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Interested Atheist
Posted: 14 December 2016 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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There are several questions and things running through my mind.  I will try to organize as best I can.  Up until less than a week ago, I was a staunch Atheist.  I’ve known for sometime this is unallowable within Freemasonry, and hence the reason I have never attempted to join.  Recently I found a video about opening the third eye, which was very intriguing.  Hindu in origin, after watching I did one of the guided meditations during which I made the connection of the third eye, to the eye of providence within Masonry.  There are many other recent contributions that are bringing about this change in perception…but without going into it all, I will just get to the point and the question at hand. 

As my belief changes to believe that we are all Supreme Beings, will this fulfill the requirement of freemasonry?

The following paragraph is just to provide background for my next question. 

Throughout my life I had been through several different religions, and often with great conflict in my readings of the Holy scriptures.  They often appeared to have blaring contradictions that I was unable to justify.  While I was religious, at this stage in my life…my goals, studies, and prayers were directed towards gaining the true understanding of the question of God.  My desire has not changed, however my view of what God may be is now different than before.  So onto my second question.

If I join Freemasonry, will I be able to gain the knowledge of the divine that I seek?

I know this may sound as a selfish reason, however this question is very important to me.  I think the brotherhood, improving one’s self, and charitable things sound great as well though.

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Posted: 14 December 2016 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Answer these questions.
Do you believe in a Supreme Being?
Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?
Are you over 18 (21 is some jurisdictions)?

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Posted: 14 December 2016 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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W Br Gleason - 14 December 2016 11:56 AM

Answer these questions.
Do you believe in a Supreme Being?
Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?
Are you over 18 (21 is some jurisdictions)?

The best I can answer today is, Yes I think I do. 

Yes I am 37.


I wish I could say that with more conviction, so I could easily fulfill the requirements without question.  I will meditate on the question….and hope that the answer comes.

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Posted: 14 December 2016 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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No, Freemasonry does not give you knowledge of the divine.  As Freemasonry merely encourages men to be men of faith, it doesn’t have any religious dogma that religions have.  We do not offer a path to salvation, and make efforts to be inclusive of all faiths so long as they believe that God made us and wants us to be excellent to each other.

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Posted: 15 December 2016 02:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Is there a Book that you can honestly say that you could take an Obligation on? And it has to be one that we - and you - would recognise as being an acceptable volume containing the Creator’s Revealed Will?

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Posted: 15 December 2016 06:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Richard George - 15 December 2016 02:24 AM

Is there a Book that you can honestly say that you could take an Obligation on? And it has to be one that we - and you - would recognise as being an acceptable volume containing the Creator’s Revealed Will?

I could use the Tanakh.  I do not believe it literally, however the esoteric explanations I have heard seem plausible.  This is a large part of why I am interested in Masonry.  I believe Masonry holds esoteric secrets and I would like to learn more deeply about the esoteric interpretations.  If your fraternity holds this knowledge, it is likely kept a secret, and I will only learn once initiated.

I reason that if your requirement is belief in a God, and an existence of an immortal soul, there must be a specific and important reason.  I then reason that if you do not worry about which supreme being an individual believes in, then freemasons must believe all religions are paths that end in the same result.  I have to assume, you have a unifying philosophy / theory of religions.  This understanding is that which I seek.

It cannot be that your only philosophy is to make good men better and to create a brotherhood of men who are involved in charity.  If that were the case, you could accept an atheist, you could make an atheist a better man, and include him as a brother. 

The question I must ask myself is can I believe something with no apparent material evidence.  Normally I would say no, however I have had too many insights that occur from beyond myself lately.  I will take a leap of faith and decide to believe in a supreme power.  I don’t suppose any harm could come of it.  =)

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Posted: 15 December 2016 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Hi Justin,
I think you are, sadly, barking up the wrong tree. What you seem to be looking for is not to be found within our Fraternity.

Freemasonry is a Fraternity built upon the shared experience and outlook of its members what we call the “Mystic Tie”, the very first shared experience even before that of wishing to join is our own faith/belief in the Creator of All things.

I can see that Freemasonry is not for you as unlike us you do not believe in THE Supreme Being (for your reference: http://www.onelook.com/?w=supreme+being&ls=a ) but worse than this you appear happy to pretend to do so in order to seek admission. In other words you are quite happy to lie at the very first hurdle, this alone is enough to bar you from membership as we prize honour and virtue in ourselves and our brothers and lying is most definitely not a virtue.

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Posted: 15 December 2016 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Justin808 - 15 December 2016 06:09 AM

I reason that if your requirement is belief in a God, and an existence of an immortal soul, there must be a specific and important reason.  I then reason that if you do not worry about which supreme being an individual believes in, then freemasons must believe all religions are paths that end in the same result.  I have to assume, you have a unifying philosophy / theory of religions.  This understanding is that which I seek.

