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Subject: Is Freemasonry A Religion?

All Follow-Up: Re: Is Freemasonry A Religion?
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 03:25:12 -0600
References: 1,

* As Sovereign Grand Commander Henry C. Claussen admits, "It 
must be apparent that the Blue Lodge...degrees cannot 
explain the whole of Masonry.  They are the foundation...An 
initiate may imagine he understands the ethics, symbols and 
enigmas, whereas a true explanation of these is reserved for 
the more adept" [Claussen's Commentaries on Morals and 
Dogma... pg. 148]

In Albert G. Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry he 
states, "All [Masons] unite in declaring it to be a system 
of morality, by the practice of which its members may 
advance their spiritual interest, and mount by the 
theological ladder from the Lodge on earth to the Lodge in 
heaven.  [Vol.I pg. 269]

"It is a science which is engaged in the search after Divine 
Truth, and which employs symbolism as its method of 
instruction" [Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 
Vol.I pg.269]
"[Masonry is] that religious and mystical society whose aim 
is moral perfection on the basis of general equality and 
fraternity" [ibid]
"Freemasonry, in its broadest and most comprehensive sense, 
is a system of morality and social ethics, a primitive 
religion, and a philosophy of life...incorporating a broad 
humanitarianism...It is a religion without a creed, being of 
no sect by finding truth in all...It seeks truth but does 
not define truth..." [Henry Wilson Coil, A Comprehensive 
View of Freemasonry, pg.234]

Religion - a belief in a divine or super human power...to be 
obeyed and worshipped as the Creator and ruler of the 
universe; expression of...this belief in conduct and 
ritual..  [Webster's New World Dictionary]

"Freemasonry certainly requires a belief in the existence 
of, and man's dependence upon, a Supreme Being to whom he is 
responsible.  What can a church add to that, except to bring 
into one fellowship those who have like feelings?...That is 
exactly what the Lodge does."  [Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, 

Albert Mackey in Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of 
Freemasonry, the third most recommended author by the Grand 
Lodges, quotes Webster's definition of religion then 
comments, "Freemasonry may rightfully claim to be called a 
religious institution" [Vol.II pg.847]

He who wears the lambskin as a badge of a Mason is thereby 
continually reminded of purity of life and conduct which is 
essentially necessary to his gaining admission into that 
celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the 
universe presides" [Malcom C. Duncan, Masonic Ritual and 
Monitor pg.50]  [Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. and A.M., 
Monitor of the Lodge: Monitorial Instructions in the Three 
Degrees of Symbolic Masonry, pg. 88]

"Freemasonry has a religious service to commit the body of a 
deceased brother to the dust whence it came, and to speed 
the liberated spirit back to the Great Source of Light.  
Many Freemasons make this flight with *no other guarantee of 
a safe landing than their belief in the religion of 
Freemasonry*" [Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, pg.512]

Some Masons say, along with Masonic apologist Alphonse 
Cerza, "Freemasonry cannot be a religion because it has not 
creed; it has not confession of faith; it has not theology, 
no ritual of worship" [Alphonse Cerza, "Let There Be Light" 

Webster defines "creed" as: "a statement of belief, 
principles, or opinions on any subject".

In Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia we find:
 "Does Freemasonry have a creed...or tenet...or 
dogma...to which all members must adhere?  Does Freemasonry 
continually teach and insist upon a creed, tenet and dogma?   
Does it have meetings characterized by the practice of rites 
and ceremonies in, and by which, its creed tenet and dogma 
are illustrated, in myth, symbols and allegories?  If 
Freemasonry were not religion, what would have to be done to 
make it such?  Nothing would be necessary, or at least 
nothing but to add more of the same" [[pg.512]

Coil goes on to admit that not only does Freemasonry have a 
creed, but it also functions as a church.
 "That brings us to the real crux of the matter.  The 
difference between a Lodge and a church is one of degree and 
not kind.  Some think because it [the Lodge] is not a strong 
or highly formalized or highly dogmatized religion, such as 
the Roman Catholic Church...it can be no religion at all.  
But a church of friends (Quakers) exhibits even less 
formality and ritual then does a Masonic Lodge"  [pg.512].

In conclusion, Coil writes, "The fact that Freemasonry is a 
mild religion does not mean that it is no religion" pg.512].

