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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
* 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,
"[Masonry is] that religious and mystical society whose aim
is moral perfection on the basis of general equality and
"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..." --
"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
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,
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
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,
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
another" (Isa. 42:8).
"Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord
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,
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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