Just a few concerns... or curiosities

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Derek Barclay, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    Hey guys,

    I entertained the idea of petitioning to join the Scottish Rite lodge in Dallas a while back. I eventually lost interest because I felt I could never reconcile my beliefs, or lack thereof, with the rules of the fraternity.

    Some things left me genuinely perplexed so I'd like to ask yall about them.

    Why is there, seemingly, an emphasis on formal attire and rituals? So often those things seem, to me, to be mistaken for having intrinsic meaning. I was asking the head of a different local lodge about attending a public get-together at a bar, and he informed me the attire was formal. I informed him that I only own jeans and t-shirts, and he said that was fine so long as I did not feel intimidated or offended (can't remember which) by the others being dressed formally. This truly confused me. I thought of it the other way around. I didn't want them to take offense at my lack of "proper dress."

    Also, the notion that 'God' is an absolute term is something I can't understand, atleast not yet. Do I believe in a master plot to life, no. But I often find myself feeling/thinking about life, in general, the way many people do with regard to 'God.'

    Any thoughts on these ramblings? :)
     
  2. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

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    If you do not believe that there is a power higher than all, freemasonry is not for you.
     
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  3. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    What do we mean when we say 'power'? I don't believe that mankind is the pinnacle of evolution. I'm not even sure if such a thing could exist. I do genuinely want to discuss these things with yall because they seem to matter. At the very least, they're interesting. Beats talking 'bout football :)
     
  4. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    It would seem to me that your conceptualization of Life is deist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

    Many early Freemasons in the US were deists.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  5. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    Deists seem to still conceptualize some kind of universal ego or consciousness. I don't.
     
  6. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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  7. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    Hey Glen, I appreciate the response. I know yall probably hear people bring this up alot, and I'm not intending to be frivolous in asking it.

    Clearly the question 'Do you believe in God?' is more complicated than simply 'Yes' or 'No'.
     
  8. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    But that isn't the only question there, is it?

    It is you who must declare Yes or No, on your honor. No one here can answer it for you. We can't define G-d for you. You must do that.

    It may also be that your beliefs aren't sufficiently formed to answer the question. That's ok. When and if they are, you may look at the questions again and see how you would answer honorably.
     
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  9. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    Sorry, I thought you said question #26. Looking at question #30 I can honestly answer 'no', as far as I can tell.

    I don't believe I form my beliefs; rather, my beliefs form me.
     
  10. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Note, I did not say you form your beliefs.
     
  11. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    If beliefs are out of our control, why require a declaration of certain beliefs in order to fraternize?

    In order to simplify, for my benefit, I'd compare it to how I "choose" my friends. If one has a desire to learn and a willingness to admit their ignorance, that seems like a person I'd want to associate with.

    I don't know. Please know that I'm not offended in any way for not being "accepted." I'm just trying to figure it out.

    I assume the overall purpose of the order is to eliminate unnecessary suffering in the world, though I'm sure I'm mistaken about that as well, and I view divisiveness a key contributor to that.
     
  12. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Mainstream Grand Lodges have declared the genuine secrets to be lost. If so, the overall purpose of the order may equally be lost.

    As a substitute purpose, it may well be appropriate to seek the betterment of humanity, and of all sentient beings.
     
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  13. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    See the discussion here: http://www.myfreemasonry.com/thread...uire-a-belief-in-god.25316/page-5#post-150230

    I had not heard that as a purpose of Freemasonry
     
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  14. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    The purpose of Freemasonry is no secret and is plainly and clearly stated: To take good men and make them better. No more & no less.
     
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  15. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    What is about being atheistic that deems a man not good, or unable to be bettered? If nothing, why care? Why compartmentalize life?

    I may move my questioning to the other thread that Glen shared.
     
  16. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Masonry is a science - based on measuring what is true and what is square.

    Most brethren have not achieved the skills of Masonic science necessary to measure how true and square is a candidate and therefore use simple rules of thumb, such as belief in a theistic deity.

    As you might imagine such rules of thumb screen out many from non-Western cultures or with personalities that are more sensate or intuitive.
     
  17. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    But do they understand that and view it as a point of weakness? Diversity is necessary for strength.
     
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  18. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    You may watch the responses to my posts and judge for yourself.
     
  19. Derek Barclay

    Derek Barclay Registered User

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    I suppose the question was rhetorical. They obviously don't view it as a weakness. I'm trying to understand why.
     
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    On dressing up -

    My career was reaching the point where I had to do presentations. Some of them in suit and tie. To me it was an advantage in life to become comfortable in formal attire. After enough practice I can now walk around in a tuxedo as naturally and as easily as I see in James Bond movies. If I can handle a tux, I can handle any sort of attire required by any profession. There are jobs that never require dressing up but they are not the professional jobs.

    Dressing up is highly correlated with career advancement. No one has to like the fact but it remains a fact. There is a pragmatic advantage to dressing up.

    On ritual -

    Memorized ritual is the same across generations. An entire body of symbolic meaning can be encoded in such a ritual and stored there. A generation can grow up thinking the group's purpose is social and charitable with almost no members paying attention to the encoded symbolic meaning but it remains there intact. Then a new generation can study the ritual and there it is to be found. Exactly this has happened at least once with Masonic ritual.

    On requiring a belief in a supreme being -

    A friend told me he did not believe in religions but he was interested in petitioning a lodge. We had lunch for a year discussing the issue. He did believe in a supreme being but he had read too much history of abuse by humans in charge of religious institutions to participate. Once he understood that we don't require participation in a religious institution he petitioned. In the years since he became a Mason he became more generous in his approach to institutions and is now okay with them. Not sure if this is similar to your situation.

    In the end it's required because we require it. We need enough in common to be able to start building ourselves into a family. A man of faith can chose to have faith in us and so we can have faith in him. Having that faith is needed for it to end up mutual.
     

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