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Are most Masons against organized religion?

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posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 04:43 AM
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This thread was inspired by this post by network dude who got me thinking...

As far as I know, there are very few Masons on this board that are pro organized religion. Of course, I may be wrong, but this is what I'd like to find out by creating this thread.

I know that Freemasonry teaches tolerance of all religions, but is it possible that some Masons perceive this to mean that they should be against any religion that teaches exclusivity?

In my lodge, there are about 10 members who belong to 'formal' religions, and about 20 that call themselves 'spiritual' rather than belonging to a specific religion. Of the 20 'spiritual' Masons, most are anti organized religion, but are tolerant and respect the beliefs of the members of those religions.

It seems to me that many Masons respect the views of members of organized religions, but viciously slam the religions themselves. Pretty much like saying: "I think your religion is dreadful, but I respect your right to belong to it." Sometimes I find myself guilty of this too...

What do you, as a Mason feel about organized religion? Do you think the aim of Freemasonry is simply to respect people's right to belong to the religion of their choice (even though we may slam the religion itself), or do you think the aim is to actually respect all religions. If the latter were the case, it would explain why many anti-masons might have a "unified God" theory.

Alternatively, how, as a non-Mason, do you perceive Mason's attitudes towards organized religion?

[edit on 14/8/2009 by Saurus]




posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 05:08 AM
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I'd say I dislike any religion that preaches that they are right and everyone else is wrong. That their god is the only god. Which is most organized religion. I however still don't really dislike the religion, just the fundamentalists that tell me I'm going to burn in hell, or that my god is a false god. I am a prince hall mason and just consider myself spiritual. And I do believe in one higher power. A very big amount of prince hall masons are christians probably 90 percent of my lodge is christian, but obviously it never gets brought up inside lodge. I've heard some prince hall lodges allow specific prayers to Jesus said outloud, inside the lodge! I completely disagree with that and consider that "unmason like behavior", thats completely innapropriate.. But these tend to be the lodges that don't even want recognition and stuff and most likely are full of black power dudes and racists, not the type I'd like to be around! I'd never sit in a lodge like that. There are no racists in my lodge, we even have a few white guys (I know its weird for white people to be prince hall masons).

Most my buddies who are masons consider themselves christian and they know my beliefs and when we hanging out with eachother outside of lodge even we avoid religious debates.

I wouldnt say I'm against organized religion, just dislike it. I too am guilty of talking bad about organized religion, but I'd never in a million years insult a religious person for their choice of religion! I try my best to censor myself when speaking about religion, because it insults a lot of people.

Anyways, I'm interested in everyone elses responses to Saurus' question.

Peace


[edit on by jeasahtheseer]



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 05:45 AM
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reply to post by Saurus
 


I would consider myself a Christian, but I don't like church as I said in that post. Most of the regular members of my lodge go to the same church. What I noticed is that the brothers I meet here seem to have that trend. A free thinker as well as a Freemason. Not to say that someone involved with the church isn't able to think, but we as conspiracy nuts seem to think outside the box quite a bit more. maybe that's it.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 06:10 AM
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posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 06:53 AM
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If you mean organized religion in the sense of doomsday-cults, islamic-jihadists, bigotry and interolance and The Inquisition, I am opposed to it.

If you mean organized religion in the sense of religious communities practicing kindness and paying reverence and respect to a Supreme Being, I am supportive of it.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 07:03 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Do you think the aim of Freemasonry is simply to respect people's right to belong to the religion of their choice (even though we may slam the religion itself), or do you think the aim is to actually respect all religions.

There is a phrase in the extended working tools of the second degree of UGLE emulation ritual which says that a Mason "should not be an enthusiast, persecutor, or slanderer of religion."

Persecutor and slanderer are easy to understand, but what does the ritual mean when it says not to be an enthusiast of religion?

Is Freemasonry as an institution against organized religion?

What is your take as a Mason?



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 07:17 AM
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I attend Lodge in Western NC. My district is largely rural, and borders the Charlotte 'bedroom community zone'. This may give an indication of our SES slice. I can only comment on the Brothers that I know through my own church, or those that are at least somewhat regular in the handful of Lodges that I attend.

