The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Friends take it for granted that the inner being of everyone is illuminated by divine presence as promised in John 14: "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth...You will know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." This is the idea of the "Inner Light" or "the Christ Within." The reality of this living Presence in the world and in people--"that of God" in every human being--lies at the very center of the Quaker faith. Our religion is not based on a creed or required beliefs, but upon living our lives in harmony with that Spirit which is the basis of all life.
The certain knowledge of this inner presence has led us to understand that all people, regardless of race or religion or sex or age or economic station are valuable to God beyond our human understanding. Each human life is so filled with possibility that we cannot condone institutions or actions that destroy or diminish any soul. Our testimonies for Peace, Simplicity, Equality, and Truth-telling are all rooted in this simple religious insight. Friends seek to live these traditional testimonies in their day-to-day lives.
Because we are ordinary people, we learn to listen to God's guiding voice and value the support of others on the way. In meeting for worship we seek to find God's guidance for living. There is no paid minister. The gathered group depends utterly upon the Spirit of God for direction and leadership. We meet in the faith that His Spirit is available and can be known by all. We share with one another the insights, teachings and inner leadings of the Holy Spirit within us. We have no outward sacraments or rituals because we believe that every aspect of life is sacred, and that the sacramental experience is, and should remain, an inner experience.