Is Freemasonry A Religion?
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Brian Schimian
I know, I know… we learn that Freemasonry is not a religion, nor does it profess one deity over another. I am not trying to set off an explosion in mass here… Or am I??? Follow this with me and see if what I purpose at the end makes sense…
In almost all religions, legends or traditions of civilizations of eras long ago there is always one similarity: the ideology of death & rebirth.
Mayans: They had many rituals that revolved around death. The dead were laid to rest with maize in their mouth as a symbol of rebirth and food for the journey to the otherworld. Similarly, a stone bead was placed in the mouth which served as currency for this journey.
Celts/Druidism: Believed in rebirth and transmigration.
Ancient Greek: Plato presented accounts of reincarnation, particularly the Myth of Er.
Early Roman/Pagan: Easter is a symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth, overcoming the powers of darkness. The Easter Bunny comes from the Goddess, Eostre, whose symbol was a rabbit due to the fertility and rapid reproduction.
Judaism: According to the Torah, the Jewish people are descendants of Abraham and one day the “Messiah” will return to lead them back into the holy land. According to the prophecy, this Messiah will be betrayed, put to death and reborn.
Christianity: Believes that Jesus was the “Messiah” who was betrayed, put to death and was reborn.
Jainism: Holds the achievement of spiritual freedom or reincarnation, as its main purpose. Jains can achieve freedom from their material existence, or karma.
Hinduism: By following the right paths, they may be released from rebirth and achieve “moksha” or reincarnation.
Egyptian: Believe that a person's life would continue even after death is evident by the many temples or pyramids. They also have the story of a murdered King (Osiris) that is risen from the dead, or reborn, by his wife (Isis).
Buddhists: Believe in reincarnation, karma and the idea of achieving complete liberation, or Nirvana. Similar to this is Taoism and Confucianism.
Sumerian: The Goddess Ishtar was hung naked on a stake, and was subsequently resurrected and ascended from the underworld.
Then, with this as background information, look at the initiation experience that one journey’s through in Freemasonry. Do we not have a similar story? Do we not have rituals that deal with life, death and rebirth? Although we do not allow the profession of one religion over another, we certainly do have similarities with most if not all of them. The way we, as Speculative Masons, are instructed to use the tools of the Operative Mason, we can bridge the basic tenants of just about every religion that I can think of, past or present. Perhaps the basis of the origin of our Craft was to create something that would show the world that it is indeed possible to live by the tenants of your religion and have a place or manner in which to gather. Wherein everyone is accepted, regardless of the name by which they call their Deity.
Then again, perhaps… Aliens!