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Freemasonry is not a religion

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posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 07:04 AM
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originally posted by: Tangerine


As requested, I will address each of the points you mentioned.


Now let's look at the steps of the 12-Steps that are religious in nature:
2. Came to believe that a Power (capitalized) greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


Freemasons believe that we are in charge of our own Destiny, but can rely on the help that comes from above. There is a subtle, but important difference.


3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God (capitalized) as we understood Him (capitalized).


This is up to the individual Mason to do or not to do in his own time. His religious beliefs or his dedication to God is of no concern to the other Masons.


5. Admit to God (capitalized), to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


Not found in Freemasonry.


6. Were entirely read to have God (capitalized) remove all these defects of character.


Not found in Freemasonry


7. Humbly ask Him (capitalized) to remove all our shortcomings.


Not found in Freemasonry


11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God (capitalized), as we understood Him (capitalized), praying only for knowledge of His (capitalized) will for us and the power to carry that out.


Similar to Freemasonry.


12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


Similar to Freemasonry.




posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 09:07 AM
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Tangerine lays down a very compelling argument. I'd have to say that having read the whole previous thread as well as this one that it can be VERY hard for many to not see freemasonry as a religion. Especially those not part of the organization.

I have to say, I tend to agree with his viewpoint.

Great discussion on both parts, very factual and civil, I really enjoy that.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: Treespeaker
We don’t teach that from acts alone one shall prosper.

As for the dues, it costs money to run an organization. You’re not paying for enlightenment.

a reply to: BELIEVERpriest
It really isn’t though.

a reply to: GoldenObserver
Me?

The answer to that depends on which order or body of Masonry we’re talking about. Some of my affiliations use a numbering system, some don’t.

a reply to: Tangerine
The term “Master Mason” refers to the 3rd degree. There is a Master of the Lodge also known as the Worshipful Master. Before you jump on that, the term “worshipful” is Old English for “one worthy of respect”. There is no worshiping of the Master in the Lodge. In non-English speaking countries, they use “Venerable” instead. There is a Lodge officer who leads the prayer, but we don’t use prayers of a certain faith. They are generic prayers of thanksgiving and blessing.


Unless I'm mistaken, the Master Mason is "ordained" by masonic ritual.

You are mistaken.


Theology is simply the study of God's attributes.

Which Freemasonry doesn’t have nor is this fulfilled by simply saying a prayer.

To say Freemasonry is a religion because of prayer is extremely ignorant to what constitutes a religion. Freemasonry is religious in nature, but that again doesn’t constitute us as a religion.


Not all religions publish or specify a Holy Book although the Freemasons do specify a Holy Book.

No we don’t. I’ve been to Lodges that don’t use the Christian Bible. I’ve seen a variety of books used. VSL is a generic term.

The taking of oaths, even on the Bible or any sacred book, doesn't make us a religion.

a reply to: Tangerine
Religion is a way for one to attempt to reconnect with the divine by the practices and belief of that religion. Freemasonry doesn’t attempt to do this.

Freemasonry is religious or spiritual. I haven’t argued against that. Many things could be religious or spiritual…walking in the forest, hunting, sky diving, etc.

You can’t simply look at a practice and assume it constitutes a religion; you must look at the intent. It is not the intention of the Masonic fraternity to be a religion or substitute for religion.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: Profusion
None of this though is accurate nor related to the fact Freemasonry is not a religion.

a reply to: Tangerine
The requirements for membership as they are in Freemasonry still do not constitute us as a religion.


Clearly, the Masons have a holy book.

You clearly don’t get it.


The York Rite's Knights Templar Order specifically requires candidates to swear to defend the Christian religion. A few of these degrees teach lessons of morality using events from the New Testament.

Well, that is the Commandery isn’t it? Not the Lodge. Completely different.

The Masonic Knights Templar is a Christian order. It is specific to a religion, but this has no effect on the rest of Freemasonry or the Lodge.


The theology of Masonry describes the attributes of God (ie. Architect of the Universe and father).

You are misleading here. That is a generic term, not an attribute. An attribute is defined as “a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.” and would be something found here: www.allaboutgod.com...


The mere act of opening the holy book and placing it on the altar (note that the Masons call it an altar) and the Master Mason leading fellow assembled Masons in prayer are sacerdotal functions.


Except it’s not.

