Sunday, June 22, 2008

Masonry as Validation

Synchronicity is always interesting. I've had the title for this post kicking around my head since my last lodge meeting, and only a few days later Freestyle wrote a paragraph about finding validation in Freemasonry, in his post The Spirit of the Craft.

Freestyle wrote specifically about validation in terms of freedom of religion; how Freemasonry reaffirms our collective belief that one's personal faith is one's own business:
"I thought God was God. There are lots of names for God...lots of descriptions. But at the end of the day...God...was God."
I agree wholeheartedly. The crucial yet vague requirement of belief in a non-specified supreme being remains a rather unique feature of our order, and remains relevant even in the 21st century. Increasingly it seems like people are inclined to reject all notions of deity out of bitterness over acts of hatred, violence, intolerance and hypocrisy committed in the name of one religion or another throughout human history. I don't remember where I read it, but someone had a very insightful question that they liked to ask of atheists: "What is it, specifically, that you don't believe in?"

Apart from religion, though, so far my experience in Masonry has provided validation for a number of other things I have long believed true on my own:
  • People shouldn't be jerks to one another
  • Tradition and history are important*
  • Community is important
  • A person should aspire to knowledge of numerous subjects
  • It's OK to be an adult male, and to enjoy the simple fellowship of other adult males (no matter how loutish TV commercials say you are.)

* I write this cautiously, because there's tradition (Masonic ritual, Trick or Treating, Old Home days) and then there's tradition (arranged marriages, dog fights, female circumcision) - they're not all good.

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