Now many religious figures in history and in scripture have all said or claimed that God or the belief in God can not only lead to salvation, but help you in this world by having God heal or help you. Now for many of us, being scientific minded people, the idea of prayer curing cancer alone is beyond comprehension. We know that good science, medicine, and the work of trained professionals is what helps cure us and make us healthier. Masonry is filled with men who are pragmatic in how they approach health. The doctor know best.
But is is just that? Is it only a visit to the doctor? Or following a healthy lifestyle? Is that the difference between a sick and a healthy life? The answer is no and I will show you how God can be the force to cure you, and why the belief in God has been so beneficial to Masons around the globe.
Here are some choice quotes from the article.
One of the studies, where more than 20,000 American adults participated, shows that income and education had little impact but those who went to church regularly had seven years added to their life expectancy. It highlights that life expectancy doubled for African Americans with an extra 14 years.
People with mental health problems, such as psychosis, also proved to cope better when religion was involved. They also showed to be more compliant with their medication.
They are less likely to commit suicide or suffer anxiety, display fewer psychotic tendencies, and are less likely to suffer alcohol and drug abuse.
And to be a Freemason, you need to believe in a supreme being, which more often then not means you are part of a religion. Now there have been many reasons why Freemasons have been successful over their time, but one aspect that is always missed is how their health has helped them. People who suffer from health problems, mental illness and such are more likely to do worse economically, socially, and mentally. If you’re trying to get ahead, or are trying to at least get your life on your two feet, dealing with medical problems is one of the biggest obstacles you’ll deal with. It’s an anchor that makes life a constant struggle. And the above shows that Freemasons and their many times religious nature are major reason why they’re in such good health.
I suffered from a chronic mental illness myself recently. Dealing with an incurable disease is one of the most soul crushing things that can happen to anyone. It feels like you are constantly walking on ice, never able to gain the right footing. How can you lead a career or chase your dreams when you’re constantly suffering? While there are examples of people who overcame their health issues to reach where they are in society, they are the exception to the rule.
Now it isn’t always about the career. Many Masons see the world not in works in the world, but works for above. Their only goal is to be happy. And lucky for them, good health is one of the most important elements to people becoming happy. Studies show that Health, not wealth/marital status/age/etc, makes people happier. Not works. Not things you own. Pure solid health. I realized halfway through when dealing with this illness that I would rather be healthy then anything else. Good health means everything.
So lets talk about how this related to Freemasonry. As we know Freemasonry requires a belief in God to join. And the men who join Freemasonry encompass the entire spectrum of a belief in God. From mainstream religions, to paganism, to deism, and everything in between. Masons believe in God, and they come in with a system of their own choosing.
I chose Christianity for multiple reasons. I was raised in it. I left it. And then I returned to it. Putting the studies aside for a second and speaking personally, Christianity has done wonders for my mental health. At the very core, feeling that an all powerful being is watching over you and looking out for you takes a tremendous weight off your shoulders. In a world where you feel like you’re going at it alone, knowing that God is going to try and make sure you’re ok is extremely important psychologically. Also the belief in an afterlife makes the pains and troubles of this world less threatening and frightening. You see them only as temporary obstacles or tests and they don’t define your life. It has caused me to mellow out in a real way. I’m not as angry or obsessed with the injustices of the world. I do wish to still stop injustice, but the thought of it isn’t killing me anymore.
Also I remember when I first because a Christian, it did wonders for my confidence. I had gone from someone drifting through life to now having God making sure I was going to be ok. It wasn’t just my problem anymore. Also God became an anchor for me, giving me a central point where I could find the answers to morality and how to live my life. It also gave me a sense of purpose. When I was sick I became less focused on the sickness and more focused on my purpose here in the world. It wasn’t always the direct psychological cause, but it put in a foundation for me that helped me overcome the challenges I was facing.
Some choice quotes.
The survey found that even after controlling for other kinds of demographic and geographic variables, Americans who say that religion is an important part of daily life and that they attend religious services weekly also report having much healthier habits than people who self-identify as moderately religious or nonreligious.
Firstly, this study and its results are pretty jarring. We know that in The Bible Belt of the US, obesity levels are through the roof and are bordering on epidemic levels. But we must also note that many of us have assumed these very religious people overlap with these people who have health problems. The studies I show in this article says that many of them don’t overlap at all.
Now of course this could be a moment for us God believers to pat ourselves on the back, but there is a key phrasing here that must be noted. It’s not how much you believe in God, but the question was “How religious were you”. What does that mean, specifically for us Masons.