"Masonry is not a religion. He who makes of it a religious belief, falsifies and denaturalizes it."



a reply to: Tangerine
No offense, but you demonstrate how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You take a few observations without any thought as to their relevance and intent, and make accusations. That is reckless.

The fact is. Freemasonry is not a religion. We’re religious, but not a religion. Because we’re religious we do practice certain things in Lodge that are unique because we are religious.

Freemasonry doesn't force any religious beliefs on its members. Their faith is of their own choosing and their salvation and eschatology are to be found within the realms of their faith, not in Freemasonry. Freemasonry can’t be polytheistic because there is no pantheon to which its members must worship; again, their faith is their own. Freemasonry welcomes men of all faiths, but does not elevate one above another.

Again Freemasonry is not AA.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 10:57 AM
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Context is important:

"It is very dangerous to try to interpret something from the outside. It's as if someone unfamiliar with Christianity stepped into a Catholic Church and heard a Priest in the middle of Holy Communion say the words, 'This is the body of Christ, this is the blood of Christ.' Without knowing the context, the ritual can seem strange or unusual. Even a little frightening"
- Brad Meltzer on Decoded



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 03:58 PM
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originally posted by: Abednego
Freemasonry is not a religion, because we as a collective organization, don't have a specific God to worship. We address the Great Architect of the Universe, but that's in a generic way, due to the many people of different beliefs. The Volume of the Sacred Law could be any "sacred" book (Shruti, Talmud, Christian Bible, Qur'an, Dhammapada), and is depending on the jurisdiction.

We don't sing like in a church, we pray (even atheist pray) that don't make us a religion.

At the end of the day I go to the church of my election (as so does every other mason). Because If I want to worship God I will go to my church not the Lodge.


Unitarian Universalism is a Christian faith (ie. a religion) and UUers conceive of, address and refer to God in a variety of ways left up to the individual. Unitarian Universalists can use any book as their holy book. Hindus have more than one holy book. Wiccans have no holy book. They're all religions. I don't see how the Freemason approach falls outside these examples of religions.

What does singing have to do with it?

Religion is the performance of ritual on behalf of or in obeyance to a supernatural deity or deities. I refer you to your opening prayer (ie. ritual). It clearly falls under that definition.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 04:03 PM
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originally posted by: Saurus

originally posted by: Tangerine


As requested, I will address each of the points you mentioned.


Now let's look at the steps of the 12-Steps that are religious in nature:
2. Came to believe that a Power (capitalized) greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


Freemasons believe that we are in charge of our own Destiny, but can rely on the help that comes from above. There is a subtle, but important difference.


3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God (capitalized) as we understood Him (capitalized).


This is up to the individual Mason to do or not to do in his own time. His religious beliefs or his dedication to God is of no concern to the other Masons.


5. Admit to God (capitalized), to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


Not found in Freemasonry.


6. Were entirely read to have God (capitalized) remove all these defects of character.


Not found in Freemasonry


7. Humbly ask Him (capitalized) to remove all our shortcomings.


Not found in Freemasonry


11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God (capitalized), as we understood Him (capitalized), praying only for knowledge of His (capitalized) will for us and the power to carry that out.


Similar to Freemasonry.


12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


Similar to Freemasonry.



I agree that there are some similarities and some differences between AA and Freemasonry when it comes to God. But I think the Freemason approach to God falls well within the wide range of approaches to deity found in religions. Do you agree?



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 04:06 PM
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originally posted by: MisterSpock
Tangerine lays down a very compelling argument. I'd have to say that having read the whole previous thread as well as this one that it can be VERY hard for many to not see freemasonry as a religion. Especially those not part of the organization.

I have to say, I tend to agree with his viewpoint.

Great discussion on both parts, very factual and civil, I really enjoy that.


Thank you. I'm enjoying the discussion. For what it's worth, I am not anti-Mason. A friend of mine who is a pagan is a Master Mason and has found great value in it. I have great respect for his opinions. Initially, I thought the case for Freemasonry being a religion was so-so. However, the more I look into it, the more I'm becoming convinced that it is a religion, albeit not a dogmatic one.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 04:18 PM
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originally posted by: KSigMason
a reply to: Treespeaker
We don’t teach that from acts alone one shall prosper.

