Can Masonry Save God?

god-sky

Hello Readers,

(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.

Decline of Religion in America

The Decline of Faith in Europe

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.

Top Five Reasons Why I Don’t Believe in God Anymore

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.

5. Hell

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.

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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.

Livingstone

The Prison of Knowledge

Hello Readers,

So it’s been a while since we last spoke as I’ve been busy with work but here I return.

I’ve avoided this blog now because I’ve had nothing important to say. In a society with a billion voices, knowing when to speak and when not to a major part of what keeps society free of superfluous knowledge and ideas. We only have so much to process. To just spam out any half-baked idea because you feel like it is not only not constructive, it contributes to the larger problem of information overload we are experiencing in the Information Age.

This actually serves as a good segway into today’s topic, and that is the Prison of Knowledge. This may seem like a strange thought, as we have always been taught that knowledge sets you free. Here are a few familiar quotes.

“Knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery”

– Miles Davis

“Knowledge is Power”

– Francis Bacon

I’m sure we’ve seen quotes likes this a number of times in our lives, especially in the Western World. And for many of us that have experienced this way of thinking, we have set ourselves on a journey to accumulate knowledge to free ourselves and give us the power we need.

But I’m going to play the other side of the coin here. I agree that we must be constant seekers of knowledge and information, but I feel that knowledge is destructive as well. Knowledge can make us feel like a prisoner. I’ll give an example.

Let’s discuss height. I choose height because it’s a generally neutral piece of information and not politically loaded. I’ve also chosen height because it cannot be changed. You’ll understand why this is important shortly.

So let me inform you of a few things.

Height Discrimination

“Surveys have uncovered that less than 3% of CEOs were below 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) in height. Ninety percent of CEOs are of above average height.”

“Tall people get paid more money: A 2004 study by Timothy Judge at the University of Florida found that for every inch of height, a tall worker can expect to earn an extra $789 per year. That means two equally skilled coworkers would have a pay differential of nearly $5,000 per year, simply because of a 6-inch height differential, according to the study.”

And now onto relationships/sex

Researchers quizzed 700 men and women about their ideal partner height, as well as what would be the minimum and maximum acceptable. A second part of the study asked 50,000 men and women how satisfied they were with their own height. The most satisfying height for a man is 6ft 3in; for a woman, it’s 5ft 9in.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/genders-cant-see-eye-to-eye-over-height-8498247.html

Another

“A recent study showed that women prefer to marry men who are 8 inches (!) taller than they are.”

And the final whopper,

“The likelihood that a man under 5-foot-9 is contacted by a Manhattan or Bronx woman online is a scant 1.2 percent, with Brooklyn coming in with a paltry 2.4 percent response rate, according to a study conducted by the dating site AYI.com, which analyzed 50,000 interactions over two months.”

http://nypost.com/2013/12/08/short-men-dont-stack-up-with-nyc-women/

 

And the average height of men in America? 5’10. That’s right. There are numerous other people out there just as talented as you but make an extra 1k a year for each inch of height on you. That can make or break your life. Also for almost half of the ENTIRE male population, they aren’t desirable to women and aren’t considered appropriate relationship/sexual material. And 90% of men aren’t the “ideal” height of women. And you have to understand the average numbers count the US as a whole, and don’t take into account how the younger generation is on average much taller then the national average. 6’0 for white Europeans used to be distinctly tall and now is just a shade under average.

I brought this up because height is a factor that we cannot change, and thus it’s a locked fact, the same way that the world is round and the New York Jets will lose every year.

I’m 5’11 naturally, 6’0 with shoes on. When I read this height information about a year ago, it was crippling for me to read. 8 INCH HEIGHT DIFFERENCE!? I couldn’t rant to social media because I would have gotten the “Napoleon Complex” schtick thrown at me. Even thought I’m above average height at 6’0. (See, I’m rounding up now) There aren’t any groups for this so you don’t really have anyone to talk to. Society doesn’t address this issue. And this isn’t some social construct thing that would show that it’s some cultural fad. Instead many of the studies I’ve pointed to say that there is a basis in human evolutionary psychology that cause women to want to be comforted by taller men. I remember binge reading these articles, and the next day I was walking through Los Angeles and for the first time in my life, I felt an intimidation towards taller men, which leads to feelings of insecurity, which lead to feeling of anger. I’ve never felt this way before! My would view and way I view things was now thrown out of whack because of this new piece of knowledge. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Knowledge hadn’t set me free or given me power, it now imprisoned me. And I’m average height for an American male and I’m at the 6’0 mark that makes me desirable to most women!!! How do the half of men in this country who are shorter then me feel about this? How must they feel when exposed to this bit of information?

And this height discussion is a symbolic station of knowledge of a society that is filled with stations of knowledge that can cripple us.

We don’t live in a Democratic-Republic. By definition, we live in a Civil Oligarchy or Plutocracy. United States is a Civil Oligarchy

Princton Study shows America to be an Oligarchy

Understanding and Overcoming America’s Plutocracy

Or look at the construct of White Privilege and it’s effects on minorities in the US.

Or how African-Americans are only 13% of the US population but are responsible for the majority of the murder in the US.

Or how 1-5 women are raped in their lifetime.

Or how 10%-25% of Americans are on anti-depressents.

Or how over 30% of this country is Obese.

10% of this country is addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Or how the average household credit card debt is $15,191 and average student loan debt is $33,607.

Fucking terrifying, right? I could go on and on here. Woooooo knowledge yaaaaaayyyyy!

And these things I’m telling you here are often modified or not provided in context. The media in America, owned by our corporate Oligarchs, cover news stories involving the above not to help people better understand the world but to maximize profit potential. And the people who work at these media organizations have been molded in their political views over time by their drive to get more clicks and make the business grow. So that they become an echo chamber and their hiring practices are inadvertently designed to hire people who think like them. Thus creating a self-sustaining feedback loop. Add in extremist positions being taken to stand out to get more ad friendly clicks and soon the company as a whole gradually shifts more and more to extremism. The knowledge here is slanted, divisive, toxic and designed for conflict.

You would think that people would ignore the media and discuss this issue amongst themselves. But as I spoke about earlier in another blog entry, people are afraid to talk politics/religion with each other. And many times people in this country have become so radicalized, that just introducing either the white privilege argument or black crime argument will get you socially nuked. Social media, at first freeing, is now a prison with the extremist inmates running the asylum. Anyone who disagrees will get singled out and dogged until people are afraid to be associated with the person who disagreed. This is bad for your social life, mental health, and job prospects. So people end up being forced to stay silent. Which means people will take this information and bury it inside themselves where it will fester and eat them alive. I think you’re starting to see the reasoning for this blog post today.

Now for me, writing a blog where my name isn’t attached is a really helpful way to unload this pain inside of me. No personal blowback. Even if i was posting with my real name, I’m aware that my small blog is barely noticeable larger national discussion. This knowledge should also be crippling to me. However, I have solutions for all of this and I’ll explain how Masonry works within it.

