chapter  7
14 Pages

Mental Illness, Ignorance, or Sin? Perceptions of Modern Liberal Friends

ByMargery Post Abbott

The Yearly Meetings encompassed under the phrase 'liberal Friends' have members who are Jewish, Buddhist, or evangelically Christian, as well as ones who find any religion objectionable. These Friends, who are liberal both theologically and politically, include almost all European, Australian, and New Zealand Friends, but constitute perhaps a quarter of North American Quakerism. Little systematic study has been done of modern liberal Friends and much of what has been done explores their form of worship out of expectant silence. Although there are occasional volumes of systematic Quaker theology, Friends have more often relied over the centuries on published personal journals of leading individuals as a means of transmitting their faith. The historic Quaker rejection of creeds is strongly affirmed by liberal Friends, and matters of belief are left largely to the individual. The nature of 'salvation' is one of the more intractable points of disagreement between evangelical and liberal Friends.