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Describe the visit in the Quaker Meeting House and assess the relevance of visiting religious communities for the study of religions.

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Introduction

Describe the visit in the Quaker Meeting House and assess the relevance of visiting religious communities for the study of religions. In order to try and give a full and balanced account of my visit I have attempted to discuss what I observed, what occurred, the experience of my revisit and practical participation in a normal Sunday "Silent Worship", and my conclusions. The Quaker house Set in a quiet backstreet of Central Bangor in the middle of a row of terraced houses, sits the plain, unassuming Quaker house. Through a small porch way, leading to an entrance hall furnished with a wooden plaque containing several different pamphlets and booklets, all informing us about the U.K. Quakers. Once inside the building is set on two levels, the downstairs consisting of a mainly unfurnished large room with adjacent kitchen, and the worship / business room where on arrival we were directed to enter. Approximately 45 ft by 25 ft with high ceilings, decorated with modern wooden beams and mainly bare walls with the only reference to religion being a copy of the bible which sat on a sparse wooden table in the room's centre alongside a plant. All the seating was arranged facing inwards towards a "space" with the table resting at the centre. Two large patio doors on one side and several high windows supplied ample light. ...read more.

Middle

There is no vote, if agreement is not reached further discussion and silence will take place, if this still does not arrive at agreement a third and final discussion and silence takes place, normally resulting in a third way. The silence is time used to reflect on what has been said, and to let, God within you be expressed through feeling then speech. Humphrey Humphrey informed us of the U.K Quakers conduct of marriage and funerals, their approach being based upon sensitivity through feeling and outlined the various procedures involved. Questions and answers We were then split into small groups where one or two of the Quakers would try and answer any questions we had, no matter of their difficulty or diversity. Bernard and Margaret sat with my group and did their best to answer any questions we had. Neither was afraid to answer a question with "I don't know". As following no specific doctrine or scripture, they each held there own opinion, both holding different evaluations of evolution and god. Revisit On a follow up visit to the Quaker Meeting House I took part in a regular Sunday "Silent Worship" attended by roughly 25 Quakers, mainly elderly but not entirely and including a fellow student studying for a PHD in "Transcendental Thought" The experience of my one hour group silent worship gave me further insight into the bonding and camaraderie within the U.K Quakers and their belief that the silence was a way to let the God within them out. ...read more.

Conclusion

As individuals we comprehend religions in various ways, from different perspectives and on different levels. We have to take into account that our own beliefs and experiences have an effect on our view-point of others and their beliefs. With numerous sources of information available to us, books, journals, the internet, television, newspapers, films and word of mouth, how we to decipher what is unbiased, real and honest information from what is modern construction. We must also take into account the individualism of the practitioner, as individuals they may use the same religion in different ways. Visiting religious communities gives the student a first hand opportunity to make individual observations and evaluations, it gives us a chance to discuss, question and evaluate from the practitioners perspective, on a ground level, by exploring what their religion means to them. This can only improve on our own understanding, whether we agree or not, whether we are shocked or drawn with what we encounter, it allows the student to re-evaluate our own pre-conceived ideas, feelings and thinking thus forming new opinions from our own direct experience. We live in a multi-cultural society, what is offensive to some may be in offensive to others. If we can take into account the perspective of the different religious practitioners we encounter within our study of religion, we the student gain an understanding and insight toward the beliefs and practices which form their individuality. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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