Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Seeking Quakers

As a follow up to my last blog and to provide a reason I chose SeekerQuaker as the name for this blog,  I would like to share a couple of statements made by Arthur Eddington in his 1929 Swarthmore lectures titled "Science and the Unseen World."  My attitude toward a "sureness" of what the Bible teaches or what early Friends meant is based on a seeking which I believe reflects "continuing revelation." I distrust those who proclaim that they Know what the Bible means and if we would just read the Bible the way they read it, we would know the Truth. Likewise the Truth of the early Friends is "walking the walk" in the here and now as WE, not I, are led. The "truths" of Dalton's atomic theory are now much different that he proposed and many would say he was "wrong." However, the more we uncover about the atom the more we still don't know the "Truth" about the atom but Dalton clearly was setting us on the "way to the truth" about atoms and their relationship to the physical world.  In the same manner, I believe the Old Testament, New Testament, the testimony of early Friends, and the testimony of the countless others that travel the way established by the "Giants that went before" is the Way to Truth. Nevertheless unless we travel that "living path" for ourselves, the past does not guarantee that we shall know the truth.

"In its early days our Society owed much to a people who called themselves Seekers; they joined us in great numbers and were prominent in the spread of Quakerism. It is a name which must appeal strongly to the scientific temperament.  The name has died out, but I think that the spirit of seeking is still the prevailing one in our faith, which for that reason is not embodied in any creed or formula"

"Rejection of creed is not inconsistent with being possessed by a living belief. We have no creed in science, but we are not lukewarm in our beliefs. The belief is not that all the knowledge of the universe that we hold so enthusiastically will survive in the letter; but a sureness that we are on the road. If our so-called facts are changing shadows, they are shadows cast by the light of constant truth. So too in religion we are repelled by that confident theological doctrine which has settled for all generations just how the spiritual world is worked; but we need not turn aside from the measure of light that comes into our experience showing us a Way through the unseen world.  Religion for the conscientious seeker is not all a matter of doubt and self-questionings.  There is a kind of sureness which is very different from cocksureness."

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