questionsis anyone here a mason? would it be worth it to…

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I'm not and have no interest. They ban people like me on religious grounds anyway. Fraternities for adults seems childish to me.

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I was thinking the same thing as you. When I began to research the masons however I saw that most of the members in all the clubs are very old and this is not a young man's game. They emphasize a belief in all powerful being and they believe that through making better men they can make a better world. While this sounded like a fraternity once I looked into it, I realized it did not look like nearly as much fun.

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I'm a Freemason from Missouri, and to answer a few misconceptions about Masonry:

1) No one is banned for religious grounds. People of all faiths and religions are welcomed. The only religious requirement is that you have a belief in God (whatever form that might take). You might be asked if you believe in God when you petition, but other than that, you'll never be asked what your religion is (let alone banned because of it). In my lodge, we have Christians of all denominations, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Druze, and a number of people who believe in God, but aren't "religious" per se.

2) You don't have to have some kind of tie to the fraternity to join; you just have to ask. In fact, in Missouri, they made a line of bumper stickers that read 2B1ASK1, to help dispel the myth that there was anything more to it than that.

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3) As for what the Freemasons are and do, it is in fact a fraternity, but it's a bit different than your college fraternity. The emphasis in Freemasonry is in charity and self-improvement, and our parties tend to be tamer. ;)

4) Also, contrary to popular belief, Freemasonry IS NOT:
- A religion
- A political organization
- Running the world
- Satanic
- Picking the winners of the Final Four
- A global organization (Each US state has their own independent Grand Lodge that governs it)

5) Lastly, don't believe what you read on the Internet. The best way to find out more is to Google for the Grand Lodge of your state (if you're in the US) and find a local Lodge. Most Grand Lodge pages have a "contact us" form for new members. Lodges LOVE having new members and will be happy to walk you through the process.

As for me, joining has been really rewarding. Our lodge does a lot of really great charity work that makes me feel good as a person and as a Mason.

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@mstislavski: Some of the guys are older, but there are a lot of younger Masons, too. In my lodge, the median age is around 35.

Usually, there's one "young lodge" in an area where all of the younger guys go. It's a bit tamer than your average college fraternity, but the spirit of it is similar.

As for it being "less fun", I'd disagree. We still have fun, and usually after our meetings, we hit the bar. :)

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@regentswift: Thanks for the thorough and informative reply.

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@regentswift: if it won't help me pick the final four winners, no thanks!

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One cannot simply join the Masons....

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@regentswift: "No one is banned for religious grounds. People of all faiths and religions are welcomed. The only religious requirement is that you have a belief in God"

Pure Codswollop. Atheists are banned. Take your flowery explanation for bigotry elsewhere.

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@regentswift: Exactly. I'm a Mason from Texas, who stationed in Oklahoma. I joined the fraternity when I was 20 (the youngest mason to date in our lodge) and I have not regretted a second of it. The fact that people are afraid of what they do not know or understand about Masonry seems humorous to me, but I'm used to it in both freemasonry and my military career. The bottom line is: you get out of it what you put into it. Masonry has helped me to become a better man in my workplace, my community and my family. As for the naysayers, well, people standing at the fence looking in always seem to think they know everything that's going on.

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@phizzo: Yes, atheists are banned. The requirement is that you believe in a deity. Atheists do not.

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@craigster38: At least your honest about it. That means the world to us soulless atheists. :P

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My cousin's name is Mason. He is three years old!

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@phizzo: I'm sorry, when did atheism become a "faith" or "religion"? I was under the impression it was term used to denote your lack of a "faith" or "religion"

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@chellemonkey: Put down the pipe, you are reading things I never said. I never said it was a religion. I would be banned on religious ground (theirs not mine since apparently it takes atheism to read between the lines). You don't want to hang out because I lack your religious point of view? Fine with me.

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@regentswift: Thanks. Too much and too many myths have been made of The Masons than are true, for better or worse.

@phizzo: No, you wouldn't be banned for religious grounds but LACK of religious grounds. It's a subtle but significant difference.

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@first2summit: I think phizzo is being strident here, but I think semantically he/she is correct. Banning atheists for lack of religion is banning them on religious grounds. The organization has set forth religious grounds for membership which are broad but do not include atheists. Personally, I believe that if the purpose of the organization is community service and religion doesn't play a role in that mission, then banning someone on religious grounds who is willing to work for the community is a loss to both the organization and the community. But it's a private organization and they have every right to set whatever parameters for membership they choose.