Masonry has had an interesting history when it comes to religion. Obviously our Masonic system accepts all people from all faiths as long as they believe in a higher power. But the men that join Masonry aren’t always religious. I have met brothers who span the entire spectrum of religious devotion. Now, can you be religious and be a Mason? Absolutely. I consider myself fairly dedicated to my Christian faith, so much so that my Christianity supersedes Masonry and Americanism. But Masonry, and being part of the system, has given perspective that we are in a world of many faiths and beliefs and that as long as we follow the tenants of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth…all elements that are found in The Bible, I will be following God’s will.
Many Masons in America are obviously church going men. However for the ones that don’t go to church as much, being a part of Masonry can replicate that experience. Now, Masonry is not a religion but it can be religious in nature. Albert Mackey mentioned this his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.
“I am not disposed to yield, on the subject of the religious character of Masonry, quite so much as has been yielded by more timid brethren. On the contrary, I contend, without any sort of hesitation, that Masonry is, in every sense of the word, except one, and that its least philosophical, an eminently religious institution — that it is indebted solely to the religious element which it contains for its origin and for its continued existence, and that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good” (1874, p. 640).
Even if you are not a religious person but are a dedicated Mason, you will experience the same effects in Masonry as you would attending Church as a Christian, Synagogue as a Jew, or a Mosque as a Muslim. So if you’re very involved with Masonry then it wouldn’t be a stretch to say it could make you healthier too.
Here is another great article on the subject.
However, the article has some interesting counter points in the comments below. Let’s check them out.
Now the Huffington Post also posted about the article that being religious can make you healthier. However, there were some interesting counter-points from the people who responded.
This is a “self evaluation” based on what you “believe” to be true about your personal health. So the study found that people who are religious tend to “believe” they are healthier and those who are not religious and rely on rational thought don’t tend to over estimate their own health.
Wow, how surprising…NOT!
By defining “health” mainly as a self-scored well-being index, the authors completely obliterate any possible relevance to true health. When objective biomarkers are used, religious people are generally found to be LESS healthy. This is related to the well-understood inverse relationship between religiosity and education.
The responses are interesting. I get the skepticism that people self-evaluating themselves who are religious would rate their health higher. But that fails to focus on the main point. And that is PERCEPTION of health. If you feel healthy, by default you are “healthy” in your mind and how you approach the world around you. Sure you may be in terrible health shape, but as long as you feel healthy, then you will experience the positive mental effects of feeling healthy. Sure there are people who could be dealing with a terrible illness and are suffering, but they feel healthier comparatively then those in the same situation who don’t believe in religion or God. Now, I argue it isn’t just perception of health, but I do belief that belief in God actually makes you healthier. Let’s check out a few others links.
One interesting element is that people who believe in a higher power and are religious are also happier as well. And now let’s connect this to my last major health related point.
I will at some point do a blog entry on the power of the community for health, but for now let’s just focus on the “religious” aspect of Masonry. Masonry’s goals are the three things I mentioned above. Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Also creating harmony between men is a major point in Masonry’s structure. People in harmony together are happier. People who volunteer and help others are happier. People in love are happier (Do I really need to cite an article for this one?). As you can see, all things that are part of the Masonic structure are things that make people happier.
So not only does feeling and being healthy make you happier, but being happier makes you healthier! So a belief in God makes you healthier and happier. And being happier makes you healthier, and being healthier makes you happier! It becomes a feedback loop, helping to stabilize you. Also because of Masonry’s system of moderation, it helps to prevent the destructive dive into fundamentalism/religious manipulation that can be a destructive side of religion and belief.
It’s no surprise that many Masons live to very old ages. Visit any Masonic lodge and you will see brothers in their 60s, 70s and 80s. And then when you see their records and their Masonic care homes and you’ll find many brothers living into their 90s as well!
For Americans, the average male age they die at is 76 years old. Yet I know many Masons who have lived beyond that. Even just another 5 years of life means that you have an extra 5 healthy years of life. Five years is a very VERY long time. And a lot can happen in five years. And being healthy during that time to me is worth it’s weight in gold. Every day counts.
So what does this all mean? Well it explains why those who believe in God and why Freemasons seem to be so stable with their health. Now, will Freemasonry alone cure your illnesses? No. I also want to point out TRUTH in Masonry. We all know the truth is you need good medicine to be healthy. Also brothers looking out for each other can help lead to healthier habits and we help fellow Masons who are suffering. But don’t discount the importance of believing in a higher power and what religion can do for you. Good health and happiness are priceless, and God can be just what the doctor ordered.