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Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 04 May 2018
by ex-l
An interesting sign of the times, the Quakers are considering dropping "God" from their meetings.

The Quakers (or Friends) are members of a historically Christian group called 'the Religious Society of Friends' or Friends Church that started in mid-17th-century England. The movement arose from dissenting Protestant groups who wanted to break away from the established Church of England. Many of the early Quaker ministers were women. Their message stressed the importance of a direct relationship with God and the universal priesthood of all believers, they emphasized a personal and direct religious experience of God.

Persecuted by the Establishment, they became a highly positive and progressively liberal community that valued human rights, education, social reform and the arts.
The Quakers are right. We don’t need God by Simon Jenkins.

At their annual get-together this weekend Quaker religious leaders are reportedly thinking of dropping God from their “guidance to meetings”. The reason, said one of them, is because the term “makes some Quakers feel uncomfortable”.

Atheists, according to a Birmingham University academic, comprise a rising 14% of professed Quakers, while a full 43% felt “unable to profess a belief in God”. They come to meetings for fellowship, rather than for higher guidance.

The articles goes on to say that only a dwindling 40% of Britons claim to believe in some form of God, while a third say they are atheists, leaving over a quarter in a state of vaguely agnostic “spirituality” ... the BKs' targetted marketplace.

Part of the Quaker practise is the experience of standing up and expressing doubts, fears and joys amid a company of “friends”, who respond only with their private silence. The therapy is that of shared experience.
Clear God from the room, and the Quakers are indeed on to something.

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 04 May 2018
by ex-l
The article draws other observations from the relationship between it and orthodox church that equally apply in parallel to BKism. In the following, I am adapting what the author has written to BKism ...
If ex-BKs now find God “uncomfortable” I can hear cries from the BKs' guddhi (their teachers' thrones) that discomfort is the point of life in this day and age ... and BKism.

Comfort is only to be found in the afterlife, and the Golden Age to come, and marketing it has been the BKs' unique selling proposition. It is a con.

What is not a con is humanity’s quest for comfort in the here and now, for therapy in the widest sense of the word.

The article observes how grand cathedrals and religious meetings places
offer more than an emotional Accident & Emergency units. They offer places so uplifting that anyone can find it in themselves to sit, think, clear their heads and order their thoughts. There is no need for gods or religion to rest and be refreshed.

Which is an observation I have held for a long time about BKism and their obsession with the aquisition of grand or stylish property, even multi-million dollar 'Palladian Mansions' with sculptured lands (such as Oxford Retreat Centre), despite the irrationalness of doing so - and the commandment in their own scriptures not to do so - when all of the world is supposed to be destroyed in "two to three years".

In short, 99% of it is just the building, and sitting quietly with other nice people.

See also the variety of opinions and experiences; Quakers and God. One of the big difference between the Quakers and the BKs is that within Quakerism, questioning and the expression of doubt is encouraged, whereas in BKism it is all about unquestioning conformity to their beliefs.

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 05 May 2018
by GuptaRati 6666
The Quakers have a right for any reformation in their theology. Personally, God is real and the spirit world is also real. I never walked away from God and spirituality after leaving the BKs; I embraced both even more.

For me, it does not matter what are discovered by myself and my colleagues in medicine and science. BKism provided me with some basic elementary knowledge on spirituality and wisdom; I am grateful to them. However, I came to BKism with an opened third eye.

There is God and the God-spirit. My respect for the God-spirit does not mean I will not spare the BKs on many of the follies while transcending hypocrisy. There are no plans in the future for me returning to BKism. I am an ex-BK, however, I refuse to attach other sub-labels some of my Brothers and Sisters have pasted on themselves to increase the distance between themselves and BKism.

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 05 May 2018
by Pink Panther
God and spirit are but words and sub-labels too.

They mean nothing without subjective projections and personal qualifiers. You can’t say that about a rock. OK, you can, but not within the realm of common human experience.

Of the thousands of gods that existed in human history - all very real to their devotees at the time, most are forgotten, the rest considered ”myth”.

