(This blog entry is long but it’s going to be the reference article you’ve long been waiting for. Bookmark this because you’ll need it when the times comes)
In every era, being a Freemason meant something different. In the dawn of time, Masons would built shelters for the early humans to survive among the storms and seasons. In the dawn of civilization, Freemasons were the pioneers who built structures that stood the test of time. The Pyramids, King Solomon’s Temple, The Vatican, and many others where the physical representations of humanity’s arrival of it’s prime nature on this planet. In the time when Masonry revealed itself to the world in the 1700s, Masons were the domain of the forward thinking man. The enlightened scholar who saw a next generation of the thought and understanding about our purpose in the world. In the revolutionary age, Masons were on the forefront of Republicanism, seeking to smash tyranny and bring forth democracy to the world around them. And in the pre-modern times, they were the moral institution. Serving as a moral guide for those in power to know that they must not become the tyrants of past, but to become the men who created a better and more equal society for those around them.
So what does it mean to be a Mason today? What is our purpose? We’re a fading fraternity in some ways, and we’re a revival movement in others. Masonry in Europe and Africa is booming and as strong as ever, while the US is fast losing membership but also replacing it with a younger and more eclectic group of men.
Here is my theory. And we all love a good theory. It’s simple but entirely logical as well.
Masonry is going to be the barrier that blocks the secularization of the world. Masonry is going to be the vehicle to bring people back to God.
Think about this for a moment. It might seem strange to you at first but it also seems extremely logical as well. In every age, Masonry has a different interaction with the world around it as I just showed. It plants itself in the ground like a tall tower. And no matter how big the storm, Masonry comes out on the other side while the clouds of that time dissipate and then fade away. What is the next storm? The storm of secularism.
In America 74% of it’s citizens believe in God. Yet this is down from 82% a few years earlier. Even worse, in Europe only 51% of it;s citizens said they believe in God! For much of the modern world, the belief in God is fading away.
I’ll get to how Masonry will bring people back to God in a second, but we first need to find out why people are leaving. So I did a little research and I found a blog entry about why someone left God.
Read it through a bit and I’ll address each of them.
1. I struggle with the idea that there could have ever been a loving God.
I was a Christian for more than 30 years and struggled with this idea almost daily. As a member of the clergy, when I preached from the pulpit I always put forth the idea that God was loving, kind, just, and able to see past our human failings based on the model of Jesus Christ. I sincerely thought of Jesus Christ as the kind of person that embodied a loving God. He was kind to sinners, willing to stand up for the downtrodden, accepting of those who had different outlooks on life, like the Samaritans. The problem is that this God, the kind that is just like Jesus Christ, is not exemplified by the Christian church. Nor does that God seem to exist outside of the Bible.
Ok, so this person says that God isn’t like the Christian church. Here’s my response…never underestimate the ability of people to fuck things up. For example, when Democratic states first rolled into the scene it seemed like a great idea. Everyone gets an equal vote. Everyone has a say. Unfortunately…people fuck things up. Soon after the rich capitalists started to take control and we ended up with the American Gilded Age and wealthy power structures dictating policy. Remember how the vote matters? Well not anymore with the power of the wealthy few dictating the direction of who gets elected and how the country should go. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Remember all those South American “Democracies”? They were really just really military juntas and fake rigged elections. Sure they would get 96% of the vote…but everything was rigged. Russia is a democracy. North Korea’s a socialist state. China is a Communist state and Communism in theory is the most fair government of them all! But they’re all dictatorships in disguise, no different then the thousands of monarchies and civilizations that have come before them. As I say…people fuck things up. Leaving religion because people screw it up is as ludicrous as leaving Democracy because people screw it up. There was a point in Germany where people were begging for a strong dictator in Hitler because their Democracy was such a mess. Good things are often ruined by people and blaming the good idea fails to take into account how Humans can twist things for their own power.
