Is 'Freemasonry' a cult?

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Freemasonsry and Christianity Q&A

September 17, 2010  NewFreeMasons.com

Q: How can a Christian proclaim he is “in the dark”?

A: That phrase, used in the initiation ceremony, is a symbol like everything else in Freemasonry. It could represent whatever is significant to the candidate. It could even represent past actions the candidate’s life such as his life before accepting Christ. It could also simply mean ignorance about the Masonic symbols and ceremonies that he has yet to witness firsthand. Freemasonry never claims or intends to invoke a spiritual change in the candidate as he goes through the ceremony. Anybody who says it does claims to know something no Mason ever has.

Q: Is there a Masonic baptism in the third degree?

A: The idea of death and renewal of life is present in that degree, but it’s quite a stretch to call it a “Masonic baptism.” Again Freemasonry never claims or intends to invoke a spiritual change in the candidate (like baptism is to Christianity).

Q: Do men who join Freemasonry forget their faith or family?

A: Freemasonry itself never causes any such rift if practiced properly.

Just after I married my wife, a Past Grand Master told me: “Your priorities are your faith, your family, your finances and fraternity, in that order.” Any time a man wanders from his family or faith, it is because he has forgotten his priorities.  A man can lose himself in Masonry just like he can in work, sports, friends and hobbies.

Q: Is there such thing as a Masonic Bible?

A: Yes and No. A Masonic Bible is a  publication of the Holy Bible, usually the King James Version, with Masonic markings on it (square and compass, etc.) and having certain passages relevant to Masonry marked. The text is exactly the same as the text of any other Bible. Often, in predominantly Christian countries, Bibles are given as gifts to Masons as they raised to the Master Mason degree. I have mine and it’s a treasure to me.

Q: Does Freemasonry worship its own God?

A: Freemasonry uses the term Grand Architect of the Universe (G.A.O.T.U) as a broad, generic name to include all views of God. Masons use the term God and Supreme Being as well. The only attributes Freemasonry assigns to God is His roles as Creator and Designer which I imagine most people would agree with. The theologian John Calvin is actually the man who coined the term: Grand Architect of the Universe. http://themagpiemason.blogspot.com/2009/07/he-coined-gaotu.html

Q: Why doesn’t Freemasonry use the name Jesus in its ritual?

A: Freemasonry recognizes and respects Christianity’s belief that Jesus Christ was/is the Son of God, the Savior of the world and more than any other man. Since Freemasonry must be open to men of all faiths, mentioning Jesus would either exclude non-Christians or it would put Jesus on the same level as the prophets and other Biblical figures.

I find Jesus all throughout the Masonic ritual, especially the third degree. A Christian can find testimonies of Christ in all good things.

Q: Why would a Christian, with the light of Christ’s Gospel, wish to find “further light” in a non-Christian institution like Freemasonry?

A: This is one very valid question that I don’t mind answering. Masons join the Fraternity for many good reasons. A large percentage of Masons join the Fraternity because it helps them feel connected to their fathers, grandfathers and other forbearers who were also Masons. Some become Masons because they desire the association with friends of good character.

I believe a Christian, or an adherent of any other religion, can use Freemasonry as a vehicle to explore their faith. Many followers of Christ, myself included, have expressed their joy in finding ways to apply what they’ve experienced in the lodge to their faith in Christ.

Freemasonry is not for everyone. Many men who have a decent understanding of Freemasonry choose not to join simply because they’re not interested. We, as Freemasons, hold no hostility to them at all. We welcome all good men who qualify for our ranks and maintain our friendship to all people in the world.

Q: Is Freemasonry a religion?

A: Short answer: No.

Long Answer: No, but there are religious elements.

It’s very difficult to give a definition for the word “religion” that is not too wide, too narrow or both. Even a basic definition such as a system of beliefs and practices relating to faith in God fails since not all major religions require a belief in God like Universalism and some Buddhist sects, and this definition includes groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or the Boy Scouts which most people don’t consider religions. That being said, a person could (and often do) define religion any that includes Freemasonry. This does not, however, mean that Freemasonry is a religion.