A spirited child is not possessed by ghosts or dogmas, merely by the passion for life, while a spiritual university seems to be possessed by nothing but the spirit of self-aggrandisement and ghosts of what might have been.

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 05 May 2018
by ex-l
Pink Panther wrote:God and spirit are but words and sub-labels too ... They mean nothing without subjective projections and personal qualifiers.

Was that a subjective projection and personal qualifier too? Would being so sure not mean you knew everything in the cosmo and beyond?

I don't know ...

On the subject of god and gods, humanity appears divided between,
    "All Gods are One God ... and My God" at one end, and
    "There are many Gods ... you can have yours and I can have mine" (or gods for different jobs) at the other
with a subculture of beliefs in unseen worlds and beings all around us all the time all around them.

The latter is a Hindu approach, the BKs appear to have adopted the former - and the very hierarchial, pyramid structure of power, from Islam or Christianity; "One God, Our God, One Adminstration".

I cannot see or feel their god, perhaps any god therefore I am just more conscious and concerned about what I can see, eg the BK God's worldly business managers and their management and social structures.

Is your god the same god as the BK god, Guptarati?
Is the BK god the same as the Christian or Islamic god?

Are many of the demi-BKs or revisionary Western BK not in the same boat as these Quakers where their "god" has dies for them but they want to hold on to the people element of the religion?

Who can tell ... it's all a question of belief and faith, is not? It's just what you are doing, what you have refused to do and be part of, is the use of a god to dominate, control and exploit others.

The point about the Quakers was not so much to challenge a separate and objective existence of God, their god, or 'the gods' ... but more to observe how what is most important to people is community. That the community ... and not the hierachies religions build on top of them to mine and extract power and wealth and manipulate ... is the valuable thing for them.

On the forum somewhere, I posted once about a novel that explored the idea of "where the old gods go to die", a desert of wandering spirits who withered like hungry spirits according to how few followers prayed for them until they finally shrivelled up and died. I cannot remember the name of it, it was quite peotic and descriptive of what is going on, but I did find, "ANCIENT GODS: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?]" by one Hannah M. G. Shapero] that explores a similar idea.

It's true, there have been 1,000s of Gods that have all "died" therefore, overwhelmingly, it is statistically likely that the BK god spirit or spirits will die too. Likely they were just mostly individual and group projections and manipulations ... egregores ... but, on the other hand, I'd leave the door open to there being the potential of unseen elements.

Who knows ... who can tell ... too many people claim to have had encounters to dismiss the idea entirely.

Perhaps the gods are just another endangered species, like the lions, rhinos and even the common sparrow, being killed off by all the noise and pollution of modern industry and society.

I'd say there are two clearer groups of human beings with relationship to the gods;
    those that make money, time and energy off them, and
    those who lose money, time and energy to them.
If you are going to choose a god to live with, choose a free and friendly one, without any bad history. It's just like dating ... before you jump into bed with a god, check out their friends and what they do for a living.

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 05 May 2018
by Pink Panther
ex-l wrote:Was that a subjective projection and personal qualifier too?

If we say ”rock” or "tree” everyone with normal faculties knows what we are talking about, and they’d all describe it in similar ways, regardless of which religion, culture, time in history they existed. God and spirit are quite different.

Even within the same religion, each person has a different view of the god worshipped. BKs are no different. For Janki and many of the senior ’Sisters’ , Brahma and Shiva are one, not to be divided - in the same way that Christians hold the Trinity as three in one, whereas for many senior Brothers, they’ve explicitly said they see them as quite distinct and their ‘Yoga’ is only with Shiva. I know the point of subjectivity was made and understood, but I needed to respond.
Perhaps the gods are just another endangered species

If a species that was thought extinct is rediscovered (like the bird species recently rediscovered in WA), it was not because the person who found it started to believe it existed and made it live again. There are many who believe that Thylocenes (Tasmanian Tigers) could still exist and have been hunting for evidence, but their belief has not made it so, after decades. There is talk however of possibly cloning them from the remains of the last specimens from the 1930s.

