The Raw Side of Quakerism?

The Raw Side of Quakerism?

The Indianapolis Star Newspaper, Faith and Values Section, asked three local religious leaders the same question. Two replies were predictable but one reply from a Quaker was startling.

Question: Should older values be defended or is it time to adopt new values reflecting the changing dynamics of modern families?

The Star asked this question in the past, and the replies were essentially no different. We must respect the wisdom of the past as stated in the scriptures and yet be open to new values as long as they are not contradictory to the old. These are BS non-answers that avoid the intent of the question.

Maybe the Star should have been more explicit about what it meant by “older values” and “modern changing dynamics”. I’ll take a guess at what they meant. Older values pertain to fundamental/evangelical beliefs while modern changing dynamics pertains to science and reason based beliefs. Older values often consider gay marriage, abortion, and in some cases inter racial marriage, contraception, and divorce sinful. New values accept all of the above.

In my opinion the Star Newspaper wanted to know if these religious leaders felt biblical morality was superior to secular laws as stated in our Constitution. The Star invited these religious leaders to evaluate biblical social and family values and compare them to today’s values based upon social science and biological science. The Star wanted to know if children should continue to be taught anti scientific concepts about creation, medical treatment and social, racial, and gender justice? Should religious leaders continue to teach children to depend upon miracles and biblical non-science concepts of the past, or adopt new values?

As I said, the first two religious leaders paid vague tribute to both concepts, but they emphasized the old religious family values. On the other hand, the Quaker’s comments were startling to say the least. The Quaker came right to the point about it being an election year in which religious leaders and politicians have joined ranks and are waging a campaign against modernity and science. The Quaker sounded skeptical that the bible had much good to say about family values. She wrote: “The bible condones polygamy.” (King Solomon with 300 concubines and 700 wives.) The bible condones incestuous marriage. (She gives bible references about marrying within ones family to keep bloodlines pure.) “The bible encourages corporal and capital punishment for children and non-virgins. The bible condones slavery and agrees that women and children are the possessions of men.”

The Quaker leader goes on to explain some of the cultural, moral and family values of those ancient times have changed and are no longer of value today. “Some families have one parent, some have two moms, some have two dads, and some have a grandparent or guardian raising children.” She says the most important teaching to remember is, “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind…and love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Quaker leader seemed unconcerned with literal accuracy of the scriptures but very much concerned with the cruelty, barbarity, and immorality found in the bible. She disapproved of radical religion and conservative politics working together for political advantage and for a return to the good old days and the “old time religion” of their forefathers. Most Evangelicals believe that if you don’t accept a literal interpretation of the bible and conservative values you are an immoral person and a threat to social values. Evangelicals believe morality is white or black, good or bad, but no shades of gray. I must admit some hard-core atheists believe the same.

At the fear of riling up the atheist political left, I continue to sympathize with Christians who wish to maintain their Christian beliefs along with newfound scientific facts, like evolution. This makes sense to me and may be the first step toward secular humanism.

The Quaker leader’s freethinking has inspired me to find out more about the religion. I must admit I was impressed with her political and social stance and wonder if her beliefs are unique or standard.

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About cgosling

I am a retired medical/scientific illustrator who has given up illustration to write about science, superstition, and secular humanism. I consider myself all of the following: atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, freethinker, skeptic, and nature lover. I have several published books but the mass of my writing is unpublished. I write children's fiction, poetry, essays, and several plays and radio theater shows, that are available as free downloads to be used on secular podcasts and meetings. They can be heard on Indy Freethought Radio. I hope some of my writings will be of interest to like minded freethinkers who I cordially invite to respond.
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