Freemasonry makes no attempt to do the things religion generally does. Freemasonry does not address the issue of God’s nature (is God one individual or a Trinity, is God physical or spirit only, is God completely omnipotent, is God personal or impersonal). Freemasonry affirms man’s immortal potential but offers no explanation as to how this is achieved (physical vs. purely spiritual resurrection, release from the cycle of rebirth). Freemasonry is characterized as having no dogma or doctrine on these important issues. That is the purpose of one’s faith.

Our Fraternity supplies a symbolic system of spiritual learning that allows faithful men from all religions to find common spiritual ground and learn together while maintain their distinct identities. Masons are provided with no official interpretation of these symbols and one Mason’s views are as valid as another.

Q: Does Freemasonry state that a person receives salvation by doing good works?

A: Not at all. There are, I’m sure, some Masons who believe this, but this is because of their personal beliefs. The beliefs of Masons are as varied as all those who believe in God.

The Grand Lodge of Israel heavily emphasizes religious tolerance

Freemasonry doesn’t claim to show any way to salvation. Anti-Masons often cite the lecture given to the candidate when he receives the lambskin apron as evidence of this claim. This lecture simply states that the Mason should live a clean lifestyle as a testimony of his life to be presented to God after he dies. It never says anything about getting into heaven. Again, this is the purpose of one’s faith.

Q: Does Freemasonry believe that all religions are the same?

A: Freemasonry accepts all good men who profess a belief in a Supreme Being, and affirms that there is value and truth in all religions. I imagine that most reasonable people agree with this belief. Recognizing the good in another faith does not mean believing in it, nor does it mean agreeing that it is as objectively true as your own.

Freemasonry provides an opportunity for us to meet on neutral ground. Dialogue and proselytizing may continue outside the lodge. I don’t believe I compromise my faith in my religion when I acknowledge the goodness of another. Any man feels he must despairage all others faiths to maintain his own will find himself out of place in Masonry.

Again, there are many Masons who believe that all religions are the same, but the Fraternity as a whole has no opinion on the matter. It’s likely that most, if not all, brothers who believe this would adhere to this idea even if they were not Masons. Many Masons, myself included, do not adhere to this belief.

Q: Is Freemasonry an Occult organization? There are many similarities in symbols and practice.

A: Freemasonry never performs any kind of ritual intended to give the participant supernatural power or communication with supernatural beings other then prayers There are no spells, séances, etc.Freemasonry does share some symbols with modern Occult systems. Symbols have very little, if any, intrinsic value and their meaning is derived from how they are used. Two hundred years ago, a swastika, just as an example, was a symbol of prosperity and unity while these days, its display is illegal in many places because of its unfortunate association with the Nazi movement.

Interestingly, most of what today’s society considers Occult beliefs and symbols (tarot cards, pentagrams, the goat-headed god) are less than two-hundred years old. Eliphas Levi (1810-1875), a seminary student turned Occultist, popularized the downward pointed pentagram as an Occult symbol in the 19th century. Freemasonry’s use of this and other symbols reflect the use of the symbol before the Occult takeover.

Even the phrase “so mote it be”, used as the closing of lodge prayers, another ;phrase adopted by modern Occultists. This phrase was used by many groups, within the Church and not, before Occultists adopted it as well. The Regius Poem-a manuscript outlining the duties of the stonemasons written by an unknown clergyman around 1390 AD-closes with that phrase.

Many of the accusations of Occult practices (like animal sacrifice, cross burning and idol worship) behind the tyled doors of the lodge are pure fabrications. Leo Taxil (1854-1907) made his living by inventing such stories. He sold hundreds of books and pamphlets detailing the secret, Satanic “Paladinism” form of Freemasonry for which the Craft lodges were merely a front. It is from him that the worship of the goat-headed god, Baphomet (also made popular by Eliphas Levi) is misattributed to Freemasonry. Despite the fact that Taxil admitted before a stunned audience in 1897 that his works were completely fictional and written for the sole purpose of exploiting his readers, many anti-Masons continue to cite his “facts”.

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