Wiccan Masons

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by Payne, Nov 20, 2009.

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How many people here are wiccan?

  1. I am

    7 vote(s)
    7.9%
  2. I am not

    82 vote(s)
    92.1%
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  1. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I was under the impression that as long as you are not an atheist you could be a Mason. If you declare a belief in Deity no many how many Deities that may be you are not an atheist by definition and therefore allowed into Freemasonry. I am not sure what questioning a petitioner on their explanation of God or Gods would accomplish unless you are in a mood to philosophize with him on the level. The tenets of Freemasonry are found within the extended points of the compasses and no where in my heart does it say I know what constitutes God or Gods well enough to give me the ability to judge for another if their version of God or Gods is correct for Masonic admission. As long as they say they believe in a Higher Power or Powers that good enough for me.
     
  2. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I have always been curious why and when Masonry required a person to have a book to obligate themselves on? What about Deist who do not have a book but believe in God? If I am not mistaken Ben Franklin was a Deist wonder what he obligated himself on?
     
  3. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Rhitland.

    I don't know where you got that impression. Certainly over here in UGLE, and also in every other regular GL I've come across (including GLoTX, obviously), the requirement is quite specific that a Candidate must believe in the Supreme Being. A polytheistic religion which doesn't include a Supreme Being is not atheism, but nevertheless wouldn't qualify.

    No, that's not enough; see above.

    Some GLs add further religious restrictions as well. For example, GLoTX requires belief in immortality of the soul as well as belief in the Supreme Being. It may be true that all of the well-known religions which believe in the Supreme Being do also uphold immortality of the soul, but it's conceivable that some obscure minor religion might not see it that way, and therefore would be ineligible even in spite of believing in God. (UGLE, incidentally, does not have this particular additional requirement.)

    It's for what I said before: to establish eligibility in cases where it's not automatically obvious what he believes in.

    In order to recommend a petition, you ought to be satisfied that the Candidate is eligible, and that must necessarily include being satisfied that his religious belief qualifies for Masonic admission. And that must mean qualified according to what the rules of your GL actually are, not merely according to your own view. If you don't feel able to undertake the (admittedly heavy) responsibility of making such a judgment on behalf of your entire GL, then you should consider yourself ineligible to serve on your Lodge's Investigation Committee, because that's precisely the judgment which every member of an Investigation Committee has no choice but to make.

    Of course you're entitled to your opinion about what the rules ought to be. However, GLoTX does not agree, nor does regular freemasonry in general: the rules set out more precise requirements.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  4. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi again Rhitland.

    That's always been so: it's a Landmark derived from the Old Charges of the operative masons. For example, the GL MS #2 (c. 1650) says "... so help me God and the holy contents of this Book", and other Old Charges have wording to similar effect. (Of course, in those days the Book would always mean a Bible.)

    That's a very good question! Franklin is probably an example of someone who would have to be asked supplementary questions about what he actually believed in, so as to establish whether or not he was actually eligible.

    However, another additional religious requirement laid down by the GLoTX is belief in "the Divine authenticity of the Holy Scripture" (I'm quoting the current GLoTX petition form), and here in UGLE we have an equivalent requirement (in slightly different words). I don't know the precise details of what Bro. Franklin personally believed, but if he didn't believe in some sort of scripture (although not necessarily the usual scripture), then clearly he would not be eligible for GLoTX (or UGLE) under current rules (and even any previous rules, so far as I can determine).

    Presumably Bro. Franklin satisfied the Brethren (of St. John's Lodge in Philadelphia) that he did believe in some variety of scripture, and was therefore Obligated on that ... whether it was a standard Bible or something else. It'd be interesting to know!

