Opening the lodge debate
Freemasonry is an organisation, exclusive to men, that claims to join men together under the guise of a benevolent society, that gives out much needed sums of money to all kinds of charities. This is the shelter masons take when questioned, doubted or criticised. What most of the general public, and even some masons, do not realise is the underlying religious tones are not only in conflict with evangelical Christianity, but in some cases appear to be more akin with the occult. We all need to look seriously at the brotherhood and weigh the evidence carefully.
A Brief View
Freemasonry is a society with secrets. These secrets consist of various words, handshakes and rituals. The mason is supposedly moving towards the light by stages, called ‘degrees’, there are thirty-three degrees. The first three degrees are known as the ‘craft degrees’ and these are as follows:
1. Entered Apprentice.
2. Fellow Craft.
3. Master Mason.
The history is a mixture of fact and fantasy, with many allegorical stories acted out in the rituals. The candidate is told that they must believe in a Supreme Being and be ‘good men and true’, and of course, they must never share the secrets of the brotherhood. The public have often viewed masons with suspicion without really knowing why, and the church often has not helped to clarify the situation. Here we will concern ourselves solely with the religious debate.
Concerning God and Religion
In 1984, Grand Lodge issued a leaflet, for public consumption, entitled What is Freemasonry? It states:
“The essential qualification for admission into and continuing membership is a belief in a Supreme Being.”
The Supreme Being could be Jehovah God, but it could equally be Allah, Buddha or Shiva. A believer in a monotheistic God will find a serious compromise when sharing a lodge with men of different faiths, since it means not only accepting other beings alongside your particular God, but that all God’s merge into one, the Great Architect of the Universe or ‘GAOTU.’ (Masonic terminology).
We can show the apparent oneness of the Supreme Being in another way. The Observer magazine (18/6/1967) pointed out that there is “The generalised belief that the good mason, will after death dwell with the GAOTU in the GLA (Grand Lodge Above).” It’s quite clear that it is one God in one place. We can therefore come to the assumption that Freemasonry is syncretistic, all gods are one.
The masons may say that masonry is not monotheistic, but pantheistic, all gods in one place, this is not a calming influence on the evangelical Christian mason, since the Bible says that the Lord your God is one, not plural. The Masonic Encyclopaedia by Henry Wilson Coil says under the heading of Religion that,”Monotheism violates Masonic principles.” The evangelical Christian God of the Bible is exactly that, monotheistic.
God’s secret name in masonry, revealed in the 7th degree, the Royal Arch is, Jah-Bul-On, which traditionally is supposed to represent Jehovah – the God of the Bible, Baal – the Sun God mentioned in the Bible as one of the major false gods worshipped in the lands around Israel, and Osiris, the Egyptian sun God. However, putting them together like that gives the impression that they are all the same God, which of course fits in with the idea stated above.
In February 1989, a public statement was made that they would not use this name anymore. Considering it was always supposed to be used in secret it is difficult to know if this is totally true or not. However, whether the actual word is used or not the meaning that all Gods are the same still exists today.
It is possible to think this view is held only by extreme masons, but Grand Lodge knows this is the Masonic doctrine. If any have doubts about the contrary beliefs or views, perhaps this quote by the mason known only as ‘Vindex’ may help.
In his book, Light Invisible, he sets his stall out for all to see and know the conflicting natures of evangelical Christianity and Freemasonry. In chapter seven, A Mason’s Faith, ‘Vindex’ is full of inconsistencies in relation to faith. He states his own trust in Jesus Christ as a minister of the gospel (p.46). This sounds excellent until we read on P.48:
“I for one can never understand how anyone who takes an exclusive view of Christ as the only complete revelation of God’s truth can become a freemason without suffering from spiritual schizophrenia.”
The evangelical Christian must surely take an exclusive view of Christ, else he deprives Jesus of His deity and glory.
The Chambers reference book, entitled The Occult, is neither pro Christian or anti-Masonic and therefore views the subject dispassionately; it says in reference to the GAOTU that it is, “A being without any god like qualities” and goes on to say that it has no “religious dimension”. You need to remember that this is the Supreme Being we are hearing about here.
The Position of Prayer
Prayer is an important part of religious life whatever the belief system happens to be; we know as evangelical Christians, Jesus taught about prayer, whilst praying continually Himself; other religions,cults and sects use prayer as a way of communing with and communicating to the specific deity worshipped. Prayer is also used by non-religious groups, such as parliament, scouts, and even some schools still use prayer in their assemblies. Does this make them a religion? Does it mean Freemasonry is in the same league as the scouts?
