Quaker Studies

Results from the First National Survey of Quaker Belief and Practice in Australia and Comparison with the 2013 British Survey

Quaker Studies (2016), 21, (1), 95–119.

Abstract

The first national survey of the beliefs and practices of Australian Friends was conducted in 2014, including 42 questions from the 2013 British Quaker Survey. This article compares results from those surveys to discover similarities and significant differences in two English-speaking Quaker populations with a common unprogrammed liberal tradition. Answers to half of the questions were remarkably similar in both surveys, including: reasons for applying for Membership; feelings of personal spirituality; belief in God, miracles and life after death; and views about Jesus, human nature and whether violence can ever be morally justified. There were some statistically significant differences. Australian respondents were more likely to describe prayer and their activities in Meetings for Worship as meditation; describe the Quaker business method as finding a consensus; believe Quakers can be helped by hearing about the religious experiences of other groups; and be involved with other social or religious organisations or issues.

Results from the First National Survey of Quaker Belief and Practice in Australia and Comparison with the 2013 British Survey

Abstract

The first national survey of the beliefs and practices of Australian Friends was conducted in 2014, including 42 questions from the 2013 British Quaker Survey. This article compares results from those surveys to discover similarities and significant differences in two English-speaking Quaker populations with a common unprogrammed liberal tradition. Answers to half of the questions were remarkably similar in both surveys, including: reasons for applying for Membership; feelings of personal spirituality; belief in God, miracles and life after death; and views about Jesus, human nature and whether violence can ever be morally justified. There were some statistically significant differences. Australian respondents were more likely to describe prayer and their activities in Meetings for Worship as meditation; describe the Quaker business method as finding a consensus; believe Quakers can be helped by hearing about the religious experiences of other groups; and be involved with other social or religious organisations or issues.

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Farrow, J., and Wildwood, A. (2013), Universe as Revelation: an ecomystical theology for Friends, London: Pronoun Press. Universe as Revelation: an ecomystical theology for Friends Google Scholar

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Huber, K. (2001), ‘Questions of Identity among “Buddhist Quakers”’, Quaker Studies 6, pp. 80–105. ‘Questions of Identity among “Buddhist Quakers”’ Quaker Studies 6 80 105 Google Scholar

Hughes, P. (2010), ‘Are Australians “Losing their Religion”?’, Pointers 20, pp. 1–6. ‘Are Australians “Losing their Religion”?’ Pointers 20 1 6 Google Scholar

Hughes, P. (2012), ‘Spiritual but not Religious’, Pointers 22, pp. 13–17. ‘Spiritual but not Religious’ Pointers 22 13 17 Google Scholar

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Maguire, D. (2014), Christianity without God: moving beyond the dogmas and retreiving the epic moral narrative, Albany: State University of New York Press. Christianity without God: moving beyond the dogmas and retreiving the epic moral narrative Google Scholar

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Plugh, M. (2012), ‘Meaning in silence and the Quaker tradition’, Et Cetera 69, pp. 204–15. ‘Meaning in silence and the Quaker tradition’ Et Cetera 69 204 15 Google Scholar

Porter, M. (2006), The New Puritans: the rise of fundamentalism in the Anglican Church, Carlton: Melbourne University Press. The New Puritans: the rise of fundamentalism in the Anglican Church, Google Scholar

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Quakers Australia (2011), Handbook of Practice and Procedure in Australia, Kenmore, Queensland: The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia Inc. Google Scholar

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Scully, J. (2007), ‘The Secular Ethics of Liberal Quakerism’, in Scully, J., and Dandelion, P., (eds), Good and Evil: Quaker perspectives, Aldershot: Ashgrove. ‘The Secular Ethics of Liberal Quakerism’ Good and Evil: Quaker perspectives Google Scholar

Shanahan, A. (2011), ‘New Wave of Conservatism as Migrants Bolster the Catholic Church’, The Australian, 28 May 2011, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/new-wave-of-conservatism-as-migrants-bolster-catholic-church/story-e6frg6zo-1226064013356, accessed 29/06/2015. Google Scholar

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Sherlock, P. (2008), ‘Leave it to the Women: the exclusion of women from the Anglican church government in Australia’, Australian Historical Studies 39, pp. 288–304. ‘Leave it to the Women: the exclusion of women from the Anglican church government in Australia’ Australian Historical Studies 39 288 304 Google Scholar

