Masons don't do anything else but Charity.
We are not a charity, we are a charitable institution. But Freemasonry was certainly NOT founded simply for the sake of Charity in the modern sense.
You certainly do not start in secret, with handshakes, and strong oaths to protect your charity work..... that this is what some lodges have become
almost exclusively is the reason why they are shrinking.
Origins aside, to understand the masonic view on Charity, in a way few masons except those who still read seem to anymore, it helps to understand the
history of the Bible. Modern literalist believe every word in scripture to be literal, an illusion due to being born after the printing press and a
conformity in language I suppose. That might be fine except that there are not literal translations from language to language for every word. Words
and concepts often have very different meanings. Or worse only slightly different meanings that are easily overlooked, but then can result in some
rather larger theological errors.
The Bible is written in multiple languages and often translated down through 2 or 3 or more. "Love" and "Charity" are what we find since the King
James translation, and understanding the close parallel of the men who made up early Masonry and those who made up the translators of that edition
helps too, there's alot of crossover between these two groups.
This difference between "Love" and "Charity" is not seen in the Greek where the word "Agape" is used for both. In the ancient Hebrew "Ahab" is used in
the old testiment and only slightly less broad in scope then Agape in possible meanings. "Charity" is not really a seperate term in the Bible rather
it is usually just Agape used as a noun. As a noun it is used in a way beyond feeling, it is concrete, it is affection manifest. Wether it be a
"thing" like what we think of charity today, or a deed and action as a noun. It is not a promise of love, or a want of love, it is a love completed.
So Love and Charity mean the same, but kind of like the concept of actions speaking louder then words, Charity is a realized form of love/affection.
Not all Freemasons are Christians, but ALL of Freemasonry comes from Biblical and Judeo/Christian sources, and 90% of those come from the New
Testiment directly regardless of what your conspiracy myths say, but to refute those accusations means discussing things we will not discuss.
After the age of exploration the universality in symbolism among world religions became popular. And it became fashionable to add newer meanings to
masonry, but those are not part of original founding concepts, which are very much based on Christian, Jewish, and Christian Hermetic thought only.
It is ultimately a recipe for applying those lessons we are taught to live, to community and society. In freemasonry it is not meant to limit it, and
to extend it to all mankind. This is the concept of Charity...from a historical masonic view....it has of course changed with the addition of other
movements through masonry's history.
Freemasonry is not a religion, rather it is a group that recognizes the importance of strong communities and that men of all faiths must work together
for common purpose to insure peaceful and successful societies.....your church, temple, etc are where you go for salvation, freemasonry is only
concerned with this world and how to live among each other and and protect each others freedom to worship whatever faith you choose.
All of that said, Freemasonry wasn't started for this either.........rather this is an important part of helping men perfect themselves, and to unite
against those who are tyrants....and you can flip a coin on which purpose came first in masonry "self perfection" or "overthrowing tyranny". I have
seen the argument made well on both sides on which was first purpose. I suppose though it is one in the same. A community that is not divided, can not
easily be conquored.....which is why we are so much in peril today, a divided people is a people that can be controlled. It's a shame to me that the
culture revolution in this country all but wiped out this common understanding that we were better united with different faiths, rather the dividing
and antagonizing each other. Then again....one only needs to see who planted the seeds for that American 1960's cultural revolution to see why that
was the goal all along.
As to the original poster....please ignore half of what you hear here about Freemasonry, even so called "experts" rarely have a clue about what
masonry is about as they have no experience to filter rubbish and myth from truth. Also many masons sadly do not know as much today, because beyond
doing the basic essential to perform rituals, few go beyond to study and research history and meaning anymore. Your grandfather was given the "tools"
to be a better man, and judging from the rest of what you said, I'll wager he did the work laid out on his trestle board very well.
17/8/2012 by ForkandSpoon because: grammer