As I’ve said previously, you can search as much as you want and you won’t find anyone calling themselves a Puritan today. It might be that the strict rules and religion as well as the intolerance of the Puritans led to their disappearance. The Quakers, who were persecuted by nearly everyone, particularly the Puritans, are a very different story.
When William Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania he wanted a place for Quakers in the New World. Penn didn’t just mean for Quakers to come to his colony though; he opened it up to anyone. Not only did Pennsylvania allow freedom of religion it also allowed someone to take part in government regardless of religion, which was extremely uncommon. Unlike the Puritans and many others the Quakers didn’t believe it was right or even possible to force someone to believe a certain way. Another difference was that the Quakers were complete pacifists. Quakers refuse to serve in the military in anyway because of their commitment to non-violence. William Penn even drew the plans for Philadelphia without protective outer walls around the city because he expected the city to be peaceful. The last difference I want to highlight is that the Quakers are still around. Maybe it is the tolerance and acceptance of the Quakers that has made them able to last so long.
I have three questions for you regarding the Quakers (or the Society of Friends as they call themselves).
- What is your opinion on the idea of non-violence? Is there any circumstance in which violence is acceptable? Explain why or why not.
- Take a look at the links below and click through some of the information from the Pittsburgh Society of Friends. What are the key beliefs of Quakers? Why might these beliefs have made Puritans and other Christians uncomfortable/suspicious/angry in the 1600’s?
- How do Quaker beliefs line up with the religious beliefs taught by your church/family? In what ways are they similar and dissimilar.
- Info from the BBC on Quakers (A very broad overview; worth reading)
- Pittsburgh Society of Friends (Lots of good info here)
You can write the answers to these questions out by hand or type them and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org