Hello readers, Livingstone here.
One of the parts of this blog that I have been working on is the testing part. As in, testing what it means to be a Mason in the “profane” world. There hasn’t been much material to discuss this in our generation, and I’m looking to start to create and idea of just what it means to be a Mason in this world. I’ve done some debating in r/christianity in the past,and now I’ve decided to do some field work in the Reddit subreddit, /r/debatereligion. What people believe, and how they believe, is absolutely something that matters to us. How theism is viewed is is directly tied to us because you must believe in God to be a part of our fraternity. Here we go.
Here is my kickoff thread introducing me to their subreddit. I post under the name “OfficialRedditLawyer” there, that’s how you can tell what I’m posting as.
Their experience with Freemasons is rare, I’m the first openly Freemason individual most of them have met. If you search that forum, the first time a Freemason is even mention is literally two days before I arrive. Which was news to me. It’s no secret that r/debatereligion is packed with atheists but it’s as good a place as any to get people talking from all points of view. It should be a place where people hear views, consider them and offer reasonable responses.
Or it’s secretly an anti-theist circle jerk. I report, you decide.
Here are the highlights from the thread.
My first post was a response to someone trying to figure out why belief in God is a requirement to join Masonry and continue to be one.
Higher Power is a term that is absolutely open to interpretation and I can see your point. There have been Pantheists that have argued their belief could mean “higher power”, and some Masons even agree. However the ritual in its approach to The Great Architect of the Universe considers God to be a force beyond us, with it being largely being treated as what you would define as “spiritual”. There are references to the life after and the term “Great Architect of the Universe” is used to reference the higher power. The GAOTU term IMO has a multipurpose use. It explains what the higher power should be regarded as during the Masonic ritual, to also being a neutral placeholder term that brothers of different beliefs can use in a shared context. When someone prays to The Great Architect of the Universe during a prayer, in my mind and heart I am praying to my specific God. And to be clear, this is my specific approach to Masonry. But it’s fairly common and considered its natural purpose by early Masonic scholars.
The belief in God serves many purposes. Some I can’t say due to my obligation I took, but some I can. But I’ll cut to the chase for the main one.
- Person A swears on themselves alone to keep their word to not divulge the secrets that they are about to observe.
- Person B, believes a higher power is watching them at all times and that they will face judgement in the afterlife, swears to keep their word to not divulge the secrets that they are about to observe.
Logically, who is more likely to keep their word regarding the secrets of Masonry?
Masonry is pragmatic in much of its design. The ancient builders of Masonry, to keep their trade secrets, know that people who believe in a higher power are more likely to keep their word on the trade secrets they are about to learn then those who do not.
There are other reasons for a required belief in Masonry as it very spiritual in nature (and secular too!) but that is IMO the primary reason.
Reasonable enough. I report how I interpret that this is done because who believed in a higher power were more likely to be trusted to keep Masonic trade secrets and the tradition continues.
Of course, the atheists sniffed out that strain of thinking right away.
“Logically, who is more likely to keep their word regarding the secrets of Masonry?”
This train of thought seems like you are trying to justify being prejudiced against atheists.
I think the more trustworthy person is more likely to keep their word. There are trustworthy theists and untrustworthy theists. There are trustworthy atheists and untrustworthy atheists.
I know that in the USA, atheists are considered untrustworthy and un-electable, but is there any evidence to support this position?
First sentence dedicated to claiming persecution? CHECK. 18 upvotes to my two upvotes? CHECK. Asking me to support evidence for their position when they don’t have evidence to prove me otherwise? CHECK.
I’m not saying atheists are less trustworthy. I’m just saying Masonry works in a way that makes sure the man is accountable to a force beyond him. Which most people consider God. Of course, any logical individual will understand what is going on here, and they did what anyone could have predicted.