Masonry is a knowledge based society, and yet Masonry is also a God centric society. And they must exist together for the Masonic journey to even work.

Belief in God is a requirement to be a Mason, and while this might seem like a relic of the past, I would argue that it is the foundation of how we approach knowledge.

Going back, we know is that the world is fucked up. And what we also know is that The Great Architect exists, watches over us and we should look to him for aid in all of our endeavors. This is all brought together by the Volume of Sacred Law (VSL) being one of the three lights of Masonry. My VSL is the Christian Bible.

Masonry acknowledges the foundational importance of a codified theistic moral system because of how important morality is in our journey processing knowledge. For many, knowing just how unequal the world is would be something that would make even the most sane of minds lose all grasp of reality. However, anchoring onto God helps us in a few aspects and I’ll play the other side of the coin first to clarify what this means.

Other Side of the Coin: An non-theist might say we should hate God for making the world unequal. 

Actually, look at it this way. God is watching over us and loves us. Every VSL has this same consistent theme to it. God loves us. We can then surmise that a God who loves us does not want to see us fail, but to succeed.

Other Side of the Coin: Again we might ask ourselves, why is the system shitty in the first place? Why would God do this to us?

Well because it’s our fault. In the Christian religion Adam and Eve break their relationship with God by eating from the Tree of Knowledge and are cast out of Eden. However we realize something here, we have free will. God said not to do this. But we exercised our free will anyways and did it. We have a choice, the ability to choose the life we want to live. We have the power.

Other Side of the Coin: You might be pissed at God for throwing us out of paradise.

But if your boss tells you not to sleep on the job and you sleep on the jog, you’ll get fucking fired. If your wife tells you not to cheat on her and you cheat on her, she’ll divorce you. God and the humans had a deal, and the humans broke it. That’s life.

Other Side of the Coin: Now since it’s our fault, we might wear this knowledge like a weight on our backs.

Nope, my VSL says otherwise. Because Jesus died, we are forgiven. BOOM! We’re free! Alright, now that we’re free, what do we do? Well Biblically it says that we must now go out and right the wrongs of this world. Help those in need. Spread the good word. Spread the good word? I’m going to put on my Mason hat here and say we’re not talking in just the purely evangelizing sense. Actually I’m talking about going out to people and telling them that there is a better way all types of ways. Proselytizing isn’t just the domain of religion, it’s the domain of all ideas. It’s our mission to go out and spread knowledge to each other to make the world a better place. It’s our mission to hit the streets, Facebook, parties and whatever to inform each other of better ways of doing things. The world is fucked…but we’re gonna spread ideas to make the world whole again.

God also gives us another life. For many people, they are born crippled, weak, and helpless. Many are forced to live in a would with an inequality that they cannot fix. This understanding should be maddening, but knowing that there is a coming eternal life that puts things in context. The idea that I can’t fix the wrongs of my life might make me feel helpless, but knowing that death leads to  an eternal perfection in Heaven is freeing. I’m not a prisoner of the system anymore. I’m just here temporarily. We’re gonna be ok.

Now the concept of the afterlife ties into this third part. And that is how people will be able to eventually escape death and also how they deal with the moral teachings of their respective religions. The two major criticisms of religion are A: Religion is the opiate of the people. And B: That religion radicalizes people. The anti-religious will frequently throw these statements at the religious, oblivious to the ironic contradictory nature of them. But I think we can all agree that religion does both. And there are legitimate criticisms to be made here. But there is also glorious opportunity.

Religion can be used to keep people from being a state of conflict with each other. Sacrifice, universal unconditional love, and driven charity are all things that make for a more structured, improved and harmonious society. And yet when it comes time to unify and push people to fight against what is wrong, religion is a wonderful force to push people to fight harder and be more unified to break injustice. The Declaration of Independence was founded on the belief that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. And that religious zeal was what drove the American Patriots through brick walls to defeat the most powerful empire in the world, the British Empire. We as Masons know the power of God to heal our wounds, do the impossible and to unite us together in all the different stations of life to create a more perfect world.

Masonry doesn’t just have you believe in God, join and call it a day. Masonry also teaches moral lesses that the ancient builders of history used to create structures that stood the test of time. To do that, Masonry needed to create a psychological system designed to bring those builders together to become the best builders they could be.

As I discussed before, Masonry is a knowledge based society. The search for Truth is a core part of our system. But Masonry doesn’t work on Truth alone. There are two others.

Relief: Charity for others and mutual aid of fellow Masons

Brotherly Love: Love for each other and all of mankind.

Masonry recognizes that Truth alone not the only way to approach things, but it exists in the context of Relief and Brotherly Love. Now what does that specifically mean? Because Masonry works in an interpretive system, we are all called to understand Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth in our own ways. Again, this is why the VSL is a key part of the system because that is where a great deal of the interpretations are clarified for the individual Mason.

Truth is actually different then knowledge. You have a piece of knowledge, but what does it mean in the larger context? Knowledge itself is many times taken without context or misunderstood entirely! Truth is bringing all the knowledge together and understanding it in it’s fullest context. Looking at all that knowledge that I provided above about problems in America, you would think the US is about to take a trip to catastrophe. But the Truth is we’ve always been dealing with bullshit. We had The Civil War, WWII, Genocide, Slavery, Anti-Catholicism, major wealth inequality, race wars, women’s rights battles, etc. We’ve always had shit and many times it’s been far worse then what we’ve dealt with now. But I argue this conflict we have between each other will never truly end. The Truth is life is never going to be equal.

Height is more favorable, right? Well men on average will always be taller then women, and there will be a whole host of psychological, sociological, economic, sexual, political and moral ripple effects from this. There are some inequalities you can’t change. We will always have inequality, whether we like it or not.

Relief tells us it’s our duty to fix this. Now I said you can’t chance certain things, but we can damn well try! God can do the impossible and maybe we can do the impossible here too. I believe that God has given us a way to create a society of salvation, so let’s try and get it to become that way. Truth gets us the appropriate understanding of the knowledge we have, and relief is the action that we take after attaining Truth. We have a duty to take action. We have a duty to help those in distress. Whether part of our Masonic family, or the world at large. We help those who suffer in large ways and in their own small ways.

And lastly, Brotherly Love. It’s not just Love alone, it’s Brotherly Love. For if someone is to just Love, they may end up interpreting it into just loving themselves or loving materialism and the like. NO! It’s an external Love that revolves around humans. It’s not just Love for our fellow Brother Masons, but Love for our world family. You might think that only family blood or Masonry is what makes someone a Brother. NO! God tells us that we are part of a worldwide family and everyone is a Brother, man or woman. This Brotherly Love is a key third part because Truth and Relief alone aren’t enough. Adolf Hitler, seeing the Truth that Communism was toppling governments and wanting the Relieve the suffering of the German people, took action by exterminating the Communists. NO! If you love your world family, you would never even think for a second to do this. If you Love people, that Love will help guide you as you search for the Truth and put your Relief into action.