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  5. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Does it state somewhere that polytheistic religions are excluded? I know it says that you have to have a belief in "a" Supreme Being but I am not sure how that wording would exclude Supreme Beings. The purpose of the belief in the Supreme Being to the fraternity is to bind us to our obligation right? If that is the purpose then why would it exclude multiple Gods? I guess I am just not understanding why one petitioning must believe in God as a GL sees Him/Her or walk away. Does a requirement in a believe in a specific form of God make Masonry an arm of religion in that it uses certain religions interpretation of God? I mean how do they know they are right in that interpretation to make it a requirement for joining Freemasonry? That kinda seems far from Brotherly Love and Justice. Please keep in mind I am but a young Master Mason and still a neophyte in it's history and traditions.
     
  6. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    Well it really goes deeper than that. A belief in a Supreme Being is required esoterically for two reasons, the first because of the one you just stated. Secondly, without a Supreme Being, you can not have Free Will. Without a Spiritual interpretation of reality, actions within the universe become predetermined. Without the Divine, your life and actions are chemical reactions to other chemical reactions and so on, and your life is a predetermined event. It becomes a cog in reality.

    To Hard Atheists (and it is scientifically postulated), our perception of time is a peculiarity. Everything has already "happened", we are just perceiving it in a linear fashion known as cause and effect. If this is hard to wrap your brain around, then good. It should. It would be like me showing you a picture of the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy in one image. A belief in the Divine opens the door for Free Will, thus keeping us being relegated to cogs in an uncaring, mechanical universe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism#Varieties_of_Determinism

    You have to remember the place and time in which modern Freemasonry began. In England, if you were not a monotheist, you were considered barbarous. However, there were multiple interpretations of monotheism and particularly Christianity; so UGLE said, "screw it, just as long as a we can all agree that there is a God, then we're OK." I bet that they were talking about the God of Abraham (Yaweh), since they agreed that all "reasonable" men could agree at least on that, not over whether or not God was Jesus, or the Trinity; but decided on just plain "God" so they could fit the Deists in.


    Amen.

    Actually, a polytheism CAN include a Supreme Being. It is called Soft Polytheism. You can have a pantheon headed by a "Supreme Being" (you know, one with tomatos and sour cream[Taco Bell joke :laugh:]). And this particular Supreme Being might order you to worship the lesser gods or whatever. And to be honest, philosophically, that is why if a Wiccan can answer Yes on the application about the belief in a Supreme Being, then I think he's OK.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheism#In_Neopaganism

    See, here is where I disagree. I think that with people's changing attitudes towards different religious/spiritual systems, we need to be sensitive. I SHOULD NEVER have to explain my paradigm to anyone, other than what is required on the petition. And I bet GLoT would back that statement up.



    What are these precise requirements?
     
  7. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    As much as we appreciate your patronage, let's take personal discussions to pm before this is completely disrailed
     
  8. Ecossais

    Ecossais Registered User

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    Wiccans, Schmiccans. What about those who only serve the great Gozer the Gozerian? What is this, a forum for Freemasons, or a sci-fi/comics convention?
     
  9. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    ???
    please explain???
     
  10. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Rhit.

    No, polytheists can be eligible IF their pantheon includes a Supreme Being. But if they have a variety of gods none of which is Supreme, as with Shinto for example, then they're not eligible.

    Because of the meaning of the word Supreme. If there are multiple deities, they can't all be Supreme - either one has supremacy and the rest are His side-kicks, or the final say in All Things is in some way shared between several or all of them, and none of them is truly Supreme.

    That's not the sole purpose of the requirement, but certainly it's one of the purposes, yes.

    See above. It doesn't necessarily exclude that.

    We're a private society with particular purposes and rules. Those who don't believe in the purpose of serving God and the rule requiring belief in Him do not belong in our society.

    No. It makes Masonry a supporter of religion, certainly, but not an arm of religion because we're not specific about exactly which religion a member supports.

    By the power of Faith, and it works as follows. We each have our own religious faith because we passed the same requirement when we were each admitted, and we each believe our own faith is correct. Not all of us have the same faith, but we all come from faiths which believe that there is a Supreme Being. Therefore, although we can't all agree between ourselves (and deliberately avoid arguing about) which of the many faiths with a Supreme Being is actually correct, we do all agree that every faith which lacks a Supreme Being is false.