Secondly the writer talks about God not existing outside of the Bible. If you’re expecting seas to part all the time and people to constantly rise from the dead, well that was never promised to you. Firstly you need to understand the nature of what a miracle is. A miracle is something that you thought wouldn’t or couldn’t happen. By that definition, miracles happen all the time. Things happen in life, in medicine, relationships, our jobs and so forth that would be called a miracle. We can all remember something that has happened to us or someone we know that was beyond understanding. Good things that we can’t explain are miracles. Listen, The Bible often asks us to have faith. It gives us that choice. If some force was constantly in motion around us parting seas and bringing people back to life, we would soon quickly DEMAND that we ALWAYS get these miracles. And soon we would come into conflict with our fellow man and demand God to perform miracles for us over our enemies. If wild larger then life miracles happened daily…people would also find a way to fuck that up. Miracles can only work is they are things that don’t seem supernatural, that could be explained as the mundane. In a way they work as part of a state of mine. Because if we believe that miracles can happen, then we will see our futures as one where extraordinarily good things can happen to us. Things that help break us out of the bonds we have. That even when everything says things won’t get better that there is a chance it will. Believing in miracles allow us to rise beyond where we are. Believing in miracles gives us hope.
There seems to be a strong correlation between those who have found God and how they treat others in this world. The Canadian Residential Schools scandal where over 150,000 aboriginal children where taken from their parents in an attempt to Christianize them comes to mind. That scandal resulted in numerous abuses of these children. I could go on and make a list of scandals starting with sexual abuse by clergy, robbing aboriginal children of their language and taking a wrecking ball to aboriginal families to make them more Christian. I could talk specifically about murder and wars by Christian leaders but I think you already get the point. The most war like people on this planet are religious. The most religious people on this planet are the most war like. They are nothing like the “perfect” God we are supposed to believe in.
The most war like people on the planet are religious? Firstly, almost every place on the planet believed in a higher force for a major part of human history. Secondly, Ghenghis Khan is calling and is telling this blogger to pick up the white courtesy phone. Huge sections of China which have been atheist since the dawn of time and have been a part of some of the most terrible atrocities ever committed. I mean did this person forget about racist and nationalist Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan? Communist USSR? Communist China? State Atheism?! Terrible reasoning if I ever saw it.
If God is loving, why does he not intervene? Why does he not “check in” to straighten things out? If God was a parent, we would accuse him of child abandonment. If God exists, we certainly cannot say he is loving.
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?” – Epicurus
Yet God created Heaven for us, so we may live in eternal harmony and love. There is no greater gift then that. And sure you may ask, why do we suffer here in this life then. And my answer is this. We won’t understand the light if we don’t know the darkness. We don’t understand good unless we experience evil. So when we’re someday in Heaven, we’ll understand the beauty, splendor and perfection of that world because we’ve experienced the evil of the life before. And sure the suffering may be beyond measure for many. But after 500 years in perfect Heaven, that pain will be nothing more then a blip in our minds. After 10,000 years it will be nothing more then a dream. And in a million years, it will be a past that you feel no more. We have pain now but we will someday have glorious perfection.
2. The Bible does a poor job of explaining our world and our universe.
When I suffered my final crisis of faith I decided to take a three month sabbatical from the priesthood. I started to explore science for a better explanation of the world. (In all fairness I should mention that I owned a subscription to Scientific American for virtually the whole time I was a member of the clergy, but I digress.)
I started to look in earnest for a better explanation of this world that the one given in the Bible. Once I stumbled upon the “The Selfish Gene”, a book by Richard Dawkins I knew I had found and answer that straightened out any issues I had with evolution. What had been missing from my understanding of evolution was the molecular explanation made in Chapter 3 – Immortal Coils. Once I read this I knew there was no need for the hand of God in the making of humankind. I also read numerous books on cosmology, psychology, philosophy and science. They are so superior to any “god did it” explanations that they literally reduced God to something that might have existed before the big bang. Later, I went back to university. The best class I ever took at university was called Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences. It taught me the best parts of skepticism and how to use them wisely. Once the fire was ignited there was no turning back to the bible for answers.
This is probably the easiest one to debunk. Firstly we have to step back. The Bible explains our origins in a fantastic way. Science is also fantastic, but proven based on the evidence we have. What many people fail to forget again…is that people fuck things up. The Bible is filled with allegory, symbolism, and parable. For the vast majority of human history The Bible was read literally and a quick and easy way to understand where we came from.