In conclusion, for many people in America they live in a prison of knowledge, all too aware of the soul crushing flaws within the system. So remember this, God loves you, will be there to protect you and will eventually join you in salvation in the next life. You will be ok. So while we’re here on earth, continue to learn, continue to take action to fix the problems of society and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Your actions may seem small, but each brick within a structure seems small as well. But after you stack enough bricks, soon you will create something great! Take this knowledge and go out and build a better self and a better society.

Livingstone

Talking Politics and Religion in America

politics-religion

Hello Readers, Livingstone here.

 

I have one phrase for you.

 

America…you’re doing it wrong.

 

I’m sure you’re getting a bit defensive now. At least as much as you can be defensive while reading this sideways on your iPad in bed. But I’m here to tell you that there is something that we Masons do, that the rest of America is now doing and it’s bad. I mean dangerous to our republic bad. And that is the “no talk of politics and religion” that is creeping into all sectors of American life. And I’ll explain why it’s a false ideology and what Masonry has to do with it.

What is the old saying?

Never talk about politics and religion at work.”

or is it…

“Never talk about politics and religion at parties.”

I thought it was…

Never talk about politics and religion on social media.”

or maybe it’s…

Don’t talk about politics and religion at the dinner table!

Sorry, it’s hard to keep up. There always seems to be a new place where you can’t discuss religion and politics. But I’m sure that out there, somewhere in the mountains, far away from human civilization, there is a 2×2 ft spot where it’s ok to talk.

And this mentality is something that is now becoming engrained in our American culture. Spending time with my non-Mason friends, the talk of politics and religion is almost non-existant. And this has become the norm no matter where I go or what group of friends I hang out with. Or the jobs I work in, people just don’t actively talk about the things in these realms. And when they do, it’s based on the pre-dominant ideology of the region and even light disagreement is avoided. Or people are trying to avoid a lawsuit. Or they just want you to shut up and get back to work. Modern America in its journey for harmony and an environment to do the best work has taken a Masonic principle, bastardized it and applied it to everything. And it’s hurting us.

No talk of politics and religion. The origins of this way of thinking aren’t easily found. But this rule is an ancient part of Masonic history and one of the most important foundations for Masonic culture. Politics and religion have torn apart humanity for centuries, so Masonic lodges try to create the most harmonious atmospheres possible by banning both. And it’s a rule that doesn’t get much thought but is rigorously followed by all Masons. Which is odd because in Masonry, brothers love to argue just about anything in Masonry. But this part of mainstream Masonry is largely left alone. And they feel they have a good reason. Most Masons attribute this rule to the foundation of the modern Masonic psychological structure. That the banning of the talk of politics and religion in lodge is what makes Masonry what it is. This censored discussion environment will get us that much closer to real human harmony.

Harmony at the cost of discussing religion and politics. Think about that for a second. For me, the more I think about it, it repulses me. Constricting my ability to talk of two of the foundational elements of my identity? Bullshit. Banning people from talking politics and religion are two of the things that I’ll firmly stand against. And if push came to shove, I’d take a bullet for it. Because by banning people from talking about something, all it serves to do is to create a false harmony. A false harmony that destroys the souls of the men entrapped in it.

Now I can’t always figure out how much of an impact Masonry has on mainstream culture, but I can confidentially say that the background of banning of politics and religion comes from Masonic culture. It’s too specific in how we as Masons say it and how non-Masons use the same saying. Which is funny because I earlier said I would take a bullet over the banning of politics and religion. Yet here I am part of an institution that perpetuates the banning of arguments regarding politics and religion! I’m a hypocrite! Or, there is a deeper reasoning to why Masonry does what it does, and what it can teach us about the world around us. Well I can say that after doing some research…we’re doing it wrong.

I’ll go into the history a bit. The Masonic history over the politics and religion rule is shrouded in heresy and conjecture. What we do know is that through Anderson’s Constitutions, the banning of talking about the particular opinions of religion was legally enshrined in Masonic culture. Here is a link to the 1734 edition of Anderson’s Constitutions.

http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/history/anderson/

Some speculation for the origins of this debate is over whether it is a pragmatic Masonic creation, or part of a deeper level of thinking. The pragmatic camp will say that is was created as a response to the heavy handed approach of the English kings toward Masonry. The pragmatic camp will say that this was done to appease those in power. By banning talk of politics and religion they were sending a message to the Catholic Church and the Monarchy that they weren’t undermining them in secret. By banning politics and religion early on, it allowed them to survive. And the pragmatics would say that this rule continues now, to keep Masonry in it’s traditional origins. Origins that helped it avoid the storms and seasons of the time and exist beyond them all.

Yet the camp that considers it a deeper level of thinking will argue that because this law persists even now, there must be a deeper reasoning for it. That by Anderson enshrining it, it must have been important enough of a mentality to be designed to exist into perpetuity. The deeper thinkers will say that by banning both, Masonry forces you to focus not on your differences with your brothers but how you’re the same. That instead of taking time to talk about politics and religion, you will talk about the lessons of the tools and the ritual more. That as Masons we’re working on our minds, and to create the best possible environment for this is to censor certain thoughts or ideas for a time. What the deeper meaning crowd surmises, is that politics and religion must be banned in the constant journey to achieve to true harmony or the best work.

And if you believe that last sentence, you’re full of shit. Firstly, because politics and religion extend to all facets of human life. Here is a few examples.

This California drought is getting worse and worse

The above seems like the person talking about something that is an act of God. But it’s overtly political in itself, leading to people thinking about the government response to the drought. Or the social, humanitarian or civil implications.

These student loan bills of mine are getting worse and worse“.

A comment like the above invites a response that has no possible way of avoiding things of political nature. Religion is no different in this regard.

We ended up getting married at St. Mary’s Church

The line mentioned shows your religious opinions on a number of levels without you ever overtly discussing it. Politics and religion are extremely baked into our modern lives. To be truly adherent to a rule like this requires not talking about anything else at all except what was learned during the Masonic ritual. And we might be onto something here so put a pin in that thought. Another way to adhere to the no talk of politics and religion is to create a system that is arbitrary in nature and human controlled. Both which are fraught with issues. But yet, both are a pragmatic reality. There are times in life where there are unspoken boundaries and we have to enforce them the best we can. So maybe there is a lesson we can learn here. Let’s get into a few of those reasons.

Firstly, let’s think pragmatically again. When Masonry bans talk of politics and religion it has a low time impact because Masonic meetings only last a few hours each week. And for good reason because most Masons would lose their mind if they couldn’t talk about this stuff. Masons are some of the most politically and religiously engaged individuals in the world. When you have a fraternity that churns out George Washington, Winston ChurchillGiuseppe Garibaldi, Vivekananda and Robert Baylor…you’re society is hardwired into the talk of politics and religion of the time. So what happens is Masonry gives individuals an opportunity to escape talks of such. As a breather for people who spend all their time thinking about things like this. A timeout. Even God rested on the 7th day. Sometimes you just need a break.

