Is Christianity really compatible with Freemasonry?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by jjjjjggggg, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    I realize this will probably open up one of the seven vials of wrath to come raining down upon me, but I am curious to not only your thoughts, but how my Christian brothers personally reconcile the two philosophies. I'm NOT saying they aren't compatible, but I am simply trying to understand.

    I did try to find any threads discussing the question, but came up short, especially of any personal reconciliations. So if any brothers are willing to share and graciously forgive my ignorance, I would appreciate it.

    In full disclosure I was a Christian for 12 years until 2006. I would like to think I was well read, not only in early church history and bible hermeneutics, but varying Christian doctrine and philosophical arguments between the Christian sects. I've also read quite a bit of the early church fathers, natural philosophy writers, and even the eastern religious/philosophical leaders of India and China. I've read the bible quite a few times and a lot of the non-canonical and apocryphal writings. My point is not to brag about how read up I am but to show that this is something I've looked into in depth. I don't want to come across as a guy trying to stir the pot, especially without having dug into the question myself or appearing lazy.

    So I guess my point is that as a former fundamentalist Christian I'm trying to understand how Christian Freemasons are able to reconcile the two without there being a bit of cognitive dissonance.
     
  2. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I consider myself to be Christian but I have, and still do, read quite a bit into other faiths...some of which I'm very fond of.

    I've seen this question asked before elsewhere but I always find myself wondering what there is to reconcile? I've never seen or hear anything within Freemasonry that contradicts or opposes my faith in any way and I've constantly been reminded that my duties to God, neighbor, country, and family should always come before Freemasonry. The opening and closing charge reminds of of this in fact and it's a shame that they aren't used more often here in Texas.

    So I'm curious about what in particular are you referring to? If you can refer to it in an open forum, that is.
     
  3. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    Sure, my hang up is obviously personal in that it's my own weakness that I find difficulty reconciling the two. Not that I think Christians shouldn't be masons, only that from my own rose-colored glasses it seems the foundational doctrines of Christianity seem in conflict with the principles of masonry. Not the parts that espouse such ideals as brotherly love, truth, and relief... they obviously have these in common... but the more esoteric principles, such as the ideas of obtaining the lost master's word that gains one admission into the eternal lodge above.

    Not that the Hiramaic legend should be taken in a literal sense, do we as mason's really believe in an actual lodge in an eternal abode or that the tragedy of Hiram is an actual historical narrative? No doubt we reference our teachings as a beautiful system of morality taught in allegory.

    What I'm getting at, for the Christian where does one draw the line between what is taken as allegorical and what is literal in the Bible? Of course, for some, such as in universalism, there is an openness to all religious truths, but to a former fundamentalist as myself, evangelical teachings would say it is through the redemptive work of Jesus alone that one finds redemption and justification, and that nothing that a person can do may justify themselves before the throne of God except a saving faith in Christ. If this is so, where is there room to "travel east in search of the lost word"?

    Also, the idea that men can obligate themselves together regardless of personal philosophical or religious understanding, but the belief in supreme deity, when the Christian would say that those who have no intimate knowledge of Christ may ever grace the eternal abode of god. So wouldn't the labor of a buddhist or Muslim freemason be for naught? Though he be a good man on earth, he is still not worthy of paradise.

    It is also my understanding, that if Christ and his words be taken as literal, the Christian's focus should be that of following him alone, and there is no meeting on the level with the unbeliever. They are not equal, nor are they to fellowship for what fellowship has light with darkness... Darkness in that freemasonry gives no prominence to Christ, nor do we as Freemasons give place to his sacrifice in our rituals. Not that we don't use judeo-christian references, or subtlety mention Christ, but the two are obviously separate. I would remind you of the problems traditional orthodox Christianity had with early hermetic/gnostic traditions and how one triumphed over the other not by shear truth alone but at the point of the sword.

    I could go on and on, but it all comes down to my own cognitive dissonance, what I'm really interested in is how Christian brothers are able to satisfy their own consciences in the matter. Not to triumph in argument, but because I have an evangelical Christian friend who may soon be interested in petitioning and I would like to help reconcile any doubts he may have with his own personal faith and the false accusations made by the anti's to say such a union is not appropriate for the "true Christian".
     
