As a Freemason, I am often asked about the requirement of belief in a higher power within our fraternity. This question is not an easy one to answer, as it delves into the very core of what Freemasonry stands for and the principles we uphold. However, I will attempt to provide an explanation that might shed some light on this topic.
The Requirement of Belief
To begin with, it’s important to understand that Freemasonry is not a religion, but it does require its members to believe in a higher power. This requirement is not about promoting a specific religion or deity, but rather about establishing a common ground among its members.
When a person wishes to join Freemasonry, they must submit a petition to a lodge, requesting to be considered for membership. During the petitioning or interviewing process, the individual is required to state their belief in a higher power. This belief is a fundamental requirement, and without it, one cannot become a Freemason. This rule applies to atheists and, in many cases, agnostics as well.
The Reason Behind the Requirement
The reason behind this requirement is not to exclude individuals based on their religious beliefs, but rather to establish a moral foundation upon which the fraternity operates. The belief in a higher power serves as a moral compass, guiding members in their actions and decisions.
When a Freemason makes a promise or takes an oath, it is done so with the understanding that they are accountable not only to their fellow Freemasons but also to a higher power. This belief in a higher power serves as a form of moral enforcement, ensuring that members uphold their obligations and maintain a high standard of conduct.
The Role of Trust
Trust is a crucial element within Freemasonry. The fraternity operates on a level of trust among its members, and this trust is reinforced by the shared belief in a higher power. However, it’s important to note that this trust is not blind. Freemasonry does not simply take a person’s word for their belief in a higher power. Instead, it requires evidence of this belief, often in the form of actions and behavior.
The Value of the Requirement
The requirement of belief in a higher power is not just about ensuring moral conduct among members. It also serves as a form of protection for the fraternity. By requiring this belief, Freemasonry ensures that its members share a common moral foundation, which in turn protects the fraternity from individuals who might seek to undermine its principles.
The Future of the Requirement
As we move forward, the question arises: should this requirement remain? In my opinion, the answer is yes. Freemasonry is built upon universal truths, principles that do not change with the whims of society. The requirement of belief in a higher power is one such principle.
Freemasonry is not about following trends or bending to societal pressures. It is about upholding timeless truths and principles. While the world around us may change, the principles of Freemasonry remain steadfast.
The requirement of belief in a higher power within Freemasonry is not about promoting a specific religion or excluding individuals based on their beliefs. Instead, it is about establishing a moral foundation upon which the fraternity operates. It is about ensuring that members uphold their obligations and maintain a high standard of conduct. It is about protecting the fraternity and preserving the timeless principles upon which it is built.