Remember how I said you can’t escape talk of politics and religion? Another reason this is in place is that by banning talks of politics and religion, you turn politics and religion into a real human story. When a brother discusses a car accident his daughter got in with a drunk driver, a son who smokes too much pot, being unemployed, making a big deal…they are looking at their politics and religion at the base level. It’s not about labels anymore but about the core human moral problem. These issues stop becoming heady arguing talking points, and instead are real things about real people we know about. People we care about. And you can connect and learn in powerful ways like this.

 

The last major reason is that Masonry is an unlikely friendship generator. As it says in Anderson’s Constitutions, Masonry provides “the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a perpetual Distance“. So by banning discussion of politics and religion, it allows men to find their commonalities. Whether you’re a pragmatic or a deeper meaning person, you know that by banning politics and religion, it creates a certain type of environment. Now the skeptics reading might be thinking of how dangerous of a mentality this could be. That any environment that suffocates issues that might bring contention for the sake of harmony is ripe to be abused for nefarious reasons. Don’t worry. I feel the same way. But Masonry addresses this so elegantly with the trowel of the Master Mason.

The Trowel

“The Trowel, made use of by operative masons to spread the cement which unites a building into a common mass, but utilized by the Free and Accepted Mason for the more noble purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who can best work and best agree.”

Masonry itself says contention not only will exist, but it even explains the rules contention should exist in! While harmony is the goal, the reality is that there will always be contention. And that contention is the foundation of being able to achieve true harmony. Not a false harmony but a real one where everyone feels that the harmony is deserved.

Let me take it back to our current incorrect way of thinking about politics and religion. I argue we live in a false harmony right now. People push to be politically correct by avoiding certain topics. People don’t want to offend others. People don’t want to be incorrect with what they know. They don’t want the spotlight to be put on them. They don’t want to look ignorant. They don’t want to look stupid.They don’t want to get fired. Lose their friends. What began as a policy that people pushed onto each other is now additionally a self-censorship policy. And this leads to terrible unintended consequences. Here’s a few.

Firstly, where do we gain understanding from? Where are the sources of knowledge that help give us the light considering we won’t be getting it from the people around us? The answer…the people in power. The John Stewarts, Bill O’Reilly’s, Rachel Maddows, Rush Limbaughs, etc. We get what we’re supposed to think from them…and then it stays there. We listen to what they say and we don’t discuss what it means with others. By self-censoring, we’ve essentially eliminated the discussion of “the people” to figure out if what we’re being told is wrong. “The people” of their own choice and of not of their own choice, are being told what to think by talking media heads, news sites, Reddit, etc. And we’re banned to question it.

You might argue back with me and say that there is a lot of internet discussion about politic matters happening all the time on the internet. Except these have removed the most important part of the equation, the human element. People feel safe talking to someone miles away, behind a keyboard, with a fake name they don’t know much about…but we’re afraid to talk about these things to our closest friends? Or we don’t care?!? This is what keeps people boxed in. This is what keeps us from organizing to push back. People are isolated in their thinking, being told what to think by people who are thousands of miles away. Yet to make change in society, you need people in your immediate community to act. Because your immediate community has the ability to change the politician who runs the community or has the ability to organize physically against the issue at hand. Instead, we now have people feeling alone in how they view things, and when people are alone they keep their opinions to themselves. Or they think these things don’t matter and they disengage. And these are the people that are actively engaged digitally! We all know that most people don’t spend their time arguing public policy or the meaning of life online. But are instead watching the next Hollywood TV show, playing video games or getting high. (I had to have an old man Livingstone moment right there…and I’m in my 20s!). But when we’re not engaging in the uncomfortable, and instead we’re taking our moral or civil cue from drinking, pot smoking, video games and TV shows/movies alone, we create a society that is ignorant and docile. Perfect for those in power. Our civic engagement in this country is collapsing because people don’t want to engage in the things that cause contention! And without contention, the powerful few grow more powerful.

And yet we as Masons learn that the most noble thing, the pinnacle of our work, is to engage in contention to find out who is right and to ultimately find the truth. Society has taken our Masonic culture of no talk of politics and religion, hammered it onto each other to make people play nice and yet has ignored the part where it says we need to be in contention! Sure, we do our best work at our job’s when we’re not getting distracted by politics and religion. Sure you won’t talk about politics or religion to that cute girl or guy you’re talking to because you hope to get laid. Sure you want to keep your mouth shut on Facebook because you don’t want to be seen as unhireable. My response to all this = Go Fuck Yourself.

If you think dodging things that cut to our core regarding belief and how the world should work will create a more pleasing space, you’re part of the problem. If you feel strongly about something but you keep it to yourself because you don’t feel totally informed, engage anyways and seek to learn.

As William Bradshaw says in Politics and Religion Do Mix,

“No two subjects are more important for one’s total well-being than religion and politics. Politics is all about one’s well-being when living in this life, and religion is all about one’s well-being in the life to come. What could possibly be more important than these two subjects??”

The only way to be true to yourself, is to engage in the things that people need to think about. It’s not enough to think about yourself, but you must think about what God put us here for. You must think about humanity as a whole, and what your place is in it. And you can only find out, by discussing it.

Livingstone

 

Masonic Health: God Can Cure You

Apple of God

Hello readers,

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.

Believing in God is Good for Your Health

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.

Looking to Light of GodAnd 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.

Bible StethoscopeI 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.

The More Religious You Are, the Healthier Your Lifestyle

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.

Fat JesusFirstly, 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).

fat measurementEven 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.

Religion and Health: Very Religious People Score Higher in Health Evaluations, According to Study

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!

and

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.

Religion Can Make You Happier

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.

Happier People are Healthier

Happy business people laughing against white backgroundI 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 happierPeople 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!

US Life Expectancy

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.

Livingstone

Debunking: “Top 10 Scandalous Freemason Secrets”

Hello Readers,

Livingstone here. Welcome to Masonology. The blog about Freemasonry and all things related to Masonic Self-Improvement, Masonic Thought, and the Freemason World.

So there is this thing called the internet. And people post things onto it. Like ideas. And theories. And there is this funny thing that happens. Sometimes people post ideas and theories that aren’t true. Either because A: They’re ignorant, B: Someone told them it was true, or C: Because they’re liars.

Surprising. I know. Who knew that anonymity would be the vehicle to allow people to spread misinformation and libel. You can’t ever trust anyone who tries to be secretive. Wait…us Freemasons are secretive, aren’t we?

So here is my response to secrecy, and I’m going to take a page out of the Christian Bible to do it. “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” Romans 14:14. As always, nothing is evil of itself unless we believe it to be evil. And we believe something is evil when there are other moral rules that we live by that prove something to be unclean. And I’ll clarify this a bit more in a moment. Secrecy can be used for good and bad. On the internet we can deal with many people who use secrecy to further their own agenda, whether altruistic or corrupt.

A long while back, when I was first learning about Masonry, I discovered an article about “Masonic Facts”. I didn’t know what to think at first and I had to take it seriously as I gathered information. I heavily considered its merits. However as time went on, I realized it had problems. Here it is.

Top 10 Scandalous Freemason Secrets by Anonymous at Listverse.com.