I would say that most attend church services. The level of attendance may range from 'CEO' (Christmas, Easter, one Other) to very regular, but these Brothers would certainly self identify as 'members'. I know of a few who are deist, but not many. Those who attend services are Methodist, Baptist, or Lutheran, just in case that is the next question



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 07:34 AM
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reply to post by Saurus
 


I don't mean to answer for Skyfloating, but instead for myself...

I believe that the aim of Freemasonry doesn't have anything to do with religion. Religion is only mentioned in-passing during the degree work. The aim of The Craft, in my humble opinion, is to create a better world by doing good works. It's through action that things are done.

The requirement of belief in a deity to join a lodge is important in that it establishes that you have a belief in a continuance of self after death. This particular concept is important to Freemasons because it means that there's something worth working towards. This then engenders a behavioral pattern more akin to that of a master builder building a monument to all that will survey it.

There are no constraints on WHOM one must worship. So long as they worship a deity of some kind, and meet the other requirements, then they are legitimate candidates for entry.

I don't believe that Freemasonry is against organized religion, so to speak. Personally, I don't see the use for the organized part, for reasons that have already been outlined in the previous posts. My distaste for it revolves around the whole concept of having to preach to people that have heard the same things over and over again. To me, that's counterproductive, and only pushes people away from the very God that they profess to be "serving".

I know that I've probably outed myself now, but that's okay. Consider it a formal announcement on my part. We're not a bad group. Truly, we strive for the betterment of humankind through good deeds, and we don't ask anything in return, other than to try to understand that no one is perfect. We all have something to offer our fellow man/woman, and it is our duty to make sure that we all contribute something constructive to this little rock that we call our home.

TheBorg
Forum Member and Moderator



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 07:39 AM
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I am neither for nor against organized religion. I think it's up to the individual. While religion can be a strong basis for spiritual development, it can just as easily be an obstacle to it.

Just for the record, I belong to a Unitarian Universalist congregation, and attend services regularly.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 07:58 AM
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Originally posted by TheBorg

My distaste for it revolves around the whole concept of having to preach to people that have heard the same things over and over again.


I've never thought about it in this way. This is a profound statement, and the implications are immense.

Preaching to people who already know what they are being taught does not promote free thought. One may consider it 'brainwashing' although 'learning through repetition' is probably a valid defense to the 'brainwashing' accusation. (Although, as you said, why teach someone something they already know.)

It is my belief that Freemasonry is against anything that prevents free thought. Freemasonry teaches us to "study the hidden mysteries of nature and science, the better to know our maker." I don't believe that organized religion is in the essence of Freemasonry, since religion tells us what to believe, rather than allowing us to find out the truth for ourselves.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 08:03 AM
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Originally posted by TheBorg

The requirement of belief in a deity to join a lodge is important in that it establishes that you have a belief in a continuance of self after death. This particular concept is important to Freemasons because it means that there's something worth working towards. This then engenders a behavioral pattern more akin to that of a master builder building a monument to all that will survey it.


Wow, I have never seen the reason for the belief in a Supreme Being explained so eloquently before.

Thank you for this very deep insight.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 08:07 AM
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Originally posted by Saurus
Do you think the aim of Freemasonry is simply to respect people's right to belong to the religion of their choice (even though we may slam the religion itself), or do you think the aim is to actually respect all religions.

There is a phrase in the extended working tools of the second degree of UGLE emulation ritual which says that a Mason "should not be an enthusiast, persecutor, or slanderer of religion."

Persecutor and slanderer are easy to understand, but what does the ritual mean when it says not to be an enthusiast of religion?

Is Freemasonry as an institution against organized religion?

What is your take as a Mason?


Thanks for quoting that. I think it aims at actually respecting ALL religions because they pay respect to the Creator. As I sometimes fail to respect religion, this is a good reminder - thanks!

And to be an "enthusiast" would be in modern terminology to be a fanatic, right? So basically its "respect religion, but dont be a fanatic".



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light

Just for the record, I belong to a Unitarian Universalist congregation, and attend services regularly.