It would be a feeble attempt to suggest scouting was a religion (parliament/schools also) just because they pray. The issue here is more to do with content than with prayer itself. An evangelical Christian could not with any real integrity pray alongside a Muslim, because of the conflicting beliefs, they would not be praying to the same deity. In scouts, schools and parliament, the prayers are in essence Christian and therefore of no real difficulty for the true believer in Christ.
Can we then consider Freemasonry as innocuous? The straight answer is no! Even when the origins show a Trinitarian background, it becomes crystal clear that masonry is not only a religion but an anti-Christian one to boot. The Christian origins were eliminated at an early stage of Freemasonry’s development. We could not question that mason’s pray to do their duty towards God, what we would like to question is towards which God are they duty bound? Albert Mackey’s, Masonic Encyclopaedia gives a reason why prayer is used in lodges, he states,
“Freemasonry is a religious institution and hence its regulations inculcate the use of prayer, as a proper tribute of gratitude.”
The scouts, schools or parliament hardly constitute a ‘religious institution.’
The mason might respond that prayer is only used in any major way in the so called ‘Christian degrees,’ however, the fact is that all lodges open and close with prayer, and in Ireland the Lord’s prayer is often used as a part of the ordinary craft ritual. The Grand Chaplains are to offer up ‘solemn prayer’ at meetings of Grand Lodge according to the constitution (no 30-1989). The indication is, that prayer is of particular importance in Freemasonry. It leads us to the question, what is prayer for?
Prayer is a two-way communication, from God to man and vice versa. It is often a way to verbalise our love for God, our commitment to Him, our desires and our needs and it is also a way for God to speak to us; He will encourage us, discipline us, teach us and give revelations to us.
The scouts ask God to help them do their duty, parliament asks God for wisdom in the decisions they make, schools ask God to help them learn, they are all, even in a noncommittal way speaking to the God of the Bible, who (or what?) are the masons praying to?
Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve
There are many aspects of masonry we could look at, but if we could see any double standards within the brotherhood, it would cast serious doubt on ‘good men and true.’ We have already seen the enlightening comment from ‘Vindex’ about “spiritual schizophrenia”in regard to an exclusive view of Christ, this is a double standard. The leaflet Freemasonry and Religion gives the guidance of Grand Lodge on these matters, and it says quite clearly that masonry does not interfere in a member’s practice. If a person is a committed Christian, he would not be able to leave Christ out of his life and therefore his lodge, but Christ is not to be mentioned in the lodge. A question to go with this would be, how does Freemasonry help in a relationship with Christ?
One great preacher of the 1800’s, Dwight Lyman Moody, made this pronouncement against freemasonry, it was obvious to him that all was not well, he said:
“I do not see how any Christian, most of all a Christian minister, Can go into these secret lodges with unbelievers. They are unequally yoked with the unbelievers.”
It could be said that he had a biased view, so what do we see in Masonic writings? This statement is found in Coil’s Masonic Encyclopaedia under the heading ‘altar’:
“The presence of an altar in Masonic lodge is difficult to account for, ‘it also follows with ‘The bible is laid on a Masonic altar…'”
This from a non-religious organisation. The same encyclopaedia includes an article on ‘Pantheism’ that all gods exist in a ‘Pantheon’ together. Freemasonry asks for a belief in a Supreme Being, seemingly a monotheistic belief. It will be obvious to the reader, that faith in such a system would actually lead to “spiritual schizophrenia.” We can conclude from this, Grand Lodge’s encouragement towards their Masonic version of faith.
It is amazing to think, an ordinary lodge could have several different supreme beings. These beings are not meant to be evil, but it is hard to see how Grand Lodge could stop someone believing in a being that is perceived as evil. Therefore a man could come into lodge professing a firm belief in Lucifer, and view him as benevolent.
This would of course be totally contrary to the Bible and historical tradition. If, however, they do not let Luciferians in, it shows a bias, they insist they do not have!
Imagine for a moment a lodge with a Christian, Muslim, Hindu and a Pagan. The Christian would quite rightly, have the desire to know more about Jesus, this is in difficulties from the start; a Muslim does not believe God has a son; the Hindu would consider that Jesus is one of may ‘enlightened ones’; and the Pagan won’t worry as long as it doesn’t disturb them from their own manifold belief. Therefore, you can see, these creeds would come to grief quickly. Grand Lodge would undoubtedly turn to the constitutions and say, ‘religion is not to be spoken about in lodge,’ does this solve the problem? No! How can four beliefs insist they pray to their God, and that this God is the GAOTU?
Irish craft masonry mentions Jesus as the chief cornerstone; this must prove unpalatable for the Jew, Muslim and frankly any other belief system.
