Is Masonry a religion?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by jonesvilletexas, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    Chack out this topic on our new group. In the Masons of Texas Groups (Christian Masons)


    Entirely too little is known to the vast majority of our brethren of the modern organizations known as Masonic. They have been given the letter, which,though beautiful in itself, does not contain the life, and because of this lack, they cannot successfully defend the expression frequently heard, that Masonry is a religion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  2. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    What new group?
     
  3. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    In the Masons of Texas Groups (Christian Masons)
     
  4. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    So, are you saying that it is or is not a religion? :huh:
     
  5. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    I defend that Masonry is not a religion. It offers no means of salvation of the soul.
    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
     
  6. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    Well then, just for sake of argument, and I love playing Devil's Advocate...

    Could Freemasonry stand on its own as a religion? Hear my arguments....

    First we should look at the definition of religion...
    re·li·gion
       /rɪˈlɪdʒən/ Show Spelled[ri-lij-uhn] Show IPA
    –noun
    1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.


    A) One could plainly see that the tenets of Freemasonry are a set of beliefs. Check
    B) I have never come across anything Masonic that discusses the cause if the universe, but judging from the language and flavor, I can deduce that the GAotU built it. Tentative check
    C) The nature of the universe is a little more tricky. Freemasonry takes a lot from the old Hermetic philosophy. Their explanation of the nature of the universe was "As above, so below", could one argue that, the more we align ourselves with the actions and thoughts that we know (or believe) to be in accordance with the tools that the GAotU set forth for us, the more "in line" with the GAotU's designs we are? Tentative check
    D) I definitely know that we talk of superhuman agencies. (God, resurrection, invoking the aid of Deity etc.) Check
    E) We definitely talk of devotion as it is our devotion to the code of morality is what gains us admission into the House. Check
    F) Ritual observances? Check
    G) Containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs? Check

    Let us discuss!

    I am not saying that Freemasonry is a religion. I only using my reasoning abilities to deduce here. If I offend anyone, please let me know.
     
  7. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    I think "salvation of the soul" as a requirement for religion is.. well, Christian. And it is a western habit to define religion (and aspects of religion) by Christianity.

    I think Masonry is religious without a doubt. An organization can be religion and even based on religion without being a religion itself.

    The Jesuits are a religious organization, but are not a religion. Of course, their religious perspective is a subset of monotheism and a subset of christianity and a subset of catholicism, being more Jesuit than Franciscan.
     
  8. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

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    I have know a lot of religous men in Masonary... ! I have never heard one of them try to convert me to any religous point of view.. ! don't think masonary is a religion.. ! in my long years as a mason have never run into anyone promoting it as a religion.. !
     
  9. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    Good call.

    And this is the explanation I am looking for. I have always heard Masons say, "We are not a religion", heck I have even fiercely defended that we are not. I would just like to know, what specifically makes us NOT a religion. Is salvation it?

    It seems I need to read up on my monastic orders.

    Please let it be known that I am not attempting to do this, merely incite a conversation.

    Nor have I. I would just like to know if there is something specific that defines us from a religion philosophically, or is it so because we say it is.
     
  10. Stewart Cook

    Stewart Cook Registered User

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    People have often asked me what is the meaning and purpose of Freemasonry. I usually tell them that there are as many different definitions and interpretations of Freemasonry as there are Freemasons...and I usually add...the same could be probably be said of religions. Clearly for some Brothers, this is their religion while for others this is strictly a secular craft with religious themes. The metaphysical components of our work cannot be denied, but neither can the purely mundane aspects be disregarded. I think we (as a species) need to confine everything into neat little boxes under precise labels, because deep down we are fundamentally afraid of uncertainty. This has made the cultures of the world very litigious...especially in the West. Borrowing from several ancient schools of thought, I would point out that this analytical way of thinking gives us only half the story as we struggle to confine and control that which we do not understand.
     
  11. PeterLT

    PeterLT Premium Member

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    I think that the main reason, in my mind, that Freemasonry is not a religion is the intensity with which organized religions attempt to squash participation by their members in the Craft. I've been to lodges that have as many as 4 VOSL's on the altar and that is what makes it religious yet not a religion; it's inclusiveness. A religion, to be true to the definition, must be exclusive to exist. It's teachings must be the only way to salvation. Even in Christianity there exists factions, just look at all the various denominations. All proclaim that their way is the only way. Other religions are even more exclusive, Islam for example.