As a Mason our entire system is symbolic in nature. Going through this and then returning to your Volume of Sacred Law, you come to see your Bible in a way that is different then how the church has taught it. I repeat, because because the church has taught us to understand it in a certain way doesn’t mean that it is right. We have to remember that just because people used it literally doesn’t mean it was meant to always be understood literally. In my research and education on The Bible, I have found that seeing it symbolically has caused it to revolutionize my understanding of it. The story of the patriarchs, Genesis, the things Jesus did, etc. I still believe in many things literally but I have a much more open mind now. If you see the things being done symbolically then you’ll see the human experience within in a much different way. I have a teacher now that specializes in this and she is fantastic. Find the right person to sit down with you and to read through it with you. All of a sudden, everything in it makes sense. Trust me on this one.
3.Christian Treatment of Homosexuals. (and others)
If Christians really believe in the Golden Rule, “Treat others as you would be treated” their treatment of homosexuals over the ages betrays a huge hypocrisy. During the second world war German Christians sent gay men off to be exterminated with the Jews. All other Christian countries had already made homosexuality illegal and in some cases punishable by incarceration. Homosexuals are described by the scriptures as being heinous and murderous characters. Nothing could be further from the truth. A fair and unbiased reading of Saint Paul’s writings shows how wrong and how ignorant he really was. Modern science gives a completely different behavioral analysis of homosexuals. Fair and unbiased, science offers explanations of what homosexuality is and why it occurs that do not demonize or judge. Why is science better at being “Christ like” than Christians are?
Add to this that nonbelievers and those from other religions were treated just as badly over the ages and you’ll get my point.
Frankly the part about homosexuality deserves it’s own blog entry. Firstly as I always say…people fuck things up. Again, blaming The Bible for the terrible things that people do to it is like blaming The Government for people breaking the laws. No, it’s a people problem. Now, you response might be that some laws are unjust. Again, the homosexuality one deserves it’s own blog entry but I’ll try and summarize this the best I can. For Christians, anything in the Old Testament has to be taken as history. Reason being is Jesus has come and cleansed us of the burden of being trapped within those laws. Here is a nice article about the subject. The reality is we are to follow many of these laws spiritually, some literally. In the New Testament, Jesus never even brings up homosexuality and it’s never brought up in Acts, Hebrews or Revelations. Also to give perspective, The Bible often slams heterosexual lust. And in in Romans 1:26-1:27, The Bible is also calling out the being taken over of lust of homosexuals.
For this reason [idolatry] God gave them up to passions of dishonor; for even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error.
Essentially if you step back The Bible is also telling homosexuals that they also need to stop being taken over by lust. Some have even pointed out that this is telling people who were straight and then went gay are the ones being denounced. That if your passion is to be straight then be straight.
For Corinthians 6:9-10 and Timothy 1:9-10, the word abuse and defile come up. Which any logical person could see as sexual assault because abuse and defile mean you’re damaging the person unlawfully.
Long story short, sex is something that has caused a lot of turmoil through human history. There’s a reason why Jesus was never involved with it. Thinking with sex has caused countless violence and lust has been a force that has torn people apart since the beginning of time. Don’t think with lust and you’ll have a much more harmonious life.
4.What about the other Gods?
As a Christian I dismissed all other gods without much of a thought. Did Thor really swing a big hammer that caused the thunder we hear? Of course not. As a child I had learned about how the sun heats the earth and how weather patterns follow. The idea that Thor was needed to explain thunder seemed silly.
Did Apollo really bring healing, deadly plagues or ill health? Of course not. As a schoolboy I had already learned the germ theory of disease transmission. To implicate Apollo seemed equally silly.
I dismissed virtually all the prophets of other religions with similar ease. Did Muhammed really ride a white horse up to heaven? Of course horses cannot fly. That seems silly.
But, and this is a big but, when asked if Jesus walked on water, I would hesitate and say, “Well we don’t really know he didn’t. Anything is possible when God is involved.” Today I see it differently. I have studied other religions and see how it was that I was willing to be skeptical about them, but not about the far fetched stories in the Christian Bible. Now I believe in one less God than before; the Christian God.