Spencer, C. (2013), ‘Quakers in Theological Context’, in Angell, S., and Dandelion, P., (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 141–57. ‘Quakers in Theological Context’ The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, 141 57 Google Scholar

Tousley, N. (2013), ‘Sin, Convincement, Purity, and Perfection’, in Angell, S., and Dandelion, P., (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 172–86. ‘Sin, Convincement, Purity, and Perfection’ The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies 172 86 Google Scholar

Vincett, G. (2008), ‘Quagans: fusing Quakerism with contemporary paganism’, in Dandelion, P. and Collins, P., (eds), The Quaker Condition, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 147–91. ‘Quagans: fusing Quakerism with contemporary paganism’ The Quaker Condition 147 91 Google Scholar

Vosper, G. (2014), Amen: what prayer can mean in a world beyond belief, Toronto: HarperCollins. Amen: what prayer can mean in a world beyond belief Google Scholar

Abbott, M. (2007), ‘Mental Illness, Ignorance or Sin? perceptions of modern liberal Friends’, in Scully, J., and Dandelion, P., (eds), Good and Evil: Quaker perspectives, Aldershot: Ashgrove. ‘Mental Illness, Ignorance or Sin? perceptions of modern liberal Friends’ Good and Evil: Quaker perspectives Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

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 Google Scholar

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Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2011–12. Catalogue No. 6523.0, Canberra: ABS. Google Scholar

Best, S. (2008), ‘Adolescent Quakers: a community of intimacy’, in Dandelion, P., and Collins, P., (eds), The Quaker Condition, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 192–215. ‘Adolescent Quakers: a community of intimacy’ The Quaker Condition, 192 215 Google Scholar

Bolton, D. (2009), Godless for God’s Sake: nontheism in contemporary Quakerism, Dent: Dales Historical Monographs. Godless for God’s Sake: nontheism in contemporary Quakerism, Google Scholar

Boulding, K. (1964), The Evolutionary Potential of Quakerism (pamphlet number 136), Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Publications. The Evolutionary Potential of Quakerism Google Scholar

Boulton, D., and Cresson, O. (2009), ‘The Making of a Quaker Nontheist Tradition’, in Boulton, D., (ed.), Godless for God’s Sake: nontheism in contemporary Quakerism, Dent: Dales Historical Monographs, pp. 79–90. ‘The Making of a Quaker Nontheist Tradition’ Godless for God’s Sake: nontheism in contemporary Quakerism, 79 90 Google Scholar

Bourke, R. (2003), ‘Quaker Beliefs: diverse yet distinctive’, Quaker Studies 7, pp. 227–38. ‘Quaker Beliefs: diverse yet distinctive’ Quaker Studies 7 227 38 Google Scholar

Boyce, J. (2014), Born Bad: original sin and the making of the Western world, Collingwood, Victoria: Black Inc. Born Bad: original sin and the making of the Western world, Google Scholar

Britain Yearly Meeting (1995), Quaker Faith and Practice, Warwick: The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Carey, H., Breward, E., Nicholas, D., Frappell, R., Hilliard, D., Massam, K., O’Brien, A., and Thompson, R. (2001), ‘Australian Religion Review, 1980–2000. Part 2: Christian denominations’, Journal of Religious History 25, pp. 56–82. ‘Australian Religion Review, 1980–2000. Part 2: Christian denominations’ Journal of Religious History 25 56 82 Google Scholar

Cary, M., and Dandelion, P. (2007), ‘Three Kinds of British Friends: a latent class analysis’, Quaker Studies 12, pp. 145–56. ‘Three Kinds of British Friends: a latent class analysis’ Quaker Studies 12 145 56 Google Scholar

Cary, M., Dandelion, P., and Rutherford, R. (2009), ‘Comparing Two Surveys of Britain Yearly Meeting: 1990 and 2003’, Quaker Studies 13, pp. 238–45. ‘Comparing Two Surveys of Britain Yearly Meeting: 1990 and 2003’ Quaker Studies 13 238 45 Google Scholar

Chadkirk, B., and Dandelion, P. (2008), ‘Present and Prevented: a survey of membership activities in Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)’, Quaker Studies 12, pp. 253–63. ‘Present and Prevented: a survey of membership activities in Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)’ Quaker Studies 12 253 63 Google Scholar