As for the dues, it costs money to run an organization. You’re not paying for enlightenment.

a reply to: BELIEVERpriest
It really isn’t though.

a reply to: GoldenObserver
Me?

The answer to that depends on which order or body of Masonry we’re talking about. Some of my affiliations use a numbering system, some don’t.

a reply to: Tangerine
The term “Master Mason” refers to the 3rd degree. There is a Master of the Lodge also known as the Worshipful Master. Before you jump on that, the term “worshipful” is Old English for “one worthy of respect”. There is no worshiping of the Master in the Lodge. In non-English speaking countries, they use “Venerable” instead. There is a Lodge officer who leads the prayer, but we don’t use prayers of a certain faith. They are generic prayers of thanksgiving and blessing.


Unless I'm mistaken, the Master Mason is "ordained" by masonic ritual.

You are mistaken.


Theology is simply the study of God's attributes.

Which Freemasonry doesn’t have nor is this fulfilled by simply saying a prayer.

To say Freemasonry is a religion because of prayer is extremely ignorant to what constitutes a religion. Freemasonry is religious in nature, but that again doesn’t constitute us as a religion.


Not all religions publish or specify a Holy Book although the Freemasons do specify a Holy Book.

No we don’t. I’ve been to Lodges that don’t use the Christian Bible. I’ve seen a variety of books used. VSL is a generic term.

The taking of oaths, even on the Bible or any sacred book, doesn't make us a religion.

a reply to: Tangerine
Religion is a way for one to attempt to reconnect with the divine by the practices and belief of that religion. Freemasonry doesn’t attempt to do this.

Freemasonry is religious or spiritual. I haven’t argued against that. Many things could be religious or spiritual…walking in the forest, hunting, sky diving, etc.

You can’t simply look at a practice and assume it constitutes a religion; you must look at the intent. It is not the intention of the Masonic fraternity to be a religion or substitute for religion.


Not all religions teach that from acts alone one will prosper (I'm not sure of the context of the post to which you were responding).

I don't assume that worshipful refers to religion. By the way, venerable means old.

Ordain can mean to order or decree something officially so I think it's fair to say that Master Masons are ordained. However, ordain need not have a religious context so that's a fair point. It was pointed out that a chaplain leads the prayer and chaplain is clearly defined as a member of the clergy.

As I pointed out, Unitarian Universalists use prayers of different faiths/religions and generic prayers, too. To be a religion, there simply has to be the performance of ritual on behalf of or in obeyance to a supernatural deity or deities. I think God/Grand Architect of the Universe would qualify, don't you?

Are you saying that Freemasonry doesn't involve any study of God's attributes? Don't Masons have to memorize the prayer that refers to God by his attribute Grand Architect and Father? Aren't attributes of God discussed elsewhere, too? Doesn't the prayer appeal to God's assistance? An attribute of God would be his provision of assistance. That's theology, however limited.

I think you misread my comments regarding holy books. I specifically stated that not all religions have a holy book (Wicca, for example), some have more than one (Hinduism, for example) and some use a variety from multiple religions (Unitarian Universalism, for example). Freemasonry absolutely requires a holy book or holy books be present and open at every meeting. Is this not correct? Clearly, Freemasonry falls within that wide range, doesn't it?



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 04:22 PM
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originally posted by: KSigMason
a reply to: Treespeaker
...
You can’t simply look at a practice and assume it constitutes a religion; you must look at the intent. It is not the intention of the Masonic fraternity to be a religion or substitute for religion.

.....

It isn't the stated intent of AA to be a religion yet federal courts have ruled that it is one.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 04:29 PM
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originally posted by: KSigMason
a reply to: Profusion
None of this though is accurate nor related to the fact Freemasonry is not a religion.

a reply to: Tangerine
The requirements for membership as they are in Freemasonry still do not constitute us as a religion.


Clearly, the Masons have a holy book.

You clearly don’t get it.


The York Rite's Knights Templar Order specifically requires candidates to swear to defend the Christian religion. A few of these degrees teach lessons of morality using events from the New Testament.

Well, that is the Commandery isn’t it? Not the Lodge. Completely different.

The Masonic Knights Templar is a Christian order. It is specific to a religion, but this has no effect on the rest of Freemasonry or the Lodge.


The theology of Masonry describes the attributes of God (ie. Architect of the Universe and father).

