Peace-loving and silent, the Quakers still get things done

Organised religion has, understandably, a rather bad name. It’s hard to find one unsullied by persecution, discrimination and oppression. Yet religion flourishes. Many people need faith, discipline, community and ritual in their lives. Apart from the objectively positive contributions religious institutions have made to society, religious practice is strongly associated with well-being and healthy ageing. But it seems almost impossible to find a faith without institutional infestation of humanity’s many failings.

lmost. There’s one lurking quietly in our midst, with a history free from shame or cruelty. One we all know for only good reasons, but with a membership so tiny its outsize impact on the western world is simply extraordinary: the Quakers, or the Religious Society of Friends.

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