    Sorry if it seems that way to you. However, our brotherliness isn't just any vague friendly feeling towards people in general, it's more specific: freemasonry upholds the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God, a particular kind of Brotherly Love. Likewise, coming as we all do from faiths which believe in a Supreme Being, most (perhaps even all) of us are taught by our respective religions that ultimate Justice derives from the Supreme Being.

    Thus our belief in the Supreme Being is central to what we mean and understand in freemasonry by the concepts of Brotherly Love and Justice. In some other (hypothetical) fraternity which doesn't believe in the Supreme Being, concepts such as Brotherly Love and Justice could not mean quite the same thing to them as they mean to us. The character of such an organisation would therefore be different; it would not be Freemasonry.

    We all are when we start! In fact, it's often a wise view for all of us to remember that there's always lots more to learn, no matter how experienced we may be.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  11. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi dhouseholder.

    It's fair to point out that this isn't a standardised teaching of freemasonry. Some Masons will undoubtedly take a different view. Personally speaking, however, I wouldn't disagree very much with what you say.

    Yes, sure. Note that what I had mentioned as ineligible was "polytheistic religion which doesn't include a Supreme Being", not just any polytheistic religion; I chose my words carefully.

    Are you sure we disagree? What is required on the petition is exactly the point. I'm sure GLoTX would back up what it says on its own petition form, of course, because the form presumably says what GLoTX wants it to say. But look again at the GLoTX form: "Do you seriously declare, upon your honor, that you firmly believe in the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and the Divine authenticity of the Holy Scripture?" That's a lot more specific than merely believing in some sort of Higher Power. Other GLs have slightly different wordings, but all tend to set out more specific requirements than the rather vague principle suggested by Rhit.

    Many petitioners coming from non-standard belief systems will need to ask for clarification of this statement - how firmly is firmly, what do we mean by God, what do we mean by Scripture, and so on - and they might well ask the Investigation Committee of their own accord. But even if they're shy about asking, many will still need some clarification to be certain that they're signing honestly. Therefore, if you know that a petitioner holds non-standard beliefs, then surely it's your duty when serving on an Investigation Committee to help him understand what the question means, which can often involve asking him questions about what he believes in more detail than would be the case for a petitioner who professes some standard religion whose precepts are widely-understood.

    The application process is slightly different here in UGLE - we use a shorter form and ask several of the questions at oral interview instead, but obviously the general purpose is the same. I've sat on our interview panels numerous times, and there have been a couple of occasions when I've found it necessary to ask additional religious questions to clarify eligibility, not only in my own mind but also the petitioner's mind. Only a couple of times, not often, but sometimes it does occur.

    In the case of GLoTX, I meant the requirements stated on your petition form, which are more precise than the requirement advocated earlier in this thread.

    In the case of other GLs, I meant whatever equivalent specifications they lay down in their own procedures, which vary a little ... so for example in UGLE, we don't need to ask about belief in immortality of the soul, but we do have to establish exactly which Scripture the petitioner believes in (because we strictly require that he take his Obligation on the book which specifically applies to his own religion).

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  12. masonicknight

    masonicknight Registered User

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    The interesting thing about the Book of Shadows is that it is not only the VSL of the candidate but it is uniquely their own. As they are building upon their understanding of the Wiccan experience and its special initiations and rituals, they are recording them in a fashion that is meaningful to the individual Wiccan. This not only includes the prayers that they use but also how they celebrate the seasonal change. Many of the ones that I know are solitary's, those that do not belong to a coven which have there own ceremonies of initiation and instruction though they may have gone through them and then separated.

