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Freemasonry aims to promote Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love among its members. It is, by definition, a fraternity; comprised of men from every race, religion, opinion, and background who are brought together as Brothers to develop and strengthen the bonds of friendship.
With over 3 million members, Freemasons belong to the largest and oldest fraternal organization in the world. Freemasonry proposes to "make good men better" by teaching - with metaphors from geometry and architecture - about building values based on great universal truths.
I would like to offer this premise as the foundation of our debate:
Resolved, that the primary purpose of Freemasonry is to 'Make Good Men Better'.
I hope we will be judged on the merits of our arguments and not so much on our spelling, grammar or citation prowess. I retired my APA Manual of Style long ago so I hope the judges will accept simple citations where needed. I certainly don't intend to harangue my opponent on semantics or punctuation and I believe he feels the same.
Question 1 - Can you show evidence that the primary purpose of masonry is anything other than 'making good men better'?
Question 2 - Given that the vast majority of masons believe they are pursuing the goal of making good men better, can you offer evidence that these masons are being deceived?
Question 3 - If Freemasonry on the whole is being misled, who is doing the misleading and to what end?
1: What is the official masonic method for determining who is a 'good man'?
* Seek fulfillment through multiple levels of experience, including body, mind, and spirit
* Enjoy brotherhood
* Desire a community enriched by participation, dialogue, and inquiry
* Are principled, disciplined, and compassionate
Be of good moral and social character
2: What objective measures do masons use to determine whether they're getting 'better'?
3: Why should the obviously vague propaganda statement, expressed by the Grand Lodge you cited, be taken at face value?
masonry is purposefully vague in this requirement... lodges exist worldwide in a variety of cultures with substantially different mores and values
Question 1 - If 'making good men better' is simply propaganda, what is the true primary purpose of masonry?
Question 2 - If masonry is a cult designed only to perpetuate itself to serve the 'elites', who are the elites?
The Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry.
In the various versions of the rituals, it was explained to the Candidate that the crown does not represent legitimate political authority, but political tyranny; and that the tiara does not represent legitimate religious authority, but religious tyranny. While the Candidate smashed the Crown, he was required to utter the words "May tyranny perish from the earth!" When he destroyed the tiara, he recited "May intolerance cease to curse mankind!"
"The Church's negative position on Masonic association ... remain unaltered, since their principles have always been regarded as irreconcilable with the Church's doctrine. Hence, joining them remains prohibited by the Church. Catholics enrolled in Masonic associations are involved in serious sin and may not approach holy Communion." - Pope John Paul II, Nov. 26, 1983
Question 3 - Why would masonry resort to such an elaborate and tedious method of teaching and learning if the end result was not personal improvement?
Question 1: Is Albert Pike a reliable source regarding the true nature of masonry?
Question 2: Why should we believe that charitable works and other 'good acts', however honest, are not also merely part of the 'outer court' of masonry, concealing its true goals?
They are but the entrance to the great Masonic Temple, the triple columns of the portico.
Question 3: Does this evidence that masonry has historically opposed political and religious authorities that it considers 'illegitimate' indicate that masonry's goals, as an organization, may extend beyond the 'betterment' of individual men?
Truths are the springs from which duties flow; and it is but a few hundred years since a new Truth began to be distinctly seen; that MAN IS SUPREME OVER INSTITUTIONS, AND NOT THEY OVER HIM.
Man has natural empire over all institutions. They are for him, according to his development; not he for them. This seems to us a very simple statement, one to which all men, everywhere, ought to assent.
But once it was a great new Truth,---not revealed until governments had been in existence for at least five thousand years. Once revealed, it imposed new duties on men. Man owed it to himself to be free. He owed it to his country to seek to give her freedom, or maintain her in that possession.
It made Tyranny and Usurpation the enemies of the Human Race. It created a general outlawry of Despots and Despotisms, temporal and spiritual. The sphere of Duty was immensely enlarged. Patriotism had, henceforth, a new and wider meaning. Free Government, Free Thought, Free Conscience, Free Speech! All these came to be inalienable rights, which those who had parted with them or been robbed of them, or whose ancestors had lost them, had the right summarily to retake.