Does Freemasonry teach its own theology, as a religion does?
"For example, Masonry clearly teaches theology during the 
Royal Arch degree (York Rite), when it tells each candidate 
that the lost name for God will now be revealed to them. The 
name that is given is Jahbulon.  This is a composite term 
joining Jehovah with two pagan gods -- the evil Canaanite 
deity Baal (Jeremiah 19:5; Judges 3:7; 10:6), and the 
Egyptian god Osiris [Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, pg.516; 
Malcom C. Duncan, Masonic Ritual and Monitor, pg. 226].

The Oxford American Dictionary defines theology as "a system 
of religion."  Webster defines theology as "the study of God 
and the relation between God and the universe...A specific 
form or system...as expounded by a particular religion or 

Does Masonry fulfill these definitions?

"As Joseph Fort Newton said, "Everything in Masonry has 
reference to God, implies God, speaks of God, points and 
leads to God.  Not a degree, not a symbol, not an 
obligation, not a lecture, not a charge but finds its 
meaning and derives its beauty from God, the Great 
Architect, in whose temple all Masons are workmen" [The 
Religion of Freemasonry, An Interpretation, pg. 58-59].

Anyone who says the Masonic Lodge does not teach theology is 
uninformed or just plain lying.

Webster's Dictionary defines "worship" as "a prayer...or 
other rite showing reverence or devotion for a deity..." --
for God.

 "Masons walk in His [God's] presence constantly...[In 
ritual the "lights" -- candles] formed a triangle about the 
altar at which you knelt in reverence. They symbolized the 
presence of Deity...The Masonic altar can be said to be one 
of sacrifice...You have taken obligations [to God] that have 
sacrificed your self-interest forevermore" [Allen E. 
Roberts, The Craft and Its Symbols: Opening The Door to 
Masonic Symbolism, pg.57,64]

"Freemasonry's Lodges are erected to God...Symbolically, to 
'erect to God' means to construct something in honor, in 
worship, in reverence to and for Him.  Hardly is the 
initiate within the West Gate before he is impressed that 
Freemasonry worships God"  [Carl H. Claudy, Foreign 
Countries: A Gateway t the Interpretation and Development of 
Certain Symbols of Freemasonry, pg.23].

As Albert Pike admitted in Morals and Dogma, "Masonry is a 
[system] of worship"  pg.526].

"The fact that Freemasonry is a mild religion does not mean 
that it
is no religion"  [Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, pg.512]

Is Freemasonry a religion?
"We open and close our Lodges with prayer; we invoke the 
blessing of the Most High upon all our labors; we demand of 
our neophytes a profession of trusting belief in the 
existence and superintending care of God; and we teach them 
to bow with humility and reverence at his sacred name, while 
his holy law is widely opened upon our altars...It is 
impossible that a Freemason can be 'true and trusty' to his 
order unless he is a respecter of religion and an observer 
of religious principle" Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of 
Freemasonry, Vol.II pg.847]

"The religion of Freemasonry is not sectarian. It admits men 
of every creed within its hospitable bosom, rejecting none 
and approving none for his peculiar faith. It is not 
Judaism, though there is nothing in it to offend the Jew;  
it is not Christianity, but there is nothing in it repugnant 
to the faith of a Christian.  Its religion is that general 
one of nature and primitive revelation handed down to us 
from some ancient and patriarchal priesthood -- in which all 
men may agree and in which no men can differ"  [Mackey's 
Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Vol.II, 
pg. 847-48].

Henry Wilson Coil in his 15,000-word article proving 
Freemasonry is a religion correctly concludes: Nothing 
herein is intended to be an argument that Freemasonry ought 
to be religion. Our purpose is simply to determine what it 
has become, an is" [Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, pg.513].

During Masonic ceremonies various symbols are employed. 
Different symbols are used to identify the same idea or 
teaching -- for example, both the compass and the sprig of 
the acacia can symbolize immortality [The Craft And Its 
Symbols: Opening The Door To Masonic Symbolism, pg.62,80].

"To study the symbolism of Masonry is the only way to 
investigate its philosophy" [The Symbolism of Freemasonry, 

Albert Mackey who held the highest position Masonry has to 
offer has told us that candidate who seeks to enter the 
Lodge is seeking divine truth.