You are misleading here. That is a generic term, not an attribute. An attribute is defined as “a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.” and would be something found here: www.allaboutgod.com...


The mere act of opening the holy book and placing it on the altar (note that the Masons call it an altar) and the Master Mason leading fellow assembled Masons in prayer are sacerdotal functions.


Except it’s not.

"Masonry is not a religion. He who makes of it a religious belief, falsifies and denaturalizes it."



a reply to: Tangerine
No offense, but you demonstrate how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You take a few observations without any thought as to their relevance and intent, and make accusations. That is reckless.

The fact is. Freemasonry is not a religion. We’re religious, but not a religion. Because we’re religious we do practice certain things in Lodge that are unique because we are religious.

Freemasonry doesn't force any religious beliefs on its members. Their faith is of their own choosing and their salvation and eschatology are to be found within the realms of their faith, not in Freemasonry. Freemasonry can’t be polytheistic because there is no pantheon to which its members must worship; again, their faith is their own. Freemasonry welcomes men of all faiths, but does not elevate one above another.

Again Freemasonry is not AA.


I am following the standards set by federal courts and federal law to determine whether something is a religion. I didn't make the rules. Accordingly, a group denying that it is a religion, as AA does, does not mean that it is not a religion. Freemasonry clearly falls within the guidelines and practices of groups that are religions under federal guidelines. Freemasonry is much like Unitarian Universalism in some respects except that, unlike UU, Freemasonry does force at least one single religious belief on its members: they must believe in God. You brought up salvation. I was unaware that Freemasonry concerns itself with salvation. Is salvation mentioned in Freemasonry? In most polytheistic religions, adherents choose the specific deities they worship. Again, Freemasonry is more like Unitarian Universalism in which one may be a Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan, Christian, etc. and use their own holy books, if any. Prayers are generic. Unitarian Universalism qualifies as a religious faith. Can you explain how Freemasonry is different from UU?



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 04:35 PM
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a reply to: KSigMason

Unfortunately when one speaks of a Supreme Being it is automatically assumed to be a Religious statemant

However I have no religion and am not a Mason

Yet some call me religious

In that case I am my own religion of non religion
Who listens to and shares experiences and thoughts with any who care to do so

The Supreme Being is ultimately what it is and all religions and even non religions are paths towards a better understanding of the said Supreme Being and our relationship with that Being


edit on 19-2-2015 by artistpoet because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 04:56 PM
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a reply to: KSigMason


It really isn’t though.


Clearly much of Freemasonry is esoteric, but would you say that it is also Theosophical?



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 06:53 PM
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a reply to: Tangerine
Freemasonry is not UU. Again, intent, purpose, etc.

Religion seeks to reconnect with the divine. Freemasonry does not teach salvation.

a reply to: Tangerine
We don't use the terminology of "ordained."

Except the Chaplain of a Lodge doesn't have to be an "ordained priest". He has none of the ecclesiastical duties that would go along with actual clergy.


I think God/Grand Architect of the Universe would qualify, don't you?

No.


Are you saying that Freemasonry doesn't involve any study of God's attributes?

I'm saying that GAOTU is an attribute.


Don't Masons have to memorize the prayer that refers to God by his attribute Grand Architect and Father?

No. The standard prayer doesn't have to be said. The Chaplain can say any prayer he wishes...at least that's how it works in the Grand Lodge of Idaho.


An attribute of God would be his provision of assistance.

Attributes are characteristics.


Freemasonry absolutely requires a holy book or holy books be present and open at every meeting. Is this not correct? Clearly, Freemasonry falls within that wide range, doesn't it?

You're casting your net far too wide. By your definitions, anything could be considered a religion. By your generalities we could call the US Senate a religion.

a reply to: Tangerine
Who cares?

a reply to: Tangerine
Except you're not using these standards very well.

Again, Freemasonry doesn't meet certain needed requirements to be considered a religion.


Accordingly, a group denying that it is a religion, as AA does, does not mean that it is not a religion.

And your interpretation of a court's decision of another group doesn't mean that Freemasonry is a religion.


Freemasonry clearly falls within the guidelines and practices of groups that are religions under federal guidelines.

Except it doesn't.