    To pursue another thought. To say one belongs to a particular faith and then be questioned further about their beliefs in order to belong seems to defeat the purpose of building a good man into a better man. There are many men who I would say belong to Lodge who the only time I know they attend a service in a church of any kind is a Funeral Service or a Marriage. They are all good men and Brothers true. Does that in turn disrupt the thoughts of belief in a Supreme Being because they do not regularly attend services. There are many who I would love to see become a member but a strict interpretation would probably exclude them from ever entering the doors of a lodge as a candidate.

    A Mason as well as a great friend of mine passed on a few years back. A minister friend of his was asked if he would perform the service and he said he couldn't because of the common friend being a Mason, his synod prevented him from officiating. A Masonic Funeral Service was done and the minister was there. When asked why he was there when he couldn't perform the service his answer was very simple, "He was My Friend". While the ministers particular background prevented him from being a participant in the service, hence saying that Masonry was a religion, he overcame that thought and came because of something more important.

    While religion plays an important part in Masonry, that being our belief in a Supreme Being so that our obligations may seem more real and binding on us, maybe the nuances of what constitutes belief are getting jumbled up also by those in lodges who are desperate to have only those of a like mind sitting with them, versus those in which a new understanding may be learned and appreciated.

    Just thoughts.
     
  13. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Rhit.

    It may be better not to ask, Bro. I fear that contributor Ecossais may have been pouring mockery upon the idea of accepting Wicca as being a real religion.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  14. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    Sure, sure, I would hope that any brother or otherwise would understand that I do not speak for all of Masonry.

    Upon cleaning my computer screen, I realized that you had chose your words carefully. My apologies.

    I think so.

    And what would our answer be? What form of God does GLoT promote? (You are going to have to indulge me on my Texo-centricism, I know little of UGLE's customs.) So, what if I pointed to my cat, said he was God, stated that my soul was immortal, and told you that my latest issue of Fancy Feline was the divine word of my cat God? Now you might not recommend me because I was being absurd, but could you not say that I had not fulfilled, to the letter, the requirements of the petition? What if I was a great theologian and held the same beliefs? If one were adventurous enough to delve into uncharted religion, then I would only assume that one would come to a full understanding of what is or is not God, or if one did exist.

    I see it as if one were adventurous enough to delve into uncharted religion, then I would only assume that one would come to a full understanding of what is or is not their definition of God, or if one did exist. What if my definition of God and yours and his were all different? Would that just be a field judgment on your part as the investigator? Probably so, but I am certainly glad that no one ever bothered to ask me to explain my answer to that question; who knows what the outcome would have been?

    And this is where I have to disagree. I think it is bad form to ask The Cat Priest from above example the workings of his paradigm. I would think that an individual THAT absurd would throw up hundreds of red flags well before we got to the investigation.

    Interesting. Have you received any Wiccans? How have they answered? Have you received any other uncommon answers? I am quite interested.

    Oh, OK.

    I wonder if any regular GLs DO specify a Supreme Being.

    I hope my tone above does not sound offensive or derisive. I habitually argue reductio ad absurdum, and I tend to come off as passionate. :)
     
  15. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi masonicknight.

    Ah, well, that depends. Among the eclectic Wiccans, yes, but I'm personally unconvinced about whether a self-written BoS properly qualifies as a VSL. Among the traditional Wiccans, like Gardnerians, the use of Gardner's standardised BoS seems to me more convincing as a VSL.

    Solitaries are almost invariably eclectics, since the practice of traditional Wicca calls for a coven. In addition to my concerns about what can be used as a VSL for eclectics, I've also found that eclectics (and especially solitaries) have a very broad range of beliefs indeed, certainly including deities but not always including a definite belief in a Supreme Being (as is required by GLoTX and here in UGLE). It's definitely a case in which I'd want to ask some additional questions to make sure.

    In general, I agree that there shouldn't be any need for additional questions.

