Deist or Irreligious Freemasons

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by RhushidaK, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    For me personally, as a Mason, I have respect for all religions and if I were in a lodge in Istanbul, Delhi, Jerusalem, NYC or wherever, that VSL would be sworn upon with equal fervency and sincerity.
     
  2. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Interesting, this had never occurred to me. Will check this out in my lodges as a matter of curiosity.
    I like this.
     
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  3. 88DAM88

    88DAM88 Registered User

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    I would posit that a blank book could constitute a VSL.

    Many Masons believe scientific texts are also inspired and enlightened words revealing Sacred principles. For many Masons, Natural Law and Sacred Law are inseparable. The word Geometry, after all, was for the longest time, well known and generally accepted as a synonym of the word Masonry.

    Masonry definitely has room for conscious and enlightened men of science and for those for whom any thing contemplated can shed light, educate, illustrate and speak "volumes" about the Order and Sacredness of the Universe and Life. A Mason who believes in One Supreme Being may be a Mason who believes in Oneness or wholeness or the Supreme Reality of Indivisibility and Unity of all. One may see the physical world as both container and manifestation of Natural or Sacred Law, echoing Voltaire "God is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere,” and Blaise Pascal, “Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere.” One may see Nature and Natural Law as a revealed manifestation of God's Law.

    Too many Masons only think of the word volume in one sense, however, it's secondary definition may also apply

    Vol·ume
    [ˈvälyəm, ˈvälˌyo͞om]
    NOUN
    1. a book forming part of a work or series.
    2. the amount of space that a substance or object occupies, or that is enclosed within a container, especially when great:

    "Emptiness" is also a great concept for Buddhist and Taoist Brethren, which does not denote the nullity nor Nihilism that many unstudied in these philosophies or the practices of meditation fear, but an indefinable, unnameable quality to God or Nature, far beyond our ken and limited understanding. It is a position of accepting vulnerability, fallibility, not-knowing and submission in opposition to bull-headedness, vanity, narcissistic, know-it-all bluster that often accompanies those who over-identify with the Ego.

    Sa·cred
    [ˈsākrəd]
    ADJECTIVE
    1. connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration:

    Although I personally think an acorn or a leaf would be a more elegant adornment befitting the altar than a blank book, a blank book would, by it's very composition of paper and glue, still be comprised of manifest laws and the study of it would reveal order and interconnection. And, if the Mason delving into it's mystery were capable of applying the secrets therein to his life to better it and thus benefit all mankind by it's communication, it would be a great and admirable and laudable undertaking.

    I believe that Masonry values education and illumination and life-long learning and betterment of each man specifically, and mankind in general. This great and honorable fraternity could hope for nothing more than to attract the most educated and intelligent men into its brotherhood. The great destiny of mankind is one of Unity and Order, Peace and Tranquility, Fraternity and Harmony, thus it is understood that through education and illumination Man might achieve a state beyond divisive, tribal, discriminatory ideas or sectarian religion and predatory or party politics (considered by many Masons to be ignorant, intolerant and tyrannical darknesses in which any enlightened man would not long dwell), perhaps one day needing neither as guides.

    Law
    [lô]
    NOUN
    1. (the law)
      the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties:
      "they were taken to court for breaking the law" ·
      [more]

    2. a statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present:
      "the second law of thermodynamics"
     
  4. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    I understand your proposition.

    However I would argue that becuse of the nature of the masons work is of spiritual nature a belif and understanding of a higher power is needed and not just scientific understanding of the outside.

    The breaking down is intressting but in the end pointless unless we want to asume that masonry is 100% litteral.
    The law that is refered to in the VSL not only gives the rules to religon (as a lawbook do) but it also provides comfort and for a lack of better word, initiation into life.
     
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  5. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    My ruling was to the contrary; that a blank text is not the revealed word of G-d.

    Further, utilizing the definitions above, a blank page would appear to be the antithesis of connection; demonstrating the lack of connection.

    It would also promote a single Man's definition of what should be on those pages above that of Deity. It is the opposite of the humble, reverent, childlike attitude we are to assume upon entering our Masonic endeavors. We are to submit our will to G-d's, not tell him what His will should be.
     
