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Believing in a supreme being
Posted: 31 March 2018 02:46 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hey everyone, hope all is well.

I am acutely aware that one condition for joining Freemasonry is the belief in a supreme being - please correct my terminology if it is not accurate.

So I have a few questions about that:

1. Does this need to be a belief in a supreme being such as God, Jehovah or the innumerable other names as a conscious entity?

2. If I were to say that I believed in a supreme being in an equatable way to my belief in money - that is a supreme being exists not in nature but rather the design of man alone. And that any actual power that supreme being has is merely based on human’s belief and action due to that belief. Just as money is not a natural occurrence and it is only given any power because humans decide to give it that power. Would this classify as a belief in a supreme being within the “Masonic principal” for admission to the fraternity?

Just to note that the aforementioned statement does not reflect my personal belief in a Supreme being. However, I do not believe in that entity in a way that is conventional or so literal as many people do. I’d personally call “god” the Universal Law. That is whatever rule governs all forces within the Universe. So for example, if I push an object in space we have observed it will continue to travel. My understanding of a “supreme power” is the descriptor to any rule that forces which act upon that object have. I am not sure if this would qualify as a belief in a “supreme being” according to Masonic principles either?

My apologies for the long winded question, I just thought it would be interesting to dig a bit deeper into a Masonic interpretation of Supreme being.

Kind regards,

Sol

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Posted: 31 March 2018 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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1. Normally, yes - and that is certainly the case over here in the UK, but the US GLs do often have a slightly more liberal interpretation.

2. My personal reaction to this would be ‘no’ - because belief in a Supreme Being also carries with it an implied belief in eternal life (the afterlife or life after death), and in the belief in being held accountable to Something (the Supreme Being) for your conduct through life. For me, the description you give doesn’t fit these beliefs or standards.  Belief is a Supreme Being - God, Yweh, Jehovah or whatever the individual calls Him, also implies a book sacred to the Deity that contains His Revealed Will - and is the Book on which the individual would make his promise before, and in His Name, that he will -and it’s realistically nothing more than this, keep his word; that when he promises to do or say or NOT to do or say something, he will keep that promise. That, at the end of the day, is all the Obligation an individual takes when he joins, is.  Nothing more.  It’s a test of his integrity, and whether he sticks to that promise is between him and his God and it’s to Him that he answers.

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Posted: 31 March 2018 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Richard George - 31 March 2018 06:47 AM

1. Normally, yes - and that is certainly the case over here in the UK, but the US GLs do often have a slightly more liberal interpretation.

2. My personal reaction to this would be ‘no’ - because belief in a Supreme Being also carries with it an implied belief in eternal life (the afterlife or life after death), and in the belief in being held accountable to Something (the Supreme Being) for your conduct through life. For me, the description you give doesn’t fit these beliefs or standards.  Belief is a Supreme Being - God, Yweh, Jehovah or whatever the individual calls Him, also implies a book sacred to the Deity that contains His Revealed Will - and is the Book on which the individual would make his promise before, and in His Name, that he will -and it’s realistically nothing more than this, keep his word; that when he promises to do or say or NOT to do or say something, he will keep that promise. That, at the end of the day, is all the Obligation an individual takes when he joins, is.  Nothing more.  It’s a test of his integrity, and whether he sticks to that promise is between him and his God and it’s to Him that he answers.

I respect this requirement to believe in a conscious supreme being and an afterlife. I understand how this can encourage confidence that a man will keep to his promises as he might expect to answer to his deity if he has sincere convictions in his beliefs. However, in my eyes, it would be insincere and quite disrespectful if I attempted to join Freemasonry under the pretence that I ascribed to the belief in a conscious supreme being when I do not.

This is when things get a bit more nuanced, so bare with me. I do not believe in a Supreme being that has a conscious which can be comparable on any human level. That is, I cannot accept that a Supreme being to a Human being has a brain that produces consciousness in the same manner as it does with Humans. I would not think such a thing could be called “supreme” if it had a human brain thus what humans perceive as consciousness.

However, with this said, I do understand there to be elements that are absolutely supreme to me. For example, the rules that govern how objects behave when a force acts upon them are rules I do not control. There are other such things that I believe act supreme to myself and you could call these combined factors “god.”

With respect to a belief in something that can bring consequences upon me should I not follow a particular promise - yes I do. Though I would say the consequence would be that in my dying moments i’d be consumed by a guilty conscious - so much so that if there is a hell that would be it.

Conclusively I would face any test of my sincerity and convictions by saying this; I cannot and will not persuade myself of something’s existence merely for the sake of convenience or to satisfy some longing for a moral guide. I must face truth to have a character worth anything - and truth to me is the accepting of all possibilities that I have not yet discovered, the refusal to deny any truth that has been revealed to my eyes and to never think of something as absolute truth unless I have seen it for myself.

With these things I can be earnestly satisfied that I have not deceived myself.

So—does all that fit in with Masonic principles or am I barking up the wrong tree?

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Posted: 31 March 2018 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I mean, Richard. I just had a quick gander at your profile and it says about you being a Retired software engineer. I have recently concluded my studies for a LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree and now I’m studying for a BSc in Computing and IT.

I’d a lot rather have discussed our mutual interests in the Computing and IT sphere but religion, in perfect keeping with it’s reputation has made itself the focal point of discussion.

