Friday, September 19, 2008

Bridge Building

How does one maintain a sense of the Divine in a secular world? Does superstition have any place in religion or politics? What exactly does one mean by “religion?” These are questions that I have been pondering lately. Here is where my thinking is at right now.

One can maintain a clear sense of the Divine and the un-answered questions related to that in secular world. What is needed, in my unlearned opinion, is primitive view of spirituality. Some things can exist without being seen or measured, ask any astro-physicist or particle physicist. What I mean by “primitive view of spirituality” is one that comes to grips with the concept of the “bridge builder.” This Pontiff builds the bridge, or at least shows the way, to bridge the divide between that which is base to that which is divine. One will begin to understand the hierarchy in man. I shy away of the verbal gymnastics that some like to apply to this subject as they all amount to ego gratification or mental masturbation.

Superstition has no place in a thinking man’s religion or politics. Reason has an important place in a thinking man’s religion (or lack thereof) and politics.

So what is religion? It is not faith. It is a collection of ethnic and cultural items that form a tradition. This tradition is melded to a dogmatic view of faith and an organized religion is born. Spirituality on the other hand is a personal journey. The two are not mutually exclusive or mutually dependent upon each other. One can have both religion and spirituality or just spirituality or just religion. Spirituality I have learned can sometimes look like atheism. That is an odd situation to view but it is there.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Freedom of Conscience

There are some misunderstandings regarding the position of the Grand Orient of the United States regarding freedom of conscience. Of course this idea provides for the admission of atheists which seems to be a bone of contention for some. This also allows for deeply religious people. The Grand Orient in and of itself is a non-dogmatic organization. It promotes neither atheism or deism. It is a secular administrative organization.

That being said there are certain rites of Masonry that lend themselves well to Brothers who are atheist. The "Restored" Modern Rite for example is one of these rites. The Rectified Scottish Rite on the other hand leans a great deal more towards a mystical outlook which an atheist Brother may not be comfortable with.

Within the Grand Orient both hypothetical lodges could exist side by side. The secular nature of the central organization permits a vast diversity within the organization. One lodge could be wholly mystical in practice and outlook while another could be entirely secular in its works. The Grand Orient itself takes no part in that decision.

Freedom of Conscience does not encourage nor permit anti-social or dangerous behavior. The fundamental foundation of Free-Masonry prohibits anti-social and behaviors that are damaging to society in general. Those prohibitions are actually a part of a social contract to which all citizens do (or should) adhere to. Without this understanding and respect for the rights of others society tends to decay. It is necessary for one to be unhampered by dogma in order to explore and grow.