by Dr.Robert Lomas
Freemasonry is not a faith but it is spiritual technique that is compatible with the belief systems of any religion and with the rational world-view of science. Within its teachings it has the potential to provide a focal point for many people who are not active in any particular faith – and for them it might be a replacement for religion. It provides spiritual values without a requirement to subscribe to an entire belief system. It is tolerant in a way that most religions are not and its symbolic teaching allows a range of interpretation that encompasses people of all beliefs. It allows them to take what they need from its system and whilst doing so to learn more about themselves and the needs of their spirit. To join they must express a belief that there is order underpinning the behaviour of the universe
It is my belief that Freemasonry is an ancient science that can drive human ambition and achievement. It can offer great insights into the mystery of the inner self, call it the soul or the spirit, that do not conflict with modern science.
The ritual of Freemasonry has spiritual purpose but that purpose can be understood only by those who are prepared to apply the discipline of its secret teaching to their own spirits.
The Craft has always belonged to men who dared to achieve, who sought out a better way forward by believing in the ways of science. But it is in danger of losing that belief and becoming little more than a hollow channel for charity. It's purpose is not charitable fund-rising, charity is simply a by-product of the spiritual maturity which it seeks to develop. Anybody can learn to apply Masonic spiritual discipline to their lives and can greatly benefit from its teachings
In my opinion the modern tension between God and science is a short-lived issue. There is no difference between the Most High, His works and science - it is simply a different way of expressing the same thing. As a scientist I believe that there are laws of physics to be found. For me the understanding of the hidden mysteries of nature and science lie at the centre of understanding my own being. Others may interpret the bright spark at the centre of their being in other ways. This does not stop us sharing the spiritual symbolism of Masonry to assist each other in our search for our own inner Truth. Freemasonry gives a common language of spiritual analogy to share findings.
The way forward for all mankind must surely be to continue to seek out and fathom the hidden mysteries of nature and science. In this endeavour the Western world has never seen a better way of achieving it than the real principles upon which Freemasonry rests.
There is a general view is that Freemasons are secretive, elitist and possibly evil in both creed and deed. This highly negative view has been consolidated over decades of poor leadership that has fostered unnecessary secrecy and put forward an arrogant belief that the world should mind its own business. Certainly in England the attempts to be more open came too late and have been too poorly executed to hold back the tide of public disquiet.
Freemasonry bloomed from the end of the sixteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century. Then it was at the heart of society, boasting as brethren, kings of England and many an archbishop of Canterbury. Despite heads of the Church of England, such as King George VI, being members it is now popular amongst certain Christian groups to claim that Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity. This is manifestly untrue.
At its peak Freemasonry was an engine of achievement driving the world from darkness to light. Its members were the great and the good, the people who ran the Church, the country, industry, the armed forces and academia. They were entrepreneurs and intelligentsia who made the industrial revolution and pioneered social and scientific advancement.