Firstly, you have to stop getting wrapped up in other Gods. We Masons are well aware that there are people out there who believe in different Gods and such. We will often see the VSL of other religions on our alters. Now if you want to get real conservative, maybe all these other belief systems are wrong. Just because a bunch of people think they know how to build a building doesn’t mean they are right. Someone in the group is probably correct or the most correct in their understanding and over time we’ll come to find out that that person is the one who believes correctly.
If you want to get liberal, as one Mason put it, paraphrasing, that when that Masons in his lodge looks to his left and looks to his right and sees men of different religions he has to wonder. Are they wrong? Is he the one that is just right? Or…do they all actually believe in the same God and it’s just their understandings that are different. Think about that.
What kind of omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God needs to use eternal punishment, in the form of a burning hot eternal hell to bring his people closer to him? This is the God who we are told created us. This is the God who is supposed to understand, better than we do, how psychosis, neurosis and other mental diseases occur. This is the God who would cause sinners and non believers to burn for eternity, rather than explain himself or cure their mental disease. Threatening to send someone to burn in Hell is a manipulative and mean way of accomplishing anything. How can anyone love a God that is so evil as to do that to his own creation, especially when that creation is sentient?
To be honest, the fact that hell exists in Christian belief is proof that God truly is evil, or that religion was created by men whose intention it was to scare people into submission.
Today there are many people who see religion as benevolent and kind and gloss right over the concept of hell as central to their belief in salvation. Islam is also guilty of this manipulation. This is clear evidence that all abrahamic religions are manipulative at their very core.
Christians who proselytize do so based on their fear that you are going to hell. (What a strange form of love that is!) When they repent it is because they fear hell. Fear of hell is a poor reason for you to be a good person. Why not just treat people kindly because thats how you want to be treated.
Three things. Firstly, again there’s a very good chance that Hell is symbolic. Listen, when I do something bad or sinful I feel terrible about it. It haunts me. I live in my own personal hell. If everyone goes to Heaven, those that did evil or sinful things will have those memories of the sinful things they did for the rest of their lives. They will live in perfection but they will experience their own personal hellfire of shame regarding what they’ve done. You will remember the bad things you’ve done for the rest of eternity. You’ll remember everything really. Heaven’s a perfect place but the memory that you did wrong is the eternal punishment that you’ll receive.
Secondly, in the Old Testament Hell doesn’t exist. You die, you die. So Jesus bringing up Hell seems to be a major addition from a man who almost entirely spent his existing fulfilling and clarifying Old Testament doctrine. Again in that context we have to think about Hell and what it means. But many Christian scholars believe that when you die an unbeliever, it just goes black. It’s over and that’s the end of it. But as you die and your life flashes before your eyes for what seems like an eternity…those moments where you did wrong and you know there is nothing you can change about it will feel like Hell.
Thirdly, and most depressingly, the idea of Hell kinda has to exist to get people to do the right thing. Ultimately Hell is punishment for doing something wrong. Remember…people fuck things up. If people believed that they could do whatever they wanted in this life and then they could escape with death, shit would get real bad real fast. Another example is if you confessed to Jesus and knew that you were going to get eternal life no matter what you did…things would get ugly real fast. The idea of Hell has to exist to keep people honest and to keep people from abusing the automatic afterlife of believing in Jesus Christ. And people respond to the stick just as much as they would the carrot and you know from your own personal experiences that there are times that the stick has been a motivating factor for you. It is what it is. We’re human and we sometimes need to threat of punishment to do the right thing and to prevent abuse.
So as you can see, when you step back the reasons for leaving religion are actually flimsy at best. Now that I gave you reasons not to leave, let’s discuss the nature of religion itself. Why should you be religious?
Religion in itself at its core is nothing more then a belief system. A code that you follow the world with. And ideally a code that is shared by many others to create a society that has the same standards and practices when it comes to making moral judgements. A society that all has the same moral beliefs is the most fair society. Everyone’s on the same page. Now, religion does leave room open for interpretation.
