Freemasonry has never been more relevant. By uniting manifold faiths – even bridging faith and science – Freemasonry is an aperture for light in a world otherwise overwhelmed in darkness.
It is ironic that perhaps the most profound impetus of Freemasonry is also its chief cause of criticism. Freemasonry unites men of different faiths around a common altar, providing a shared space for contemplation of sacred things. This upsets fundamentalists – Christians, Muslims, Jews – and rankles their zeal.
Rather than seeing tolerance as a road to shared understanding, and thereby peace, zealots see this sharing of sacred space among contrary faiths as somehow impious. If the teaching of a group is not exclusive, they murmur, then it must be profane.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
In an attitude of tolerance, and to show that good works transcend ideological boundaries, Jesus Christ, for example, chose a Samaritan (and significantly not an Essene or any other member of a Jewish sect) as the exemplar of practicing the moral law. When asked what one need do to inherit eternal life [Luke 10:25] Christ responded with, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” [Luke 10: 27]. This, we might imagine, applies to anyone, then, indeed everyone, who fulfills this law of laws – the so-called golden rule.
It is of great concern, then, at least in the United States, that many Christians reject Freemasonry simply because it entertains (or at least tolerates) additional faiths. It is precisely in such an air of peaceable tolerance where any conversion is more properly effected. Moreover, Freemasonry is not a religion in and of itself. Freemasonry is a means to assemble, and a code of moral conduct enforceable across, and perhaps recognizable within, all faiths. It is as improper to decry Masonry for admission of a plurality of faiths among its membership as it is to denounce the United States of America because it protects a plurality of faiths across its citizens!
There is no doubt that religion, with its ideological tenets, is frequently abused by the warmonger. By positioning a religion contextually in support of a bellicose agenda, the ideologue readily recruits soldiery in place of disciples, rapidly supplants morals with situational ethics, and assumes material wealth in lieu of any spiritual treasure.
It’s remarkable how often money becomes the tool by which faith is measured.
This is just as much the case amidst those peaceable annals of religiosity –that domain frequented as much by the televangelist as the prestidigitator. But any time faith is used to excuse war, or any time sins are rendered redeemable by some financial donation, it’s never salvation that is transacted. Religion becomes the pretext by which a zealous flock will pay any – indeed, the ultimate – price.
But Freemasonry lives the golden rule. Freemasonry donates millions of dollars every day to charities around the world, and for the most part anonymously. Freemasonry brings together men united under a common experience, in Lodge assembled, to move together as a single body governed by the will of the majority. It respects all its members equally, without prejudice.
It is wrong for any religion to denounce Freemasonry. Because Freemasonry is concerned with good works, philosophical exegesis and, in that space where all faiths overlap, mutual discovery of an archetypal truth that underpins the world. There can be no doubt, as a system of moral instruction, as a bastion of mutual tolerance, as a light to personal discovery, and in pursuit of excellence – Freemasonry has never been more relevant!