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종교 탐방

 The Inner Light

definition from
Quaker History Archive

Trust in the Inner Light is the distinctive theme of Quakerism. The Light should not be confused with conscience or reason; it is rather that of God in everyone, which allows human beings an immediate sense of God's presence and will for them. It thus informs conscience and redirects reason. The experience of hearkening to this inner Guide is mystical, but also practical. Meetings to worship God and await her/his word are essential to Quaker faith and practice. Although the inward seed can work in a solitary person, Friends do not meditate in isolation. It is in the pregnant silence of the meeting of true waiters and worshipers that the Spirit speaks.

The importance of the Inner Light to the Society
- a panel from the Quaker Tapestry

Sometimes there are few messages to be heard, and sometimes there are altogether silent meetings. Although these are spiritually beneficial to the participants, ideally someone has reached a new understanding that demands to be proclaimed. She or he - for it has always been important to Friends for women to have equality in worship - speaks or prays and thus ministers to the meeting, which weighs this "testimony" by its own experiences of God. Friends have historically rejected a formal or salaried clergy as a "hireling ministry." If God can provide his own living testimony, the Bible and the learning necessary to read it can take a subordinate place, and creeds and outward sacraments can be dispensed with altogether. But despite their emphasis on silent waiting and their historical distrust of "creaturely" activity, Friends are no more accustomed to passive than to solitary meditation. Often the "opening" of the Inner Light is a "concern" for the sufferings of others and a mandate laid upon the conscience to take action to alleviate that suffering. Such concerns typically are laid before a meeting and thoroughly considered; there must be a consensus for any corporate action. But slow as such action sometimes is, Friends have taken the lead in opposing slavery, brutality in prisons and insane asylums, oppression of women, militarism, and war.


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This page was last modified 2001/09/27