What is the Philosophy of Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is not considered to be a religion. The fraternity does have certain philosophical principles which all Freemasons adhere to. This includes belief in a Supreme Being, charity and brotherhood.
You’ve understandably heard many misconceptions about what Freemasonry is. It’s commonly asked: Is Freemasonry a cult? Is it a religion?
Freemasonry is neither. The brotherhood does however have a certain philosophy; sort of like a “code of honor” in other organizations. These are a set of principles that all Freemasons stick to and they’re life long commitments.
A Freemason must profess belief in a Supreme Being, assist his fellow Mason and must try to be charitable, just and moral in all dealings.
Belief in a Supreme Being
Although Freemasonry is not a religion, it does have one entry requirement; you must believe in a Supreme Being. You won’t be asked what particular Supreme Being you choose to believe in, just that you do believe in one.
Essentially, as long as you are not an atheist, you meet this requirement. Atheism is not compatible with Freemasonry. Historically and currently, the Masonic membership includes Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and people from many other world faiths.
See our article about Freemasonry and Religion.
How does Religion fit into Freemasonry?
There are no religious practices or dogmas involved in Freemasonry. There are, however religious themes and imagery used within Freemasonry and this is probably why Freemasonry is confused with a religion or a cult. Let’s delve deeper:
Old Testament stories
The wise King Solomon features prominently in our legend and folklore, and so naturally the Old Testament features in Freemasonry. This is mostly in reference to passages about King Solomon. Teachings or religious practices are not mentioned or used in Freemasonry.
Freemasonry has its own rituals and initiation ceremonies. These are specific to Freemasonry and are not taken from any particular religious practice. Read this article for more on Masonic Rituals.
When Freemasons meet in a Masonic Lodge, the Lodge is usually opened and closed with a type of prayer. This Masonic prayer is directed at the Supreme Being and no specific religious deities are mentioned or named.
Freemasons have full freedom of religion, but when it comes to Masonic meetings, no discussion or talk on religion is allowed. As you can imagine, talk of religion and politics can become extremely divisive. The idea is to create harmony and reduce division among us.
Freemasonry is a fraternity (a brotherhood) and brotherly love is a core principle of Freemasonry. Freemasons refer to one another as “brother” in all communications and genuinely treat each other as real brothers.
That means as a Freemason, if your fellow Mason is struggling, you’ll be there to help. And likewise, should you fall on hard times as a Freemason, you will find your brother Freemasons there to support you.
This safety net has protected and aided many Freemasons from tragic situations and suffering. This isn’t the reason you should join, its simply comes with the territory; a perk.
Freemasons across the globe donate massive amounts to charity; it’s one of our core principles. A lot of the charity work is done behind the scenes, with large amounts of money being transferred to charities.
Freemasonry funds both its own Masonic charities and many non-Masonic charities. Wherever you find Freemasonry, you’ll find charity and charitable works being done. If Freemasonry isn’t advancing the local community, its not doing its job.
Masonic organizations donate millions every year in charitable donations and are not being more public about it. Unfortunately, there is still stigma surrounding Freemasonry and so much of the charity giving is still kept private.
Freemasons are expected to be upright citizens of whatever lands they live in. A Mason is expected to show exemplary conduct both inside and outside Masonic engagements.
Dishonesty, cheating or criminal activity breaks the Masonic code and such persons are unlikely to be accepted into Freemasonry. Freemasons who commit such acts may be asked to leave.
As a Mason, you will be good at keeping the secrets of Freemasonry just that; a secret. There’s nothing sinister in the secrecy – it’s part of the tradition.
More importantly, Masons protect the confidence of fellow Masons. For example, if a Mason were to confide in you some personal information about family or whatever it may be, it is your Masonic obligation to keep it confidential.
This obviously does not include keeping secret illegal activity – remember a Mason must obey the law of the land.
There’s a philosophical code within Freemasonry that goes something like this: You will believe in a Supreme Being, you will assist your fellow brother Mason, they’ll assist you, and you will act with honor, charity and justice.
Let us know if you have any questions or if you want more clarity on anything by commenting below, or contacting us.
If you feel the above resonates with you, and you may be interested in joining, contact us here.