Can any Mason honestly claim that the
Lodge has no theology of its own?
One reason Masons give for believing
Freemasonry is not a religion is their claim that
Freemasonry has no theology. But is this true? A
definition of theology (theos [God] + "legein
to speak]) is "to speak of God." Masonry speaks of God,
demands belief in God, instructs each candidate how to
worship God, informs each candidate that the true name
of God has been lost, and then in a later degree reveals
that lost name.
For example, Masonry clearly teaches
theology during the Royal Arch degree (York Rite), when
it tells each candidate that the lost name for God will
now be revealed to them. The name that is given is
Jahbulon. This is a composite term joining Jehovah with
two pagan gods—the evil Canaanite deity Baal (Jer. 19:5;
Jdg. 3:7; 10:6), and the Egyptian god Osiris.1
This equating of God with false gods is something the
God of the Bible strictly forbids: "You shall have no
other gods before me… You shall not worship them or
serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous
God..." (Ex. 20:3,5); "You shall not learn to imitate
the detestable things of those nations" (Deut. 18:9);
"Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like
you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working
wonders?" (Ex. 15:11 NIV).
The Oxford American Dictionary
defines theology as "a system of religion"2
Webster defines theology as "the study of God and the
relations between God and the universe.... A specific
form or system... as expounded by a
particular religion or denomination."3
Masonry fulfills these definitions of theology. It has
its own specific system and form of belief which clearly
spells out how the Masonic candidate is to perform his
ceremonies before God.4 In the Lodge, this
theological instruction is known as the Masonic Ritual.
As Joseph Fort Newton said, "Everything
in Masonry has reference to God, implies God, speaks of
God, points and leads to God. Not a degree, not a
symbol, not an obligation, not a lecture, not a charge
but finds its meaning and derives its beauty from God,
the Great Architect, in whose temple all Masons are
workmen."5 Anyone who says the Masonic Lodge
does not teach theology is uninformed or just plain
Does the Masonic Lodge have religious
symbols just like those found in a church or synagogue?
Another reason Masons give in claiming
Freemasonry is not a religion is because it has no
symbols that are religious like those symbols found in a
church or a synagogue. But is this true? How can Masons
say this when the building they meet in is called a
"temple"? In the temple, which they believe is "sacred,"6
they offer "prayers" to a "deity." No man can join the
Masonic Lodge unless he swears belief in Masonry’s
"Supreme Being." The deity they pray to is called "the
Great Architect of the Universe." Masons must kneel at
their "sacred altar" to make their "sacred vows." Masons
swear to be obedient and do the bidding of their
"Worshipful Master." In the Lodge the "Worshipful
Master" has hanging over his head a symbol—a big letter
"G"—which they are specifically instructed signifies
On the Masonic "sacred altar" is placed a
Bible, a Qur’an, or another holy book called the "Volume
of Sacred Law." In the third degree, every Masonic
candidate is taught to accept the Masonic doctrine of
the immortality of his soul, and further taught that if
he is found worthy enough while on earth, his good works
will earn him a place in the "Celestial Lodge Above."
How can any Mason say their symbols are
not religious? What else would anyone call the big "G,"
hanging over the head of the "Worshipful Master," other
than a religious symbol? After all, Masonry instructs
each candidate that the big "G" represents the sacred
name of "deity." If Masons do not want to have religious
symbols, why don’t they change the name of their meeting
place from a "temple" to a "building"? Why do Masons
swear their secret oaths at the "sacred altar" rather
than at a desk? After all, Webster’s Dictionary
defines "altar" as "a raised platform where sacrifices
or offerings are made to a god.... a table,
stand, etc. used for sacred purposes in a place of
If Masons do not practice religion and
are not surrounded by religious symbols, what are they
doing saying prayers in the Lodge? What about the
funeral services the Lodge performs committing the
departed Mason to the "Grand Lodge in the Sky"? Why are
the secret oaths called "sacred vows"? Why call the
leader of the Lodge "Worshipful Master"? Why is the
Bible kissed? What is meant when the Bible, the Qur’an,
or the Vedas are called the "Volume of Sacred Law" and
placed on the altar in different Lodges in the world?
Why talk about the immortality of the soul? The reason
they do all of this is because Masonry is a religion and
uses many religious symbols.
Should the Masonic Lodge be identified as
a religion if it does not choose to identify itself as a
Masonry claims it is not a religion. But
because Masonry claims it is not a religion, does that
change the fact that it is a religion? One
example should be enough to show that claiming something
is true when it is not is ridiculous. Christian Science,
via Mary Baker Eddy, teaches that when a man’s heart
stops beating and he dies, it is not really death, but
only an illusion. Christian Science boldly claims there
is no such thing as pain, evil, sickness, or death;
there is only good. But calling pain and death an
illusion (changing the labels) does not alter the
feelings involved in these experiences. And if I
experience the same feelings, what good does it do me to
call these experiences something different?
The same is true of Freemasonry. The
Lodge does not call itself a religion. But because
certain people call Masonry a "fraternal organization"
instead of a religion, this does not change what it is
in experience. That’s why two of Masonry’s leading
scholars, Henry Wilson Coil and Albert G. Mackey, have
both concluded that Masonry is a religion.
Here is what is at stake. All Christians
believe that there is only one true religion—biblical
Christianity. Therefore, all other religions must be
false. After all, the Bible declares, "Salvation is
found in no one else [other than Jesus Christ], for
there is no other name under heaven given to men by
which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). "For there is one
God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ
Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the
testimony given in its proper time" (1 Tim. 2:5, 6).
