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What faith is right for you? #2

Since I’ve done that quiz on Beliefnet, I’ve decided to break down the top ten list I got when I took it. Each post will have two religions listed.

The number 3 religion my beliefs fall into was listed as Liberal Quaker (89%).

• Belief in Deity
Diverse beliefs, from belief in a personal God as an incorporeal spirit to questioning belief in a personal God.

• Incarnations
Beliefs vary from the literal to the symbolic belief in Jesus Christ as God’s incarnation. Most believe we are all sons and daughters of God, with the main focus on experiencing and listening to God, the Light within, accessible to all.

• Origin of Universe and Life
Emphasis is placed on spiritual truths as revealed to each individual. Many believe that God created/controls all events/processes that modern scientists are uncovering about origins. Many believe in scientific accounts alone or don’t profess to know.

• After Death
Few liberal Quakers believe in direct reward and punishment, heaven and hell, or second coming of Christ. The primary focus is nondogmatic: God is love, love is eternal, and our actions in life should reflect love for all of humanity.

• Why Evil?
Beliefs vary, as the focus is not on why, but how to eliminate wrongs, especially violence. Many believe that violence against another human is violence against God. Many Quakers believe that lack of awareness of God’s divine Light within all may result in wrongdoing. Many believe that evil is simply an unfortunate part of human nature that we all must work to eliminate.

• Salvation
Beliefs are diverse, as dogma is de-emphasized. Most believe that all will be saved because God is good and forgiving, and the divine Light of God is available to all. Good works, especially social work and peace efforts, are viewed as integral to the salvation of humanity, regardless of belief or nonbelief in an afterlife.

• Undeserving Suffering
Liberal Quakers do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God’s plan, will, or design, even if we don’t immediately understand it. Some don’t believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering. Quakers focus on reducing human suffering, especially that which is caused by social injustice or violence.

• Contemporary Issues
Views vary, some maintaining that abortion violates Quaker commitment to nonviolence, but some view the right to choose abortion as an aspect of equal rights for women and/or as a personal matter between the woman and God. The American Friends Service Committee (an independent Quaker organization with participants of many faiths, which provides international programs for economic and social justice, peace, humanitarian aid) supports the woman’s right to choose abortion according to her own conscience.

The 4th religion on my list was Reform Judaism.

• Belief in Deity
Beliefs vary among adherents, including that of nonbelief or questioning belief, and all are welcome and considered personal, but the official stance is that there is one God Almighty–Creator, all-powerful, ever-present, and all knowing–formless, incorporeal spirit.

• Incarnations
None, as only God is worshipped. Moses was the greatest of all prophets.

• Origin of Universe and Life
Most believe that Genesis is to be understood symbolically. God created and controls all phenomena revealed by modern science.

• After Death
Reform Jews believe in the world to come and a messianic age (but no individual Messiah). Personal beliefs in the details of afterlife are diverse, as there is no official position. Some believe in heaven and hell but only as states of consciousness; some believe in reincarnation; some believe God is all-forgiving; and some may not believe in an actual afterlife. Regardless, Judaism generally focuses on living a virtuous life, rather than working toward reward after death.

• Why Evil?
No original sin. Most often, Satan is interpreted symbolically to represent selfish desires that are inherent within all. God gave people free will, and people are responsible for their actions.

• Salvation
The main emphasis is on living the kind of life that God commands, which will surely be rewarded if there is an afterlife. Most believe God is forgiving of all; there is no hell to which some are condemned. Salvation is achieved through faith and prayer to God, good works, concern for the earth and humanity, and behavior that does no harm to others. The extent to which one follows Jewish Law is an individual decision.

• Undeserved Suffering
God gave humans free will to feel pleasure and pain, and his purpose in allowing deep suffering of the innocent must be good even if mysterious. It is generally believed that God suffers along with the sufferer. More important than knowing why God allows suffering is to work to help those in need.

• Contemporary Issues
Judaism holds that human life begins upon first breath, and Jewish law requires abortion if necessary to save the mother’s life prior to birth. Most believe potential human life should never be terminated casually, but it is generally regarded as a personal decision, especially within the first 40 days of pregnancy. Homosexuality: Homosexuals are God’s creation, and Jewish instruction is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Reform (and Conservative) Judaism have a long history of support for homosexual rights.

Until next time….

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