Is Freemasonry a substitute for Religion?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by Blake Bowden, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Even though my attendance at Church isn't what it should be, I still consider myself an active member. For me, attending Church and having a relationship with Christ fulfills all of my spiritual needs. Masonry has not substituted my Faith, but strengthened it. Over the past year I've noticed that a handful of Freemasons are not Christians nor members of a particular faith.

    For those who aren't, does Freemasonry compliment your spiritual life? Now before someone starts flaming that FREEMASONRY IS NOT A RELIGION, I know! However Masonry DOES have religious overtones and requires an acknowledgement of a "GAOTU". So, organized religion aside, does Freemasonry bring you closer to who you consider "God"?
     
  2. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I can only speak for myself. Freemasonry has been important in my spiritual life. I have seen up close and personal, what it means to be a man. I have seen some really remarkable things in my 27 years under the S&C. Only the hand of God, could have made such things possible. And I feel that we, as masons, are doing important work, to help the poor, the sick, the widow, and the orphan.

    "God's work must truly be our own"- John F. Kennedy
     
  3. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    If you define religion as goign to church, then its made no difference since I dont go to places of organized religion.

    If you define religion as my relationship with my God then Id say Masonry has helped that relationship and keeps me more consciously aware of it than I was previously on a daily basis.
     
  4. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Excellent thread.

    Masony not being a religion is one of the main reasons I am a member. I can find a good deal of spiritual fulfillment through the Masonic experience, and none of the religious "guilt" when I delve into thoughts or concepts not generally accepted by the mainstream. That being said, Masonry definitely brings me closer to what I believe "God" is.
     
  5. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Ditto. Masonry has definitely strengthened my spiritual experience and my connection to the GAOTU. While I have faith, I lack religion.
     
  6. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    I would say that Masonry has brought up things that made me reconsider Christianity a few times... I'm still Catholic, but even though it in no way challenges religion (it promotes it, of course), it does hint at some of the fallacies of organized religion (even then, not so much Blue lodge, but the Scottish Rite).
     
  7. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Very nicely said Padawan.
     
  8. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I once thought Masonry was very religous even possiable one itself funny enough the symbol that had me believing it was a religion has now proved to me otherwise. Jacob's Ladder we are taught about in the EA degree is a ladder to heaven and immortallity but it only mention the first three rungs faith, hope and charirty these steps will get you closer to God no dought as they have done me, but the ladder has more than 3 rungs and the Mason is left to go beyond that what we teach in Lodge to reach that clouded canopy or starry decked heaven where all good Masons hope to last arrive.
     
  9. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    Freemasonry is not a substitute for religion. It may have some religious references. And it has strengthed my relationship with Christ and the Church in many ways. I saw a list once of reasons why it was not a religion (or why it is not a subsitute for religion) I can't recall most of them right now, but one has always stuck with me - it provides no method of salvation.

    I think too many people try to read in more religion than is there (Blue Lodge is all I can speak for, I understand SR and YR have more religion). And as I have stated in other posts, I believe that many of the teachings and practices of the lodge were developed by men of faith. But it is a secular organization, that encourages its men to be good men of high moral standards.
     
  10. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Good point. I don't want anyone to take offense here, so I'm gonna pull an AV7 and throw my thoughts out there. What exactly is "salvation?" From my lowly perspective, it seems that most world religions claim to be the "only way to salvation," which sounds to me like some kind of telemarketing scheme. I am a firm believer in reincarnation, and the "Jacob's Ladder" theory that was used earlier in another post. Are we here to be "saved," or are we here to advance and progress? What can we possibly learn in just one life, especially when we don't all start out on equal footing?
     
  11. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    LOL

    what we can, i suppose.
     
  12. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    You are exactly right, most of the world's religions claim to be the one way to salvation. As a Christian, I believe that way is Christ. I will go a step further and say the your beliefs regarding reincarnation is a type of religious belief. I am one of those who believe that the denial of religion is in a way a religious act.

    The cool thing about craft masonry is that there are several places in our work that are open enough that the individual mason can insert his own religious beliefs there, but that is only good for him. He cannot claim that place solely for his religion. The vagueness is necessary as this is esoteric stuff, but I am sure that you know some of the "places" I am alluding to. But in short to use your example, you see Jacobs ladder one way, I may see it another way and the cool thing is neither of us are wrong.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2009
  13. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    One of the true beauties of Masonry.
     
  14. A7V

    A7V Registered User

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    Can Freemasonry be a substitute for religion.... Yes it can.

    Take for instance yoga... millions of people are out there doing yoga as it is currently a fitness and health fad. Yoga is in fact a part of a religion, it a discipline of Hinduism. The religion is stripped in most of these Yoga places and that is what makes it palatable to those who would have never practiced. Not to go to far from the topic but I am an episcopalian and pretty much anything goes for us, I was listening to a baptist preacher on the perils of Yoga and how it can lead you from Christ. My thoughts were only if you subscribe to the religious aspect of that are you in danger of it. To subscribe to that religious aspect one must do a lot of PERSONAL SEARCHING, and even find mentors.

    I capitalize that personal searching because that is exactly how Freemasonry can also become a substitute for religion. As you all know, I am full of ideas and see 3 meanings in everything where most only find one (as a Rosicrucian we are taught to be walking question marks.), I will not get enough and neither will anyone else out of stated meetings and even degree work to make Freemasonry a substitute for religion. It is when you start to question and do the personal searching that the religion unfolds in front of you.

    I now consider myself an Esoteric Christian and believe that Jesus was the Son of God and die on the cross for my sins, so that I may have eternal life. Where the differences start to come in are what is the eternal life? What is the sin? What is the spirit and soul? Freemasonry can answer a lot of these questions, but as I say it can't do it in the stated meetings and you have to dwelve deep into the symbolism of the degree work, going into astronomy and Qabalah. That isn't going to happen in the lodge.

    If one starts to do that, then yes they can say Freemasonry is their substitute for religion. Freemasonry is not a religion is always thrown out and when I hear it a little voice in the back of my head just goes, unless you let it be one.

    Also, guys in reference to TC saying he is going to go A7V... I know he meant no hard but if I am upsetting people or making people feel uncomfortable or just to "off the wall" I am sorry but this is how I see our Fraternity. I don't see fundraisers and golf tournaments and the such as part of Freemasonry, I see the research into these things. I do apologize if my "flavor" offends anyone. I asked Blake to let me into this area, and I don't mean to disrupt anything, but I do want to voice my interpretation.

    I can get a lot from you guys and I hope you can from myself.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  15. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    Freemasonry teaches us to study, to learn of that I dont disagree. The fact that because of that a man starts to go off in another religious direction, Im not so sure is the 'fault' of Masonry. It's just his learning more and in many cases finding what is to them a religion or faith that is more compatible to their personal philosophy of life.
     
  16. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    I really enjoy hearing what you have to say. The esoteric fascinate me, along with others views and interpretations. If someone if offended then that is there problem for not being secure enough in their own belief. Keep up the good work of the Craft. :)
     
  17. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    One of the things about Freemasonry that I love is that you can have your faith and I can have mine and we don't have to kill each other in the process.
     

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