This implies that Freemasonry aims to supersede all religions, as a sort of cap on top of them all.  This is not the case.  If you are interested in joining looking for a unifying philosophy where we come right out and say “Now that you’re a member, here’s the truth about God.”, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed.  Freemasonry IS a Fraternity, but it is a brotherhood of men who already believe in God’s presence.  We have no ritual inculcated to the members that will reveal anything new about God. 

The problem is you are making assumptions based on the premise that Freemasonry’s purpose is to pass on ancient secrets about God, when in fact the purpose of our Fraternity is to bring men of faith together in friendship.

If you’re looking for guidance in faith, that will need to come from your own heart and/or your chosen path.  While it is true that Freemasonry often enhances a person spiritually, it is usually because they have existing beliefs which apply to the moral lessons in our degrees. 

I know it’s all very confusing and understand how frustrating that would be.  In the end I would say think hard about what I’ve said above, and if you still think that being a member of a Fraternity such as ours is of interest to you, you need only believe in a higher power that created us and be willing to take your obligation on some volume of sacred law that in your mind would at least be a symbol of your faith.  If you conclude that this is not the case….it is OK!  Really.  I have many great friends who would not enjoy Freemasonry and they are not interested.  It isn’t for everyone.

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Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
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Posted: 15 December 2016 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Mike Martin - 15 December 2016 08:45 AM

Hi Justin,
I think you are, sadly, barking up the wrong tree. What you seem to be looking for is not to be found within our Fraternity.

Freemasonry is a Fraternity built upon the shared experience and outlook of its members what we call the “Mystic Tie”, the very first shared experience even before that of wishing to join is our own faith/belief in the Creator of All things.

I can see that Freemasonry is not for you as unlike us you do not believe in THE Supreme Being (for your reference: http://www.onelook.com/?w=supreme+being&ls=a ) but worse than this you appear happy to pretend to do so in order to seek admission. In other words you are quite happy to lie at the very first hurdle, this alone is enough to bar you from membership as we prize honour and virtue in ourselves and our brothers and lying is most definitely not a virtue.

I assure you I am not lying when I say that I had chose to believe in things for which I have no proof ( A Supreme Being).  As I understand it, this is by definition the term faith.  A belief in things not yet seen.  I believe you may find my ability to change my belief in a moments notice unsettling, and perhaps suspicious.  It was not made in a moments notice.  It is something I have pondered my whole life, and as I tried to explain in the first post, I have become aware of certain “revelations” that are changing my thoughts on the matter, (yet once again.)  I am not stubborn nor dogmatic in what I believe.  However I do seek truth.  When I find something not to be true, I discard it.  If I find something that may be true, I will investigate it.  I attempted to not go into too many details of that which I believe and disbelieve, as I understand this is frowned upon, and not permitted within Masonry.  If you mean to imply, that I was not born again…I would agree with you.  But that doesn’t mean I cannot believe in a supreme being.

Please don’t take this reply in any way that would be deemed disrespectful.  It is only meant as a defense of my own character against an accusation of lying.  I am a very honest man.

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Posted: 15 December 2016 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Nah, I don’t see you being disrespectful.  We’re just guys talking.  The problem is the medium.  It’s hard to have conversations in a thread.  Convenient over distances and gives people time to ponder their answers, but missed a personal touch.

With regard to you lying, not sure where Mike was going with that, but he’s blunt…and English…so he’s hard to understand anyway.  He types with an accent!  ;)

I do agree with him though, that you may be barking up the wrong tree.  If you’re wobbly on faith and religion, we aren’t going to be able to clear that up for you.

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Shriners International, Aleppo Temple - Wilmington, MA

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Posted: 15 December 2016 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Dan-O - 15 December 2016 08:46 AM

This implies that Freemasonry aims to supersede all religions, as a sort of cap on top of them all.  This is not the case.  If you are interested in joining looking for a unifying philosophy where we come right out and say “Now that you’re a member, here’s the truth about God.”, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed.  Freemasonry IS a Fraternity, but it is a brotherhood of men who already believe in God’s presence.  We have no ritual inculcated to the members that will reveal anything new about God. 

The problem is you are making assumptions based on the premise that Freemasonry’s purpose is to pass on ancient secrets about God, when in fact the purpose of our Fraternity is to bring men of faith together in friendship.

If you’re looking for guidance in faith, that will need to come from your own heart and/or your chosen path.  While it is true that Freemasonry often enhances a person spiritually, it is usually because they have existing beliefs which apply to the moral lessons in our degrees. 