"There he stand without [outside] our portals, on the 
threshold of his new Masonic life, in darkness, helplessness 
and ignorance.  Having been wandering amid the errors and 
covered over with the pollutions of the outer and profane 
world, he comes inquiringly to our door, seeking the new 
birth, and asking a withdrawal of the veil which conceals 
divine truth from his uninitiated sight" [The Manual of the 
Lodge, pg.20].

In Henry Wilson Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia he writes, 
"Light is everywhere the symbol of intelligence, 
information, knowledge, and truth and is opposed to darkness 
which symbolizes ignorance and evil. So, in the ceremonies, 
the candidate is said to be brought from darkness to light" 

Masonry teaches that their God, The Great Architect of the 
Universe must remain undefined.

"Men have to decide whether they want a God like the ancient 
Hebrew Jahweh, a partisan tribal god, with whom they can 
talk and argue and from whom they can hide if necessary, or 
a boundless, eternal, universal, undenominational, and 
international Divine Spirit, so vastly removed from the 
speck called man, that he cannot be known, named or 
approached.  So soon as man begins to laud his God and endow 
him with the most perfect human attributes such as justice, 
mercy, beneficence, etc., the Divine Essence is depreciated 
and despoiled...Monotheism...violates Masonic principles, 
for it requires belief in a specific kind of Supreme Deity" 
[Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, pg.516-17].

"Specifically, the Masonic Lodge teaches its belief in the 
unity and universality of all men as "one family" accepted 
by God regardless of race, religion, or creed [The Craft and 
its Symbols: Opening the Door to Masonic Symbolism, pg.21]

"through these teachings the Mason will put into practice 
the brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God.  In 
doing so, he will develop his character and personality in 
the image of the Great Architect of the Universe" [ibid. 

"Among the most beautiful of Freemasonry's symbols, these 
express at the very beginning the fundamental principle of 
Freemasonry: the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of 
man" [A Gateway to the Interpretation and Development of 
Certain Symbols of Freemasonry, pg.24]

"The temple that the Craft is building is the unification 
and the harmonizing of the entire human family.  this is 
summed up for us in the will known lines: 'God hath made 
mankind one vast brotherhood, Himself their Master, and the 
world His Lodge'"[The Spirit of Masonry, pg.110]

As Martin L. Wagner has correctly stated, 
"This Great Architect as conceived by Freemasons is not 
identical with the Jehovah of Christianity, but...is another 
and distinct entity."
He says they "are entirely separate and different, mutually 
exclusive and no syncretism can harmonize them" 
[Freemasonry: An Interpretation, pg. 321, 300].

"The God of the nineteen-twentieths of the Christian world 
is only Bel [Baal], Molach, Zeus, or at best Osiris, Mythras 
or Adonai, under another name, worshipped with the old pagan 
ceremonies and ritualistic formulas..."  [Morals and Dogma 
of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 
pg. 295-96].

The candidate is clearly instructed in his Masonic manual 
that the term "Jahbulon" is a composite term for Jehovah 
(Jah), Baal (Bul or Bel), and Osiris (On, a corruption of 
Os) [Masonic Ritual and Monitor, pg.226].

"In this compound name an attempt is made to show by a co-
ordination of divine names...the unity, identity, and 
harmony of the Hebrew, Assyrian and Egyptian god-ideas, and 
the harmony of the Royal Arch religion with these ancient 
religions.  This Masonic 'unity of God' is peculiar.  It is 
the doctrine that the different names of gods as Brahma, 
Jehovah, Baal, Bel, Om, On, etc., all denote the generative 
principle, and that all religions are essentially the same 
in their ideas of the divine"
[Freemasonry: An Interpretation pg. 338-39].

Masonry also teaches that God is an amalgamation of all 
"[The Mason] may name Him [God] as he will, think of Him as 
he pleases; make Him impersonal law or personal and 
anthropomorphic; Freemasonry cares not...God, Great 
Architect of the Universe, Grand Artificer, Grand Master of 
the Grand Lodge Above, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Brahma, 
Vishnu, Shiva, or Great Geometer..."  [Introduction to 
Freemasonry Vol II:110, by Carl H. Claudy]

But the Bible teaches that the Christian God alone is the 
one true God - He is not an amalgamation of all gods;

 "O Lord, the God of Israel, there is no god like Thee 
 heaven or on earth..."  (2 Chron. 6:14).