So let me get this straight, they are going to use “history” as a barometer to show that belief “is teh badz0rs”? Excuse my language but get the fuck outta here! That’s like saying the history of last night at O’Reilly’s Pub shows that two guys got into a bar fight at a bar over a girl while they were drinking. So we should get rid of booze and not allow them near women anymore. History shows us that this is what happens when people drink booze and like women. He doesn’t even surmise the deeper factors that make people do the things they do, nor other environmental factors that cause people to do things. Come on!
And get this…THE POST HAS 10 UPVOTES!?! It gets worse, in the second part…
How many of those men behind the atrocities would you say believed in a higher power watching them at all times, believing they would face judgment in the afterlife? The real “problem” here seems to be that the higher power simply doesn’t matter, no?
How dense can you be? Wouldn’t lack of education, lack of personal exposure with the people opposed, poverty, sickness, terrible health, pain, etc. all be factors to make people lose their marbles? How do we know it wouldn’t have been worse without religion? Of course, it’s another atheist having am unsubstantiated belief in something because of something they think and they have no evidence to support it. I guess you can take the man out of religion, but you can’t take the religion out of man.
So I respond with a thought out and logical post explaining that if people don’t follow the belief system, the problem is with them and not the belief system. If they followed the belief system as intended and this happened, then sure. I even pointed out that the tenants of their religion are the foundational elements of a modern society. I even mention how people without belief have done terrible things. And that I’m open to debating that topic. How many upvotes did I get? None, instead I’m DOWNVOTED TO ZERO. Oh man.
So this guy’s first assumption is person B, the theist, can’t be trusted unless he thinks someone is watching him? So the person who is NOT being watched by a higher power is just trusting the voices in their head to be a good person and keep their word? Logic and belief ultimately with people listening to the voices in their head and making the call from there. So logically, at the end of the day both of them are listening to the voices in their head. Except one of them is God, which is watching over them and evaluating them. And the other is logic, something which has never been twisted before in human history with secular thinking. No no one has ever had illogical thoughts before in human history in secular thinking.
How many upvotes? SIX UPVOTES. My response was that these were both neutral people, and that the only difference was theism vs non-theism. I GET DOWNVOTED TO ZERO. AGAIN.
But it gets worse. troglozyte responds by saying if “they’re both equal, then they’re both equally likely to keep the secret.” 7 upvotes.
But don’t skip over that post. That post will change your life. Read it again. That post might be one of the great posts in Reddit Atheist history. Before I dive in, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say that there could be multiple intended meanings behind it.
Meaning A: I was hoping that he misunderstood the thought experiment so I ignored what he really meant and figured he just got confused. I said they were the same, so maybe he just so happened to forget that they were different and thought that Person A and Person B were completely the same and both couldn’t get in. Which literally makes no sense. At all. Why would someone ask a question about two people who are completely the same getting in, and saying only one gets in while the other doesn’t? No one. And no one responded to the thread asking to clarify. So we go to Path B, which I’m extremely excited to speculate on.
Meaning B: Yes, for the first time in atheist Reddit history, they blew up their anti-theism argument. A non-believer and a believer both have equal actions? Wait WHAT?!? So all those countless threads, posts, blogs, and rants about how atheism is the more logical path from illogical theism were just a theory and they really do think theists and non-theists are “equally likely to keep their word”. No. No. And no. You don’t get to play the “we think different” card and then say they would do the exact same thing as a theist. No one questioned this. Seven people upvoted it. That looks like a consensus to me. So what we get from this is “Atheists are more logical then theists but would do the exact same thing as theists.” The silence against this was deafening. The consensus was that people agreed.
So I responded by being incredulous at the idea that two people who think different would have the same actions. To think that is illogical as it gets. I get downvoted three times to -2. WHAT! WHAT WHAT!?!
Fair enough, I’m building a case here.
Hmmmmmm. Read the whole thing. However it’s the first sentence by usurious, that says it all.
“Neither person A or B in your example are trustworthy.”
Now, this is all armchair psychology. And I’m against things like that. But atheists use it against theists and religion often, so I’m going to prove a point and use it against them.
“Neither person A or B in your example are trustworthy.”