    But you've already mentioned an example in which I'd ask further ... a man could, for example, sincerely describe himself as an eclectic Wiccan, and asked if he believed in God could sincerely answer "I believe in the Triple Goddess and worship Her", but then if you asked whether he believes in the existence of any other Deity he'd probably say "There's also the Horned God", and if you followed up by asking which of them is Supreme, he'd probably have to say "Well, er, neither is supreme over the other, that's a central point of my religion". Now a Gardnerian or other traditional Wiccan could go on to say "but the Source stands behind both Goddess and God and is the actual Supreme Being", and I'd be satisfied by that answer ... however, not all eclectic Wiccans necessarily share that additional belief, and therefore may well be ineligible, but you might not find out without a couple of probing questions. And in this example, I'm talking about a fairly orthodox eclectic, I've come across some who describe themselves as eclectic Wiccans but have beliefs which don't seem to me to have much to do with Wicca.

    I know many such Brethren, who are not very regular practitioners of their professed religion. Of course freemasonry encourages a Brother to engage in the formal practice of his religion, but it doesn't demand that he does so. What freemasonry demands is simply that he believes in it - whether or not he attends his church (or his synagogue or his mosque or whatever) is between him and his religion, it's not a matter for us. We don't judge his external qualifications, and that includes not judging his church attendance record.

    Just because his church forbade the minister to officiate in the service doesn't necessarily imply that that church is accusing freemasonry of being a rival religion. It's one possibility, but there are various other grounds on which some people object to us.

    Here in UGLE, by the way, we don't do masonic funerals.

    That attitude would surely be a perversion of freemasonry. We are supposed to be learning, teaching and practicing tolerance (amongst many others things, of course). However, there are limits: in tolerance we respect the right of others to disagree with the fundamental principles of freemasonry, but that obviously doesn't mean that we ought to sit in Lodge with them.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  16. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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  17. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi dhouseholder.

    Well, there isn't an official exact answer in most jurisdictions. Neither yours nor mine, anyway, although (see below) there is in some others. It's deliberately left unwritten, thereby leaving us some flexibility to exercise our judgment case by case.

    However, broadly speaking, I'm sure that what every regular GL really intends is that the petitioner must believe in some conception of God which is at least approximately equivalent to God as He is understood in the Judeo-Christian paradigm. This is because freemasonry began as Christian, and was then expanded to include other religions which could sufficiently agree with the original Christian membership on a few key points so that the rituals and symbolisms could still mean the same to all of us. I'm hesitant about offering a definition, since I'm unsure both of the masonic propriety of doing so and of my own theological competence to make the attempt, but it means something like this: a Being in the sense of having conscious personality with some plan or purpose for Man, not merely (say) a mechanistic synonym for existence; Supreme in the sense of being omnipotent and ultimately responsible for the universe around us and whatever lies beyond, not merely (say) a first among equals subject to the consent of other deities.

    No, because the letter of the GLoTX petition requires that "you seriously declare" your belief. I would vote no to your petition on the ground that I could not believe that you were declaring seriously.

    No offence to your cat, whom I've not met but I assume is a very nice cat, but no, your cat is not God and it's obviously absurd to claim that he is. Even if you want to claim to be an Osirian and a worshipper of Bast (the ancient Egyptian cat goddess), then I'd say Bast isn't a Supreme Being in that religion, and anyway your cat isn't That cat (in spite of the apparent opinion of most cats that they are).

    I would have to assume that you had suddenly ceased to be a great theologian and were having some sort of mental seizure. I'd call an amblance to take you to the funny-farm, and pray for your recovery.

    I'm not so sure about that. People have attempted to do that all through history, and universally convincing answers have proved elusive. But to whatever extent appeared necessary to satisfy myself about a particular Candidate's eligibility, I'd try to follow his thinking so far as my ability allows, and hope that an answer one way or the other would become apparent before I lost track.

    Yes, exactly. And of course, in the vast majority of cases, the answer is easily evident.

    If I were faced with a sticky marginal case where I didn't feel able to come to any conclusion, then I'd call the GL and ask them to come and talk to the petitioner and help us decide. I've never been faced with such a case myself, but I've heard of cases where a Lodge had to refer to the GL for advice.