  4. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Those are some interesting questions. I wanted to jump right in with my own answers but they say a wise man listens twice as much as he speaks.

    I'm going to watch and see what more experience brothers have to say about this...then maybe I'll give my two cents.
     
  5. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

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    Ok my brothers good topic, I live for this as to which parts of "The Book" should be taken literally and which as allegories , "I " look at it with the understanding that the word of Truth needs to be rightly divided because the Word was changed by dishonest scribes, also it is written and made plain they we ( believers) are to contend for the truth that was given understanding that while the servants slept the Enemy crept in unawares , as for as the term Christianity what do it really mean and who is practicing it correctly, all it really means is that you believe The God of Israel came to earth as a man and got got, as part of a plan to get rid of the confusion cause by no work being on the board, that's all for now, let the conversation continue!!!! WWEA.


    Bro Book
    M.W.U.G.L. Of Fl: P.H.A.
    Excelsior # 43
    At pensacola
     
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  6. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Freemasonry was founded by Christians who remained Christian. As for esoterica, Christianity has long seen fit to use symbolic representations. Anti-Christian rhetoric has no more place in Freemasonry than does anti-Jew rhetoric any other anti-rhetoric.
     
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  7. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Are you sure about this? I thought the origins of Freemasonry were shrouded in mystery. Doesn't that sort of discount Pythagoras, Euclid and King Solomon?
     
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  8. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    I found this article and thought it to be one of the better researched articles written by an anti-mason Christian, as compared to the goofy misrepresentations and out-right ignorance of most anti-masons.

    My question to my Christian brothers are what are your thoughts? As a former Christian I see where this guy makes a pretty reasonable argument against Christians being Freemasons from a biblical perspective compared to masonic teachings.

    www.pfo.org/masonldg.htm
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  9. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    It was founded in England and Scotland in the late 17th century. Given stronger form in the early 18th. That whole "Pythagoras, Euclid and King Solomon" schtick is just a schtick. It's useful for mining to provide symbolism.
     
  10. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Despite the crusade of some Masons to banish Christians from the Craft, the essay proves nothing.

    I can admit that "Great Architect" is a phrase that can describe God. I can admit that all other humans seek after God. I can even admit that all those other ways of worshiping Him are still directed toward Him, but far more imperfectly than approaching Him through Christ would be. Likewise, the trappings of Freemasonry are not given specific salvific meaning WITHIN Freemasonry. An outsider must invent and pretend such meanings. Likewise, those various figures "identified" with Hiram Abif have ALSO been "identified" with Christ--as PREFIGURATIONS or other symbolic representations.

    For traditional Christians (those who haven't had their theology made up last week), the universe has been prefiguring and symbolizing the Incarnation almost from the beginning. Thus, other men might exist who imperfectly and incompletely reflect some aspect of Christ. But Christ is the true form.

    In addition, the author of the essay appears to be intellectually quite stunted. He is unable to understand what a "symbol" is. This mental disorder is, unfortunately common among a certain flavor of American Christian, who insists that every single thing MUST be taken in as literally a way as possible--unless it doesn't fit their own prejudices, then they allow for "symbolic" interpretations. To be raised up by a firm grip is a symbol of the Resurrection--no grip is firmer than the Grip of God, of the True, Triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    Likewise, certain stunted types have a great difficulty with any world that isn't essentially a theocratic dictatorship, with their little sect on top. Thus, ANY admission of fellowship with anyone not of the "right sort" is denounced as blasphemy.

    As a Christian, I can not only "admit", but I must INSIST that "my" God is the God of all others. Even if they do not know it themselves, even if they imperil themselves by the errors they attach to Him. That being said, the best way for me to do this is by an example of my life, NOT by beating them over the head with it. Were I to take the head-beating path so popular among Evangelicals, for example, I would be nothing but "a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal". "Witness" is not the same thing as proselytizing, no matter how much modern American "Christians" think that aggressive (and aggressive friendliness is still aggressive) proselytizing is "witness".

    "...[T]hese three remain: Faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love."
     
  11. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Thus, we Christians are permitted to be Freemasons, no matter how much some may wish to kick us out of the Craft.
     