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  6. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    I get the idea behind the approach. I have two issues with the approach.

    1) If it's blank it does not describe laws. As such it fails an important part of the concept. A couple of years ago there was a case of a Brother who asked that an Eagle Feather be used in his obligations folded into a book so the forms could be observed. At least a feather is not blank.

    2) Blank books tend to be used as objections to non-blank books. Outside context and the attitude they carry matter.

    I think you miss the point on science. Science is not laws. Science is a process that searches for laws. Done right science answers those questions which religion does not ask. Done right religion answers those questions which science does not ask. Science is not a matter of faith. Religion and science overlap through imagination not through faith.
     
  7. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Agreed!
    I disagree. Masonry teaches us to be better, period. Freemasonry encourages us to be better, period. Church is not involved, unless you want it to be.
     
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  8. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    It's quite interesting the takes every one has on this VoSL thing. It's all symbolic. The book only matters to the person going through the degree(s). Each candidate is blind folded and believes the book he is obligating himself upon is the one he has chosen. It could be blank up until his hoodwink comes off, swapped out and he wouldn't know the difference.

    And in truth, if it is indeed symbolic, the props used should not matter at all, unless it would negatively affect the feel for the candidate going through the ceremony, not the people putting on the ritual play.
     
  9. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Agreed.
     
  10. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    If only that were the case. Were it the case no Brother would report having been to degrees with certain VSLs, among other happenings. Your statement is an ideal many Brothers work to live up to not the way it actually happens.
     
  11. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Yep. And if we remain true to the ideals, we wouldn't have so many ruffians ruling the roost.
     
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  12. RhushidaK

    RhushidaK Registered User

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    Well brethren the problem with only revealed scriptures as VSLs is that some religions don't actually have revealed scriptures in the conventional sense, like in Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. The scriptures are not revealed by God to man, but are realized by man as a part of the unwritten will of God, or the patterns of the universe, and so on. Like the Vedas are not revealed scriptures but realized scriptures. So are Buddhist and Jain sutras. So while some religions have a man appointed as a prophet to give humanity the will of God, others have man reaching out to God and obtaining that wisdom. So a layman cannot write a scripture, unless he goes through extremities to realize God, the world, and himself.

    In the end of course, considering the goal of Freemasonry to make a good man better, and that of his chosen VSLs as the point of focus of his conscience, I don't think a blank book should be a problem. For me, it would be symbolic of the unwritten will of God, which mankind's goal is to realize.
     
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  13. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    By extension that logic says a dictionary is okay. I think there is a certain spirit of faith for all in using an actual VSL, regardless of which VSL is used...
     
  14. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    It truly depends what you want the ritual play to be for yourself. Some candidates take it in literally and want to get swept away in the authenticity that is being symbolically portrayed. Others understand it for what it actually is, symbolic, so it doesn't matter what book is used since what they know that they are doing is re-enacting and using props to do this.
     
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  15. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I think it might upset some folk to refer to their VSL as a "prop". I think i dont feel comfortable to hear someones VSL decribed like that.

    You and I agree on a lot of stuff, but are very opposed in others... but that's one of the beauties of Freemasonry for me, that it brings diverse (and sometimes opposed men ) together.I always say, Freemasonry is about what unites and not what divides men. I think one of the ingredients in that mix is mutual respect.... and just because I'm upset by a view another might have, that does not mean I'm right and they are wrong..

    One thing's for sure Coach, I'm much more likely to learn from you than someone I always agree with :) Thanks for the time you spend with us.
     
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  16. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Absolutely!
    Agreed!
     
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  17. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    I didn't at first either, until I recognized that ritual is not about a man's religion; it's about his faith. If a man requires a VSL as a prop for his ritual experience, by God, you'd better provide it for him or the whole experience is gonna suck for him.
    The magic in sharing opinions is recognizing every person has one and if you want yours to be respected, you had best set an overwhelmingly good example for others or you'll reap the rewards of your overwhelmingly bad example.
    You're most welcome. Thanks for inspiring me ad nausea. Without your prompting, much of what you see me post here would not exist.