    I'd rather not have to do it either, but with the spread of wacky cults these days I think we'll have to get more used to doing it.

    I've not personally seen any Wiccan petitioners, although I've discussed the issues on the 'net with several Wiccans. Wiccans aren't as common here as in the US, and when Wiccans over here do get interested in joining something like masonry, then they have a strong tendency to apply to the co-masonic (mixed-sex) bodies rather than to regular masonry. (Incidentally, the historical reason for this tendency is that several of the founders of modern Wicca were already co-masons before they got involved in Wicca, and that in turn is probably why there's some overlap between some details of freemasonry and some details of Wiccan practice - they borrowed some terminology and structures from the rituals they already knew.)

    However, as an example where I felt no choice but to ask further questions, I once interviewed a petitioner who described himself as a Spinozist and who stated up front that he was unsure whether or not his beliefs qualified him and he needed clarification. Now that's a tough one! Whether Spinoza (a 17th-century Dutch philosopher, originally Jewish but expelled from Judaism for heresy) believed in God in any meaningful way was a controversial question in his own lifetime and has been so ever since; he certainly claimed that he did, and wrote books explaining his theological position, but his definition of God was pretty abstract and amounted to little more than a summation of all that existed in nature ... but he had a slightly mystical perception of nature, not purely materialist, so there was some degree of meaning to his use of the word "God", although exactly how much meaning is the difficult question. I'd lean towards the view that Spinoza himself wouldn't be eligible for freemasonry, on the cautious ground that his conception of the Supreme Being was too insubstantial to count. Faced with this "Spinozist" petitioner, I asked a little more about what he believed, and was able to come to the conclusion that he wasn't a hard-line Spinozist, he appeared to have a somewhat more identifiable and concrete belief in the divine than Spinoza himself ... so after some thought, I signed his petition. But it was marginal, I think he only just barely qualified. (Incidentally, it's worked out quite well and that Candidate is now JW.)

    Yes. This applies wherever the Scandinavian Rite is used, which is all of Sweden, Norway and Iceland, plus parts of Germany, Denmark and Finland. The Scandinavian Rite uses explicitly Christian rituals. Therefore the entire GLs in Sweden, Norway and Iceland, plus the relevant Lodges in Germany, Denmark and Finland, are restricted to Christians only. And these are all regular (and recognised) GLs.

    The Scandinavian rituals are very different from the rituals used anywhere else, and are also very different from what we did elsewhere even back in the 18th century when freemasonry everywhere was explicitly Christian, it's a unique system of their own invention. When the rest of the world opened freemasonry to men of other faiths, the Scandinavians refused to follow suit and stayed Christian-only. They do, however, accept non-Christian visitors who are members of other regular GLs.

    Being Christian-only didn't used to be a problem in Sweden, Norway and Iceland, because virtually the entire population was Christian until pretty recently, but it's becoming more of an issue now. There could have been a serious issue in Germany and Denmark, but in those countries it only applies to some of the Lodges so non-Christians can join in the other Lodges.

    Me too, in respect of both reductio ad absurdum and sounding passionate, so no offence taken :biggrin:.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  18. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Rhit.

    Agreed. Of course it is axiomatic that human understanding of the Supreme Being is necessarily imperfect. Religions differ in their teachings about the extent to which we can or can't know Him. In any case, however, we can merely do our feeble best.

    However, your progress on this path is a matter for your religion, not for freemasonry. Freemasonry is neither a religion nor a substitute for religion.

    I'm not convinced, on two grounds.

    First, I reckon that in such a system it'd turn out that They're all the same God: every portion of the Divine work must surely affect every other portion in some way, therefore completely perfect understanding and control of any one portion must surely imply equally perfect competence in all other portions, therefore these deities must surely all maintain perfectly identical awareness at every moment, therefore They must surely be identical even down to the level of thought, therefore They must surely all be the same Being in any meaningful sense (even if it might for some reason suit His convenience to maintain multiple manifestations of Himself). I'm not sure about this, because it requires speculative assumptions about the nature of deity and Divine thought ... but nevertheless it seems to me at least as likely as any other conclusion.