There are those who resurrect the worship of ancient gods, pagans, druids, Wicca, and in Greece there’s a movement that again worship the Olympian gods, reviving the rituals as best as they can based on fragments of ancient texts. But are they the same gods come back to life? I cannot see how they could be exactly, given the different knowledge and mentality of 21st century people. And what I've read, they do see them as symbols and archetypes, which was blasphemy back in the day, enough to get Socrates executed!

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 05 May 2018
by ex-l
Pink Panther wrote:There are those who resurrect the worship of ancient gods, pagans, druids, Wicca, and in Greece ...

I did not know about Greece but, yes, there is an equivalent movement going on with the Nordic gods too ... which in the 1990s led to a fairly dramatic fashion of burning down Christian churches and, it has to be admitted, has become tied up with White identity or the White Supremacist movement in the USA aka "Nordics" ... (even Trump invoked their sentiments in one of his early speeches on immigration).

Another case of the gods being made in human likeness.

Shame really because by their myths, the Nordic god were more cool, more colourful, and more playful. Along with all the sex, drinking and gloriious battling.

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 05 May 2018
by GuptaRati 6666

you have asked me a great question and it is a question I have asked myself many times beginning at day one of my journey along the BK path.

Initially, I was unable to answer the question. Less than 10 years on the BK path, my spirit guides and other entities helped me with the answer.

There is a difference of God Almighty and the BK god, at least for me. The difference for me has been demonstrated in visions and clearing up of blind spots in my third eye. I have always felt the presence of spirit guides and God or the Great Spirit in my life. I have been able to distinguish between my spirit guides and the Great Spirit.

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 06 May 2018
by ex-l
I think it is very much the key question to ask oneself.

I've never denied BKs have "experiences" (I do question the ultimate influence or benefit of them).

I won't deny the possibility that there is some kind of supernatural influence within BKism ... however that might be understood (I do question how enlightened "it" might be, or whether it is ultimately benign).

For me, true "spirituality" - an evolved or skilful state of humanness - should be as crisp and clear as light. True "spirituality" should not be smokey and deceptive and manipulative or even conditional. I don't except the ultimate acceptability of the idea one can "trick" and lie and cajole others into them becoming better. Nor to sell them services of cleaning their karma and collect a commission on it.

Yes, I suppose at a lower level of human organisation, of tribal building and leading, tricking and cajoling and story telling might be the primary way of guiding ... and that's a big 'perhaps' on my behalf ... but sure beyond a certain point of human evolution, honesty, clarity and reason must take over ... followed by higher degrees of pure altruism on behalf of the god spirit, guide or guru?

And absolutely no to the most audacious idea that BKism, and the teachings and influences of the BK god spirit/s or guru/s are either the highest on earth, or that they have the monopoly on the highest teachings or a "One God of all".

If it is wrong to lie, if karma exists and it is bad karma to tell outright lies for the sake of self interest, surely misrepresenting oneself as having a monoply over "God" and "truth" must actually be the worst degree of falsehood?

There is a Biblical quote ...
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I gave up childish ways.

In our context, referring to the persistent infantilisation of adult BKs, ie the constant references to childhood and dependence on parent gods, I actually think it is back to front and should be something like ...
When I was a spiritual child, I spoke like a spiritual child, I thought like a spiritual child, I reasoned like a child.

In order to became a spiritual adult, I must give up such childish ways.

When we think of childhood, we think of innocence and naivety. However, I don't think the BK inner circle, and certainly Lekhraj Kirpalani, are innocent and naive. I think they know very well what they are doing and did it consciously, and they continue to do so to excesses because they feed off it and it sustains their egos.

Therefore, I tend to think that is the ultimate nature of their spiritual guides ... that they too are feeding off them. I am proposing it is a parastic pyramid (noting that being a parastic pyramid does not exclude some symbiotic benefit to the parties involved ... but that it is a parastic pyramid that is increasingly feeding off the rest of society).

Re: Quakers considering dropping "God" from their meetings

PostPosted: 07 May 2018
by GuptaRati 6666
Ex-I, your ideas are well taken. I must reiterate that upon leaving BKism, I continued on the spiritual path.