Of the world’s population of 7.8 billion, Christianity is the most widely practised religion in the world, with more than 2 billion followers. Next in popularity are 1.5 billion followers of Islam and 900 million Hindu. There are many beliefs that Christians have in common. There are however, not unsurprisingly, also many differences in the more than 21,000 Christian denominations.
Quakers - points of differenceShow moreShow less
There are around 210,000 Quakers in the world. Some do and some don’t consider themselves Christian.
Quakers emphasise a direct experience of God rather than ritual and ceremony. Quaker communal worship consists of silent waiting, with participants contributing as the spirit moves them. They emphasise the importance leading your own life well as an example to others (what a person does can be much clearer than what they say).
Quakers do not practise any sacraments including baptism and Eucharist. They don't regard some activities as more sacred than others, nor do they believe that any particular ritual is needed to get in touch with God, so they do not believe in the sacraments practised in mainstream Christian churches.
Instead of using 'holy' rituals, Quakers attempt to carry the sacred into every part of their lives. Quaker worship is very different to the worship of most Christian churches in that it doesn't follow a set liturgy or code of rules - a service has no structure, and no one leads it. Quakers do without a liturgy because they believe that worship happens when two or three people come together to worship - nothing more is needed.
Quaker meetings for worship take place in meeting houses, not churches. These are simple buildings or rooms. They usually sit facing each other in a square or a circle. This helps them to be aware that they are a group together for worship, and puts everybody in a place of equal status.