It seems that you take for a rather literal interpretation of a “supreme being.” Of course, I respect your views on this. However, it would be kind if you took to a rather more liberal acceptance of my own belief system - but of course - this is entirely up to you.

I am going to pop over and create a new thread about a question that arose from the Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal now, so I look forward to hearing a reply from you.

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Posted: 31 March 2018 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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To be fair though, you asked for my opinion and I gave it, along with what you can probably expect from any inquiries you may make over here (as it appears you may be in the UK). 

What your beliefs are are up to you and I can accept whatever your beliefs may be - religion is not something is ever discussed in lodge and the only time it will be mentioned is when you talk to a lodge; what you tell them is up to you, but from your description, should you join, you may well feel uncomfortable as a belief in a Living God underpins everything that happens in lodge, and the (in most lodges), the King James Bible is open during meetings - that may not sit well with you, I’ve no idea, only you can decide that. (some lodges use the book sacred to the faith of the majority of the members).

As to your last point.  I’m not sure that it’s a subject for these forums, as they are for people interesting in finding out if Freemasonry is for them; they are not for the sort of questions that you seem to be suggesting.  There are plenty of other forums - masonic or otherwise, that would be more appropriate ... not to mention that these forums are mainly USA based, and I and one or two other non-USA masons are here to provide a more global view of Masonry than interested parties would otherwise get.  If you want to discuss something with possible masonic connections or implications that are specific to the UK, you’d be better visiting either lodgeroomuk.com or masonic-forum.com, both of which have many more UK masons and will be much more aware of what you are referring to.

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Richard
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Posted: 02 April 2018 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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In my Lodge:

1) YES - we ask do you believe in God the creator of all? the answer is either yes or no.
2) NO - we ask do you believe in God the Creator of all? the answer is either yes or no.

M

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Posted: 02 April 2018 06:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Mike Martin - 02 April 2018 06:16 PM

In my Lodge:

1) YES - we ask do you believe in God the creator of all? the answer is either yes or no.
2) NO - we ask do you believe in God the Creator of all? the answer is either yes or no.

M

My answer to this would be:


As a mere human being such matters as a god, the creator of all is beyond my ability to comprehend and attempting to do so would be akin to an ant trying to comprehend human consciousness. Thus the answer to your question amounts to “I don’t know” and “I don’t need to know.”

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Posted: 03 April 2018 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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salexandera - 02 April 2018 06:46 PM
Mike Martin - 02 April 2018 06:16 PM

In my Lodge:

1) YES - we ask do you believe in God the creator of all? the answer is either yes or no.
2) NO - we ask do you believe in God the Creator of all? the answer is either yes or no.

M

My answer to this would be:


As a mere human being such matters as a god, the creator of all is beyond my ability to comprehend and attempting to do so would be akin to an ant trying to comprehend human consciousness. Thus the answer to your question amounts to “I don’t know” and “I don’t need to know.”

This would be the point where your application to join my Lodge would end and we would probably still invite you to a final dinner with us but we wouldn’t be looking to Initiate you into our Lodge.

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Mike Martin
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Posted: 03 April 2018 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Sol; you will I hope, have noted that Mike too is in the UK and has basically just reiterated precisely what I said earlier. Neither of us are belittling your beliefs, it’s just that they are incompatible with freemasonry under the English Constitution.

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Richard
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Posted: 10 April 2018 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Richard George - 03 April 2018 04:08 AM

Sol; you will I hope, have noted that Mike too is in the UK and has basically just reiterated precisely what I said earlier. Neither of us are belittling your beliefs, it’s just that they are incompatible with freemasonry under the English Constitution.

Hey, sorry for the delayed reply.

I don’t feel you are belittling my beliefs, you’ve both been very accommodating and kind so thank you for that. Also, thank you for taking your time to read what i’ve written - it’s long winded even by my standards.

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Sol

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Posted: 11 April 2018 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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salexandera - 10 April 2018 12:31 PM

I don’t feel you are belittling my beliefs, you’ve both been very accommodating and kind so thank you for that. Also, thank you for taking your time to read what i’ve written - it’s long winded even by my standards.

You could always look into the Order known as Le Droit Humain. It is open to both men and women, based on Freemasonry and its ceremonies are a hybrid of Masonic and Theosophic thought, it also tends to be more accommodating of those who don’t believe in God.

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Mike Martin
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Posted: 18 April 2018 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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salexandera - 02 April 2018 06:46 PM
Mike Martin - 02 April 2018 06:16 PM

My answer to this would be:

As a mere human being such matters as a god, the creator of all is beyond my ability to comprehend and attempting to do so would be akin to an ant trying to comprehend human consciousness. Thus the answer to your question amounts to “I don’t know” and “I don’t need to know.”

We never ask if you understand the inner workings of a deity. We simply ask do you believe in a Higher Power/Supreme Being responsible for Creation. Some jurisdiction will add other qualifiers like a belief in the immortal soul/afterlife. Personally, if someone told me they understood God then I would consider them lying or nuts. I don’t think we as humans can every hope to comprehend the will/mind of God.

That being said, the way you answered those questions (I don’t know and/or no) to the question of do you believe in a Deity/Higher Power then you would be rejected as a candidate at most regular masonic lodges.

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Bro. David Howard
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