Masonry felt that this Truth had the Omnipotence of God on its side; and that neither Pope nor Potentate could overcome it. It was a truth dropped into the world's wide treasury, and forming a part of the heritage which each generation receives, enlarges, and holds in trust, and of necessity bequeaths to mankind; the personal estate of man, entailed of nature to the end of time.
And Masonry early recognized it as true, that to set forth and develop a truth, or any human excellence of gift or growth, is to make greater the spiritual glory of the race; that whosoever aids the march of a Truth, and makes the thought a thing, writes in the same line with MOSES, and with Him who died upon the cross, and has an intellectual sympathy with the Deity Himself.
Question 4: If the Pope, and the over one billion Roman Catholics whose spiritual beliefs he represents, do not believe that the sole goal of masonry is to "make good men better", what makes their opinion more or less valid than that of the Illinois Grand Lodge?
But what Pike is saying (and by extension masonry) is not "Destroy tyranny because we say so." it is "Question tyranny. Don't let institutions control you" and... (wait for it)... "Deny Ignorance!"
This clearly indicates that the betterment of man is precisely the goal of masonry. To go beyond that premise would destroy any legitimacy masonry may have.
L'Affaire des Fiches de délation (“affair of the cards of denunciation”) was a political scandal in France in 1904-1905 in which it was discovered that the militantly anticlerical War Minister under Emile Combes, General Louis André, was determining promotions based on a huge card index on public officials, detailing which were Catholic and who attended Mass, with a view to preventing their promotions. Much of the information had been collected by the Masonic Grand Orient de France. These records were shared with the Secretary of the French liberal Masonic Grand Orient; discovery of which caused media reporting which undermined the government.
1 - You have implied that masonry's purpose is more sinister than the betterment of men. What is the purpose?
2 - Do you agree that the spreading of knowledge and the questioning of dogma and intolerance can only lead to the betterment of man?
we must limit ourselves to the initial scope of the debate which is blue lodge masonry
The Two-Fold Nature of Masonry
...the originators of Freemasonry designed our Fraternity to perform a double function: (1) To supply and apply the idealistic and ethical mortar for securely binding the unfolding social organizations of Man on the West side of the foreseen Renaissance; (2) To serve as the concealed connector to the illuminated Spiritual Initiates and their Arcane Societies.
Just because the "secrets" have been made public doesn't mean everyone knows the mystery of Masonry!
The hallmark of cults and deceptive societies is absolute control of it's members. I don't think even my opponent would argue this point.
Indeed masons are asked repeatedly through their degree advancements whether they come of their 'own free will and accord'.
The beauty of masonry is that it neither forces nor requires the mason to believe it's lessons blindly. It is through examining what masonry offers that a man learns to decide for himself.
Question 1: Do you think those targeted, their careers suppressed by the Masonic Grand Orient lodge, were being "made better" by the actions of masonry?
Question 2: When the victims of this affair perhaps considered the purpose of masonry, do you think they concluded: "Question tyranny; don't let institutions control you", or was their experience that masonry's actions evidenced an entirely contradictory purpose?
The GOdF practices Traditional Liberal Masonry that is often an antithesis to the Anglo tradition of Freemasonry that is prevalent in many parts of the world, especially found in English speaking countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom, as well as contries which follow the Anglo tradition such as India, South Africa and Russia.
The GOdF believes in freedom of conscience, which allows them to admit Atheists. On the other hand, those Grand Lodges following the Anglo tradition require their members to profess a belief in deity. The Anglo-Masonic Jurisdictions withdrew recognition from the Grand Orient over this issue, and they now deem the GOdF "irregular".
To the M. W. Grand Lodge of Iowa:
"The special committee to whom the committee on the M. W. Grand
Master's address referred so much of the same as relates to the
Grand Orient of France, submit the following report:
"While we cordially agree with and endorse all of the views of our
M.W. Grand Master and the Committee on this subject, yet we
consider that its importance requires more than a mere resolution.
