There are many answers to this question. Some might be the following.
- Believe that every person has a spark of God’s own spirit and love
- Base their faith on their own lived experience.
- Appreciate that there is a great diversity of understandings about God. Some Quakers have a conception of God which is similar to that of orthodox Christians, and would use similar language. Others are happy to use God-centred language, but would conceive of God in very different terms to the traditional Christian trinity. Some describe themselves as agnostics, or humanists, or non-theists and describe their experiences without using the word God entirely.
- Worship in silence.
- See every person as a minister; all members share responsibility for worship and for pastoral care.
- Consider that every moment and every occasion can be a time of special closeness with God
- Work actively for peace in every area of life, from the family to international relations
- Believe in telling the truth at all times, no matter what the cost
- Try to live simply, out of respect for the needs of others and the environment, and out of a desire to keep in touch with what is really important.
- Believe that some people are created “good” and that other people are “naturally” bad.
- Believe that truth can be found in any one book, or set of words.
- Share a fixed set of beliefs. Our unity is based on shared understanding and a shared practice of worship, not on our beliefs all being the same.
- Require people to sign or agree to a creed or statement of belief as a condition for membership.
- Ordain ministers to organise our worship.
- Serve communion or practice other special sacraments such as baptism, confession, etc.
- Require you to be a Quaker to worship with us at one of our meetings. Quaker meetings are open to all.
- Decide church business by voting; there is no “majority” or “minority” in a Quaker meeting. If the meeting is not united on a decision, Friends wait and pray until they are united
- Seek to convert anybody; it has never been a part of what we do.
- Take oaths in court, or take any kind of loyalty oath or pledge of allegiance