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  12. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

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    Brother Maloney, I don't always agree with you, but these last few posts have been spot on. I like the notion of Hiram Abiff as a prefiguration, or a type (for those into typology), for Christ. It makes that particular allegory in our ritual far more rich.
     
  13. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Thank you for the clarification. It has shown me that it will be impossible for us to have a discussion because we are talking about different things. You are discussing Speculative Freemasonry which was formalized by the formation of the UGLE in 1717. When I say Freemasonry I am talking about the evolution of Operative Freemasonry and Speculative Freemasonry.

    Knowing what I believe is of little value to me unless I understand why I believe it. Understanding why is a rabbit hole that never ends, despite the well intentioned proselytizing by people on both sides of the fence. Because I am human, there is always a deeper truth buried under the truth I currently understand.

    Perhaps the lost word is lost because it cannot be known by knowing it, perhaps it can only be known by searching for it.
     
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  14. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Do you think that the misunderstanding by evangelical Christians that you mention and the crusade of their leaders to warn their members about freemasonry has somehow hurt the craft? If so, how can Christian Freemasons combat this?

    Also, there is a movement to kick Christians out of the craft?!? I've not been aware of this till now. Please, tell me more.
     
  15. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    I rather like the opposition of those I consider not of sound mind. I think their crusade helps us. I like more the support of those I do consider of sound mind, but I'll take it either way. Anyone can glance at the example set by Antis and the example set by a local Mason in their neighborhood - And that's all it takes.
     
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  16. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    The problem here (yet again) is that the author of the article would like to have us believe that the interpretation of "the rules" which he presents is the only one that counts. Note that I did not say his interpretation. I rather doubt that he's actually given a lot of independent thought to that. He's just repeating what some other "authority" told him. Regardless of the actual source, the claimed authority is the problem. If the author were to use his beliefs to govern his own actions, fine. That is what we are all supposed to do. But if religious zealots, of any stripe, have anything in common, it's the need to force their beliefs on others, and that is the problem. Maybe it's just misguided "witnessing", as Bryan points out, but all too often its more, like the minister that informs the Mason's wife that her husband is "...unknowingly worshiping Satan..." at his lodge meetings, or the imam who calls for the execution of the woman who marries a Christian.

    Sadly, I see little chance for change on the horizon. Too many people are unwilling/unable to muster the spiritual courage to walk their chosen path on their own. They must have the comfort of others, conscripted or not, walking with them.
     
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  17. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    Outstanding reply!!! Thank you for your response.

    As far as the article, in all it's weaknesses, it was far better researched than the typical diatribe by some lazy anti-mason. Though I may not agree with someone's conclusions, I don't suffer the fools who can't at least try and make a reasonable counterpoint.

    Thanks again brother!
     
  18. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The movement is by the antis not by us. On our end that's all there is to it. if you want more you'd need to go to the antis for that. On the one hand it can be sadly entertaining to listen to the rantings of lunatics. On the other hand increased exposure to illness increases risk of contagion even with mental illnesses.
     
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  19. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Valid to him does not equal valid to you. We are not required to agree and that's why we don't discuss sectarian religion in lodge. Lodge is a place where a man will not be proselytized. If this is a problem for fundies then I do agree they should not petition. Of course work is also a place where a person should not be proselytized. One wonders how fundies justify making a living as I would expect them to get fired from multiple jobs for harassing fellow employees.

    Tolerance is not agreement; tolerance is agreeing to disagree.
    Tolerance is not acceptance; tolerance is agreeing to mutual peace.
    Tolerance is not acquiescence; tolerance is cooperating on points of mutual value.
    Tolerance is not dogmatic thinking; tolerance is Masonic thinking.

    When I read the article in question it was about salvation as I expected. It repeated what I already knew, that salvation is not about good works. Masonry is about personal excellence - Making good men better by an assortment of subtle and nearly invisible methods. Masonry is mostly about good works. Two topics, two ships in passing in the night.
     
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  20. Attila Weinberger

    Attila Weinberger Registered User

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    There is a doctrinal conflict between Masonry and Christianity. The first has been founded on fire while the second achieves redemption through water. Only the first - following Cain's heritage and tradition, is able to create that particular frame within the second can thrive and flourish almost unconditionally. The rest is the history of a millennium long fun...


    Sent From My Freemasonry Pro App
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014

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