Mellor, Katharine A. (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
In 1996 British Quaker Pink Dandelion published his PhD thesis, an extensive sociological survey of British Quakers. In his thesis Dandelion claimed that the Religious Society of Friends in Britain had become post-Christian. In response to Dandelion’s claim that Quakers are post-Christian, in 2005 and 2006 I conducted a short survey of the same population: the approximately 25,600 Members and Attenders of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) who are affiliated with Britain Yearly Meeting (the British national Quaker body). 1,035 of the 1,578 Quakers I approached responded to my questionnaire. Of these, 863 or 83.4% indicated that they believe in God. 751, or 72.6% of those who took part, indicated that they consider themselves to be Christian. 833, or 80.5% of those who took part, indicated that they would answer that they are Christian on an anonymous survey. Fewer than 5% of those who took part in the survey are clearly not Christian. This research suggests that the majority in the Religious Society of Friends in Britain still considers Quakers to be Christian. In the first chapter of this dissertation I examine the background of the debate about whether Quakers are a Christian group. In the second chapter I examine other surveys into Quaker belief. In the third chapter, I give the results of my survey and analyze some of the answers. In the fourth chapter, I introduce the three types of Christians that emerged from my results. In the fifth chapter I also look at some of the questions and, more importantly, the answers, giving examples from written comments. In the sixth chapter, I consider the concept of Toxic Language, the nature of belief within the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, the theories of Gay Pilgrim and also of Rex Ambler, and consider the importance of ‘Truth’ to Quakerism. Finally, I point to other areas of further research before giving my overall conclusions.
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