Can a Non-Christian become a Mason?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Blake Bowden, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    The only religious requirement is that candidates believe in the Supreme Being. If you can in you can in good faith profess a belief in the Supreme Being, you are eligible to be a Mason. No atheists will ever knowingly be made a Mason.

    There are Christian (Catholic, Protestant, Mormon), Jewish, and Muslim Masons. It would be tedious and pointless to go into a religion-by-religion (and then denomination-by-denomination) discussion. The key points to remember are the requirement of belief in the supreme being and the fact that Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion.
     
  2. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The question on the petition is the key. If you can in good conscience answer yes, then you can become a Mason. What religious membership you have, if any, is not relevant and should not be asked by the investigating committee. We have a landmark against discussing sectarian religion in an opened lodge and while the candidate investigation takes place outside of an opened lodge the rule still applies. Some investigating committee members don't add these bits together.

    The most common phrasing of the question is "Do you believe in the existence of a supreme being?" A less common phrasing is "Do you believe in an ever living God?" with other phrasing in some jurisdictions. Just answer the question and don't get bogged down in religious membership. The question is *IT* as far as qualifications go.

    Members of monotheist religions tend to find the question simple. Either they have faith and can come among our assemblies or not.

    None of that matters. Think of any monotheist religion and there will be men who answered yes to the question and who has joined our assemblies. You may well have sat in lodge with one and never knew. This is as it should be.

    Members of philosophical religions like Buddhism tend to struggle with the word "exist" in the question. Whether Buddhism addresses deity depends on the sect but in general belief is neither required nor forbidden. It's up to the individual Buddhist. The brother who obligated me on my third degree is a practicing Buddhist. Going well away from our buildings and discussing the topic with him is fascinating. His sect does address the topic of deity. He decided and so he could answer yes to the question on the petition.

    None of that matters. Think of any philosophical religion and there will be men who answered yes to the question and who has joined our assemblies. You may well have sat in lodge with one and never knew. This is as it should be.

    Members of polytheist religions like Shinto tend to struggle with the word "supreme". Some pantheons have a deity like Zeus or Jupiter who is clearly in charge. Other pantheons don't - It is not clear that Odin is in charge. Finding a brother of that faith and being open minded enough to discuss the matter with him well away from our buildings it can be interesting to discuss his struggles with the word "supreme".

    None of that matters. Think of any polytheist religion and there will be men who answered yes to the question and who has joined our assemblies. You may well have sat in lodge with one and never knew. This is as it should be.

    Do there exist jurisdictions that do require monotheism? The question on their petition would have to use words like "single" or "only" for that to be the case. There may well be such jurisdictions now. Do there exist Masons who believe that their jurisdiction requires monotheism? Plenty. The good thing is we have a landmark against discussing sectarian religion in opened lodge so they never know if they are sitting in lodge with a member of a different faith.

    We're there in droves but you can't tell us from other brothers. And that too is as it should be - Sit with a brother for years. Work with him at service events. One day you see him walking his family into the temple of "Religion X". Boom, your preconceived notions about "Religion X" are blown away in a mind expansion. That's one more way "Masons make good men better".
     
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  3. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Can a Non-Christian become a Mason? Yup, but only if he doesn't mind participating in a few circumscriptions.:wink:
     
  4. kapri06

    kapri06 Registered User

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    That is false coachn

    Sent from my SPH-L900 using My Freemasonry HD mobile app
     
  5. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Although I know that you are mistaken, I am open to you explaining how the Jewish and Muslim Brothers with whom I share Lodge, whom carry dues cards from the GL of FL and who didn't mind participating in a few circumscriptions are not Masons?
     
  6. marty15chris

    marty15chris Premium Member

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    I believe he may be referring to your reference of circumscriptions as a Christian practice. If one was to trace circumscriptions through history you would find the first men practicing circumscriptions around a fire as sun worship.



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  7. tery anchor

    tery anchor Registered User

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    Guys I'm from Zimbabwe I posted my application letter to a lodge in Harare. When should I expect a reply


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  8. marty15chris

    marty15chris Premium Member

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    It would depend on how often the lodge meets. I would say about a month or maybe 2.


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  9. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    He may, but his assumptions would mislead him and he would still be mistaken in his claim.
     