    Freemasonry cannot be a religion, as would be universally recognized, simply because we accept all good men of good repute who believe in a Supreme Being. And we do so without prejudice.


    Peter
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  12. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    Good points. We always need good thinkers here.
     
  13. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    let me stir the pot a bit.

    re·li·gion
    [ri-lij-uhn]
    –noun
    1.a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    2.a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
    3.the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
    4.the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
    5.the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
    6.something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

    #1. interestingly enough... it would seem to fit.

    **********************************************************

    now, to get the popcorn and let the sparks fly. cheers!
     
  14. PeterLT

    PeterLT Premium Member

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    re·li·gion
    [ri-lij-uhn]
    –noun
    1.a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    Freemasonry does not fall into this category because the beliefs expressed about any of the defined principles are not those of Freemasonry. They are the core beliefs of the religion to whom the Brother belongs, whatever that may be. “Ritual Observances†is, in this definition an optional thing that could also be said about applying for a driver’s license. There would be the ritual of standing in line, answering questions, performing a routine and then confirming what has been learned. Moral codes and human affairs are also covered by various national or state laws and doesn’t necessarily imply a religion.

    2.a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

    Well, there you go, ‘nuff said.

    3.the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

    By this definition a gardening club could be a religion.


    4.the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.

    Not applicable to Freemasonry.

    5.the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.


    This occurs in Freemasonry but it is not the ritual observance of a “Masonic†faith but the observance of the faith of the individual member.

    6.something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

    Again, a very broad definition that I suppose an anti-mason could twist to employ. But it doesn’t refer to anything being a religion, only that the practice could be likened to one.

    Nope, Freemasonry is not a religion. We can thank our Brethren of many days past that they made it so universal and inclusive as to avoid the pitfalls that a religious dogma can bring.
     
  15. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    http://www.masonsoftexas.com/showthread.php/10671-Is-Masonry-a-religion?p=39859&viewfull=1#post39859
     
  16. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    I think that this is the main argument against Freemasonry being a religion. It is that we do not teach you anything new. We do not expose you to different truths than that of your chosen religion. You must proclaim a belief in Deity before you can be made a Mason, therefore you MUST have at least a rudimentary religion defining your place within the universe. However degenerate (not used derisively) that religion might be, it is still a religion nonetheless.


    However, could it be argued that Freemasonry could stand on its own AS a religion? If we did not require a man to have a belief in Deity before they joined? Could a Martian pick up Morals and Dogma, Freemasonry For Dummies, etc. and start a solid, self-supporting, rational religion?
     
  17. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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  18. PeterLT

    PeterLT Premium Member

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    The same could be asked of any religious text such as the Bible, Koran, Torah, etc. That said, I have tried to read Morals and Dogma and have found it a profoundly boring read, perhaps our Martian friends have a higher tolerance to droning than I do. It seems to me that the issue is not really a matter of if Freemasonry is a religion or not, since like beauty it is in the eyes of the beholder. No, the real issue is that of motive. Why is it necessary to brand Freemasonry as a religion and what is to be gained in doing so? We as Masons, it is assumed, see that the Craft compliments whatever we carry within us as religious faith but to an outsider there is no such baseline to compare it to. Therefore the profane amongst us can only base any opinion by their own baseline, that being that their religion is the only path and anything else is wrong or a threat. By that measure, Freemasonry is a threat but it is handier if it is made a religion.

    I think that our gentle Craft simply cannot be a religion and exist as it does, it is a contradiction of terms. But the inclusiveness of Freemasonry makes it a useful, although not always welcome, compliment to any religion.

    I do so love esoteric discussions.:001_smile:

    Peter
     
  19. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    Are you saying that M&D and FMfD are religious texts? If so, you are undercutting your position. :)

    LOL!

    Agreed.

    Only academic. As a freethinking Mason, I have always questioned authority; which doesn't mean I never see the reason behind authority.

    So are you saying that people would try to tag Freemasonry as a religion just to vilify it? I think I found them.

    But why? Why specifically? If a religious nut forced you to defend this position academically, what would you say?

    Agreed on both points!
     
  20. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    LOL, not a problem. You could rectify that by responding to my post to PeterLT. :thumbup1:
     

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