Christ or the Lodge? A Report on Freemasonry

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by Blake Bowden, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    You are both welcome!
     
  2. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Brother Stewart.

    Not really surprised that you are an ordained minister. You posts are always very thoughtful and meaningfully deep.

    We're all well served to have your knowledge and advise on this website.
     
  3. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    Yes Bryan I'm saying masonry should-and does promulgate hermeticism, and Gnosticism. And my apologies for the misinterpretation.
     
  4. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    I also don't think these guys promote masonry as a religion either. What we do in the lodge is meant to be a way to live your mortal life. Hermeticism and Gnosticism included. I'm sure somewhere in the world, some brothers do take masonry as a religion, if your looking at it as a way of life. But to dismiss these ancient philosophies would be no different than a person of one faith dismissing another when all have the truth in them. Masonry being allegorical adopts those viewpoints because they too are allegorical. I believe that is the key to interpreting the hermeticism et al.

    I also think that the following statement from the "investigation" is a crockery. " Is Masonry a religious order, or is it not? That is the crucial question. If it should prove that the answer to this question must be affirmative, then the further question, no less crucial than the first, will arise, what the religion of Masonry is. If it is anything but Christianity, the religion of Masonry is necessarily false, for it is axiomatic that Christianity is the only true religion. And in that case no Christian may have communication with Masonry. " On what authority is Christianity the one true religion? And what do you tell your Muslim brother, or Jewish brother? I think that's a terrible attitude to bring in the lodge and also presented to your neighbor etc. the esoterica involved in masonry is also a personal growth, with many philosophical truths in them. One just needs to look and study.

    So in the end if masonry is open to all beliefs philosophies and faiths then yes, that is "my take home message"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2013
  5. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Either Christ is or is not the Divine Logos and the sole Mediator. Either Christ is or is not the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If you demand that Christian masons reject this, you demand they abandon Christianity or Freemasonry. That you cannot understand how someone can believe this and still meet as brothers with those who do not believe this does not mean it is impossible. It only means your understanding is not as all-encompassing as you like to think it is.
     
  6. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    I don't believe any of that Bryan, i would never expect any christian mason to have to choose. Where has any masonic author, or myself said that at any time? You're shooting words in my mouth. Freemasonry allows any mason to pursue any theology or philosophy that his heart desires, as long as the supreme being is present, which on hermeticism et al, it is. I can easily say that your understanding isn't all encompassing at all. I'm at least open to all philosophical and theological stand points, which makes for a good foundation for understanding, and paves the way for tolerance. You however are black and white, and in philosophy and theology there is no such thing.
     
  7. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Exactly! Enough said.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  8. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    Back to the original point of conversation, though:

    Why would a church be wary of Freemasonry? The books available at the time of writing the original church document included Mackey, Pike, Hall, etc. Without the internet, I assume they were limited to what was able to found in libraries and library systems in their local area (with limited reach to a wider area). Some mystical, some very textbook, but several decreeing the fraternity to be a religion.

    Contrast that with today, when there is a growing segment of the organization that is promulgating a hermetic/gnostic ideology as being THE ideology of Freemasonry, I could see a church eyeing us with suspicion. How many new books have been published (without a good editor, I might add :1: ) in the last few years on hermetic ideas within the craft?

    But perhaps the crux of the entire debate is: what came you here to do? What do we, as Freemasons, really do? I've been pondering this question a lot lately, and I still have not settled on a solid answer.

    Fraternity? You can find that in other fraternal groups.

    Fundraising/civic involvement? See above.

    Philosophy? Well... how much philosophical discussion do you have in your Lodge? And is it possible to discuss philosophy without being forcefed the idea that we are an order originally composed of alchemists?

    Self-Improvement? What do we do to foster that self-improvement in our Lodges, that isn't done in other organizations?

    I think when we've found a way to encourage self-improvement as an organization, we will be something churches recommend for men, rather than fear. We contemplate the Lost Word, but perhaps we should ponder on why we're here to begin with. Once you have a solid, well-defined answer, with evidence to support it, no church should fear you, your work, or the Craft.
     
  9. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Regarding the Christian doctrine that Christianity is the true religion: You openly refuse to believe that someone who believes this RELIGIOUS doctrine is able to be a proper Freemason. Do the math. You have made that very plain, very plain, indeed, multiple times. You have flatly stated that the only purpose Christianity has is control. That's black-and-white and intolerant. However, you exempt yourself from your own standards.
     
  10. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    There are bigger issues than you mention above, after doing some research I think my next article will address this exact issue. Regarding churches wariness of Freemasonry it is from multiple points, some of which are logical, others not so much. The most common one i have heard is that by participating you are putting you salvation in jeopardy as Freemasonry is a one off from true teachings of Jesus Christ (I am thinking Christian Evangelical). While the teachings themselves are not Satanic (killing cats, hailing Satan, etc). They at times conflicting Dogma of Freemasonry and Christianity can cause the good Pilgrim off the leaded path (Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and is the only salvation vice a generic term for God and inclusion of other religions as being "equal").

    The other, and far more pragmatic reason is that Freemasonry has now become in competition with your attention to the church. My father who is a retired Methodist Minister didn't care for Freemasonry for this reason. While he has no outward objections to me joining, he did complain that the Craft took away good men from leadership positions within his various church assignments. Kind of like so many on this forum claim the Shrine takes away good men from the blue lodge. ;)

    Regarding the promulgation of Hermetic and Gnostic beliefs, this isn't really recent, but part of something far more symptomatic within our society (I am going to write about this in due time). Over zealousness and development of religious beliefs from the Craft was what Pike constantly reminded us NOT to do, while he wrote extensively of the ancient mysteries, his intent was never for recruitment or establishment of a religious order. We do shoot ourselves in the foot when brethren come up with terms like "Masonic Baptism" and what not, which becomes the fodder for our skeptics and detractors.

