Many people around the world wonder about the Freemasons, are they the illuminate or some other influential group attempting to destroy all religions or bent on world takeover, are they a secret society or cult under the control of demonic influences, have they infiltrated our society or do they have a secret agenda of establishing a one world government?
To be sure Masonic influence and power has waxed and waned over the centuries but whatever, its original plan might have been the fraternity of today is no longer capable to carry that out. At one time it was able to boast the most influential, well educated, powerful and wealthiest members of society. Today its membership has weakened in comparison, to the point that they are willing to accept just about anyone from the ethnic majority to keep their lodges open.
Despite their propaganda of being a fraternal order that accepts anyone of good moral character is just not true. Let’s look at the facts, the majority of its membership is exclusively from the 28% white male heterosexual population at least here in the United States. That’s because all Free and Accepted Masonic lodges will never allow a woman into their midst no matter how much she wanted to join their membership. Seldom will you find people of minority withing their ranks unless the lodge is specifically made up of the minority group. The truth is integration does not really exist within masonic lodges.
In addition, very few alternate lifestyle candidates would ever make it through the election process in order to receive the degrees. So, lodges in the United States tend to be made up of white males 45 and above and it's remained that way and they have displayed no desire to integrate along racial, gender and sexual realities. Given the average members advancing years and its restrictive biases it’s difficult to believe they could take over anything other than an all you could eat buffet or a Dairy Bar. However, just because the modern freemasons have not lived up to their former counterparts standards doesn't mean their ancient teachings can’t be studied and incorporated into the life of anyone that sees philosophical value in them.
The study of Masonic philosophy itself can be best described as a comprehensive quest for a better understanding of God, the nature of existence and humankind’s communion with a supreme being. The objective of its ritual memorization is to teach the philosophy that Freemasonry professes to believe and to reinforce these ancient teachings centered on the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, relief of humanities distress and the search for universal truth. The philosophy from its inception sought out philosophical teachings from the enlightenment and held to a set of ethical principles and brotherhood standards that shaped the social fiber of the world we live in, a revolutionary mindset forcing change worldwide.
One of the philosophies key tenets was the five points of fellowship.
1) Foot to foot that they would never hesitate to go on foot and out of their way to aid and serve a needy brother.
2) Knee to knee that they would remember a brother's welfare as well as their own in all their addresses to the deity.
3) Breast to breast that they would ever keep in their breast a brother’s secret when communicated and received by them as such murder and treason excepted.
4) Hand to back that they would ever be ready to stretch forth their hand to aid and support a fallen brother and that they would vindicate his character behind his back as well as before his face.
5) Cheek to cheek or mouth to ear that they would ever caution and whisper good counsel in the ear of a brother and in the most appropriate manner to remind him of his errors and aid him in his reformation. Giving him due and timely notice that he may ward off approaching danger.
In addition to the foundational five points of fellowship there are several reasons why studying of masonic rituals is important:
1) They provide opportunities for growth and self-actualization. The rituals were not merely developed to elaborate on an ancient history but rather designed to teach a set of philosophical beliefs that transform the character of those practicing them. While the ritual communicates the spiritual principles and ideals that are consistent with all major religions, they also require a person to go beyond mere philosophical understanding and to actively integrate those principles into their own lives. Thus, the rituals worth doesn’t just rest on reading the written word rather it must move from the head to the heart in order to accomplish the purpose for which it was intended.
2) The ritual reinforces the ancient masonic belief system. the value of the institution is that it provides balance for the individual giving him/her insight into the challenges that we must all face because we are human. The answers to the questions are drawn from the world’s greatest spiritual teachers and scriptures. They integrate philosophy and self-awareness strategies that allow us to think analytically and independently. The desire of the earliest master masons was to understand the relationship of the creature to the creator or as stated in from the ritual. “As every part of the circumference of a circle is equally near and equally distant from the center so is every creature God hath made equally near and equally distant from him."
