Monday, May 30, 2011

Poll: "Is Freemasonry compatible with Christianity?"

The UK's Church Times has an article about the recent situation with the Church of England in which Reverend Jonathan Baker was encouraged to resign his Masonic membership by the Archbishop of Canterbury before his consecration as the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

If you have an opinion on the matter, the Church Times also has an online poll asking the question, "Is Freemasonry compatible with Christianity?"

Currently, out of 12,094 votes, 95% of the responses are "yes."

I'd say that's pretty overwhelming.

See also: More Masonophobia in the Church of England

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UPDATE June 3rd

An interesting lineup of letters in the Church Times this week, including a response from the Grand Secretary of the UGLE. I don't know about other U.S. Masons, but I was a little surprised to read that UGLE made changes in its ritual to respond to Church of England objections in the 1980s.

Really. The word J--b-l-- was removed from the English Royal Arch degree.

As to his note that Freemasonry does not prohibit women from joining, we concur in the U.S. Mainstream Freemasonry merely requires its members to not be present at the making of women Masons, and not to communicate Masonically with them. But just as in England, I think we all realize there are female Freemasons here and all around the world who are every bit as passionate about the Craft as we are.

As to allegations of Freemasons secretly scratching each others' backs for job advancement and pecuniary reward, good for Mr Christopher Haffner for asking, "does anyone know how much back-scratching goes into the secret process of making senior appointments in the Church of England?"

10 comments:

Jonathan said...

I would say if you think not, then you understand neither Christianity nor Freemasonry. --- CL Freemason :) aka Bro Jonathan

Dave said...

Brethren

Freedom of thought, religion and political ideas are ideals that democracy is founded upon.
As Masons we do not ,in lodge, discuss either of these personal freedoms. It is divisive.
The early builders, both operative and speculative could not build the great building with such disruptions. Nor square their Spiritual Ashlar for the house not made with Hands.
I am very disappointed that the Anglican Clergy would suggest such a request.
Fraternally
David C. Triplett PGM Idaho

Anthony M. said...

I have often wondered this myself. I truly don't mean to be contrary-minded, but I have to wonder, having read the book of Ephesians and studying the Gospels, can a Christian be a Freemason and still live within the tenants of his religion? Often when I have asked this question of well-informed brethren, the answer I receive is an immediate "Yes", followed by a chastising for suggesting otherwise. I have yet to hear any valid debate for the passages in Ephesians 5 in favor of the fraternity. Anyone can pick up the Bible and read what Ephesians says. Its right there in print, and its really not a matter of interpretation. So I pose the question again: how does the fraternity defend or refute those passages in the Holy Bible which prohibit Christians from being Freemasons?

Anthony M.
Kansas City, MO

Chris Hodapp said...

Well, Anthony, to begin with, Freemasonry is not "unfruitful works of darkness". Your interpretation may differ. In which case, Freemasonry is not for you. But your interpretation is most certainly open to debate. Millions of other Christian Masons see no conflict.

KSigMason said...

I am glad to see such an overwhelming percentage in the polls. It shows that people are not swayed by such partisanship.

In my travels, I met with a Brother who lent me a book called "Workman Unashamed". The author, Christopher Haffner, is an English Freemason and speaks upon misconceptions and lies held against the Craft in regards to its compatibility with Christianity. I don't agree with all his views, but its an intriguing read nonetheless.

KSigMason aka Barry E Newell, PM, Idaho

Richard said...

Anthony, I have to ask you how you read Ephesians 5 as a literal prohibition of "Christians from being Freemasons?" Frankly, I just don't see it. Having come from a very religious evangelical upbringing, graduated from and taught at a Christian College, I am well acquainted with the scriptures. I simply cannot find any such prohibition plainly revealed in the text.

My guess is that you are focusing solely on verse 12, and likely from the KJV, which says "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." There are a few problems with this line of thought, the primary one being that the passage is actually referring to the previous verse: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them," which Chris has all ready commented about. That is not at all what Freemasonry teaches or practices -- far from it -- and those who say otherwise really don't know much about the fraternity. The text is not referring to "Secret Societies," and even of it were, Freemasonry is really no more "secret" than any one of a great many other organizations -- most likely including your church's governing body when they hold a closed door session.

It is unfortunate that so many religious folks look upon things they don't understand with such a jaundiced eye. Freemasonry has never tried to supplant religion, but rather, has encourages its members to become better practitioners of their own individual religion. Therein lies the rub; far too many are intolerant of anything that encourages anything other than what they personally believe to be truth. Since Freemasonry does not "take sides" in the religious debate about what leads to salvation, but rather, concentrates on the common belief in the sovereignty and fatherhood of one God, as well as the commonly held morality attuned to such a belief, some folks become upset because their personal system is not upheld as superior to all others. Since Freemasonry is not a religion, such teaching has no place in it -- any more than it does in other sectarian organizations that also acknowledge our creator and attempts to unify rather than divide.

Richard Muth, PM
Parian Lodge No. 662
Beaver Falls, PA

Chris Hodapp said...

It never ceases to amaze me the way some can take a single sentence, strip it of its context (and thus its meaning) and use it as rhetorical and ecclesiastical stick to whack away at some perceived wrong.

Richard said...

I agree, Chris, and yet, "cherry picking" is not unique to this sort of situation. It is done by so very many -- including journalists and others who should "know better" -- to support so very many causes and opinions. Some will believe what they WANT to believe regardless of what the facts actually show and there is simply no dissuading them.

With regard to Scripture, however, my favorite example of using individual verses out of context is the story of a man who sought guidance from the the Great Light by means of randomly sticking his finger into it (as opposed to studying it as a guide, which is, of course, just too much work...) One day in his haste he randomly opened the Word and laid his finger upon Matthew 27:5. Needing further direction, he then landed upon Luke 10:37. What he then did with this advice is not known, but I hope our friend Anthony does not follow a similar form of guidance from the Good Book.

RFM

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Although you should go look them up for yourself, here are the verses cited:

Matthew 27:5 (NIV)
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Luke 10:37 (NIV)
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Tom Accuosti said...

One of the issues is that Christianity - like Masonry, actually - is different for each branch; there's no one head or spokesperson for Christianity.

In the US, there are no problems with some branches; some ministers in certain sects are Masons themselves, and I know of several. Other branches (generally, but not always, those of a more fundamentalist philosophy) tend to see incompatibilities, some going so far as to request that the congregants give up their lodge membership.

I have occasional discussions with the members of a nearby church who are doubtful about the compatibility of Freemasonry with Christianity (i.e., as they understand it). The amusing part is when I explain how many of the "Founding Fathers" were Masons; they have a hard time reconciling that.

ppfuchs- Peter P. Fuchs said...

They seem to be ignoring the very august history of Anglican clerics deeply devoted to the Craft. This is a noble tradition, and part of the Craft's history that everyone is proud of because it is closely tied with other accomplishments in English history. Such pride is not sullied one bit by the current politically motivated dalliance with Masnophobia. This "phobia" is not a serious thing, but only a manifestation of awkwardness that greets absolutely everything that does not fit under the conceptual hegemon of the sound-bite.