As a Mason, we’re presented with tools that serve as moral guides or ways of perspective in relation to our moral understanding of our specific religion. How each Mason interprets the moral axis of these Masonic symbols is up to them. Ideally since you draw light from the VSL, then you will see that these tools are there to give you quick starter perspectives of your religious beliefs. When we come to analyze our specific religious beliefs, we come to find that our VSL also leaves room for interpretation. Lust for example might have a different meaning depending on the person. Praying to be seen by others? if you really think abut it, that could be different for each individual person. Read Matthew and if you really get down to it, Jesus often uses things in a symbolic/allegorical manner. Like tossing your pearls to a pig. Or the narrow gate. Or knock and the door will be opened.
This goes for other VSLs as well. So much of what is being said is symbolic in nature because it allows for the beliefs to adjust for the times. From the person living in dirt in Africa to the person living with valet in America, lust, prayer to be seen and taking the narrow path are things that are different for each person but give a through line to connect them all.
Another reason why it’s symbolic/allegorical/interpretive is that is leaves room for flexibility. Look at the US laws. There are laws that say you can’t drive above 55 miles an hour. And let’s say the law is strictly enforced. And let’s say there’s an avalanche coming and you need to race away. Now if you follow the law, the avalanche will overtake you and kill you. If you break the law to race away, the cop at the end will then punish you with a ticket or felony speeding if you’re going fast enough. Speed limit laws are great because they regulate travel and keep everything running smoothly. But life isn’t always a simple even state. An interpretive law would say something like “thou shall not speed unnecessarily”. And that is essentially how speed limit laws work in this country. Many people break the speed limit laws, but they aren’t speeding unnecessarily and are actually going with the flow of traffic. They are following the standards of their society. But anyone who goes above that standard will get pulled over and ticketed. Someone driving 80 is speeding unnecessarily. But if someone is racing away from an avalanche and they race to 80 miles an hour, no sane cop in the world would ticket them. It was necessary. An interpretive law like I mentioned gives people the ability to all follow the same system of rules while also giving them the flexibility to adjust for extraordinary situations. So when you read “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.”, understand that being drunk is different for every different person but you should look to yourself and ask when you are getting drunk. And wine can absolutely stand in for other mild altering substances. So much of your VSL works like this. Interpretive law brings reason and stability into an often shifting world.
So why again are people leaving God? Let’s look at some other reasons what weren’t mentioned in that article.
For many atheists, they are leaving God because there is no proof of God. My reaction is that that argument is simplistic. I wrote a blog entry a while back showing that belief in God was just as intellectually rigorous as lack of belief in God. In my opinion the whole “I can’t run an experiment on God therefore I can’t believe in God” argument is debunked. You can have intellectually rigorous reasons for believing in God.
Personally, I would argue that leaving God stems from our desires to remove a “higher power” above us. Again, this is not supported by any evidence at all but is speculated because it’s very human to want to remove higher authorities from yourself. We as a species have fought off many tyrants that have reigned over us. We’ve even cut down those that are benevolent because their authority over us threatens our primal instinct to become the alpha. To define our own domain. But we don’t need to do this.
Is it a burden to follow your God and the corresponding religion? It can be! But let’s step back for a second. If we really cut this to its core, a belief in God should have no draw back to you. Lets say you don’t believe in a single religious doctrine at all but believe a higher power is trying to make the world better, then belief in God would be easy and comfortable. Or even just The Silent Creator. It should be painless and easy to believe in a higher power but for many people they make sure to not believe at all!
Another reason why people are moving away from God is due to the problems within the church. The tilt toward extreme literalism and the silencing of dissent for the religious right has caused many smart and moral people to leave religion and God entirely. We see many people speak of God as a force closer to the Old Testament instead of a New Testament God that loves all of his children and forgives those for their sins. In addition for many on the right, it is their singular understanding of God or the highway. And I can confidentially say that many of these people are wrong. Instead of pushing away those that think differently, they should consider the expressing of alternative ideas and interpretations. Now of course many of my readers aren’t Christian but the same problems that ail Christianity are also problems that Jews, Muslims and other religious groups deal with in their own communities.