 "I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give my 
glory to
 another" (Isa. 42:8).

 "Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord 
is God 
 in heaven above and on the earth below.  There is no 
 (Deut. 4:39 NIV).

Masonry also denies the biblical teaching on Jesus Christ.  
Albert Pike taught that Masonry held that Jesus Christ was 
only a man and not God:

 "It reverences all the great reformers.  It sees in 
Moses, the Lawgiver, of the Jews, in Confucius and 
Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in the Arabian 
Iconoclast, Great Teachers of Morality, and Eminent 
Reformers, if no more..."  
 (Morals and Dogma, pg. 525).

The important Masonic Ritual called the Maundy Thursday 
Ritual of the chapter of Rose Croix states officially, "We 
meet this day to commemorate the death [of Jesus], not as 
inspired or divine, for this is not for us to decide.  
[Henry C. Clausen, Practice and Procedure for the Scottish 
Rite, Washington DC, The Supremem Council, 33rd, Degree, 
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Mother 
Jurisdiction of the World, 1981].

As for Past Master Mason Edmund Ronayne confesses:  "The 
very religious philosophy and false worship which caused 
Jehovah to destroy His own temple, and banish into captivity 
His ancient people, are precisely the same philosophy and 
worship which modern Masons profess shall fit them for the 
glories of heaven"  [E. Ronayne, Chapter Masonry, Chicago, 
Il, Ezra A. Cook. 1984, pg. 126].

"Freemasonry 'carefully excludes' the Lord Jesus Christ from 
the Lodge and chapter, repudiates his meadiatorship, rejects 
his atonement, denies and disowns his gospel, frowns upon 
his religion and his church, ignores the Holy Spirit, and 
sets up for itslef a spiritual empire, a religious 
theocracy, at the head of which it places the G.A.O.T.U. - 
the god of nature - and from which the one only living and 
true God is expelled by resolution...  [Edmond Ronayne, The 
Master's Carpet; or Masonry and Baal-Worship - Identical, 
pg. 87]

In Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia we read, "The prevailing 
Masonic opinion is that the Bible is only a symbol of Divine 
Will, Law, or Revelation, and not that its contents are 
Divine Law, inspired, or revealed.  So far, no responsible 
authority has held that a Freemason must believe the Bible 
or any part of it" (pg. 520)

The Bibles of other faiths are equally vilid for the Mason, 
Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry states:

 "The Bible is used among Freemasons as a symbol of the 
will of God, however it may be expressed. Therefore, 
whatever to any people expresses that will [of God] may be 
used as a substitute for the Bible in a Masonic Lodge.  
Thus, in a Lodge consisting entirely of Jews, the Old 
Testament alone may be placed upon the altar, and Turkish 
Freemasons [Muslims] make use of the Koran.  Whether it be 
the Gospels to the Christian, the Pentateuch to the 
Israelite, the Koran to the Mussulman, [sic; Muslim] or the 
Vedas to the Brahman, it everywhere Masonically conveys the 
same idea - that of the symbolism of the Divine Will 
revealed to man"   [Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of 
Freemasonry, vol. 1  pg. 133].

"Thus, by the very honor which Masonry pays to the Bible, it 
teaches us to revere every book of faith...joining hands 
with the man of Islam as he takes oath on the Koran, and 
with the Hindu as he makes covenant with God upon the book 
that he loves best...[Masonry] invites to its altar men of 
all faiths, knowing that, if they use different names for 
'the nameless one of a hundred names' they are yet praying 
to the one God and Father of all; knowing, also, that while 
they read different volumes, they are in fact reading the 
same vast Book of the Faith of Man as revealed in the 
struggle and sorrow of the race in its quest of God.
[Temple Illustrated Edition of the Holy Bible, by Joseph 
Fort Newton, pg. 3-4]

How can a Christian Mason, who claims to believe that the 
Bible is the literal Word of God, help promote an 
organization that denies the Bible is God's Word and denies 
Jesus' teaching on the Bible?  Scripture tells us we are to 
live "worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom 
and glory"  (1 Thess. 2:12).

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