"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony
I saw this quote on a friend's FB status today and thought about how oddly appropriate it is. I've known WAY too many people who claim to know what God wants them to do, and yet, it's not even close to what the Bible, the book they supposedly follow, tells them to do.
It's kind of odd this quote comes up now, too. Justin and I have been looking at the Quakers a lot recently, even to the point where we may go to a Meeting. Now before you freak out and wonder what the hell has happened to me, let me explain. I'm not becoming a Christian all of a sudden. You don't have to be a Christian to be a Quaker. Any Meeting we went to would have to be a (very) liberal Meeting. As far as I've read, you don't have to accept Jesus as the son of God, The Spirit On Earth, and your Lord and Savior. You simply need to believe he existed in a historic context. I think I can do that, and honestly, that's as far as I think I can go. I'm sure there was a guy (or guys, or guys and gals) who did a lot of the stuff the Bible claims Jesus did and said at some point in the distant past. Beyond that, there's just not enough evidence. One book that has been translated and retranslated over the past almost 2000 years and most of which wasn't written till at best 100 years after Jesus died is not a credible source. Single source analysis is faulty and wrong. There's no record of him outside the Bible. (Accept it, people.)
So why the Quakers? I'm not sure. Maybe because I see them as the Western form of Buddhism? They're a very thinking sort of group. I've also found that most of the people I really admire from history are Quakers. They value personhood, and finding your own path over what other people tell you to be..... and for those of you who know me well, you know I do what I want when I want and if I'm hell bent, there's not much chance of stopping me- only delaying while I find a way around you. They value personal reflection and silence in worship (gah, that word gives me the willies- fucking fundies and their horrid use of it. They've tainted that word forever). I absolutely despise big, loud organized church sermons. Hate them. I've always felt that God knows what's in your heart. You don't need an intermediary, or someone to tell you what he thinks today. I'm perfectly capable of reading, thanks, and if I want to look something up in the Bible (no it really doesn't happen- I generally ask Justin. He's a font of knowledge- I'm also lazy. You all know that. Plus he has the Bible practically memorized.), I can do it on my own. I don't need someone else's interpretation coloring mine till I'm ready to ask an opinion.
Then there's the social justice and pacifism aspect. Quakers fight for equality. Period. It goes with the concept of personhood. Since I'm a little commie at heart (seriously), it appeals to me. I also don't care for unnecessary violence. I know that sounds weird, since I have, in fact, threatened to rip people's heads off. But if you think about it, it's always someone who's harmed me first, and it's always equitable. I don't take it to scorched earth unless the situation warrants. That may be outside the Quaker philosophy, but hey.... we all have our crosses, right?
So there you go. I'm not quite as ready as Justin to go to Meeting, but I think I want to read more about it and see what it's all about. It's as worthy as any other religion, and much more worthy than many others I can think of *cough*fundies*cough*eveangelicals*cough*.