Essentially, Listverse is where people put top 10 lists ABOUT EVERYTHING! Yes, we want to hear the top “10 Mythological Ways to Become Immortal”. Essentially it’s an information drug factory of things that satisfy your brain’s hardwired desire to learn. But it’s irrelevant enough where you forget almost everything you read soon after. A time waster disguised as a place to learn.

I sound bitter. So how about we look through the article and I’ll let you decide.

Here is what they first write.

The Freemasons are one of the most secretive and controversial religious groups in the world.

A nice ambiguous sentence to start things off. Freemasonry is secular but very God oriented. In the Boyscouts you have to believe in God but after that it’s pretty secular. Same thing. But let’s look up the definition of religious order to see if they’re right.

From Wikipedia

religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder’s religious practice. The order is composed of initiates (laity) and, in some traditions, ordained clergy. Religious orders exist in many of the world’s religions.

So close, yet so far. Note “specific religious devotion”, “founder’s religious practice”, and “exist in”. I’ll throw them a bone and starting off I’ll help support their argument.

The says goes, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

Well remember the whole “it is not evil unless we believe it to be evil?” Well that’s because people have told you how to look, or you haven’t been educated to understand what you’re seeing. Masonry really looks like a religious order from those who haven’t fully researched Masonry. Everyone believes in God, prays together, talks about morality, the afterlife, and has a recognized group element to themselves. But again, I’ll put in another Masonic detractor argument as the “duck”response is actually a good one. The reason being is because the duck line is used in debate formats to counter abtrusive arguments.

Abtrusive

  1. (obsoleteConcealed or hidden out of the way; secret.
  2. Difficult to comprehend or understandreconditeobscureesoteric.

And Masonry is pretty abtrusive.

So let’s look at #1 of the Abtrusive definition. Masonry being secretive is well known and much discussed , but not in its identity isn’t so discussed. Many many books have been written on its teaching and sciences that are part of the ritual. It’s buildings are well marked and anyone can stop by and check it out. The CIA, NSA, and White House or more secretive then we are. I would argue you are more secretive then you let on. No one walks around telling people they got fired from a job, or the dirty thoughts they think in the shower, or some of your true feelings on politics or religion. Masonry sees secrecy as a reality of humanity and codifies it.

So, lets move onto #2 of the abtrusive definition and actually try and explain how it isn’t like a religious order. Let’s break down the three things I noted – “Specific religious devotion”, “founder’s religious practice”, and “exist in”.

Specific religious devotion – Nope. Each Mason prays to their own specific God when they have their non-denominational prayers. In your heart, you are praying to your God. So it’s actually wildly different in religious devotion. We all aren’t praying to the same thing which doesn’t fit what the definition is implying.

Founder’s religious practice – There isn’t any Masonic founder. Even the figures associated with Masonry don’t have a specific doctrine they have left us with. Masonry is up to each Mason.

Exist in – And the hammer. We don’t exist in any religion. We are not a religion. We’re a secular non-profit organization that doesn’t have any leadership.

It’s clear we’re not a religious order. Saying we’re “God Based” is more appropriate but religious order already shows this writer is clearly just throwing terms around right now without doing any research. You’ll notice this is a theme in this blog entry. Also you’ll notice me spending hundreds of words on a single sentence from that blog post as I have just done. This may or may not also be a theme of this blog entry.

Masons have existed for centuries – and if we are to believe their claims, they’ve existed covertly for even longer. 

Whatever their history, speculation has always been an enjoyable pastime – and this is especially true in the case of the Masons’ more scandalous secrets. Having passed down traditions and secrets from one generation of initiates to the next, they make it difficult to know what’s outdated and what’s still practiced. Consider these ten masonic activities as provisional facts – we don’t know for sure, but it’s always an interesting exercise to imagine what might be going on behind our backs.

I’m going to play wet blanket here and the whole part about not knowing for sure and how it’s fun to make “facts” is frankly…chocolate bullshit. No. If you don’t know for sure, it’s speculation. NOT A FACT. We Masons are called Speculative Masons when we try to interpret our rituals and moral instruction. But no one knows for sure and no one in their right mind would ever assigned “Fact” labeling to anything they say. I could wheel out the whole “Masons have been murdered for the lies and false facts people say about them” card. But I have seen other people use their identity to silence discussion. And out of principle I won’t have any part of that. So we’ll continue on, looking at these “facts” and I’ll do my best to guide you along to considering otherwise.

10.

They will not testify truthfully against each other

Gavel
Freemasons are commanded not to testify truthfully when another Mason is on trial. They admit that it may be perjury, but to them, it is a far greater sin to not protect one of their own.

10 – A: Firstly, let’s use our good friend science to solve this. They don’t have any statistical evidence to prove this is true. Point – Freemasons. Here is some analysis on my part. Since the mid-90s anyone in a public position in the UK had to declare if they were a Freemason or not. And here is what they found.

Freemasons no Longer have to declare Masonic connection

“The Justice Secretary said yesterday a review of the system for checking appointments had ‘shown no evidence of impropriety or malpractice’.

The list of “clear and documented cases” of Masons circumventing the system amounts to a few conspiracy theorists with blogs and people anonymous anecdotal evidence.

As for me, if someone broke the law and I had to testify against them in a court of law, why would my Masonic obligation supersede my court obligation? Why would I violate my obligation to The Bible for someone else? This is God’s and my afterlife we’re talking about here. If someone commits a crime and I’m asked by a lawyer to tell the truth, I will.

9.

They have a secret handshake

Pope Blair Mason Handshake1
Though some members deny it to the public, the Freemasons have at least one secret masonic handshake. Supposedly, there are even phrases a Freemason can utter when facing grave danger – causing other members to rush to their aid. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, is said to have uttered this phrase in the last moments before his death.

9 – A: This area is tricky because I want to truthfully respond without violating my obligation. Even explaining what the obligation itself may be violating my obligation. But this is going to sound funny but the obligation itself is also VERY much open to interpretation.

What does this have to do with the alleged Masonic handshake? If I deny something, that could technically be considered violating the obligation. Lets say someone tells you to pick a number between 1 and 2 and not to tell anyone which I picked. I’ll pick 2 in this instance. If someone guessed 1 and I told them they were wrong, they now know it is 2. I have violated my promise to keep it secret.

See, this secrecy thing can make you nuts! So I am interpreting this in the more minimal manner.

Long Answer Short: This is one of the few things I can’t comment on. Sorry.

8.

They have several secret passwords

Masonic French
This is one of the best-known facts about the Masons, but the general perception is that they have just one password. In fact, there are several passwords for various occasions and reasons. As the one person with the final syllable for the ultimate secret word was murdered, they substituted “mor-bon-zi” for this word, and only very few people know the actual secret word. This secret word is used only for ceremonies: “tu-bal-cain” is the more common secret password, on the tip of every Freemason tongue.

8 – A: So much for few things I can’t comment on. Same as above. For modes of recognition, I have to play hardball and say no. Only Masons know the answer.