3) The ritual provides examples of how philosophy impacts our understanding of the person, character, mind and will of the Supreme architect of the universe. Through its study and our self-awareness, it cuts below the facade of appearances and provides insight into humanities secret motivations. As it’s read, memorized and implemented it becomes a mirror that exhibits our true characte exposes areas of delusion, and extorts us to change.
A working knowledge of masonic degrees and their basic tenets form an ancient belief system that provides wisdom and guidance in the things that shape our very lives. Its practical perspective enables an individual to respond to their individual and collective circumstances and rise above them. Thus, the study of masonic philosophy is a worthwhile endeavor that shakes us free from the world's assumptions, preconceived ideas and instructs us to think independently, analytically and theoretically.
There are essentially six universal spiritual principles that masonic philosophy teaches:
1) The Universality of Spiritual Truth. Spiritual principles are innate in life so they cannot be the exclusive property of any one religion or belief system. They have been defined and described in all languages by great spiritual guides and teachers. It’s only by moving past superficial differences of belief and embracing the underlying philosophical teachings of them that we can create a new consciousness of empowerment and infinite possibility.
2) The One Universal Supreme Architect is the only true reality. God lies in at the heart of all living beings created (omnipresence), he is the source of all consciousness and knowledge (omniscience) and possesses all power (omnipotence). Any duality is an illusion generated from our human experience; all negative energy lies not in spirit nor in the universe at large but within ourselves. When we are able to replace choices made from spiritual ignorance with enlightened acceptance are we are able to lift our human experience to a new dimension.
3) The Supreme Architects Presence. The Supreme Architect of the universe is a superhuman deity, a distant power beyond our physical reach and comprehension. However, God is also the energy in all life. The omnipresence of light and love that’s present in human experience and is the truth that indwells every living being. We are not just limited beings aspiring to be one with God; we are individual spirit beings already, parts and parcels of the creation itself. Our purpose is to seek the Supreme Architect and to realize the presence of God already within us all.
4) The Creative Power of Thought. As spiritual beings created in the image and likeness of God we are empowered to bring spiritual energy into expression through the power of thought. Those thoughts that are consciously chosen and empowered by our belief are brought into expression through our life experiences. They remain as our contribution to the collective experience of creation. It’s important to realize that our thoughts are powerful and creative whether we recognize this truth or not.
5) The Spiritual Law of Tithing. Giving to others through our individual skills and abilities help us to accomplish our true spiritual purpose of displaying the God Consciousness in us. By freely giving we express the infinite power and spirit that God intended. Tithing is not necessarily financial, when we share our innate talents without intention of personal reward we are expressing and experiencing the actual principle behind tithing.
6) Life’s Journey. Central to all these spiritual principles is the recognition that we have a greater purpose than simply being alive, surviving, procreating and dying. There is within us a calling to a greater purpose to use our innate spiritual identity to truly make a difference in this world.
The spiritual truth that has been contained here in this short work, does not belong to anyone religion nor to the Freemasons who simply compiled it in one place. Storytellers from every culture and throughout history have recognized these principles as a journey. Each one of us is on this journey. When we face our fears and make decisions in pursuit of our spiritual possibility. Each of us is traveling on a path and supportive players in the journey of others. Socrates said, “The examined life is not worth living” It seemed arrogant but in making that claim he was speaking as a philosopher, expressing the discovery that each one of us makes once we have begun seriously to embrace the study of philosophy. If life seems more problematic with philosophy, then life without it becomes simply unthinkable.
"All men by nature desire to know it is owing to their wonder thet men both now begin and at first began to philosophize"-Aristotle
“All our dignity lies in thought let us strive then to think well.”- Blaise Pascal
“This philosophical study means the habit of always seeing an alternative.”- William James
“Philosophy is to be studied not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions since no definite answers can as a rule be known to be true but rather for the sake of the questions themselves”- Bertrand Russell.
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