  10. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    As the degrees tell a story out of the Old Testament and Old Testament quotes are read early in each degree, it is necessary for any member of a non-JCI religion to be very secure in their faith and practice before finding the degrees comfortable. Every faith had beneficial teachings. It can be easier to accept the beneficial teachings of your own faith and harder to accept the beneficial teaching of another faith. Members of the JCI family have it easy in this sense.
     
  11. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    And they also have it harder when they may assume that what is before them is familiar and known. When they do the Work, that bubble is busted!
     
  12. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Unfortunately not soon enough DOC ... not soon enough. For many the bubble just bounces right over their heads.
     
  13. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Yup. It always does when the Work is not done.
     
  14. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    So Mote It Be!
     
  15. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    You need not be a Christian to petition Freemasonry in the USA. However, the vast majority of USA Masons practice the Christian religion. There are over 100 appendant and concordant bodies in the masonic "family" of organizations. Some (but not all) of these have more specific requirements. The Knights Templar has a Christian theme, and the "White Shrine of Jerusalem" has a requirement that members practice the Christian religion.
     
  16. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Has anyone read The Path by Jason E. Marshall? It ties into this subject matter somewhat.

    Received my copy through snail mail yesterday afternoon and will finish this evening. So far, I find it quite balanced and a decent perspective as to the rolls played by religious dogma and man's quest for his natural relationship with the maker.

    All said, remember the pour turkey who is footing the bill for this Thanksgiving Day meal you are about to partake of. If I were a turkey, and who's to say I am not, I would forgo meals and skip November and December every year! Just another thing to consider.
     
  17. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  18. CuAllaidh

    CuAllaidh Registered User

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    A busy spammer LOL


    Back on the original topic:

    Can a non-Christian become a Mason, as a non-Christian Mason I'd have to say yes, without a doubt. My lodge, while pretty staunchly Christian based made it clear they'd be willing to use pretty much any religious text I wished for my initiation just to let them know. Since I am a spiritual Agnostic the specific religious text used doesn't matter much to me.

    And yes as others stated since much of the lectures and such are based on Old Testament teachings you do have to be a little stronger than one who is Christian as you have accept the teachings from a religious text that is not your own, but since the allegories from the Old Testament are not really specific to the Christian faith I don't think it should pose much of a problem for any non-Christian considering Masonry.
     
  19. Dow Mathis

    Dow Mathis Premium Member

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    Yep, the same thing happened a couple of weeks ago. While not connected to this topic at all, I wonder if there might be a better way to screen new members to avoid this type of thing. I've been a member for so long that I can't remember what the screening process was or if there even was one.

    Now, back to the subject at hand...

    I don't know how I missed this thread when it was started, but I've certainly enjoyed reading it this morning. Certainly a non-Christian can become a mason. There's at least one Muslim in my lodge, and there may be some Jews as well. As for polytheists, I really don't know if we have any, nor would I know where to begin to find out. As brother Doug so succinctly put it, "None of this matters." All that matters, at least to my interpretation, is that the candidate believe in something greater than himself.

    The verbiage of the question as stated int he petition, however, could put some candidates off, unless as CoachN stated, "he doesn't mind participating in a few circumscriptions." Here is the GloT question:
    So in this case, some interpretation would be necessary for those of "other" religious backgrounds.

    Interesting topic. I'd like to take this time to thank the spammer for adding a post to this thread, thereby bringing it to the top of the list again so that I could read it. :001_tongue:
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Demonstrate a long term consistently open minded approach and socialize with brothers outside of lodge. Eventually discussions can happen that indicate that open minded approach includes matters of faith. I was a warden in my mother lodge before such became common for me, a PM in my next lodge in another jurisdiction.

    It can happen without you noticing - A brother handed me a mundane item and had I not known its meaning I would not have noticed that he had just broached the topic of his religious membership. I knew so I smiled and said "Thank you. Let's talk later."

    My original California petition used "believe in the existence of a Supreme Being". It seems a more common rendition. Anyone considered with the meaning on the Texas petition should take the standard wording into account.

    Texas is the first petition I've seen that has mention of scripture. Of course it refers to the book that is in the candidate's heart whether that matches the physical book on the altar or not. The standard term is Volume of the Sacred Law.
     

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