7.
Their rituals involve a noose

759933-Noose Lg 716525 Large
The initiation rituals- though described by Masons as beautiful ceremonies – include a noose. It’s hard to tell whether this is meant as a threat, a call to maintain silence, or simply as the symbol of an umbilical cord (as they claim), but in any case, it’s unusual enough to warrant a mention.

7 – A: Alright, I can technically answer this one. Here is my interpretation off of “the noose” as this article calls it.

Ropes are used to tie things together. Ropes tie ships to a dock, boxes to the roof of your car and so forth. Ropes create bonds. They can also be used to pull things around.

As you learn in Masonry, you are introduced to a lot of things and the lessons from your interaction give clarity to things you will face in the future. There will be times where people will try to bond you to them or to an organization or concept. Remember that the bonds you make are two fold. When you choose to make a bond, you must uphold it. The only exception being if it conflicts with your moral code. Also, remember that the bond to something with a wrong moral code can very much corrupt you and you must be wary to make bonds to things that disagree with your conscious.

6.
They’re obsessed with the sun

Flat,550X550,075,F
Freemasons believe that the east symbolizes rebirth. They sing the sun in its flight – marvelling at its passage through the sky. Masonic lodges tend to be built in the east and in the west, as an attempt to control solar power for their own purposes.

6 – A: Alright busted. I love the sun. I love warm weather, sunny days and a shiny world around me.

Everything else said here is hilariously untrue. East symbolizes rebirth? I giggled. This is the only website that I have seen where it says we sing to the sun. At least the author is creative. Control solar power for our own purposes? The mental image of some guy focusing really hard on the sun so it can move a little bit to get a better angle on his solar panels amuses me greatly.

5.
Masons exclude atheists

Russell-2
It’s impossible to become a Freemason if you’re an atheist. The first requirement is that potential members must believe in a higher power of some sort. They claim not to care what higher power that is, but you must define it for yourself. You can lie about it, but religion seems to be a point of honor among them. On the other hand, traditionally excluded groups – such as gay men – are included in Masonry, so long as they behave in the same moral manner as other groups. The temple still excludes women, but some groups are currently challenging that fact.

5 – A: Yep. No atheists allowed. For a wide wide variety of reasons which are far to large to answer just here.

4.

They work to control politics and finance in various countries

Handshake
The official corruption of Masonry is well-documented, but often covered up. Half a million Masons in England are disproportionately involved in banking, politics, and government. Even hospitals and universities are often controlled by the Masons.

4 – A: The easy answer is no. But I am going to give you something to think about regarding this stereotype. Lets have a thought exercise. And this thought exercise will extend to much larger themes that I will be covering throughout my time on this blog.

So a company is looking to hire someone. They have a ton of very qualified applicants. They bring them in an interview them. Any of them could do a great job. But one of the applicants is a Freemason. The people doing the hiring know there is this story that flows around that Freemasons have international connections and are connected with people in power. So the people doing the hiring look at all these similar candidates and then they see this Freemason who supposedly has worldwide international connections. That sounds like one hell of a hire. And no threat to you because you run the company. But someone who could give you that little extra. Also Freemasons are disproportionately successful at what they do. Another reason to hire. While I have never seen this happen (see, I can make up things too, but I’m speculating) it has logical elements to it. The same way people complain about elitism because Ivy Leaguers run everything, the same elements can occur for Freemasonry.

So what is my answer to this you say? Again there isn’t a conspiracy. But we are disproportionally represented. We don’t have as much power as you think and because of the secretive nature of Freemasons, we don’t always know who is a Mason and who isn’t. No Mason could ever truly tell you how many are in “influential positions”. But the self-fulfilling prophecy is true. In my opinion, of which all of the above is, Freemasons are harmed because they are Freemasons but also are viewed positively because they are Freemasons. And things can work out in a funny way because of both viewpoints.

3.

Their symbol is on the dollar bill

Dollar Ase
If you’ve ever looked closely at the US dollar bill, you’ve probably seen the All-Seeing Eye above the pyramid. This symbol is a Freemason symbol, and the Latin underneath is a Freemason motto, meaning “new world order”. Many say that the decision to include this masonic symbol was not influenced by Freemasons – Benjamin Franklin being the only Mason on the design committee – but the coincidence remains fascinating all the same.

3 – A: My magic 8 ball says this is completely untrue. The phrase is not Masonic. The all seeing eye is Masonic as other Freemason blogs have mentioned. But I do think the bill is Masonic. In my belief, this is true. I don’t have an intent or smoking gun that showed Masons designed it to be Masonic, but I can show how it is Masonic. I’ll show you soon.

2.

Anders Breivik was a Mason

Breivik 2194965B
Breivik – responsible for the 2011 mass murder in Norway – was a member of the Lodge of St. Olaf in Oslo. He was promptly excluded – but his degree of involvement within the organization is open for debate.

2 – A: The guy went through each degree, attended a meeting, and that was it from all accounts we have heard. The guy as clearly nuts, but unfortunately the Masons who initiated him didn’t know. But maybe they did and just lied to themselves, thinking Masonry can round him out. We’ll never know. Remember the old Masonic motto of “Making good men better”? It’s specific to good men for a reason. If you aren’t a good man, there is nothing we can do to make you better.

1.

Masons played a key role in space exploration

Buzz Aldrin 01
Some say that Masons have an agenda to take over the world – but some Masons seem to have their sights set on the moon. Astronauts in the Apollo program – including Buzz Aldrin – were self-professed Masons. Their rite flags have been to the moon and back, and Aldrin seems to have claimed the moon for his Masonic lodge in Texas.

1 – A: All true. Masons dominated the space program. Masonry attracts men that don’t fear the unknown. So it makes sense astronauts blasting off into space would would be an attractive career for Masons.

And they finish with this.

Some of these strange and scandalous secrets of the Freemasons are obviously urban legends, and should be taken with a grain of salt; but others seem to contain a degree of truth.

Wait. They have called these things facts and now they’re hiding behind their disclaimer that some of these are urban legend? Excellent trickery they are showing here. Strangely, they don’t point out which of the “facts” are actually the urban legends, leaving the speculation up to someone who knows nothing about Masonry. And they really don’t reference proof or other sources for many of these facts. Essentially, they absolve themselves of guilt while allowing you to choose which is true. The anti-Masonic echo chamber consists of many anonymous or semi-anonymous blogs repeating similar themes about Masons over and over again until the uneducated reader starts to believe it is true.

And then they finish with this.

One thing’s for certain – Masonry is by no means an outdated cult. It still has many active members who seem to be working for some purpose – even if we can’t all agree on what that is.

Time to hit the dictionary again.

Cult –

: a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous

: a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much

: a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

So we don’t fit #1 as we’re not part of a religion or a religion at all. Even anti-Masons, when exposed to the definitions of what a religion is know that we do not fit that description. Also extreme or dangerous? Probably the opposite. Freemason men have done a wonderful job of fighting tyranny, helping those in need, and fostering free thought. But maybe we are dangerous. For those who seek to suppress their fellow man, men who are Freemasons have been very dangerous.