Read into that. Think deeply about what this person means by this. It offers a real glimpse into how they think, how they view people. He’s saying that people aren’t trustworthy. And his SEVEN upvotes are proof he’s not alone. The person arguing against the reinforcement ability of belief, views people as untrustworthy. He’s saying that a person, at their base core, is untrustworthy.
Is this a symptom of secularism? That secularists, when they believe that human beings are evolved animals, that we’re arrived at our point in history today through survival of the fittest…that their foundational understanding of humans is that they are in competition with each other. That people are in a struggle with each other to be the most fit to survive. That’s why you can’t trust people, because we’re animals and deep down that is what he and the people who upvoted him believe. I don’t know…but it makes you wonder.
He could have easily said, “In this case person A and person B are equally trustworthy”. Which would have been wrong, but that’s besides the point. He said untrustworthy. And he reinforced that comment in the second sentence.
“If they are “completely the same” save B’s fear of punishment, does it not follow that the only reason either of them keep their word is grounded in fear?”
Actually, the second sentence is even worse. Fear of punishment? Where the heck did I ever say grounded in fear? So again, we are becoming illuminated to how they view people.
Unsubstantiated claim? CHECK. Lack of evidence. CHECK. Atheists positive post without proof. CHECK. 6 upvotes. CHECK.
I responded with: “Do you have any proof or evidence to back this up? ”
Evidence that theists sometimes fake belief for personal advancement? Gosh, sorry, I guess I don’t, so that never happens.”
He literally ignores the foundational question I asked! He goes right into persecution mode. Standard SJW practice. He truly believes if the tables weren’t turned, that theists wouldn’t lie about being religious to avoid punishment. I literally rolled out all the evidence of atrocities committed by State Atheism, which any sane and logical person would figure that theists would be forced to lie about their beliefs to not get killed. Nope. Downvotes again.
And before long, the atheists turned to darker, more desperate explanations.
If someone were to divulge the secrets of Freemasonry, they would end up with a big red dot on their forehead. Let’s quickly ignore the disgusting anti-masonic drivel being unloaded by this guy. That’s low hanging fruit but it does apply here. However, let’s focus on the hilarity of the “logical atheist” making a claim that doesn’t have a shred of evidence in history. And the best part is that NO ONE CALLED HIM OUT. I repeat, look at the thread. No one was skeptical of what xereeto said.
I respond asking for evidence, taking the high road. I could have cried anti-masonry, conspiracy, bigotry, but I at least wanted to see if he had anything that might lead him to think that way. The response was predictable.
“I don’t have any evidence to base it on, that’s just what I think would most likely happen. That’s why I said they would likely end up dead. I’m not anywhere near certain but I believe that would be what would play out.”
I’ll try and look at this positively and hope that he was trying to contrast my thought experiment in a really poorly and crass way. But he never did. He vanished. Never edited his post saying as such. Just dropped off the map. The posts you see after trying to ignorantly justify that there is somehow a parallel to a Mason getting killed for revealing a secret and my PersonAPersonB thought experiment was done by Zomb-el, a different person.
Wait hold on, there is a another paragraph.
“It’s hard to explain why I think this would be the case, I might call it common sense but that seems like an arrogant thing to say.”
Ah, there we go. For a second there, I thought he was just some teenager with bad argument skills. Nope. He really believes this shit. Mr. agnostic atheist believes a bunch of shit with no factual basis and thinks that there are people literally killing each other over Masonic secrets. You can take the man out of religion, but you can’t take the religion out of man.
The thread is a treasure trove, I could go on forever. But let’s end on a highlight from another thread. Your good friend Livingstone likes to test ideas and I had one idea that I was hoping to get more information on before I checked out for the week. (yes, I have a job)
And without further ado, Highlight #7
“I want Anti-Skepticism to go away – Theism is a symptom, not the core problem. If just theism disappeared overnight it would be replaced with an equivalent very quickly.”
–hayshed (36 upvotes)
Tell me about it. Oh tell me about it.