I know it’s all very confusing and understand how frustrating that would be.  In the end I would say think hard about what I’ve said above, and if you still think that being a member of a Fraternity such as ours is of interest to you, you need only believe in a higher power that created us and be willing to take your obligation on some volume of sacred law that in your mind would at least be a symbol of your faith.  If you conclude that this is not the case….it is OK!  Really.  I have many great friends who would not enjoy Freemasonry and they are not interested.  It isn’t for everyone.

Thank you for the lengthy reply.  I didn’t mean to imply it was a cap or substitute.  I only meant that the important thing was faith/belief, which may be the true force behind your rituals.

Yes it can be confusing, hidden (things), and rituals.  I have to wonder why a need for a fraternity for men of faith when churches /mosques / synagogues, would seem to be an appropriate venue.

If it so that there is nothing to be learned of the spiritual nature, then I suppose you are right, there would be no reason to join.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.

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Posted: 15 December 2016 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Justin808 - 15 December 2016 11:38 AM

If it so that there is nothing to be learned of the spiritual nature, then I suppose you are right, there would be no reason to join.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.

There are plenty of reasons to join something besides the prospect of spiritual learning.  If you want spiritual learning, you look to faith institutions.  While each man’s reason for joining Freemasonry differs, it often comes down to friendship and brotherhood that they are after, and which Freemasonry provides.  It is our rituals and obligations that make us Freemasons initially, and help us distinguish who is and who isn’t a brother, and there is a long tradition of this going back to the 1500s and beyond.  It’s challenging to apply modern thought to understand how such an institution would come about, but it certainly wasn’t ever intended to clear up people’s religious confusion.

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Posted: 15 December 2016 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Dear Justin,

All fair questions, from what I see. Sadly, they do reflect some common misapprehensions about Freemasonry.

First, we have very few real secrets and, if you know where to look, even those are available amidst the world-wide raft of misinformation and lies. We certainly do not hold any magical keys to arcane or world-changing knowledge. There are no miraculous revelations, no words of power, no hoards of gold.

Second, the knowledge we have is a time-tested system of morality which uses symbols and allegory as teaching aids. Once in, a Mason need do nothing more than attend and still be ahead in terms of friendship and so forth, but to fully benefit from what we are offer, much study and introspection are needed and the effects take years to become apparent. In some ways, it is like meditation - nobody attains enightenment the first time they try.

Third, as the old saying goes, there are many ways to the top of the mountain, but the view is the same for all. Freemasonry is not the only way to improve one’s character. Any number of religions and schools of philosophy teach the same lessons, although in different ways. One proof that we are not a religion is that we freely acknowledge these other paths as valuable and viable. Many good men (and women) have improved themselves without being Masons.

Fourth, our way involves religion (to the extent that we refer frequently to a Creator and the desirability of following His wishes and direction) and I suspect would be much less effective, much less meaningful to somebody without a core belief in the Almighty. We do not provide any guidance as to how to worship that Divine Being; each of us needs follow his own beliefs. All we demand is that, within lodge, each of us respecte the beliefs of those around him.

Hope that helps.

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Posted: 15 December 2016 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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If you don’t have a strong faith and really believe in the Supreme Being you will be very disappointed by Freemasonry. Everything in Freemasonry is about God, if you are not so convinced of its existence you will just waste time and money.
As others said, if you will say that you believe in the Supreme Being and make an oath on some volume of sacred law, you will get in, but then you will find out that Freemasonry doesn’t reveal any “secrets” in the way you think.

That’s just my two cents.

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Posted: 15 December 2016 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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nymaso3 - 15 December 2016 12:59 PM

Everything in Freemasonry is about God, if you are not so convinced of its existence you will just waste time and money.

So that you aren’t confused, I want to go on record as disagreeing with this statement.  Not everything in Freemasonry is about God.  In fact, a good portion of Freemasonry focuses on our relationships with each other and our families and the world in general.  God is a premise from which we all start, but Freemasonry is so much more than that.

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32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
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Posted: 15 December 2016 01:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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W Br Gleason - 14 December 2016 11:56 AM

Answer these questions.
Do you believe in a Supreme Being?
Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?
Are you over 18 (21 is some jurisdictions)?

And it will depend on the jurisdiction in which you live as to the actual requirements. The ones listed as just the basic requirements, but some jurisdictions add to the Supreme Being part. For instance, in ours, it is not just a belief in a “supreme being” but rather a Supreme Being who is the Creator Deity of all.

So in our jurisdiction claiming you belief yourself and everyone else to be a Supreme Being would not cut it.

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