Sunday, May 4, 2008

Excerpt of Quaker Speech

From a speech entitled, "Should Quakers Receive The Good Samaritan Into Their Membership?" given in 1954 by Arthur Morgan. What he had to say about hereditary religion still applies today.

It is my personal feeling that Christianity at its best has greater value than any of the other great religions, but that most religions, large and small, have values that we might acquire with profit. It is my opinion, too, that the life outlook and teaching of Jesus were very different from the religion which now bears his name. If it should be true that Christians do have the one true faith whereby men may be saved, then perhaps they should keep their present attitudes, though the heavens fall. But what if they are mistaken? Suppose we consider that possibility.

A small proportion of people acquire their major life convictions through a process of intense objective inquiry and reflection. Most of us, on the other hand, get our underlying convictions chiefly by social inheritance or by the accident of circumstance. Most followers of Islam are born of Moslem parents. The same is true of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists and others. Each believes he or she has the one true faith and that others are misled by error. This is a very significant fact, of which we seldom get the full implication.

It is the general policy in each religious faith to endeavor to teach children the essentials of the faith and to surround them with such a climate of indoctrination that they will have no inclination and almost no capacity to question it or to depart from it. This is such an old, deep rooted tradition in nearly all religions that we accept it as natural, and we do not realize how it may perpetuate error and maintain barriers between peoples. This purpose of indoctrination commonly is furthered by the influences of parents and of the religious community, and in many cases by the prevailing social atmosphere. Where such influences are fairly cumulative, a natural result is that a very strong sense of inner assurance is developed concerning whatever faith is involved. It often is immune to any contrary influence.

Continues at the paragraph starting --- The result is illustrated

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