#2 This is tricky because technically I can get behind this. Masons must believe in God to join. And dollars to donuts that if you believe in God, you love God. But also some religions have a fear of God and others have an admiration for God. And Masons accept all types of men who believe in God. Its complex. By definition you could also call a religion a Cult because people admire God too much. I wouldn’t though. In my opinion God is the exception. You can never love God too much.

And #3. Very devoted supporters or fans? Of what? Masons have the full spectrum of opinion about Masonry. Some men show up to every meeting and are part of every event. They are very  devoted to Masonry. Others show up once in a while. And some just cut a paycheck to the lodge to retain their Masonic affiliation and that’s it. We don’t fit that definition either.

So there you have it. Exhausting to do this but important to do none the less. One of the reasons I created this blog was to be able to answer these articles in an academic and respectable way. While I do sometimes throw the anti-masonic label around, I ALWAYS make sure to explain myself academically and with logic to why something would be such a way. And we should always approach any matter as such. No matter how much it offends you, you must work civilly and dutifully to educate the other person to why their viewpoint can be flawed.

Thank you for reading. I need a nap.

Livingstone

The Syria Situation September 28, 2013

Hello Readers,

Livingstone here. Welcome to Masonology. The blog about Freemasonry and all things related to Masonic Self-Improvement, Masonic Thought, and the Freemason World.

As you have been reading the news lately, you are right now probably observing the war drums of the West beating loudly for a military response to the Syria gas attack. Here are some links of note.

Syria Gas Attack

Obama Administration Planning an Attack that will be “Brief and Limited”

Kucinich Says a Strike will make the US “Al-Qaeda’s Air Force”

US War in Syria – What Will it Mean?

For those that have begin reading this blog a little over a month ago, the topics of this blog have stuck very closely to Masonry. And for good reason, the blog is called Masonology and is about all things in the Masonic world. This situation is very much part of the Masonic world. I’ll explain in a moment.

Masonry’s system is a morality blueprint to help Masons become masters of building their minds and building up the world around them. That blueprint doesn’t just extend to how Masons should treat each other in lodge, but also to how they should treat each their fellow person. To build the world by the blueprint God gave us, we must consult our VSLs. In my case, The Bible.

So when we watch what is going on in Syria and the world, I would argue that these are things that are VERY much part of the Masonic World. For we are constantly interacting with Masons and Profane alike who are involved or connected to these events whether we like it or not. The irony of this broad interpretation on my part is not lost on me. For the US Government’s broad interpretation of imminent threats and dangers to America are the justification for why it can attack Syria. For the US, because we exist in a globalized economy and because we have military infrastructure around the world, the ability to generate legal justification for war against any country is possible on their part. An uncomfortable reality of the world we live in and it allows the US the ability to create perpetual war in The Middle East.

Now for the citizens of Syria, life is currently hell. Trapped between a dictator in Assad and the Al-Qaeda backed rebels. To call Iraq a quagmire would be mean that Syria is a black hole. Yet right now it looks to be a serious decision that the Obama Administration has not only considered, but by all accounts plans to get involved with militarily.

As a Freemason, Syria has not been kind to us since Freemasonry revealed itself to the world. Freemasonry is banned in Syria and Freemasons there very much live in fear that they will be discovered and imprisoned. Actually Freemasonry has been banned throughout the entire Muslim world since the Pope banned it back in 1738. For Freemasons in Syria, they are trapped between a dictator who seeks to crush them and Al Quada who will do just the same.

Which is too bad too, because there have been some important national contributions to Syria by Syrian Freemasons. Master Mason Hanna Malek was the the secretary-general of the Syrian premiership and Grand Master Ata al-Ayyubi was the key figure in the overthrow of French colonel rule of Syria and eventually became the Prime Minister of Syria. Freemasons helped to create Syria and now they live in fear of being discovered.

As a Freemason, we have a wide range of views and opinions. And again, these opinions and speculations I have are mine and mine alone. The UK, France, and the US at the moment are almost certainly going to attack Syria in response to the gas attack and it will take a act of God for them to be stopped. For many of you, you are probably feeling a bit cynical right now. After the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the war campaigns of Yemen and Libya, and the threatening of Iran, many of your feel that the US is in a state of perpetual war in the Middle East. A war that will never end and one where every time an enemy is crushed, the power that replaces it is destined to become and eventual adversary.

Well you aren’t being cynical. You are actually embracing the reality of the world we live in and the US’s world policy that has spanned many presidencies. This is the reality and there is too much of a benefit to those in power to continue war. War distracts the American populace from the problems at home, it is extremely profitable for companies who sell weapons, and it helps the executive branch accumulate power for the sake of “safety” and “victory”.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

– George Orwell

So I could leave you with just this warning and a message to do something. But that would be too vague. So I offer a solution.

Civilly contact your local representative and any civic, religious, and cultural leader about how you feel. If you disagree with the US’s involvement or even if you agree. And there are legitimate reasons for why we can become involved. But get involved. Contact these people. The phone calls will take 45 minutes and after that 45 minutes you will feel like a changed person. And then talk to people you know who feel the same way and get them to call and contact someone. And gather your facts and evidence before you do it and speak to them civilly, or at least their assistant or liaison. But reach out. Send emails. Send letter. Call them.

Before I finish up this blog entry, I want to leave you with one final thought. When it comes to anti-masonry, I have always felt there was a fundamental reason why people would fear us Freemasons. And here is why. There are two types of people in the world. Those that feel they don’t have power and that those in power control them. The other people believe they do have power and they can control the world around them. The first ones fear the Freemasons, because it fits their view that they are powerless to the system. The 2nd group does not fear Freemasons, for they know that they have the power to make the changes they want. And eventually, they make those changes.

Livingstone

The Instructive Tongue

Hello Readers,

Livingstone here. Welcome to Masonology. The blog about Freemasonry and all things related to Masonic Self-Improvement, Masonic Thought, and the Freemason World.

In today’s topic, we discuss the Instructive Tongue, and how we can use it to better ourselves and the world around us.

The origins of the Instructive Tongue come from the 2nd degree ritual. It is part of a three point element comprising the Attentive Ear, Instructive Tongue, and Faithful Breast. There are the three precious jewels of Masonry. While I could write a mile long blog about all three, let’s just focus on the Instructive Tongue. It will be more manageable and it will cement in your mind in a more perfect way.

First, the definition. (Humor me here, as a Mason I have to dissect the basics before I build upwards. It’s a Freemason habit)

in·struc·tive
inˈstrəktiv
adjective
  1. 1.
    useful and informative.
    “it is instructive to compare the two projects”
    synonyms: informative, instructional, informational, illuminating, enlightening,explanatory; More

And tongue.

Wikipedia Tongue

The tongue is a muscular hydrostat on the floors of the mouths of most vertebrates which manipulates food for mastication. It is the primary organ of taste (gustation), as much of the upper surface of the tongue is covered in papillae and taste buds. It is sensitive and kept moist by saliva, and is richly supplied with nerves and blood vessels. In humans a secondary function of the tongue is phonetic articulation. The tongue also serves as a natural means of cleaning one’s teeth.[2] The ability to perceive different tastes is not localised in different parts of the tongue, as is widely believed.[3] This error arose because of misinterpretation of some 19th-century research (see tongue map).

