Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Is Freemasonry a Religion?
A debate has long raged on whether Freemasonry is a religion. Christian denominations such as my own (LCMS) have long opposed Freemasonry on the grounds of its incompatibility with the orthodox Christian faith and its overt religious rituals that honor and worship a generic god equally acceptable to Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike. Freemasonry, of course, denies being a religion, or that it is a substitute for one.
Yet, how is that understood by the many practicing masons in the world today? In the obituary section of my local paper I read about a man who was identified as being with the Knights Templar, one of the many branches of Freemasonry. It was interesting that this was the first thing he was identified with, even before the date of his death and year of his birth were given. No church affiliation was listed in the obituary, although a Christian minister was found to conduct his service. And where will the service be held? The Knights Templar Clubhouse.
Despite the official denial of masonry, how many masons, I wonder, see their membership as equivalent to that of regular church membership? I have found that given the choice a mason will actually choose his masonic membership over church membership, if the pastor or church objects to the tenets and practices of masonry. What does that say about Freemasonry as a religion?