Are Freemasonry and Christianity Compatible?
this paper I think that it would be appropriate to quote from the first
English Book of Constitution, 1723, - in the first charge therein
concerning God and religion is stated 'A Mason is obliged by his tenure
to obey the moral law, and if he rightly understands that Art, he will
never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irregular Libertine' and this charge
was revised in 1815 to read 'let a man's religion or mode of worship be
what it may, he is not excluded from the order, provided he believe in
the glorious architect of heaven and earth, and practise the sacred
duties of morality' and so it still stands today - the first condition
of admission into, and membership of, the order is the belief in a
This is essential and admits no compromise.
A belief in the Existence of God as the Great Architect of the
Universe and the Immortality of the Soul and a life hereafter are some
of the important landmarks of the Order.
Masonry is a Brotherhood which seeks after truth, encourages our
members to uphold one another in the highest moral principles and having
strict honesty of purpose and integrity in all matters of business and
Throughout the years since organized masonry has existed, the Christian
Churches have had a number of concerns with Freemasonry some of these
concerns to be well founded and some misguided to say the least.
One concern is that Masonry is frequently referred to as being a
secret society - certainly we do have a tradition of privacy but in
actual fact modern Freemasonry is really very open and clearly anything
but a secret society, with meetings usually advertised in the local
press, unlimited volumes of published Masonic material available in
libraries and book stores and our members proud to make known their
affiliation as Freemasons.
Another concern is that Masonry is a religion and that for some members
salvation is attained by good works alone Masonry is neither a religion
nor a substitute for religion - nor a competitor with religion - though
in the sphere of human conduct it may be hoped that our teachings will
be complimentary to that of religion - Masonry requires a man to have a
belief in God, or a Supreme Being before he can be admitted as a member,
and expects him to continue to practise his religion thereafter
Actually Freemasonry may be said to be a system of Morality - we as
members are free to profess any religious faith which enables us to
express a belief in the Great Architect of the Universe Freemasonry
lacks the basic elements of a religion, we have no theological doctrine
and by forbidding religious discussion at our meetings there is no
opportunity for a Masonic theological doctrine to be developed.
the most important landmarks of our order is that which forbids us to
participate as Masons in any form of religious or political discussion.
The reason for this important landmark is that Freemasonry exists for
the sake of and is devoted to and is dedicated for Brotherhood. This
Brotherhood means that many of us men , drawn from all walks of life -
with a variety of various racial and political opinions are brought
together and kept together in a relationship of friendship, harmony and
goodwill. There is nothing else more likely to divide and alienate men
than religion and politics and for the welfare of our Brotherhood this
has been and always must be one of the most important of our landmarks.
is it that leads men and organizations in society to attack us - From
the early beginnings of our order we have continually been attacked by
those outside of the order. Some of the great Christian Churches
maintain an enmity towards us and many governments, particularly
communist and non-democratic states, have outlawed Freemasonry and
forbidden their peoples to become members. In all probability this will
continue and is not likely to change - but what is the attitude of our
Craft to these attacks - the attitude of the Craft is to ignore them. We
do not fight back, we have done nothing to warrant or to invite such
attacks and therefore it is no concern of ours. Our faith in the truth
of Freemasonry is so certain and well founded that we only need to
continue on as we always have in order to silence any false charges or
untruths that may be made against us.
Freemasonry is not a Christian organization although many of us are
professing Christians, and the God we worship is the Christian God -
Salvation can only be attained by a belief in the divine revelation
which exists in the form of a Sacred Volume for every religion and of
course for we Christians this is the Holy Bible.
then does Masonry and Christianity have in common? Masonry is not a
religion but it is religious - it is not a church but is a worship in
which men of all religions may unite - It is the friend of all, having
emphasis upon those truths which underlie all religions. Masonry seeks
to instill in its members a standard conduct and behaviour which will be
acceptable to all creeds and hopefully that its teaching will be
complimentary to that of any religion. The basic tenants of Masonry,
brotherly love, relief and truth are complimentary to any man's
Christian beliefs and must become a part of a Christian's search for
more light in his continual search for truth - that true Spiritual Light
who for a Christian is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
of our Christian leaders in our Churches are also dedicated Masons and
find no conflict in being members of both. Our Parish Priest at home is
a Past Master of his Lodge and has taken the Christian Orders in
Preceptory and has found nothing to be in conflict with his Christian
beliefs and Ordination Vows. His problem is time the same problem we all
have - There is always a conflict with time when a person belongs to a
number of different organizations.
have been a Licensed Lay Reader in our Parish for almost as many years
as I have been a Mason and I know that Masonry has been a strong support
and influence in my long and gradual journey to my coming to know my
Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. There is only one area in which I have
found some unhappiness and a feeling of unease and that is in the
obligations in the three degrees, when the candidate is taking his vows
on the Holy Bible. It has always given me a feeling of repugnance to
swear on the Volume of the Sacred Law a completely ridiculous and
impossible penalty which is not only archaic but never can be carried
out. There is no reason why these penalties could not be moved to some
other part of the ceremony and keep the obligation as solemn and sacred
as it should be.
compatible? Of course Christianity and Freemasonry are compatible and
should be and are complimentary to each other in Man's continual search
for truth. Freemasonry does not offer any teaching to the Christian
member that he cannot find within his church - We do not recruit new
members, only those who are motivated by a favourable opinion
preconceived of the Institution' and sees such an opinion as being
generated by the good examples of public and charitable
concerns by the members.
essential that we as members of the order continue to carry out
voluntary community activities, participate in our church and worship
services, and put our faith into practice in our daily living of and try
to keep a fuller relationship with our family and close friends. In this
way can Masonry and Christianity continue to be compatible in each of
our individual lives as Christians and as Masons.
Brethren, these are some thoughts on Christianity and Masonry, which,
hopefully, you can accept in the spirit in which they have been
presented - for your consideration and discussion. Masonry has always
steadfastly held that freedom of thought and religious worship is there
are sole right of every individual. As members of the Fraternity
religion encouraged to put into daily practice the precepts of our own
as well as the moral teachings of the fraternity.
P. Brooks - Grand Senior Warden, Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan
Unashamed - Christopher Haffner Freemasonry and the Christian Faith -
General The Report on Freemasonry & Christianity - The Working
Group, Grand Lodge of England Synod of the Church The Clergy and
the Craft - Forrest D. Haggard
Freemason's Pocket Reference Book - Pick & Knight
Pocket History of Freemasonry - Piek & Knight Christian by Degrees - Walton
The Holy Bible - Masonic Edition