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@first2summit: Read what you wrote and do yourself a favor and delete it. Atheists are banned for not meeting Freemasons religious club requisites. Ergo, you are trying to split hairs.

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Isn't that like saying "We're not banning you for being black. We're banning you because you're not white?"

As far as I'm concerned, the Masons are free to not allow people in because they don't have a religion, but I'm hard-pressed to believe that banning someone because they don't have a religion is NOT banning them on religious grounds.

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@phizzo: Just to let you know, you wouldn't be able to join because of your lack of religious beliefs. It seems like there'd be so many other reasons.

@smudge262626: No, it's more like we're not banning you for being black. We're banning you for not being human. In other words, you can be Buddhist, Muslim, Protestant, or whatever, you just have to believe in a higher power. Like you can be Asian, Black, White, etc but you have to be human.

@moondrake: I understand where phizzo is coming from - I have many vocal atheist friends and we go through the same conversations.

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@phizzo: It's true that you have to believe in a Higher Power to be a Freemason, but not because of a judgement of athiests as people. There's no Masonic teaching that encourages animosity towards athiests or anything of the sort. Some of my best friends are athiests or are agnostics, and while I think they're amazing people and love them to death, they wouldn't get much out of Masonry.

Freemasonry isn't a strictly charitable group, nor is it strictly a community service organization. Both of these are important aspects of the fraternity, but neither of them are it's sole purpose.

Simply, one of the tenets of Freemasonry is encouraging people to strengthen their relationship with their chosen deity (in whatever form that takes). As an athiest, this wouldn't really apply to you. I respect your choice to not believe in God, and I would fight for your right to not have to. As it stands, though, this is a group for people who do.

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Since I have now stoked the ire of Freemasons everywhere I will close with a joke I just wrote and copyrighted.

If you had to define freemasonry in one word what would it be? Obtuse.

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@regentswift: The post about one of the tenets being to strengthen one's relationship with their chosen deity would have helped your first post make more sense. Requiring a belief in a deity makes much more sense when one of the tenets of the Masons is to strengthen the relationship with that deity. In that first post it just sounded like that belief is required just for the sake of having belief in a God (or deity, or what have you).

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@first2summit: "We're banning you for not being human. In other words, you can be Buddhist, Muslim, Protestant, or whatever, you just have to believe in a higher power. Like you can be Asian, Black, White, etc but you have to be human."

So as both a female and an atheist, I'm not considered human on either count? Only male deists are human?

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Why hasn't anyone posed the important question here: How much of a discount do you get on those jars when you join?

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@adadavis: It's simply an analogy like the one in SAT. I had expected you to be mature and intelligent to not take it as a provocation.

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@hossdawg97: LOL. I am forever an optimist even though life and some people keep trying to prove me otherwise. .-)

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@first2summit: "@adadavis: It's simply an analogy like the one in SAT. I had expected you to be mature and intelligent to not take it as a provocation."

Just want to say I didn't get that you were making an analogy when I first read that. Thought you were saying that only those with religions were human. Thank you for clarifying.

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All that is fine and good but are you affiliated with the Illuminati?

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@adadavis: Actually, as I understand Buddhism, there is no higher power in that belief system. So Buddhists would also be banned.

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if it's like the stonecutters on the simpsons, I'M IN!

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@kamikazeken: Carl and Lenny "Shuuuut up!"

Now remove the stone of shame, and attach the stone of triumph!

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@moondrake: I don't want to get into it but that's not correct. Buddhists are accepted into the Freemasons.

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I'm a Sigma Chi looking to become a Mason, I have several bothers who have joined over the past few years.

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@first2summit: Buddhists don't have a god or gods. So there's a breakdown in communication somewhere. Buddhism has a lot of parallels to deist belief systems, "Like all major religions, Buddhism contains an explanation of the origin of existence, a morality, and a specific set of rituals and behaviors. ... Buddhism presents a transformational goal, a desire to improve one's situation, and a distinct moral code". However, there are no gods or supernatural powers incorporated into the Buddhist belief system. While Buddhism has many of the characteristics of a religion, if you need to have a "higher power" to get closer to as part of Masonic practice, the Buddhists wouldn't have one. The Buddha(s) is a human leader on a spiritual and philosophical path Buddhists follow, not a god.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism8.htm

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@moondrake: Totally agree & thank you for stating it so eloquently. Semantics seem to get in the way a lot, eh?