    So, what I'm saying is you are to blame. ;-)
     
  18. 88DAM88

    88DAM88 Registered User

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    These responses are too shallow in my opinion. Not seeing the forest for the trees. The world created by G-d is his word to me, not those written by well meaning men. Was G-ds will not known to man before written language and books? Many take the "word of G-d" far too literally. The blankness or lack of words does not connote a lack of revealed word of G-d; the paper itself, the elements and INTERCONNECTION of all things to make it, for it to be, in it's very state of being and manifestation of sacred laws, the atoms and physical properties the mathematical geometries of physical matter of Nature far exceed, in my opinion, any words or concepts man might write on those pages...remember that the stones themselves can reveal truth, the world around me is "revealed" enough for me, and is word of G-d enough for me. The study of those blank pages would reveal all the secrets of the Universe if one delved deep enough. For some, Masonry and Spirituality are not shallow and wisdom is not found only at the written words at the page level...but far deeper. Creation and the laws of creation are revelation and a suitable path of higher knowledge and higher spirituality. The original manifestation of the word of G-d is the creation of space and matter. I invite you to go deeper than printed words of men, and into the living word of G-d as the manifest Universe, or Single Oneness. Many of us do not believe in a supernatural, but in Oneness and levels of perception. You speak of "humble, reverent, childlike attitude we are to assume upon entering our Masonic endeavors. We are to submit our will to G-d's, not tell him what His will should be." and yet this is exactly what we do when we ignore the truth of the Supreme Reality in favor of the vain and self-glorified ideas of the religions of man. Masonry should take one beyond the personal religion to the Universal and non-divisive, non-sectarian.

    "Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there."
    ~Rumi
     
  19. 88DAM88

    88DAM88 Registered User

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    Science is educating oneself to the Laws. Education is seeking the subtle revelations. Religion and science are converging in our day and age as each is finding that the others path is also true and moving toward the same point. There are many Laws that can be discovered in a blank book, they are revealed not by words of men, but by the Geometry and design of matter of which the books are composed. Many believe the world we are in and of and a part of is the revealed Word and that Nature or "Grand Architecture" as created by the God of Nature or GAOTU is revelation enough, that in forms and geometry, Laws can be revealed . . . is Masonry not a beautiful system of morality veiled in allegory?
     
  20. 88DAM88

    88DAM88 Registered User

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    What is your definition of spiritual?

    Do you not see scientific delving and discovery as a path of discovering the higher power?

    Can having faith in Nature and Natural Law not also be faith in the will of TGAOTU?

    Masonry is VERY literal, the words are chosen with great precision, to the highest degree of understanding of those who wrote them, anyway. If we discount communication through language, either spoken or written, as not being "literal" that is, not true to it's symbolic representation of ideas, then are we really communicating. People like to say, "Oh that's just semantics," but semantics is the study of meaning. Language is a code, it is abstract symbols used to convey concrete ideas.

    Nature's Laws teach us how to live. The study of Nature and connection to it provides comfort to many who put their faith in it. The material world, our Universe is our home, it's design and manifestation "by word alone" as the allegory goes, by the Creator or TGAOTU, and in it's design and geometry, as manifest word, we see the allegories of much that any written word of man only pales in comparison with. In my opinion. :)

    For me story and allegory and scientific knowledge are spiritual. The spiritual gift of knowledge is also known as the “word of knowledge” or “utterance of knowledge.” The Greek word for this gift is Gnosis and it simply means knowledge and understanding. The Scriptural emphasis in 1 Corinthians 12:8 is on the ability to speak this knowledge to others in a given situation.

    It has been said that God is the author of such knowledge; and that flesh and blood reveals it. Mortal men are capable of imparting the knowledge of human arts and sciences, and skill in temporal affairs. God is the author of such knowledge by those means: flesh and blood is employed as the mediate
    or second cause of it; He conveys it by the power and influence of natural means. This to me is also is Spiritual Light.

    I hope that my comments and contribution to this discussion can fall on some receptive ears who are open to receive it, and thereby, gain more Light and grow closer to men of other wisdom traditions besides those of written word and organized religions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017

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