(2010), ‘Present and Prevented, 2006 and 2008: summary report on the survey of the 11 May 2008 and comparison with the survey of the 7 May 2006’, Quaker Studies 15, pp. 84–97. ‘Present and Prevented, 2006 and 2008: summary report on the survey of the 11 May 2008 and comparison with the survey of the 7 May 2006’ Quaker Studies 15 84 97 Google Scholar

Collins, P. (2008), Believers: does Australian Catholicism have a future?, Sydney: UNSW Press. Believers: does Australian Catholicism have a future?, Google Scholar

Cressin, O. (2014), Quaker and Naturalist Too, Iowa City: Morning Walk Press. Quaker and Naturalist Too, Google Scholar

Dandelion, P. (1992), ‘The Problem of Identifying a Quaker Theology’, Religion Today 7, pp. 15–17. ‘The Problem of Identifying a Quaker Theology’ Religion Today 7 15 17 Google Scholar

Dandelion, P. (1996), A Sociological Analysis of the Theology of Quakers: the silent revolution, Lampeter: Edwin Mellin Press. A Sociological Analysis of the Theology of Quakers: the silent revolution, Google Scholar

Dandelion, P. (2014), ‘The Creation of Coherence: the “Quaker double-culture” and the “absolute perhaps”’, in Dandelion, P., and Collins, P., (eds), The Quaker Condition: the sociology of a liberal tradition, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 22–37. ‘The Creation of Coherence: the “Quaker double-culture” and the “absolute perhaps”’ The Quaker Condition: the sociology of a liberal tradition, 22 37 Google Scholar

Davie, M. (1997), British Quaker Theology since 1895, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press. British Quaker Theology since 1895, Google Scholar

Durham, G. (2010), The Spirit of the Quakers, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. The Spirit of the Quakers, Google Scholar

Farrow, J., and Wildwood, A. (2013), Universe as Revelation: an ecomystical theology for Friends, London: Pronoun Press. Universe as Revelation: an ecomystical theology for Friends Google Scholar

Frost, J. (2013), ‘Modernist and Liberal Quakers, 1887–2010’, in Angell, S. and Dandelion, P., (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 78–92. ‘Modernist and Liberal Quakers, 1887–2010’ The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, 78 92 Google Scholar

Geering, L. (2002), Christianity without God, Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press. Christianity without God, Google Scholar

Gosling, S., Vazire, S., Srivastava, S., and John, O. (2004), ‘Should we Trust Web-based Studies?: a comparative study of six preconceptions about internet surveys’, American Psychologist 59, pp. 93–104. ‘Should we Trust Web-based Studies?: a comparative study of six preconceptions about internet surveys’ American Psychologist 59 93 104 Google Scholar

Grant, R. (2015), ‘Understanding Quaker Religious Language in its Community Context’, Quaker Studies 19, pp. 260–76. ‘Understanding Quaker Religious Language in its Community Context’ Quaker Studies 19 260 76 Google Scholar

Hampton, J. (2014), ‘British Quaker Survey: examining religious beliefs and practices in the twenty-first century’, Quaker Studies 19, pp. 7–136. ‘British Quaker Survey: examining religious beliefs and practices in the twenty-first century’ Quaker Studies 19 7 136 Google Scholar

Howell, R., Larkin, C., Purnell, D., and Turner, B. (2013), Towards a Vision of a Peaceful and Sustainable Australia: some Quaker voices, Brisbane: Australian Quaker Peace and Legislation Committee and Australian Earthcare Committee. Towards a Vision of a Peaceful and Sustainable Australia: some Quaker voices Google Scholar

Huber, K. (2001), ‘Questions of Identity among “Buddhist Quakers”’, Quaker Studies 6, pp. 80–105. ‘Questions of Identity among “Buddhist Quakers”’ Quaker Studies 6 80 105 Google Scholar

Hughes, P. (2010), ‘Are Australians “Losing their Religion”?’, Pointers 20, pp. 1–6. ‘Are Australians “Losing their Religion”?’ Pointers 20 1 6 Google Scholar

Hughes, P. (2012), ‘Spiritual but not Religious’, Pointers 22, pp. 13–17. ‘Spiritual but not Religious’ Pointers 22 13 17 Google Scholar

