• The Quakers have their origins in the aftermath of the English Revolution of the 1640s and 50s as a radical religous sect. The Quakers shared the idea of other radical sects at the time that it was possible to gain forgiveness for sin from God personally, not through the established church. The Quakers were hostile to the magic and ceremony of the Catholic (and Anglican) Church and rejected intermediaries. They rejected traditional ideas about the Trinity, instead focusing on the idea that God resided within each individual believer. The Spirit was placed above the Scriptures. This had radical implications on traditional ideas about Church. The implication of all this was that Church attendance was no longer absolutely necessary, and the idea that every man and woman was in theory their own priest. A side effect was the provision for an increased role for women in the Chuch. The Quaker belief that anybody could receive the Holy Spirit permitted them to believe that it was possible to live free of sin. This is the doctrine of Perfectionism which contradicts the popular Calvinist predestination doctrine of the time which stated that only the chosen few would make it into heaven. The power of the Spirit also lead some early Quakers such as George Fox to believe that they could perform miracles. They resisted Church authority, incluing the payment of tithes and a paid ministry. Nowadays Quakers are known for their pacifism (and chocolate making), but in their early stages they were fundamentally radical and often disrupted the ministers while preaching (which was an offence at the time). Many social and political implications resulted from these religious beliefs.

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