Perspective of a Nontheist

by Mary Pagurelias
Brooklyn Meeting


How one nontheist Friend encounters Love rather than a belief in a traditional God.


There are “traditional” ideas in the Religious Society of Friends of God and/or Christ and how one ought to conform to those ideas. I’ve been inspired by this question from George Fox: “… but what canst thou say?”


I’ve not always found it easy to put into words that which I experience and yet, I have always known who I am, what lives in my heart, and what is at the core of my being. 


Love. Love flows through all of humankind. Love is always seeking to be shared. Love is always seeking Love. Love is “that which is eternal.”


What most intrigued me about Quakerism was the simplicity of the meeting room. Absent were icons. No stations of the cross, no crucifix, no pulpit, no sermon, no sit, stand, kneel. In other words, there was nothing to distract me, nothing to tell me what I was supposed to believe. Like many convinced Friends, I found home in this community.


Captured by the notion that there is Seed within every human being in the world, I realized Love is Seed. Love links us all. Love answers Love. Love is Seed that connects me to the Love within you. 


You might call that God, Christ, or Jesus of Nazareth. I don’t feel or know God, Christ, or Jesus of Nazareth. I do feel and know Love. Love is Love for me. Love is not another word instead of… Love is the word.


When Friends speak of the Divine, or the Spirit, I don’t know or feel what is meant. Based on my intellect I can guess at what is meant by Divine and Spirit. I think it is very close to Love that I felt as I witnessed my grandson enter this world as he left my daughter’s womb. Love. I know Love. I feel Love.


It would be so much easier to be “traditional”— however, that would not be my Truth. To say that I believe in the existence of an all-knowing supernatural being would be akin to ascribing to the belief that the world is flat when I know, in fact and experience, that it is round.


To be a True Welcoming Beloved Community we must begin to embrace all in equal measure.