    Secondly, I reckon you're abusing the meaning of the word Supreme: Webster's, for example, offers the definitions as "highest in rank or authority, highest in degree or quality, ultimate, final", all of which definitions imply uniqueness; There Can Be Only One to Whom all the others answer (regardless of whether or not they actually need supervision in their work), or else none of them qualifies as Supreme.

    Yes, you do. It's not a written requirement, it's simply a logical inevitability from the meaning of the words. Whichever religion you believe, you believe it is true - that's what believe means. If you don't believe a religion is true, then that's not your religion. And you don't believe something which is directly contrary to whatever you do believe.

    In regular freemasonry, we have all professed belief in the Supreme Being (by whichever name we know Him) as a condition of admission. Therefore we do not believe that there is not a Supreme Being. Therefore any faith which holds that there is not a Supreme Being is a faith which we do not believe is true. Thus we do all agree that every faith which lacks a Supreme Being is false, which is what I said in the first place. (Unless, perhaps, there is someone who has lied his way into freemasonry by pretending to believe in the Supreme Being when actually he didn't believe in Him - and of course, it's likely that there are some such cases somewhere.)

    It's not about casting judgment to become a Mason, it's about casting judgment to believe in God. Every man makes his own choice, but if he aspires to become a Mason then he must first have cast his judgment to believe in God. Choosing is what your free will is for.

    Later on, when someone else petitions to join, then you're not obliged to cast judgment upon him, but if you won't do so then some other Brother will have to take that responsibility instead, because the suitability of every Candidate must be judged. Freemasonry teaches and requires judgments in many ways, of which this is only one. Judging is what your brain is for.

    I reckon you've got that backwards. Your religion (whichever it may be) has defined Brotherly Love and Justice for itself, and freemasonry may complement that but not take its place.

    One of the great discoveries of freemasonry, which might properly be called one of the "real secrets", is that the conceptions of Brotherly Love and Justice in the various religions which believe in the Supreme Being always seem to turn out to be quite surprisingly compatible: sufficiently compatible that it's generally possible for each Brother to apply the concepts (as he understands them from his religion) to another Brother of another religion in such a way that the other Brother will recognise them (in pretty much the same way as he would understand them from his own religion). THIS is how universal Brotherhood actually works, yet those who haven't lived it often find this great "secret" unbelievable and instead insist upon believing that we're "hiding" something or that we're in some way "subverting" or "syncretising" the teachings of the different religions involved.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  19. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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  20. masonicknight

    masonicknight Registered User

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    I decided that since this is an interesting discussion that I would look at the pertinent section of the California Masonic Code and this just a part of what is listed but interesting none the less. Remember this is California's version.

    §402.060. ALTERNATE HOLY WRITINGS.
    A candidate for a degree in Masonry may select an alternate Holy Writings on which he will be
    obligated, but only under the following circumstances:
    A. If the candidate does not wish to be obligated on the Holy Bible, he must select an
    alternate Holy Writings in book form from a list promulgated from time to time by the
    Grand Master of the Holy Writings of those recognized religions whose theology is not
    inconsistent with a belief in a Supreme Being and a future existence. The Grand Master’s
    list shall at all times include the al-Kitab al-Aqdas of Bahaism, the Tripitaka of
    Buddhism, the Analects of Confucianism, the Vedas of Hinduism, the Koran of Islam,
    the Tanach of Judaism, the Koji-ki of Shintoism, the Adi Granth of Sikhism, the Tao-te
    Ching of Taoism and the Zend Avesta of Zoroastrianism. In selecting an alternate Holy
    Writings, the candidate must state that the book chosen is the Holy Writings of his
    religious faith;
    E. When an alternate Holy Writings is used during a degree, a closed Holy Bible of any size
    must be on the altar....

    This is just for the interest of discussion.
     
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