To: RBMST8@vms.cis.pitt.edu Subject: Re: Freemasonry Questions In-reply-to: Your message of "Thu, 06 Apr 1995 20:53:37 EDT." <01HP154KZJ5U9YDRYG@vms.cis.pitt.edu> Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 13:49:22 EDT From:Dear Mr. Meamber:
Sorry for the delay. Things have been busy around here the past few months.
} Dear Mr. Dryfoos, } } A close relative of mine is a Master Mason. I have always had questions } whether freemasonry was anti-Christian religion. He assures me } that it is not. I have read the FAQ on your web page and know it } states freemasonry is not a religion. But I have a few } questions that have been bothering me. I would appreciate if you } could help clear them up. I must admit that I probably will } never attempt to join freemasonry, even if I have no personal } troubles regarding masonry, because I generally do not feel } comfortable in social clubs (not even exclusively Christian ones). } } I would very much like to know the answers to the following } questions. } } 1. Why do Masons have group prayers at all, if no religion is stressed.A lot of organizations start their meetings with prayers, don't they? Even the US congress does. Surely you don't think that Congress is a religion?
} It would seem to me that you could state your desire to be good } citizens, etc, in the form of pledges. Praying only to a generic } supreme being gives the impression to me that freemasonry is in } part a religion. And I am concerned that if you are not allowed } to pray in Jesus' name, then the prayer is meant for someone else.Suppose you and I were in a room together, and I say, "let us pray: Oh Lord, watch over all of us here and teach us to treat each other with brotherly love. Amen." Do you really think that by leaving out "in Jesus's name" that I am secretly hijacking that prayer toward some other God? Do you really believe in other gods who can have your prayers hijacked towards them, despite your own reverence to Christ?
} I go to chess club and we don't pray, although I am pretty sure } most of the people are very good citizens and believe in some } supreme being (an we go to socialize). I just do not see the } reason to pray at all. The Bible says to close prayers in Jesus' } name, so if you pray at a meeting and don't do this, isn't this } really a form of anti-Christianity?Personally, I am not a Christian. I will never end my prayers the way you wish to end yours.
If you think that makes me specifically _anti_-Christian, then there is nothing further for us to discuss.
} 2. Why does the Masonic Bible delete a lot (all?) references about Jesus?Who told you that? It isn't true, so you must have read it from somewhere, probably an anti-Masonic pamphlet.
A "Masonic" Bible is any _ordinary_ Bible (King James or any other version -- which means a translation, unless you think that Jesus spoke English 1400 years before anyone else did) with Masonic pictures in it (like pictures of Solomon's Temple) and Masonic essays in the front, as well as a special page or two for a new Master Mason to have his lodge brothers sign the bible as a keepsake.
I am not lying to you about any of this. You can see that for yourself, (if you believe in proof by investigation instead of by authoritative assertion): You can find Masonic bibles available in Masonic catalogs, or a Masonic Grand Lodge's library, or in the homes of any Masons you know.
Whoever told you that Masonic bibles "delete references about Jesus" was lying to to you, plain and simple. Ask them why.
} 3. If symbols are used to teach/remind freemasons of 'good' lessons and } principles, why do many of them have to be paganistic.Again, who told you that they were?
Do you mean for instance that since Pythagoras (founder of an important school of geometry many centuries before Jesus) was a pagan, that we shouldn't honor his memory as a great scholar and philosopher? I'm afraid I can't agree.
On the other hand, if someone has told you that Masons use "Satanic" symbols of some kind in our rituals, they're lying to you again. Also, remember that the idea "Satan" as the "Anti-Christ" or "Devil" who is God's evil rival, is a Christian invention, and is only a part of Christian theologies. So people from other religions who don't accept Christian beliefs, wouldn't accept "Satanic" ones either.
} I agree it could } be coincidental, but it gives the impression that a religion is being } taught indirectly. Would you clarify why a group that is not for } any specific religion uses the symbols of a paganistic religion at all? } I am sure Jewish Masons would be offended by a crucifix used to } symbolize a 'good' principle.No. Our lodges are dedicated to the 2 Sts. John, and our Jewish brethren in the lodges are not offended to see a picture of St. John the Evangelist, portrayed with a cross, as one of our important emblems.
} Aren't Christians offended when they } see non-Christian religious symbols? Many of the symbols are not } boviously religious in nature, so why not all of them?No. Masons are tolerant, or ecumenical. Our overriding goal is learning to live with everyone else on the planet in harmony. Insisting that they all first agree with some specific mandatory religion isn't a particularly good way to do that. Our Christian brothers are good Christians. Our other brothers are not. They are good Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Jains, Hindus, Buddhists, or whatever else. This pisses off a lot of intolerant people, but all we can do about that is remain patient, reply to slanders and falsehoods, and hold true to our beliefs.
} Thank you for your time. In no way am I saying that Christian Masons } have anti-Christian thoughts. There have been thousands of good, } prominent Christian men who have been Masons. I just want to know how } Christians can reconcile the above points. I would appreciate your } thoughts. } } Sincerely, } } Richard Meamber } firstname.lastname@example.orgHope that helps.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------- | Gary L. Dryfoos
ofc: 617.253-0184 fax: 617.253-8665 | P.O.Box 505, Cambridge, MA 02142 URL: http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/www/ | Master, Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, Mass. | P.M. Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Winthrop, Mass. (1988-90, 1991-93) | "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among | whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention, | or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree." +===========================================================================