On Friday, April 24, the Religious Diversity Series hosted a speaker, Barbara Farley, on Quakerism.
Ms. Farley has been involved with the Society of Friends for over 20 years. She explained that the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or just Friends, was founded in England in the 17th century as a Christian religious denomination. Unlike many other groups that emerged within Christianity, the Religious Society of Friends has tended away from creeds, and away from strict hierarchical structure. The various branches have widely divergent beliefs and practices, but the central concept to most Friends is the presence of God within everyone. Accordingly, Quakers may develop individual religious beliefs arising from their personal conscience and from revelation. Pennsylvania Quakers tend to avoid evangelism, but welcome everyone, whatever their background. Quakers are perhaps most known and respected for their pacifist doctrine, espousing non-violent conflict resolution and serving in times of war as conscientious objectors.
Today many Quakers feel their faith does not fit within traditional Christian categories, but is another way of experiencing God. Although most Quakers today recognize Quakerism as a Christian movement, a few Friends are affiliated with other religions, or consider themselves universalist, agnostic, atheist, secular humanist, or do not accept any religious label.
The talk was attended by sixteen members of the campus community, who participated in a lively question-and-answer period following the main presentation.
The Religious Diversity Series is sponsored by the Campus Environment Team (CET).