Thought for the Week: Why I became a Quaker

Peter Boyce reflects on why he became a Quaker

In Matthew 27:51 we read: ‘And behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom.’ The veil of the Temple kept the devotees away from the Holy of Holies where God and the Arc of the Covenant dwelt. Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies. The rupture of the dividing wall gave everyone access to God. No Scripture, no ‘brain washing’ could stop direct access to God. So, if God is not in the Holy of Holies, where is God? See if you can share my belief.

Quakers believe that there is something of God within us. Perhaps there is something that has been there all the time but is too obvious to notice. It has always been my belief that the interface between things spiritual and things physical was the brain. So, what if holy thoughts directed upwards should be directed inwards. Can the brain be seen as the hotline to God? The brain has all the characteristics of God. It is ‘all seeing’. It knows every part of the body in fine detail. It is ‘all knowing’, containing memories of one’s past. Above all, it is the creator of all things. As we see it, the world around us does not exist: light, photons, hit the retina of the eyes: impulses pass along the optic nerve to the brain, where a waveform of impulses is registered and stored. The mind in some mysterious way reads, and, when required to, reconstructs this waveform – an approximation of what is ‘out there’. Then there is the greatest illusion ever: I appear to be in front of my eyes not where the action is taking place in the middle of my head. If outside the body why not a bit further away as in out-of-the-body experiences?

Children pray ‘God bless mummy and daddy’, telling God what to do. Later, this becomes ‘Please God, bless…’ I quake at the thought of the effrontery in presenting God with a shopping list and expecting ‘prayers to be answered’. We, somewhat more deferentially, pray by holding someone in the Light, thus bringing to God a concern. Then the Light should be directed within to the junction for holiness and the Divine – towards the body’s centre for healing and where mind can control matter.

Ben Pink Dandelion tells us that we should be open to new ideas. That doesn’t imply universal acceptance but, maybe, we can find new natural justification for basic Quaker thoughts. Here I feel at home: no bigotry, no dogma, no patronising, no preaching… like free-ranging chickens: healthy independence and space.

You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.