Freemasonry doesn't have a supernatural creation myth, no dogmatic form of worship, no plan of theology or salvation, no religious or ecclesiastical hierarchy, no ordained system of clergy, no place of worship, and no theology. Freemasonry doesn't seek to explain the meaning of human existence, the purpose of life, man's place in the universe, or specific exercises of faith. This is why Freemasonry is not a religion.


Freemasonry does force at least one single religious belief on its members: they must believe in God.

Which still doesn't make Freemasonry a religion.


I was unaware that Freemasonry concerns itself with salvation.

It doesn't.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 07:42 PM
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originally posted by: KSigMason
a reply to: Tangerine
...
Freemasonry doesn't have a supernatural creation myth, no dogmatic form of worship, no plan of theology or salvation, no religious or ecclesiastical hierarchy, no ordained system of clergy, no place of worship, and no theology. Freemasonry doesn't seek to explain the meaning of human existence, the purpose of life, man's place in the universe, or specific exercises of faith. This is why Freemasonry is not a religion.


Freemasonry does force at least one single religious belief on its members: they must believe in God.

Which still doesn't make Freemasonry a religion.


The standard I am using to determine whether or not something is a religion is the standard used by US Federal law as confirmed by court rulings.

UU meets those standards (I'm sure you will agree with that much). UU has no specific supernatural creation myth nor dogmatic form of worship. In fact, it's less dogmatic than Freemasonry which requires a belief in God. UU doesn't even make that requirement. Freemasonry does have a theology. It does have a hierarchy but that is not even a qualification for being declared a religion. AA has no clergy nor clerical hierarchy. Many pagan religions have no specific place of worship. That is also not a requirement for being declared a religion. Explaining the meaning of human existence, the purpose of life, man's place in the universe, or specific exercises of faith is not a requirement for being declared a religion. However, as I understand it, Freemasonry does explain the purpose of life and man's place in the universe and does require exercises of faith, one of which is the opening prayer and the admonition to devote part of every day to prayer (unless I am mistaken about that). Your wish that Freemasonry not be a religion does not mean that it doesn't meet the federal standards for being declared a religion. Considering that other groups that I have named met those standards, so does Freemasonry. I think it would be fair to say that Freemasonry is an undeclared religion.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 07:44 PM
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originally posted by: artistpoet
a reply to: KSigMason

Unfortunately when one speaks of a Supreme Being it is automatically assumed to be a Religious statemant

...

The Supreme Being is ultimately what it is and all religions and even non religions are paths towards a better understanding of the said Supreme Being and our relationship with that Being



I beg to differ. Not everyone believes in a Supreme Being of any kind nor a path toward nor relationship with said being.



posted on Feb, 19 2015 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: Tangerine
Again though, your argument is a logical fallacy and it is an interpretation only.

UU meets those standards because they are a religion. Freemasonry does not because it is not.


Freemasonry does have a theology.

It doesn't.


It does have a hierarchy...

Not an ecclesiastical one.


Many pagan religions have no specific place of worship. That is also not a requirement for being declared a religion.

They do have sacred places.


Explaining the meaning of human existence, the purpose of life, man's place in the universe, or specific exercises of faith is not a requirement for being declared a religion.

Actually that, along with other features I named, is what religion is.


Your wish that Freemasonry not be a religion does not mean that it doesn't meet the federal standards for being declared a religion.

And yet, here we are, still not declared a religion because we're not a religion. And from what I've seen of your "federal standards" even institutions such as the US Senate or Army and so forth would be a religion; by your federal standards and your posts, even religions aren't religions, but Freemasonry and AA are.



posted on Feb, 20 2015 @ 07:44 AM
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originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest

Clearly much of Freemasonry is esoteric, but would you say that it is also Theosophical?


No. No attempt is made in Freemasonry to understand the nature of God.

However, in my experience, many of its members are theosophical.



posted on Feb, 20 2015 @ 08:28 AM
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I guess I just am confused as to what the point is. The members of Freemasonry don't seem to consider it a religion. If all the courts in all the world declared Freemasonry a religion, what would change? Would we have to do anything different? Would there be better tax breaks? Would we get cooler hats? (Scottish Rite could use some help in the cool hat department)



posted on Feb, 20 2015 @ 10:46 AM
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a reply to: Saurus

Fair enough, but in your opinion, why do you believe Masonry and Theosophy are so closely related? Even from an outsider's perspective, the connection seems obvious. What attracts Theosophists to the Masonic circles?




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