The Facts on The Masonic Lodge (Harvest House, 1989), pp. 18-19
Does the Masonic Lodge have religious symbols just like those found in a church or synagogue?
[Freemasonry claims] it has no symbols that are religious like those symbols found in a church or 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,” 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 “deity.”
On the Masonic “sacred altar” is placed a “Bible,” a “Koran,” 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 did 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 worship….”*
*For full documentation, see The Facts on the Masonic Lodge