Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-12 > 0912793897
From: "David L. Carson" <>
Subject: Arianism, Deism, Free Masonry
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 12:51:37 -0500
As a non-Mason, I thought it might enlighten the argumentation a little to
look at some of its fundamental sources.
The Masons were organized in England early in the early 1800s at a time
when RATIONALISM* was capturing a significant following there and
elsewhere. A related phenomenon was the emergence of DEISM** as a force.
All of these movements came about in part from the rise of NEOCLASSICISM***
in England and elsewhere. By this time all of the Protestant groups had
through their inception returned to the Old Testament as having equal force
as the word of God as the New Testament. Hence, in this latter case, the
predilection for SI and others to find childrens' names from the Old
Testament, rather than the New, the New Testament, in part, seen as
partially tainted through Jerome's translation of the Vulgate Bible, and
through Rome's later addenda and modifications.****
It was possible, however, for Masons, Rationalists, Neoclassicists, and
Deists to live beneath the umbrellas of their various sects without
difficulty. A tenet they nearly all held in common was their belief that
although Christ was a supreme human being, but he was not divine.
This concept came about when it became known that the doctrine of the
Trinity (which doctrine established Christ's divinity as a part of required
belief) occurred through a near militaristic overtaking of the Alexandrian
Council of Bishops in 381AD by the forces led by Rome's bishop, Athanasius,
and through this established Rome as the center of western Christianity.
Athanasius' opponent, who held to the earlier established doctrine of
Christ being merely a special human being, was an Alexandrian priest named
Arius. After losing the battle, his beliefs were called the ARIAN HERESY.
(Gibbon's DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, provides early historical
perspective on all of this.)
It will be no surprise that Pope Clement XII condemned Free Masonry in 1736.
We can understand from this why, perhaps, the Masons formed a secret
society. It is well to note here that Masons do not recruit or proselytize.
So the major upset over Freemasonry has centered on religious conflict,
much of the opposition coming from doctrinaire Roman Catholics. It is also
interesting that Jews have long been admitted as members, since Masonry is
more or less Deistic.
I hope this begins to explain, in part, why significant numbers of the
founding fathers of the US were either DEIST or MASONs or NEOCLASSICISTs or
all three. Jefferson and Franklin were deists, Washington (and Jefferson?)
and many others were Masons, and all had a hand in building Neoclassical
buildings (Georgian Architecture) which we may see in many of our US
governmental buildings and on college campuses across America.
It may be significant enough to mention here that the modern concept and
indeed interest in democracy--which spawned all modern democratic
movements--came from these movements. After all, Roman Catholicism was,
and still is, monarchic and feudal in nature.
Not long ago, I came across the rather startling fact that some lodges had
admitted Roman Catholics and that the Church of Rome (local bishops) had
more or less winked at this practice.
Perhaps some Masons came comment more clearly on this.
*Rationalism: based on the belief that logic should be the source of all
information rather than spiritual revelation or any religious authority.
**DEISM: the philosophy rationalist thinkers of the 17th and 18th cent.,
who held that the course of nature demonstrated the existence of God, while
rejecting many tenets of formal religion and its claims of supernatural
***NEOCLASSICISM: A movement which returns to Greece and Rome for its
esthetics and philosophies (i.e., pre-Christian in the sense of Rome
becoming the center of the church in the 4th century).
****Pope Paul III, under Jesuit Guidance,and in reaction to Martin Luther,
convened the Council of Trent (1545AD) to form doctrines opposed to
Protestant teachings. One doctrine was that all children had to be named
after Saints. The Protestants had rebelled against this practice because
recent theological research had proven that many in the current Pantheon of
saints were made up out of whole cloth--as the church acknowledged c. 1965
(St. Christopher among others).