    Freemasonry has been a great enabler in my relationship with God, and has really expanded my mind and my practices. I am so grateful for what I have learned that I wish other men would find it just as fulfilling.

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  11. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    Show where I have said that being a Christian makes a lesser man or mason. Never. What I did say is that I believe Christianity is not the one true religion, nor will I ever accept that, and that one can get more out of masonry by looking at it from other perspectives, not necessarily Christian. Maybe thats why you're angry with me? Because i don't think christianity is the one true religion? And your right, I do believe certain aspects of the hierarchy of Christianity are about control, but that doesn't mean I feel that way about individual Christians, who are good people. A good person is a good person, religion doesn't define that. As for my tolerance, I see all beliefs as equal. I don't think you have any right to call me or anyone intolerant when you yourself don't have an ounce of it in you, hence what I believe in. Like I've said before you can be whatever you want, it doesn't bother me in the least. Masonry is open to a lot of philosophical ideas, what makes you think Christianity holds dominance over them all?
     
  12. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Help! Why can't I thank Bro_Vick for the above post more than once!

    Again, an excellent post.
     
  13. Rick Clifton

    Rick Clifton Registered User

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    Disappointing conclusion.

    Years ago.....

    I remember learning my proficiencies and talking with my coach on this matter.

    He told me regarding masonry and (some) organized religion.

    "Church is like a Jealous Woman"

    Whether you like or not, its just the way it is.

    It made sense to me.

    Christ or the Lodge?

    Believe I'll have a little of both.

    Since your beliefs in God are between you and him

    and your beliefs in Masonry are between you and them.

    You're better off to make up your own mind,

    than to let others, who you don't know, tell you what you're allowed to believe.

    JMHO
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  14. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    That, my brother, should be the original premise of every free thinking man.

    I hazard to say, that thought process may have led to or something to do with you being a mason.

    Remember, as mere mortals, we can only speculate on the will of the master.
     
  15. Belcher

    Belcher Registered User

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    you hit that nail on the head..... well said my brother.....
     
  16. Vitriol Knight

    Vitriol Knight Registered User

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    We all have our levels of understanding.
    Every symbol has many layers, an outer layer for the public eye and the initiate and many inner layers for the adept, each layer is as true as the last.
    It would be an assualt to the mind to force another to see a layer that they are not ready to understand.

    If I was to show an initiate a blade of grass and tell him that the color is green that statement would be true. It is up to the initiate to seek further knowledge; the blade of grass is green due to interactions with different wavelengths of light, change the wavelength and the color would change.... Simply a matter of interaction and perception.
    Additionally if contemplated further it would be noted that the color green in the vegetation is due to the chemical process whereby the plant converts light to energy. We can allegorically connect the inner truth of a blade of grass to our reception of light to action.
    On and on we can go, stripping down the layers of the symbol to fractals of the greater truth. Not all of us require this, not all of this desire this, force 1 gallon of water into a 1qt cup and you just confuse the cup and make a mess.
    The symbols of freemasonry are deep and that is a fact, explain these symbols to yourself as you see fit.

    So Mote It Be



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  17. Michael Neumann

    Michael Neumann Premium Member

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    There are several young men here that have progressedthrough the degrees and I enjoy hearing their interpretations of Masonicsymbolism. Many times I have to ask them to expand upon an idea and continuedprompting them until I see that they have arrived at a deeper meaning. Thereare two very religious men that have progressed through the Blue House and arenow in the Commandery. Masonic ideals mold themselves to the individual, thisis why we build the man and through the man build the group.
    In Masonry you find what you seek and if you seek adisconnect between Christianity and Masonry you will find it… if you seek parallelsand harmony with Christianity you will find it.
     
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  18. streeter

    streeter Registered User

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  19. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Masonry admits good men of every faith in the world that you've heard of and that you haven't heard of. This is something to be proud of. That some committee of fundies decided it's a bad thing reflects on them in pretty simple fashion in my book. I find nothing in our admissions policy to be apologized for.

    I can sit next to brother X for decades in lodge. We can man the pancake griddle at the annual breakfast for year after year. And in all that time I might or might not have learned his religious membership. I learned that he's a good man. Then one day I'm driving around with my family and I see brother X. He's walking his family into the building of "that" religion. Inside my head there's a BOOM as yet another prejudice blows away. It's a maturity experience, a shift in perspective. By understanding that good men are members of "that" religion my own heart and mind and perspective expand. (Of course you can fill in the name of any religion you've ever heard of or haven't heard of above).

    I think this level of openmindedness is at the core of the objection of that committee. They can have their conclusion. I'll take a pass on it. If my preacher tries to pull over that level of restriction on me there's a milder church a few blocks down the road. I'll go with a church that isn't afraid that I meet good men of other faiths. After all that happens at the office as well as at lodge. Are they going to ask me to change companies as well?
     
  20. rebis

    rebis Premium Member

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    Masonry, encourages sovereignty of thought and intellect. A mason goes where truth takes him.
    Religion tells you what to think, how to perceive reality and what to believe of God...and if you are not satisfied with its way of thinking, interpretations or if you simply thirst for more understanding you will be labeled, referenced and categorized as a heretic...the priests will come to your house and ask you to denounce freemasonry. This is what the Greek Orthodox Church does.


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