Quakers/Guns

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hi
What is Quaker view on owning and carrying guns? Not for hunting but for sport shooting and others.
Thank you

ANSWER: Alvin, Thank you for your question.

I'm a Quaker. But I'm sorry, I don't know the difference between hunting and sport shooting. I thought that hunting was a sport.

Quakers are opposed to bearing arms because that provides the possibility of using them in violent ways toward people. Harming or killing a person is wrong, period.

Quaker views (technically called testimonies) are arrived at through many years of worship and discernment. Quakers consider their testimonies as coming from the Divine, from God, not from thinking, feeling, or guessing.

I hope this brief answer has helped. Please feel free to submit follow up questions, if needed.

David Spector


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the answer.
If a Quaker own a gun would they will expell from the group?

Also is Quaker a christian religion? Can one be a Quaker and member of another religion?

Thank you

Alvin

ANSWER: Thanks, Alvin, for your followup question.

Just owning a gun would not be grounds for expulsion, even if expulsion were still practiced, as it was in the 1700s. Each situation would be considered on its own merits. Even in the 1700s, someone wearing a sword would have been tolerated for some period of time, so that they could have an opportunity to think deeply about what it means to them to wear it, and to possibly use it when being attacked or when attacking another. It would have been expected that such a person would eventually be touched by the holy spirit of God, so that their heart would be transformed and their external behavior would then reflect their new and more peaceful heart.

Quakerism was initially, in the 1600s, founded by George Fox out of his discernment that the Christians of his time were not actually living according to the principles or spirit of Jesus Christ. Fox was a preacher who knew the Bible intimately. However, he was also a mystic who spoke with God directly in his heart. For this and other reasons, the Church in England at that time opposed the Quakers, and in the next century many Quakers died for their beliefs, usually at the hands of establishment Christians.

Today, most people consider Quakerism (the Society of Friends) as a small branch of Christianity. But Quakers themselves consider themselves as more universal and true Christians, who are so tolerant of other beliefs that members of other religions may continue their association while also being considered Quakers. I have personally known Quakers who were also Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, atheists, nontheists, Catholics, Baptists, and many others. These members of other religions (or no religion) were fully accepted as Quakers because they themselves considered themselves to be Quakers.

David Spector

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi David
Thanks for your answer.
I always like quakerism because of their beliefs in social justice and liberalism.
Do Quakers have any beiefs in the afterlife?
Do Quakers use other holy books instead of the Bible?
Thank you
Alvin

Answer
Alvin, I've changed this posting to Public so others can read these answers.

Yes, social justice activism is one of our testimonies, along with peace, integrity/honesty, fellowship/community, and equality of all people.

No, Quakers have no testimony concerning an afterlife, since there is little evidence for or against. God has never discussed this topic with us, so far as I am aware. Of course, individual Quakers may have such beliefs, as we welcome everyone to join us. We do not try to change anyone.

Although corporate worship (worship by two or more people) is the cornerstone of our practice, we have the highest regard for individual leadings and discernment. We do not think much of beliefs that have no sense or justification.

Yes, individual Quakers use many books in their spiritual work. But as a group, the only book other than the Bible that is well known is our own summary of Quaker procedures, called "Faith and Practice" (and various songbooks, for those who enjoy singing).

David Spector

Quakers

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


David Spector

Expertise

I can answer questions about Quakerism and the Religious Society of Friends from a Universalist (non-Evangelical, unprogrammed) point of view, particularly questions about Quaker religious practice.

Experience

I have been a practicing Friend since approximately 1998 and have been active in attending and helping to organize Friends' activities, such as retreats run by our Meeting.

Organizations I belong to
I am a member of Friends Meeting at Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA).

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.