quakers share in Meeting For Worship so how can you worship a god you don't believe in? Perhaps part of the answer lies in the origin of the word worship: "worth" ship – that which is "worthy of our attention".
For Quakers worthy of attention are values like equality, honesty, simplicity, pacemaking, open-mindedness. If you spend Meeting for Worship reflecting on these are you not "worshiping"? As the apostle Paul said: "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8) (of course, Paul lacked Jesus' subversive edge, which lies at the heart of Quakerism). In fact Quakers do many different things during Meeting for Worship – as it is mainly silent we rarely know how others are using that precious hour.
Non-theists don't believe in a supernatural being who intervenes in our lives, granting some prayers, denying others. Neither do they believe that Jesus was divine in a different sense than any other human being. However some non-theists will have have experiences in their lives that other folk think of as being "of God". In fact, there are probably as many definitions of non-theism are the are non-theists. Perhaps that is why "Godless for God's sake was published. This little book is a collection of essays, edited by David Boulton, whose own contribution is one of the clearest. I found the collection of short essays at the end of the book very useful in helping me sort out my own beliefs.
Although the book was published with Quakers in mind, it is relevant to all who are seeking, whether theists or non-theists,
Godless for God's Sake is available from Amazon ISBN 0-9511578-6-8