Interestingly enough, I don't think I've ever met a Mason who hasn't belonged to a church at some stage.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 08:09 AM
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Originally posted by TheBorg
The requirement of belief in a deity to join a lodge is important in that it establishes that you have a belief in a continuance of self after death. This particular concept is important to Freemasons because it means that there's something worth working towards. This then engenders a behavioral pattern more akin to that of a master builder building a monument to all that will survey it.


Awesome. You surprise me



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 09:19 AM
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Originally posted by TheBorg


The requirement of belief in a deity to join a lodge is important in that it establishes that you have a belief in a continuance of self after death.


Actually, this is the current topic on the Philalethes Society email list. Quite a few brethren are piping up saying that they do believe in a Supreme Being, but not in "life after death". The topic started off on the "Deists and Masonry" thread, if you're a member of the PS.

So there are some peole who believe in God, but do not believe in life after death, just as there are some atheists who do not believe in God, but who *do* believe in life after death.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 10:24 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating

Originally posted by Saurus
There is a phrase in the extended working tools of the second degree of UGLE emulation ritual which says that a Mason "should not be an enthusiast, persecutor, or slanderer of religion."

Persecutor and slanderer are easy to understand, but what does the ritual mean when it says not to be an enthusiast of religion?


And to be an "enthusiast" would be in modern terminology to be a fanatic, right? So basically its "respect religion, but dont be a fanatic".
Yeah, I put that in line with one of the charges...

neither are you to suffer your zeal for the institution to lead you into arguments with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule it. But, at your leisure hours, that you may improve in Masonic knowledge, you are to converse with well-informed brethren, who will be always as ready to give as you will be ready to receive instruction.
The phrase "suffer your zeal" caught my attention. "It's great that you love what you're doing, but don't be an ass about it," I think sums it up.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 12:47 PM
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It may be hard to expound further on what TheBorg posted earlier but my opinion is as follows.

I was brought up in a moderately strict Roman Catholic enviornment and had to attend catechism school among other functions. I had very early and frequently queationed what I was taught as it did not resolve itself with me as well as others I knew at that time. I have sinced gravitated to a more spiritual avenue for my beliefs and would categorize myself as a Diest.

In answer to the Original Post, while not against organized religion I find that it has lead to a good deal of suffering of which it purports to help assuage. I do not adhere to any belief or system which proclaims superiority over another or group. None of us is priveledged to know the Mind of God and can not presuppose to have special insight into God's desires for us, we can only speculate.

My speculations have led to me to the path of attempting to do good upon my fellow man and to treat others equally regardless of their opinions or beliefs. If I could hope to know God's designs I would posit them as treating others with respect and kindness and exercising our free will. The path to God, in my opinion, is not the through dogma but through Brotherly Love.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 01:23 PM
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I think that a Mason who endeavors to find light on his own Masonic journey will discover that he does not need another man to tell him how to find God.



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 01:37 PM
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As a Mason, I can say that about half of my Lodge goes to some kind of church and about half don't.

In general, I am not personally against Organized Religion, but I haven't found one that I like yet! I want to join a church, but in churches I always find Church People, and I typically don't like them very much.

I was raised in a Nazarene Church, I have attended about every Baptist off-shoot that there is, and attended some Episcopalian. I have been to Church of God, and Jehovah's Witness congregations many times. I have tried all the New Age, E3, Church on the Rock, and other pop-culture churches that come about. Currently I am dabbling with Shambala and Bahai, but I don't think they will stick!

I like a lot of people outside of church, and then I go to their church and it is the same old uptight crowd that I have seen 1000 times before, with a plastic-haired preacher, and some overzealous front row testifiers, and some sleepy old farmer husbands on the back row wishing they could get back to work. In the middle are some young families that are trying to set a good example and fit into a certain mold, so they will look right to their peers and make valuable connections for their jobs and social groups. Their little kids don't want to be there. The teen groups split off and learn about monogamy while they try to get in each others pants.

I have to say that the meals are always top notch!



posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 02:55 PM
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I'm a Presbyterian and i had my views on other religions before i joined the craft. I don't dislike the individuals but i must say i don't have any time for a certain church for all her wrongdoings. I also like Eastern mysticism Hinduism and Buddhism.

Whatever your religion it's compatible with the craft as it says nothing in freemasonry should interfere with your civil, moral or religious duties.



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