The first national survey of the beliefs and practices of Australian Friends was conducted in 2014, including 42 questions from the 2013 British Quaker Survey. This article compares results from those surveys to discover similarities and significant differences in two English-speaking Quaker populations with a common unprogrammed liberal tradition. Answers to half of the questions were remarkably similar in both surveys, including: reasons for applying for Membership; feelings of personal spirituality; belief in God, miracles and life after death; and views about Jesus, human nature and whether violence can ever be morally justified. There were some statistically significant differences. Australian respondents were more likely to describe prayer and their activities in Meetings for Worship as meditation; describe the Quaker business method as finding a consensus; believe Quakers can be helped by hearing about the religious experiences of other groups; and be involved with other social or religious organisations or issues.
Published: January 2016