Here is my response to this. You can find somebody or a group of people that are better to aid you in your journey with God. In every religion, there are bad apples but there are also great people as well. Sometimes it takes some digging to find these people but the great ones are out there. Just because you’re surrounded by many people who are seriously out to lunch doesn’t mean you should quit. There are countless times in history where people have found themselves opposed to whatever the ideology of the time was. Those people sought out others who also secretly thought differently and joined up with them. And over time those people meeting in secret grew in number and before long their belief system would bleed out into the general population. And then before you know it people would start to drift to their way of thinking and society would change.
Another reason why people leave religion is that in American society, the poorer you are and the more you’re suffering the more religious you are. And the more successful and wealthy you are the less religious your are. Again, this goes back to my note above for how people try to remove authorities above them. The more powerful you are the more you’ll want to consolidate that power. Having God hanging over you is a real annoyance when you are trying to exercise your authority over your domain. Conversely the poorer you are the more likely you will have many people lording over you. And believing in God is a way to remove those many authorities in a sense. God is your lord, not all these other people so by believing in God you psychologically remove the authority of many of these people.
This all leads to a situation where people who are religious are seen as the idiots and people who are less religious are seen as the intelligent. This is both undeserved and unfortunately deserved. Because in this era many uneducated people are extremely religious and they will often spout views that aren’t educated themselves and can be easily debunked. So you get some of column A and and some of column B when it comes to religious discrimination. This causes many people who would otherwise stick around in their belief of God to stop openly believing or to just leave entirely.
Now here is where the Masonic Identity becomes intimately useful. There is A: A long history of successful Masons. B. A long history of Masons that have suffered discrimination. Focusing on A, if you’re a Mason it is much easier to be outward with your beliefs because you have the history of really great and smart men behind you. You’re just like them and you come from their society. As for B: Well you also have a history of Masons that were killed for their beliefs. I feel dirty for saying this but in 2015 America people will give you a different set of rules if you or people like you have been oppressed in some way. I’m not saying to walk around thinking you are a victim and telling people you are a victim. Not at all! But sometimes it helps to give people perspective when they start to get discriminatory with people who believe in God or religion. Let them know that people who believe also suffer as well.
In many ways, the existence of Masons are a major threat to secularism. Our success essentially throws a wrench into the belief that society doesn’t need God. If this group of people are so successful and a requirement to join is a belief in God, it’s a major threat to the secular world view. The idea that people who believe in God could be MORE successful then usual deconstructs their thinking that religion and belief need to go away and instead could call for more belief and religion! As of 2015 this is not a thing but give it time and it will certainly become one.
Another major think that Masonry does it that it’s hard for secular people to shoot at. Here are some reasons.
A: There isn’t a Masonic God. So secularist can’t nail you on how Masons believe in God because every Mason as a different belief in God.
B: Masonry is secretive. This essentially blunts you from having to break down the belief system for them and for them to fight you over the minutia. It also serves as a blunt to the creation of strawmen because again it’s hard to create arguments against things you don’t even know about. And even if they do some research and tell you the things they think Masons know, you are sworn to secrecy and you can’t engage them anyways. Essentially you’re playing with your cards hidden and theirs shown and even when you play a card your cards remain hidden. I’m not trying to be underhanded and unfair when I say this but instead trying to show how this instead can focus an argument into the ideas instead of getting distracted and dissecting the origins of those ideas. Speaking of which…
C: Masonry’s secretive beginnings allow it to avoid getting dissected over its origins. A common them in the attack on any idea is to who came up with the idea. Often people attack belief and religion by going after where it came from. We all can remember times where people have gone after a specific religion by attacking the prophets. They would either go after them by attacking them personally or as men who tried to manufacture a belief system on their own without the help of God. Because Masonry has a secretive past in that we don’t know who created it, it prevents those attacks from happening and forces them to stay focused on your arguments in the present. So when you talk about your belief in God as a Mason they can’t spend their time deconstructing the origins of Masonry and instead have to address the beliefs you have right now.