If the words in these verses are true,
and if Masonry is another religion—and according to
Mackey and Coil it meets the requirements of Webster’s
primary definitions of religion—then Christianity is the
true religion and Freemasonry must be considered another
religion and therefore a false religion.
Some people attempt to avoid this
conclusion by saying that Freemasonry is not a
religion—it is just "religious." But it would be just as
sensible to say that a man has no power but is powerful;
or he has no courage, but is courageous; or he has no
wealth, but is wealthy; or he has no patience, but is
patient; or he has no intellect, but is intellectual; or
that he has no honor, but is honorable.
Others say, "But the Lodge is not a
church so it is not really a religion." Henry Wilson
Coil responds to this by saying, "If Freemasonry were
not a religion, such as you find in a church, what would
have to be done to make it so?" He says, "Nothing would
be necessary, or at least nothing but to add more of the
same."8 Coil reminds Masons that, "The fact
that Freemasonry is a mild religion does not mean that
it is no religion."9
If anyone still doubts that Freemasonry
is a religion, we can think of no one better to quote
than Albert Mackey, who in Mackey’s Revised
Encyclopedia of Freemasonry writes:
We open and
close our Lodges with prayer; we invoke the blessing
of the Most High upon all our labors; we demand of our
neophytes a profession of trusting belief in the
existence and superintending care of God; and we teach
them to bow with humility and reverence at his sacred
name, while his holy law is widely opened upon our
altars…. It is impossible that a Freemason
can be "true and trusty" to his order unless he is
a respecter of religion and an observer of religious
If you are a Christian involved in the
Lodge, how can you in good conscience continue to
practice false religion? As God’s Word emphasizes:
For what do
righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what
fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony
is there between Christ and Belial? What does a
believer have in common with an unbeliever? What
agreement is there between the temple of God and
idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God
has said: "I will live with them and walk among them,
and I will be their God and they will be my people.
Therefore come out from them and be separate," says
the Lord. (2 Cor. 6:14-17 NIV)
Does Freemasonry conflict with other
religions such as Christianity?
As we have noted, though many Masonic
authors state categorically that Freemasonry is a
religion, they go on to claim that Masonry in no way
conflicts with other religions. For example, Mackey in
his Encyclopedia has written:
religion of Freemasonry is not sectarian. It
admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom,
rejecting none and approving none for his peculiar
faith. It is not Judaism, though there is nothing in
it to offend the Jew; it is not Christianity, but
there is nothing in it repugnant to the faith of a
Christian. Its religion is that general one of nature
and primitive revelation handed down to us from some
ancient and patriarchal priesthood—in which all men
may agree and in which no men can differ.11
This statement reveals that Masonry does
have a problem with biblical Christianity. The reason is
because the Bible says, "And there is salvation in no
one else [other than Jesus Christ]; for there is no
other name under heaven that has been given among men,
by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
It is nonsense to say a Christian can
hold to two different religious beliefs at the same
time, especially when they conflict. The Masonic Lodge
says it is acceptable for men to worship God outside of
Christianity. Jesus disagrees. He said, "I am the way
and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me" (John 14:6).
Jesus Christ teaches that He is the way
to God—not Masonry; that He is the truth—not Masonic
religion; and that spiritual life is found only in
Him—not in Masonic doctrine and Ritual (John 14:6). In
John 15:4, 5, Jesus teaches, "Remain in me, and I will
remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it
must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit
unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the
branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will
bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
If a person agrees with the teaching of
the Masonic ledge, he logically must deny Christ. A
person is forced to choose between the Lodge and Jesus.
He cannot hold both at the same time.
In conclusion, we have clearly documented
that Masonic authorities themselves say Freemasonry
must be considered a religion because it fits any
standard dictionary definition of "religion." We’ve also
seen that Freemasonry does teach, through its emblems,
its working tools, and its Ritual, how a man may go to
heaven—which means Masonry has its own plan of
salvation. We have noted Masonry has a distinct creed,
its own confession of faith, a definite theology, and a
specific Ritual of worship. Its symbols are comparable
to those symbols found in any church.
Henry Wilson Coil in his 15,000-word
article proving Freemasonry is a religion correctly
concludes: "Nothing herein is intended to be an argument
that Freemasonry ought to be religion. Our purpose is
simply to determine what it has become, and is."12
Freemasonry obviously is a religion.
Whether you are a Christian, a Jew, or of another
religious persuasion, if you are also a member of the
Lodge, do you realize that you are actively
participating in a conflicting religion? If so, then how
can you also participate in the religion of Freemasonry?
Wilson Coil, Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia (New
York: Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply, 1961), p.
516; Malcolm C. Duncan, Masonic Ritual and Monitor
(New York: David Mckay Co., nd), p. 226.
American Dictionary (New York, Avon, 1982).
Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Second
Edition Unabridged (Collins-World, 1978).
4 See our
The Facts on the Masonic Lodge (Eugene, OR:
Harvest House Publishers), passim.
Fort Newton, The Religion of Masonry: An
Interpretation (Richmond, VA, Macoy Publishing and
Masonic Supply Co., Inc., 1969), pp. 58-59.
Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia, p. 513.
Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second Collegiate
Edition (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1984).
Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia, p. 512.
Mackey, Mackeys Revised Encyclopedia of
Freemasonry, Vol. II, revised and enlarged by
Robert I. Clegg (Richmond, VA, Macoy Publishing and
Masonic Supply, 1966), p. 847, emphasis added.
Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia, p. 513.