If the course of the Grand Orient of France is allowed to go
unrebuked and become the recognized law, we may well say farewell
to Masonry. It is the glory of our Institution that we do not
interfere with any man's religious or political opinions. At the
same time we discountenance atheism and doubt, disloyalty and
rebellion. No atheist can be made a Mason; and the first inquiry
made of a candidate, after entering the lodge is, in whom does he
put his trust? These are the essential requisites, and the
cornerstone on which our Masonic edifice is erected. Remove them,
and the structure falls. What is the course that the Grand Orient
of France takes ? They have entirely blotted out this necessary
qualification, and leave it to the "ipse dixit" of each initiate to
decide as he prefers, thus entirely ignoring the imperative belief
in God and His attributes, as understood in all enlightened
countries. American Masons will not submit to such a monstrous
proposition, and the mere thought of it is well calculated to
arouse our indignation and dissent. We protest against such an
innovation, and "wipe our hands" of it. Let such sentiments
prevail, and our enemies will desire no better argument with which
to destroy us. The Grand Lodges of Ireland and England have set
noble examples to the Masonic world, by remonstrating, and breaking
off all intercourse with these iconoclasts.
Question 3: Does this additional purpose of masonry, as a "concealed connector", always serve the sole goal of making individual 'good men' better?
The esoteric aspect of Freemasonry was designed to operate on two planes. The first plane is that of the collective, or group function. The second plane is that of the inner being of the individual Mason. Wilmshurst emphasizes this in his “Meaning of Masonry”: “. . .’Know thyself!’ was the injunction inscribed over the portals of ancient Temples of Initiation, for with that knowledge was promised the knowledge of all secrets and all mysteries. And Masonry was designed to teach knowledge much deeper, vaster and more difficult than is popularly conceived. The wisest and most advanced of us is perhaps still but an Entered Apprentice at this knowledge, however high his titular rank. Here and there may be one worthy of being hailed as a Fellow-Craft in the true sense. The full Master Mason - the just man made perfect who has actually travelled the entire path, endured all its tests and ordeals, and becomes raised into conscious union with the Author and Giver of Life and able to mediate and impart that life to others - is at all times hard to find.”
The full Master Mason - the just man made perfect who has actually travelled the entire path, endured all its tests and ordeals, and becomes raised into conscious union with the Author and Giver of Life and able to mediate and impart that life to others...
Question 4: May we also infer: "just because 'a purpose' has been made public doesn't mean everyone knows the mysterious purposes of masonry"?
My loquaciousness has again left me with little space to conclude so I will ask my final question...
Question 1 - Having read all the evidence presented here can you agree that we have proven that the primary purpose of masonry is nothing more than to 'make good men better'?
The actions of this organization have nothing whatever to do with masonry and are irrelevant
The lodge was then examined by a special commission of the Italian Parliament, directed by Tina Anselmi of the Democrazia Cristiana. The conclusion of the commission was that it was a secret criminal organization. ...but soon a political debate overtook the legal level of the analysis.
In 1981 a masonic tribunal decided that the 1974 vote had meant that the lodge had already been erased and that the lodge had been illegal all along.
(my emphasis added)
My answer to this question is a resounding 'YES'. All of the purposes of masonry serve the goal of making good men better. Some of them are straightforward and obvious, such as the teaching of brotherly love, relief and truth.
Some of them are much more difficult to perceive and understand, but they do, in all cases, lead to the betterment of man.
Of course the indisputable proof of these statements lie within the secrets of masonry I have sworn to protect. I cannot reveal them, but at the same time I don't expect the reader to take my word for it.
Eighteenth degree: "I obligate and pledge myself always to sustain, that it belongs to Masonry to teach the great unsectarian truths"
Question 4: May we also infer: "just because 'a purpose' has been made public doesn't mean everyone knows the mysterious purposes of masonry"?
I will agree with the premise here
"The esoteric aspect of Freemasonry was designed to operate on two planes. The first plane is that of the collective, or group function. The second plane is that of the inner being of the individual Mason."
He is making the point that learning all that masonry has to offer is difficult and takes a lifetime of learning and dedication.
"I solemnly and freely vow obedience to all the laws and regulations of the Order, whose belief will be my belief, I promise obedience to all my regular superiors."
"I pledge myself never to harm a Knight Kadosh, either by word or deed . . .; I vow that if I find him as a foe in the battlefield, I will save his life, when he makes me the Sign of Distress, and that I will free him from prison and confinement upon land or water, even to the risk of my own life or my own liberty."
"I pledge myself to obey without hesitation any order whatever it may be of my regular Superiors in the Order".
