Monday, November 27, 2006

A Fourth Generation Religion

Reading Stephen Dubner's book Ellie consolidated his experiences and ours and came up with this idea:

1. Call Judaism the first generation.
2. Christ (and Paul!) freed people from the toils of the law; it melded into Roman Catholicism.
3. Luther freed people from the directive authoritarianism of the Catholic church and substituted the authority of the Bible. Unfortunately Lutheranism soon became much the same in some respects; but Protestants became freer in many respects.

Christianity and Protestantism both outgrew certain vestiges of religion. But there remained (and still remain!) accretions which may or may not keep one from the Living God.

4. George Fox defied the authority of an Anglican Church that had become seedy in more respects than one. Spiritual authority does not reside in a body of law, a church establishment, or even the "word of God". It resides in the personal experience of God.

So Quakers are free, freer than those who had ceded authority to the law, the establishment, or the Bible.

"We know that Jesus said, and we know what Paul said, but what dost thou say?

Put baldly as above one might say Quakers are antinomians, but the meeting provides a minimum of group authority which hopefully keeps individuals from straying too far from the traditions that have formed us all.


I_Wonder said...

I wish I had read this last night. Thanks for the food for thought.

Laurie Kruczek said...

Meeting and clearness committees and our spouses opinions and a bunch of other stuff, too! :)

I do like this take on the 4th generation. I may have to use that one whilst convincing my pagan brother.