An aside: Sometimes I'm puzzled by why people do things - like being a boy & wanting to join the Girl Scouts. I just shake my head. Is the hidden agenda there a desire to have one "Scout" organization? If so, they should work to that end.

Bottom line re: the Masons: They're a private organization; it's their rules/requirements you must abide by. Semantics aside or included. ;-)

Edit: This was a response to a previous post of yours. Just saw the Buddhist one & skimmed it. Right again! And thank you. If Buddhists do become Masons, then they are accepting the "God" requirement. ...Perhaps w/o reading anything into it. Or ignoring it because their desire to join supercedes the definition of a god to them. <--- pure supposition on my part. Not based on knowledge.

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@moondrake: If a Buddhist wanted to join a Masonic lodge, they'd be asked if they believed in a Supreme Being. It doesn't matter what form that Being takes. Buddhists pray, so I would assume that they are addressing some sort of Supreme Being. (I am not a Buddhist, so I couldn't say)

The bottom line is this: There isn't a list of religions posted on some Masonic wall somewhere. We ask you "Do you believe in a Higher Power?" and that's that.

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My grandfather was a Mason. He was the salt of the earth. If he was okay with it, I'm okay with it.

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@moondrake: Copying from a person's quote of some website is a singular opinion. You should do more research than a casual google for any religion or anything really.

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@moondrake: Dude, you're being both offensive and showing your ignorance by making your arguments against Buddhism by randomly googling these things.

It's obvious you're not Buddhist by your comment above "from what I know" and you're making your arguments with random google searches and cherry picking the quotes that support your argument.

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@regentswift: "Buddhist prayer is a practice to awaken our inherent inner capacities of strength, compassion and wisdom rather than to petition external forces based on fear, idolizing, and worldly and/or heavenly gain. Buddhist prayer is a form of meditation; it is a practice of inner reconditioning. Buddhist prayer replaces the negative with the virtuous and points us to the blessings of Life." It isn't prayer in a religious sense and there's no supreme being. http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/pureland_sangha/id41.html

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@first2summit: I actually have done more research than that. My original statement that Buddhists do not worship a Supreme Being was based on personal knowledge. But when I am attempting to describe something in which I am not an expert, I prefer to rely on the words of those who are. If I were speaking of the tenets of Catholicism, Protestantism or Islam I would similarly verify my own understanding and use the words of those more scholarly than I in the subject. And I am not "arguing against Buddhism". I have nothing but respect for practitioners of that belief. I am simply challenging the statement that Buddhists are welcome in an organization that only accepts those who seek to get closer to their "higher power". If "higher power" is defined as a supernatural force outside oneself, then Buddhists do not believe that. If "higher power" is more loosely defined as seeking enlightenment, then not only Buddhists but many atheists would qualify. Since folks are getting angry I guess I'll call it done.

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Is it true you cant be a Mason if your a woman? I heard it from a friend who was a Mason, and he said in the US you have to be male but in Europe they accept females.

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@moondrake: You need to do more and better research. I think you've just crossed another line in putting Buddhists in the same camp as atheists. Do more research.

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All that is fine and good but are they affiliated with the Illuminati?

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@ttepsic: Sorry, but not so much. In every lodge I've ever known, it's hard enough to organize a picnic, let alone run the world.

@norimw: In the US, mainstream Freemasonry only accepts males. There are Masonic bodies that are coed, though: Order of the Eastern Star, Order of the Amaranth, Job's Daughters (for kids), and many others.

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@first2summit: Respectfully, there's no "line" to cross. According to every Buddhist I have ever known and worked with, and every teacher of Buddhist thought, Buddhists are atheistic or agnostic. http://www.buddhanet.net has addressed that issue many times, and this is the most definitive answer I've seen: http://www.buddhanet.net/ans73.htm
I got much the same answer when I lived in S. Korea and talked to a couple of Buddhist monks from a nearby monastery.

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I'm not allowed to join because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside. Phooey.