Freemasonry and religion
Our purpose as freemasons is not that of a religion. Freemasonry lacks the
basic elements of religion. Freemasonry is not a religion nor is it a substitute for religion.
A man does not subscribe to a new religion, much less to an anti-Christian religion when he becomes a freemason, any more than when he joins any political party or community association. There is nothing in Freemasonry that is opposed to the religion he brings with him into the masonic lodge. Freemasonry does not assert nor does it teach that one religion is as good as another. Freemasonry admits men of all religions. Freemasons believe in
religious freedom and that the relationship between the individual and his
God is personal, private and sacred.
We do not apply a theological test to a candidate. We do ask a man if he believes in God and that is the only religious test. Belief in God is faith; belief about God is theology. As freemasons we are interested in faith only and not in theology. Religion is not permitted to be discussed at masonic meetings.
Freemasonry is a completely tolerant organization. When Freemasonry accepts a Christian, or a Jew, or a Buddhist, or a Mohammedan, it does not accept him as such, but accepts him as a man, worthy to be received into the masonic fraternity.
Freemasonry stands for the values that are supreme in the life of the church and expects each member to follow his own faith and to place his duty to God above all other duties. We are sure that a member who is true to the principles he learns in Freemasonry will be a better church member because of it.
This statement is based on the Statement on Freemasonry and Religion prepared by the Masonic Information Center of North America, and quotes from the Rev. Thomas Sherrard Roy, D.D., a Baptist minister and Grand Master of Massachusetts in 1952.
- Freemasonry advocates no sectarian faith or practise.
- We seek no converts.
- We solicit no new members.
- We raise no money for religious purposes.
- We have no dogma or theology. Religious discussion is forbidden in a masonic lodge thereby eliminating the chance for any masonic dogma to form.
- It offers no sacraments and does not claim to lead to salvation by works, by secret knowledge, or by any other means. The secrets of Freemasonry are concerned with the modes of recognition only and not with the means of salvation.
- By any definition of religion accepted by our critics, we cannot qualify as a religion.
- Freemasonry supports religion. Freemasonry is far from indifferent to religion. Without interfering in religious practise, it expects each member to follow his own faith.
Also see : Scottish Rite Building Company vs. Lancaster County, 106 Nebraska 95, 184 N.W. 574 (1921), pp. 102-106. Further information and opinions of religious leaders can be found in "Special Issue, Freemasonry and religion," The Scottish Rite Journal, February 1993, vol. 101, no. 2. C. Fred Kleinknecht, ed. Representatives of the Anglican Church have expressed their views in sermons and articles available online at Anglicanism and Freemasonry.