Syncretism and Universalism
The truth about masonry is shrouded in wordgames and the secret nature of the brotherhood. The truth we are after lies in the interpretation of masonry’s aims and objectives. The leaflet on Religion and Masonry, which Grand Lodge published in 1987, has the quote,
“…it is no part of masonry to attempt to join religions together.”
The religions appear to come together in masonry as a syncretistic body. It might seem that this should be encouraged rather than criticised, but the truth ought to dictate to us what is right and wrong. Syncretism is an attempt to bring together the incompatible, and therefore should cause us real concern.
The leaflet, Freemasonry and Religion attempts to put a clear position from Grand Lodge when it says,
“There is no Masonic God; and it is no part of freemasonry to attempt to join religions together.”
The same leaflet has the statement,
“It’s moral teachings are acceptable to all religions…”
This statement concludes, that all religions may come together under one body, Freemasonry, and under one god namely, GAOTU. Other Masonic writings such as Mackay’s Encyclopaedia, points to the universalism of masonry under the heading,
“Christianization of masonry,’ it says ‘…at its altar (masonry’s) men of all religions may kneel’ and ‘…to its creed, disciples of every faith may subscribe.”
This is a clear indication of freemasonry to bring every mason under the GAOTU’s umbrella.
The altar is the central point of the lodge and it is there we find the V.S.L. or volume of the sacred law. The V.S.L. changes like the weather in Britain, you may find any of the holy books from any religious belief. How can masonry claim to bring together believers of the doctrine of the Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, Tripitaka, Zend Avest, Rig Veda, Tao Te King, Bhagavad Gita and the book of Mormon?
These books are not compatible in at least two ways: (a) Doctrine and (b) Practice. The Jewish masons cannot accept the doctrine of either the New Testament believers or any of the other beliefs, since the Old Testament is dogmatic about the Jews compromising with any other gods. They do not accept Jesus is the Messiah of Jehovah. A New Testament believer also cannot accept any other religions doctrine or practice. Is it just outsiders who are confused by all this?
Consider the leaflet quotes above and compare them with this quote (The Times, 25/10/1984) by a mason, who is also a church of England minister, Rev. Peter Moore, Dean of St. Albans:
“The God we worship (in lodge) is the same god that Jews and Muslims worship.”
Peter Moore cannot have listened to the world news during his life if he thinks Jews and Muslims can worship together. They have fought since the beginning and look like continuing for a while yet. Jews and Christians do not see eye to eye over the Messiah, and Muslims do not believe God had a son and therefore are in direct contrast to Christians. Peter Moore is typical of most masons, seeing all religions as compatible, but ultimately there will be division.
Masons of repute have also affirmed the same position, Sir John Cockburn, Past Grand Deacon of England and deputy Grand Master of Australia spoke of the universality of masonry calling it,”…a federation of religions…”. He is joined in this view by the illustrious mason, Albert Pike, who thought masonry to be both universal and eternal. One mason in my locality chose masonry ahead of his church because he found his religious needs met in the lodge.
The mason is gradually taught syncretism and universalism and does not realise what is happening, it eventually leads to a compromise of their once strong beliefs. I would encourage Christians to ask masons to look for themselves, at their own information, and ask questions of higher ranked brothers. It is also important for Christians to be available to the mason as they leave the brotherhood as they will be isolated from those who have, until recently, been their ‘family’.
P.S. We received this email from a mason which I thought was worthy of including at the end here in the interests of fairness:
“I’m surprised to find a website that disagrees with other religions and organizations and is so extremely respectful about it. I, for instance, do not agree with many things on your website, but I thank you for being respectful in your disagreements with other organizations. I am a Mason, and I can fully understand how, taken the wrong way, it could possibly clash with Christian beliefs. Masonry does not seek to pull a man away from his religion, and we would not accept a member if it would make him clash with his church. We encourage our members to attend religious services regularly, although we do not prescribe what religion that may be. There is no plausible way for the world to convert to one religion, and Masonry understands this, so we do the next best thing: we accept men of all creeds, religions, and races. Some fail to see the symbolic nature of our ceremonies, and are therefore extremely hostile to it. We give men of different religions a common goal: if we cannot agree on a religion, we must instead work together to make the world a much better place. This is the “great secret” of Freemasonry. We are able to take men of completely different backgrounds and conciliate true friendship among them and get them to work together for a more peaceful world. In addition, I wanted to point out an error in your examination of Masonry: the Royal Arch Masons do not confer 33 degrees. The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite confers these degrees. The York Rite consists of Royal Arch Masons (which confers 4 degrees: Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch), Royal and Select Masters (which confers 3 degrees: Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master), and Knights Templar (which confers 3 degrees: Order of Red Cross, Order of Malta,.and Order of the Temple).”