And another part of tongue.

A common temporary failure in word retrieval from memory is referred to as the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. The expression tongue in cheek refers to a statement that is not to be taken entirely seriously – something said or done with subtle ironic or sarcastic humour. A tongue twister is a phrase made specifically to be very difficult to pronounce. Aside from being a medical condition, “tongue-tied” means being unable to say what you want to due to confusion or restriction. The phrase “cat got your tongue” refers to when a person is speechless. To “bite one’s tongue” is a phrase which describes holding back an opinion to avoid causing offence. A “slip of the tongue” refers to an unintentional utterance, such as a Freudian slipSpeaking in tonguesis a common phrase used to describe glossolalia, which is to make smooth, language-resembling sounds that is no true spoken language itself. A deceptive person is said to have a forked tongue, and a smooth-talking person said to have a silver tongue.

Yes, I’m well aware I have a hard on for Wikipedia and I know the emails lambasting me for it will be on the way. But it’s a terrific introduction tool to any subject.

And once more thing I want to add that is close to this.

in·struct
inˈstrəkt
verb
  1. 1.
    direct or command someone to do something, esp. as an official order.
    “she instructed him to wait”
    synonyms: orderdirectcommandtellenjoinrequire, call on, mandatecharge;More

  2. 2.
    teach (someone) a subject or skill.
    “he instructed them in the use of firearms”
    synonyms: teachschoolcoachtrainenlighteninformeducatetutorguide,prepareprime; More

You’ll find the definition for instruct is a bit different then instructive for it’s meaning and actionable nature. But I think it is very much tied into the word instructive and something you should consider.

Now when you first hear the term instructive tongue, it sounds a bit Shakespearean. A lot of things in masonry have that old English romantic element to it and this being no different. Right away when you hear about it, you can surmise the obvious. That you are being told about how precious it is to speak in an instructive way. Now Masonry doesn’t have superfluous elements to its nature, so lets dig into the origins a bit and then we’ll expand into how it can be useful to you.

Like most things Masonic, the origins are clouded in mystery. What we do know is that is is considered one of the three precious jewels of Masonry, along with the ear and breast mentioned above. The use of the term jewel is an interesting one. Masonry will represent things in many different ways. The thing we usually recognize the most is using tools to represent ideas or ways to structure your life. It will also use light to represent things. So to have a “jewel” be the representation of these three principles is interesting.

My interpretation of this is that jewels have great intrinsic value. IN most societies jewels have a great value and are highly coveted. They are also something that people wear to add beauty to themselves. They can also be used as a source of class, as people in wealth are more likely to have jewels then others because of their price. Also jewels have a monitory value and can be sold for materials that you may need.

I consider the first three to be more connected to considering the Instructive Tongue a jewel then the last line I mentioned. By calling the (IT) a jewel, it sends the message that this element is extremely valuable. While we can consider the tools and light valuable, the direct relation to value is far more tightly intertwined with a jewel then anything else. Also, there isn’t any explanation for that the Instructive Tongue means while things connected to light and tools in the lodge have moral explanations as part of the ritual.

We could also consider the (IT) to be highly coveted. People who speak in an instructive way are passing on knowledge, and knowledge is invaluable. People are also more inclined to respond in positive ways to those who seek to improve them with knowledge. More on that later.

Jewels are also a form of class. Those who teach and build with words are in a class of their own and people in society can see that they are a cut apart. Those who bring knowledge are valued in all groups.

Speaking instructively is an element that has a dramatic and real impact on people. As Pick-Up Artist Vin DiCarlo said “The dominant trait in the alpha male is the goal of having an undying focus to draw out the best in the people around you.” “This will cause a feedback loop where you are not only becoming dominant within, but the people around you will see and support your transformation too”

It’s as plain as day. Think to all those social situations you have been in. The person who is usually teaching people is almost always seen as the superior. Their knowledge, in a fundamental human way, makes people look to them for guidance. It’s natural. It;s hard wired into us. Those with knowledge that is of value to us are important to us because they will help us live. It’s evolutionary psychology. While there are detractors to that idea, there is a logic to it as well. In the harsh early environment of human history, those that knew where the food, water, shelter, and safe environments were the ones who survived. And the others who survived were those who was instructed how to do so. People are hardwired to follow and align with those that teach and give knowledge. It’s part of our coding.

So lets return to “Instructive” and “Instruct” connection that I mentioned earlier.

Instructive

1.
useful and informative.

Instruct

1.
direct or command someone to do something, esp. as an official order.
2.
teach (someone) a subject or skill.

 

The words look the same but they are also remarkably different. Instructive is more of a Masonic term. You are giving things to something that is USEFUL and INFORMATIVE. Both words and their meaning are part of the Masonic foundation. Useful harkens back to our tool utilizing ways. We are taught our tools can be used to help change our minds and the world around us. We USE things in an actionable and constructive way. Informative is our Masonic journey from being in a state of darkness to being informed about that for which we did not know. That is our entire degree structure. Instructive is in our DNA.

But I argue instruct is too. It is the harder version of instructive and the word itself, being a verb, is actionable.

Those who command people, as someone who instruct would, tend to be leaders in whatever they do. Now the big question is the chicken and the egg. Does the leader make the commands or do the commands make the leader. I would argue both are right and it depends on the situation. In the military, commanding your superior officer will, how should I put this, not go well. At all. They being the leader get to command you. Yet if you are with a group of friends, when you instruct them you become the leader. It’s just a logical reality. In the presence of a power structure that is not clear cut, the one who instructs will eventually become a leader in some form.

Now the other part of instruct. Teaching some a subject or skill. I am someone who believes in my heart of God’s existence and how he created the world. God gave us existence and life. So to give someone  knowledge of a subject or skill, is a deep honor that I hold with reverence. And I hold those that do the same to others in my highest regard. Masonry’s duality is that it is secretive about its science and rituals, yet Masons are quick to impart what they have learned during that time. We wish to raise the world in the presence of God and in a way that would fit God’s vision for us.

And the last part of this entry. Think of this in a moral way. I have given you the pragmatic and self benefiting way first. I am well aware that in many of us lies an element that ISN’T God oriented and is instead oriented to ourselves. But now it is reality time.

When you use the instructive tongue, it should not be about benefitting yourself. Because if that is what it is in your heart, God will know and everyone else will feel it from you. You must be speaking God’s words that you have learned in your VSL and be speaking with God in your heart. We have a moral imperative to read our Bible or book of Sacred Law and then impart those subjects we have learned to the world around us. We give people the psychological tools to grow themselves so they too may someday look to instruct those around them. This is the essence of Masonry. Our ways make our minds better and make the minds of those around us better. For we must build up the world. For that is our essence. And we cannot do it alone. God gave us the blueprint for how to exist in this world and how to make it better. We must instruct those around us, so they may join in creating that great design.

Livingstone