MASONRY’S BASIC PHILOSOPHY
Readers of the article “A HANDY GUIDE ON THE QUEST FOR MASONIC LIGHT” learned that six topics are involved in the study of the Craft. The first, which is labeled as “Rituals” need no elaboration as it merely involves memory work and nothing else. The second of course is called “philosophy” and will therefore be the subject of this article.
I. Philosophy’s Simplest Definition
Freemasonry has a myriad of philosophies, and no wonder, it involves and entire system of morality. But its basic theme involves man, his soul and his longing to reunite with his Maker. Let this writer now elaborate.
In simplest terms,. philosophy is synonymous to belief, way of life, set of values, or thinking that governs mankind. But Masonry’s philosophy transcends all these because when viewed on the higher plane, it gets straight to the longing of the creature to return to his Creator when his time to “pass his papers” has finally arrived. The final equation therefore is that “man with an immortal soul will at one time finally return to his Maker.
Curiously, this philosophy is not original, meaning, it was already there long before Masonry was established as a brotherhood. It was adopted from the existing philosophies of all religions invented by man which in turn were thought of after Cain slew Abel in envy which resulted why the burnt offering of the latter that consist of animal carcass rose higher than the smoke that consisted of plant harvest that the former offered to the Lord. This event also spelled out for the first time the need for caring for one’s own sibling became pronounced when Cain evasively asked: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
And if this writer may be allowed to digress for a moment, the reason atheists and agnostics are barred from admission into the Masonic Fraternity is because the said philosophy requires belief that man has an immortal soul who yearns to return to his Creator when time his has come. Which also explains why the petitioner must answer in the affirmative the query “Do you believe in God?” And there are no ifs nor buts here.
II. The Need for Alternative Examples
Oddly, man often fails to comprehend even the simplest of terms. Sages from the ancient times had to invent ways of getting their messages across to their intended listeners. Aesop had to use animals to teach a lesson and called his examples “fables”; “allegories” and “metaphors” were also used to tell stories and even the Greatest Teacher of all time had to use what is called “parables” in order that he may be understood. Masonry, in like manner, had to resort to the use of the builders’ tools as symbols to convey messages that involve separate but clear and understandable meanings which the use of words oftentimes mess up in confusing jargons.
The main reason why Freemasonry has a good number of philosophies to live by is because it is defined as a system of morality and when morality is concerned, there are innumerable ways of achieving them. It has adopted the four cardinal virtues as its own, always to be in the right, know the truth even if it hurts and so on and so forth. But nowhere did it say that all these will in fine take him back to the Lord.
III. How then is Basic Philosophy is Conveyed to its Disciples
The question that most likely will be posed by the reader is: “where in Masonry’s teachings are these words contained?”
Okay then, in the lambskin apron it says:
“and when your trembling soul shall stand naked and alone before the great white throne, there to receive judgment for the deeds while in the body, may it be your pleasure to hear from Him who sitteth as the Judge Supreme the welcome words, ‘well done, my good and faithful servant, enter now into the joys of the Lord.”
Conversely, in the ending paragraph of the third degree lecture it admonishes:
So how important it is to imitate the GMHA in his truly exemplified character and in his unfeigned piety to God that we may welcome death, not as a grim ripper but as a kind messenger sent to translate us from this imperfect world to that perfect world where the Supreme Architect of the Universe forever resides.
And the Last Rites further expound on this when on the elocution for a departing brother it emphatically says somewhere in the middle of the discourse it said::
“then shall the dust return to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return to God who gave it
And that is not all for somewhere in the Chaplain’s concluding prayer it said:
“and when our work on earth is done, and our bodies shall have mingled with their kindred dust, may our immortal soul, freed from their cumbrous clay, be received into thy keeping to rest forever into that spiritual house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”