Originally posted by MaskedAvatar
Tyriffic was having a bad hair day. Surely we are all entitled to one of those. But I wouldn't give him a free pass.
People doing 'scholarly research' from outside Freemasonry always seem to get referred to the same books. I agree entirely with rahboni that the place of these oft-quoted tomes (especially Pike) is nowhere in the current position and future vision of Freemasonry.
Freemasonry requires a belief in a Supreme Being. You are not asked about your religious denomination when you join, but as an atheist or agnostic you could not join with your integrity intact.
Freemasonry exists with subtle variations around the world, but all recognised Grand Lodges are in fraternal relations with one another. They adhere to the core principles rahboni has mentioned, then manage their affairs independently of one another. For example, there are more affiliated groups brought about to involve the families of Masons in the US than elsewhere.
To get information to form an opinion about Freemasonry in your own area, contact the local Grand Lodge and get them to send you their literature. Don't rely on irrelevant and dated material.
BTW, I can have public disagreements with any Freemason but I would not do it in a way that affects the harmony of my own Lodge.