One of the requirments of masonry is a belief in God.
Masonry requires good men to believe in God.
Masons do not allow discussion of politics or religion because these two topics divide men, disrupt harmony and defeat the purpose of trying to promote brotherhood.
It is the glory of our Institution that we do not interfere with any man's religious or political opinions.
Question 1: Were all the 'masonic teachings' of this lodge, for almost a century, in fact 'non-masonic', and how could the members (apparently, some of whom were not 'good men') discern the difference, and why did they not?
The Italian Masonic Lodge P2 "provided a means of furnishing anti-Communist institutions in Europe and Latin-America with both Vatican and CIA funds.
Calvi [who was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982]
also claimed that he personally had arranged the transfer of $20,000,000 of
Vatican money to Solidarity in Poland, although the overall total sent to
Solidarity is believed to have exceeded $100,000,000. Prior to his
indictment for murder [of an Italian investigator], Michele Sindona was not
only P2's financier, but the Vatican's investment counselor as well, helping
the church to sell its Italian assets and re-invest in the United States.
Question 2: How do the oaths you admit to having taken affect the credibility of the personal opinion and experience you are claiming as evidence in this debate?
Question 3: Do higher-level masons serve in judicial and political capacities in the United States, and, if so, do their oaths and loyalties to masonry take precedence over their roles in protecting the public trust?
As a citizen, you are to be a quiet and peaceable subject, true to your government, and just to your country; you are not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently submit to legal authority, and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live.
Question 4: In light of the evidence and explanation I have presented in this debate, do you still unequivocally sustain that this statement is true?
Summary: Freemasonry wants to attract fellow journeymen who are seeking enrichment in body, mind, and spirit through participation in a brotherhood committed to good works and personal growth.
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them."
The Blue Degrees are but the outer court... he is intentionally misled by false interpretations.
Challenge Match: emsed1 vs Ian McLean: The Mason's Just Need A Few Good Men
Opening : Ian :
Ian presented very complete answers to Socratic Questions and valid substantial outlining of the topic.
Emsed was slow to get started and did not really convincingly outline “How” he was going to prove to us the debate topic.
Reply 1 : Ian
Emsed was very convincing in this reply in his oratory about the Masons and their judgment of what a good mason is.
Ian started off weak, actually supporting his opponent’s contentions, but rallied later in producing substantive material to support his contentions.
Reply 2: emsed
Emsed: Lost some ground on his admitted lack of knowledge of the “Inner Court, Scottish and York Rites.
Emsed gets points for a wonderful explanation of Pike’s writings in relation to the topic.
Ian rallied somewhat in his rebuttal of emsed’s reply, but was insufficient to win the round.
Reply 3 : Ian
Emsed’s rejection of the GOdF did not follow with the source he provided. He was clear as to why his lodge and others like his reject the GOdF, but it is also clear they are Masons. As this debate was not restricted to a specific form of Masons, Ian’s use of the GOdF was spot on. Emsed admitted to limiting the debate to “Blue Masons” and such is not the debate topic.
Ian came on strong in this reply, refuting several of his opponent’s arguments and outlining his case very effectively.
Emsed said it perfectly,
” In the end we will not resolve this issue, and in fact this is not the purpose of this debate to bring closure to this topic which has been debated for hundreds of years.”
While it is perfectly clear that emsed1 truly believes with all his heart in the Masons, the debate must be judged on which fighter presented the better argument.
Emsed believes in the “goodness” inherent in his organization and that is a credit to him, however Ian without a doubt presented the better overall argument.
3 to 2 in favor of Ian McLean as the winner.
A salute to both Fighters, I would love to see a rematch
Most debates in this Forum are polarized, with two extreme positions fighting each other. What I enjoyed about this one is the calm tone it was carried out. Many times when emsed could have twisted his opponents words, or beaten him, he chose not to - thereby demonstrating that he is a "good person" in the sense of freemasonry. My first impression after reading this debate was "Its a tie" with neither debater the winner.
But upon reading it a second time, I realized that Ian McLean is neither a mason nor an "anti-mason". Considering this, he did extremely well in his research and asking the questions that hurt the most. He did better than most "anti-masons" Ive ever read on this board. For this reason Ian McLean is the winner by a very small margin.