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Oaths and being “unequally yoked?”
Posted: 20 July 2018 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I am asking this question in regards to 1 Corinthians 6:14, to those Masons here who are active Christians who are avid Bible readers. I am very drawn to Freemasonry and I don’t share the common Christian beliefs that Freemasonry is into evil stuff like Satan worship. I believe that it would be a good thing for me. However, in Freemasonry I would be sharing membership with people of many other faiths. On the other hand, I am pondering the actual context of the Bible verse at hand. It speaks of being “yoked” which symbolically means “teachings.” I wouldn’t be yoked in the sense that Freemasonry would take precedence over my own beliefs. And if yoked means teachings,  then that would mean that a yoke is something altogether different and apart from an oath of membership, correct?

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Posted: 21 July 2018 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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From my perspective, I think you’ve come to the wrong place to ask your question.

Freemasonry does not interpose itself between a Freemason and his religious beliefs, nor does it attempt to interpret meanings of Bible passages. I suspect that you would be better served finding a Christian discussion forum or even batter speaking to your Priest, Vicar or Pastor for his or her advice.

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Posted: 21 July 2018 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Welcome and thank you for your question. While this is not the place for a discussion of religion, I will try to answer your question as a Christian who is also a Mason.

First off, not to be picky, but I think you are meaning 2nd Corinthians VI:14, which talks about not allowing yourself to be unequally yoked to unbelievers.

I am not a great theologian and am, frankly, somewhat skeptical of some claiming to be. Nonetheless, none of the commentary I have read on this verse centres on ‘yoke’ equaling ‘teaching’. (I would of course be interested in a reference.) To me, the verse can be taken more literally than that, being an admonition about not tying yourself to those with non-Christian values. Marrying a person not of your faith, for instance, brings strain to that relationship and might draw one away from Christianity.

Yet can we take it as across-the-board advice for daily living? It may have been possible 2,000 years ago, for people lived in small groups then. It would have been completely possible for a man or woman to only live among and deal with fellow Christians. Today? I would say that for most of us, no matter how devout, it would be almost impossible. Our society is too homogeneous and our lives too complicated for that. From that, I do not think it possible for us to follow Paul’s advice in a complete and total fashion. We can of course keep to the the core of it.

Cutting to the chase - Christians and Freemasonry. First off, in 40 years as a Mason, I have seen nothing which in any way contradicts my Christian faith. Masonry’s tenets encourage upright behaviour, treating all people well, being honest, obeying the Creator’s commandments and so forth. Such things are entirely consistent with Christianity.

Yes, in lodge, one associates with men of other faiths. Does that violate the observation on ‘yokes’? I don’t think so,  for all are working for the same aim - being a better man. Not a better Christian or a better Jew or a better Muslim (my lodge had all three, and others), but a better man - more charitable, more honest, more loving. It is to me no different than a town council or a university class or pickup softball - you don’t have to agree with the other members’ religion to be there.

Back to ‘teachings’. In the same way that a sports enthusiast might use sports analogies (“It’s a home run!”) in a lecture or speech, Masonic teachings use a great deal of symbolism and allegory. The square in our square-and-compasses symbol, for instance, serves as a constant reminder that we should treat all men squarely - fairly, ie. The building of King Solomon’s temple can be taken as a study in fortitude, devotion and keeping faith in the face of adversity, be it a major project or just a man moving through life.  In other words, our teachings are a philosophic system of morality, using symbols and allegory as teaching aids.

If it matters, the actual discussion of religion in any form is banned inside a lodge. Nobody will challenge a Christian’s beliefs. We are not obligated to adopt another’s faith, merely to accept their faith in it and accept their good will. That does not conflict with Paul, I think.

Hope that helps.

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WM Zetland Lodge No. 83 - 2017

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Posted: 22 July 2018 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I personally think that too many people forget that Paul was writing at a time when Christians were relatively small in numbers, were subject to persecution, and under considerable pressure to give up their (at the time) new-found beliefs.  Small wonder then, that a great deal of his letters were to do with encouraging his fellow Christians - many who would not have been so secure in their faith as he was, not to give up and be strong in the face of persecution.  Is that true today?  Maybe for some who’s faith is not as strong as they would have you believe, but I don’t think that is likely to apply to many -if any, masons; on the contrary, I suspect that we -regardless of the individual’s personal faith, are strong in our love of God - however the individual chooses to worship Him.

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Posted: 22 July 2018 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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A good point.

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Bro. Bob
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
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Raised 18 October 1979
WM Zetland Lodge No. 83 - 2017

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Posted: 22 July 2018 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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The decision to join or not is entirely yours. We always encourage the men who are curious about our order to make the decision prayerfully and carefully. In my experience, those who comb scripture for reasons to not join are disposed against joining for other reasons and are really looking for a graceful way out. Cherry picking the Holy Bible allows anybody to find a passage supporting the decision they’ve already made.

My advice is to look deeper into yourself, pray and contemplate your reasons for and against joining our Fraternity. If you find there is fear, seek understanding. If you find doubt, seek answers. The Fraternity has survived for a very long time and it is my fervent hope that it will continue to florish. We all are men who believe in the teachings of the Grand Architect, whatever name you give Him outside of lodge. I can assure you without hesitation or equivocation that my faith was deepened, not deminished by my experiences in the Craft. The most wonderful part is being in the company of so many good men wherever I travel who feel the same and call me brother.

This is a big decision. Take it not only seriously but honestly.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
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God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 27 July 2018 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Richard George - 22 July 2018 11:48 AM

I personally think that too many people forget that Paul was writing at a time when Christians were relatively small in numbers, were subject to persecution, and under considerable pressure to give up their (at the time) new-found beliefs.  Small wonder then, that a great deal of his letters were to do with encouraging his fellow Christians - many who would not have been so secure in their faith as he was, not to give up and be strong in the face of persecution.  Is that true today?  Maybe for some who’s faith is not as strong as they would have you believe, but I don’t think that is likely to apply to many -if any, masons; on the contrary, I suspect that we -regardless of the individual’s personal faith, are strong in our love of God - however the individual chooses to worship Him.

Very well explained and written Brother John. I agree 100% with your analysis. Great answer.

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Bro.Ed Pickett Jr.
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La Belle Vallee Lodge No 232 F&AM;
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Initiated 1-14-13, Passed 2-11-13, Raised 3-11-13

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Posted: 22 October 2018 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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As a devout Evangelical Christian, I’ve found no conflicts with my faith and Freemasonry in any way.

I don’t know what the religions of my Lodge brothers are because we don’t talk about it. And honestly, for the “work” we do, it doesn’t matter any more than the faith of the guy who makes your pizza matters. I know that at least one brother is Jewish because when he is at Lodge, we ad Torah to the altar where the Bible already sits. Do I care if the guy who makes my pizza is Jewish? Nah.

I honestly believe my connection to my faith and Bible stories probably gave me a deeper experience with my degrees than some of the other Brethren may have had >IF< they simply view the teachings as symbolic.

I also don’t generally advertise that I am a Mason. I never talk about it with my church members because I am aware of potential anti-Mason push back. I also don’t talk about church with the Lodge. Neither activity is effected by the other. It’s not a secret, but I’ve just seen no reason to dig my heels in over it.

My wife trusts the man she married, that if I ever see anything in lodge that conflicts with my relationship with God, I’ll just leave. My son (26) knows I am a Mason, and at least 2 of my three daughters know (24,20 and 17), but they are so caught up in their own social activities that they have no idea what Masons even do. They just know we get pancakes before we go to church once a month!

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Golden, CO

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