Hughes, P. (2014), ‘Religion among Young People in Australia, Thailand and the United States’, Journal for the Academic Study of Religion 27, pp. 56–71. ‘Religion among Young People in Australia, Thailand and the United States’ Journal for the Academic Study of Religion 27 56 71 Google Scholar

Jenkins, P. (2012), ‘Aussie Christians’, Christian Century 129, pp. 45. ‘Aussie Christians’ Christian Century 129 45 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Maguire, D. (2014), Christianity without God: moving beyond the dogmas and retreiving the epic moral narrative, Albany: State University of New York Press. Christianity without God: moving beyond the dogmas and retreiving the epic moral narrative Google Scholar

Morley, B. (1993), Beyond Consensus: salvaging the sense of the meeting (pamphlet number 307), Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Publications. Beyond Consensus: salvaging the sense of the meeting Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Plugh, M. (2012), ‘Meaning in silence and the Quaker tradition’, Et Cetera 69, pp. 204–15. ‘Meaning in silence and the Quaker tradition’ Et Cetera 69 204 15 Google Scholar

Porter, M. (2006), The New Puritans: the rise of fundamentalism in the Anglican Church, Carlton: Melbourne University Press. The New Puritans: the rise of fundamentalism in the Anglican Church, Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Pyper, H. (2007), ‘Beyond Depravity: good and evil in the thought of Robert Barclay’, in Scully, J., and Dandelion, P., (eds), Good and Evil: Quaker perspectives, Aldershot: Ashgrove. ‘Beyond Depravity: good and evil in the thought of Robert Barclay’ Good and Evil: Quaker perspectives, Google Scholar

Quakers Australia (2011), Handbook of Practice and Procedure in Australia, Kenmore, Queensland: The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia Inc. Google Scholar

Quakers Buffalo New York (2015), ‘Meeting for Worship’, Religious Society of Friends Buffalo Meeting, http://www.buffaloquaker.com/?q=node/4, accessed 29/06/2015. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Scott, J. (1980), What Canst Thou Say? Toward a Quaker Theology, London: Quaker Home Service. What Canst Thou Say? Toward a Quaker Theology, Google Scholar

Scully, J. (2007), ‘The Secular Ethics of Liberal Quakerism’, in Scully, J., and Dandelion, P., (eds), Good and Evil: Quaker perspectives, Aldershot: Ashgrove. ‘The Secular Ethics of Liberal Quakerism’ Good and Evil: Quaker perspectives Google Scholar

Shanahan, A. (2011), ‘New Wave of Conservatism as Migrants Bolster the Catholic Church’, The Australian, 28 May 2011, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/new-wave-of-conservatism-as-migrants-bolster-catholic-church/story-e6frg6zo-1226064013356, accessed 29/06/2015. Google Scholar

Sheeran, M. (1983), Beyond Majority Rule; voteless decisions in the Religious Society of Friends, Philadelphia, PA: The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Beyond Majority Rule; voteless decisions in the Religious Society of Friends Google Scholar

Sherlock, P. (2008), ‘Leave it to the Women: the exclusion of women from the Anglican church government in Australia’, Australian Historical Studies 39, pp. 288–304. ‘Leave it to the Women: the exclusion of women from the Anglican church government in Australia’ Australian Historical Studies 39 288 304 Google Scholar

Spencer, C. (2013), ‘Quakers in Theological Context’, in Angell, S., and Dandelion, P., (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 141–57. ‘Quakers in Theological Context’ The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, 141 57 Google Scholar

Tousley, N. (2013), ‘Sin, Convincement, Purity, and Perfection’, in Angell, S., and Dandelion, P., (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 172–86. ‘Sin, Convincement, Purity, and Perfection’ The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies 172 86 Google Scholar

Vincett, G. (2008), ‘Quagans: fusing Quakerism with contemporary paganism’, in Dandelion, P. and Collins, P., (eds), The Quaker Condition, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 147–91. ‘Quagans: fusing Quakerism with contemporary paganism’ The Quaker Condition 147 91 Google Scholar

Vosper, G. (2014), Amen: what prayer can mean in a world beyond belief, Toronto: HarperCollins. Amen: what prayer can mean in a world beyond belief Google Scholar


Details

Author details

Williams, Peter G.

Hampton, Jennifer M.