D: Masonry doesn’t have dogma and is instead a symbolic and interpretive society. Listen, whatever God says in your religion/belief system is king. Don’t let Masonry turn into a false idol where you look to Masonry for moral answers. God and your religion are the final and first authorities. Masonry provides perspective. Going back to the dogma part, because each Mason interprets the tools to their own belief system you will often find that Masons have a diverse set of beliefs. So anytime some says X Mason believes this so all Masons believe it, you can point out that is not only not true but Masonry doesn’t have a set belief system anyways. This forces them to look at your individual beliefs right in front of them instead of shifting it over to X person said this so you have to defend that person’s point of view. You don’t. They have to address you and you alone.
On a side note even religion itself is the same way. There is room for interpretation and remember this when you get into these arguments. Just because one Christian believes one thing doesn’t mean all Christians believe that. The same goes for your other religions.
E: Masonry is designed to make good men better. If people ever ask why, this is why you’re a Mason. To better yourself. Essentially religion is the same way. The laws and creeds it exposes are designed to make you better. This should be the most obvious thing in the world but for many people it isn’t. They outwardly follow their religion because it gives them answers and salvation. But really religion is also supposed to make you better in this life too. I’ll speak personally about Christianity here. If you read it correctly you’ll see how Jesus teaches things to help you learn moderation, being truthful, being focused, being more loving, being more compassionate and being more understanding in the ways of the world. I could spend a whole blog on this. But if you were to follow Jesus in the way he taught you would find yourself a more perfect person. At the end of the day we all want to be more perfect people. We want to be better. And a belief in God and the religious system we use to follow God is what makes us better.
F. Belief in God makes you an eclectic thinker. Masons have a long history of an involvement in the esoteric. Masonry also has a narrative of story within its initiation and ritual. These things give a deeper tune to the work that a Mason does on this earth. Religion and a belief in God also gives you a deeper tune and narrative to the world around you. It makes you see the things in the world in a more symbolic way. It makes you see the events of the world as part of a narrative. It makes you part of a psychological pulse to the human experience. Now there are many secular people who are absolutely eclectic and deep thinkers. But I’ll personally admit that I don’t know where it comes from. To see the world as the result of a chain reaction of chemicals is a place that I just can’t draw from. But I draw from God and my relationship with God as I’ve become more attuned to what my Volume of Sacred Law says.
G: Masonry is hard to define. There have countless books and articles written about people trying to figure out what Masonry is. Is it a religion? A club? A social organization? A college? A theistic psychology? An identity? A meme? A fraternity? An allegorical and symbolic brotherhood? A secretive society? Because it’s hard to define Masonry it’s hard to go after Masonry. It’s like a cloud. When you swing at it you never get a clear shot. This prevents people from attacking Masonry in general and how your theistic beliefs stem from them and instead they’re forced to engage you on the issues you’re discussing now.
So I’m going to stop here. One, because pragmatically this blog entry is really long. But also because this is just the beginning. I sincerely believe that in this era it’s God that Masonry is going to stand for. Now as a reminder, God doesn’t need the help of Masonry. God is the creator and we are the creature that looks up to God and holds God in great reverence. But Masonry sits at a unique place in that it shows that a belief in God isn’t just possible, but it’s part of who we are. It’s important.
Listen, I sincerely believe the earth is six billion years old and that we are the result of three billion years of survival of the fittest DNA that has resulted in us becoming the Humans we are today. But what that means is that under this veneer of society that exists around us is a beast beneath the surface. That when you really come down to it, we’re in a constant state of competition with our fellow creature. That is our natural state. That the peace we’re experiencing right now is just a season and the wars and violence of the past are not moments of human error but the natural order of our species. Some will say that people are naturally good people. But history shows wildly otherwise. I do believe there is natural good in us, but you also have to realize that there is natural evil in us as well. And it’s God that saves us from this. Because if we are to believe that God created us then we will come to see the past as just the result of a species journeying from dark to light. That the war, destruction and chaos of the past coming into the peace of the world now is the animal finally realizing it’s place with God. If this is not the case and God doesn’t exist then history isn’t our past and is instead our fate. God HAS TO BE REAL. For without God then all this around is is just a construct of people telling ourselves we’re this happy group of humans when instead we’re really the beast lurks beneath. Without God, we will never be Human.