Quakerism Re-visited – Part 1: Did God Exist Before Man?

Let’s open up the new series with a BANG! This question was posed to my Quaker mentor, Philip Gulley, not too long ago. In an article he wrote several years before this recent question, his answer was “yes”. In response to that same question posed recently, he said “no”. The point of starting this series with this question is to illustrate that our spiritual beliefs evolve over our lifetime. My study into Quakerism here on RJsCorner started thirteen years ago. When I read those posts recently, it amazed me that several Quaker observations back then, I no longer hold as firmly to today.

I will be getting into more details about this particular question in a future post. For now, let’s move on to something else. I have always treated RJsCorner as a public journal that is in addition to my private journal that I have kept most of my life. One of the things that is so revealing to me is to go back ten years or further to see how my thoughts have evolved. I often amaze myself how naive I was when I penned those words. But, maybe it was more uninformed ignorance rather than naivety.

I will admit that since I was kicked out of a Lutheran Church twelve years ago for not believing, among other things, that the earth was only 6,000 years old, I have opened up my heart and mind to other possibilities. Some of those possibilities would likely have gotten me hanged, instead of just shown the door, if they had occurred a few hundred years ago.

But maybe the most fundamental reason for this new series tracks back to a quote from Mr. Gulley in his “Christianity 101” series that is still ongoing.

It totally exasperates me just how far so many versions of Christianity have moved toward Christian nationalism, and away from good theology.

I hope you enjoy this new series and vow to keep an open mind to things that might make you feel uncomfortable. But, I will clue you in on why I am so enamored with Quakerism is that it allows, and even encourages, everyone one of us to see the light of God in ourselves. When you allow that light to shine through, you will indeed find peace beyond what you realized you could obtain.

2 thoughts on “Quakerism Re-visited – Part 1: Did God Exist Before Man?

  1. I don’t think that question ever came into my head as a child, but I do know that that by the time I was 22 I understood that we create God in our own image, not the other way around. I recall the year – 1971 as my wife-to-be chose husband and wife christian pastor friends who were living in Japan at the time to officiate at our wedding, and they wanted to understand where each of us stood in our beliefs. The wife was essentially Shinto with a little Buddhism added for good measure, while I at that time considered myself to be “religiously agnostic with a sympathetic leaning towards liberal Christianity”.

    I know Quaker meetings come in several forms in the US, from Christocentric evangelical programmed meetings to liberal unprogrammed meetings, but here there’s only one – liberal unprogrammed meetings. I didn’t know Quakers existed until several years later when they sought out my wife to act as a translator between them and a group of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors who came to plant a tree in the Friends Peace Garden located in the city where we lived. In my contact with them then I realised I at heart a Quaker in belief and practice.

    It would be almost a decade and move to another town before I gained the courage to become involved with Friends. I wish I had had the courage to be involved sooner because as soon as I attended my first meeting I felt like I had come home. I can only put my timidity down to a fear of rejection – something that occurs to often when I try to join with neurotypical communities. It’s not something that I’ve experienced amongst Friends.


    1. Thanks for your story, Barry. I am counting on you to keep me straight in this new series. One reason I started this re-visit is because I am thinking that I too just might join a Quaker congregation. I hope I can also put my fears to rest and just do it.

      Liked by 1 person

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