Today's a good day to re-evaluate beliefs, if only for a few moments. We should never get too cozy with what we believe, you know. Convictions make convicts, as the Principia Discordia reminds us, and Robert Anton Wilson suggested we shouldn't believe anything 100%, since "belief is the death of intelligence."
But... if we think outside our own self-imposed boxes, maybe we might just learn a thing or three.
Just as we were getting all excited about Some Higher Intelligence making those cool geometric shapes at Saturn's north pole (I've even seen a few "the Masons created it!" conspiracy stories about the hexagon in the past week), along comes reader Uri Kalish to bring us back to Earth. In a comment to "My God! It's full of stars! — The Polar Hexagon on Saturn," he pointed out an article from Nature.com that nearly a year ago explained the strange shapes on Saturn, and taught the reader how to duplicate them in a bucket in the kitchen sink. Thanks, Uri, for keeping us grounded.
(I didn't really think aliens or Monolithic Intelligence were responsible for the shapes on Saturn... just hoping.)
On to other things....
Is Freemasonry a religion? Was it originally intended to be a religion, or "religious" in nature? Or were early Freemasons primarily scientists and thinkers who were hiding from the established religious order, Catholicism?
An interesting article at the website Pietre-Stones: Review of Freemasonry, "Explanation of the Master's Word" by W. Bro. David Barrett, a Master Mason from Israel, makes several speculative stabs at discerning the meaning of the substitute for the Secret Word. He posits that original late 17th and early 18th century Freemasonry was Christian in nature, and that through the influence of Deists in the 1720s, was "opened up" to include non-Christians, especially Jewish men.
He comes to his conclusion by exploring variations in Hebrew writing characters, assuming that various symbols/letters were miswritten or mistranslated, which slightly altered the spelling and/or pronunciation of the substitute for the lost word.
I confess, when an author starts writing in Hebrew script and then follows with [some word] = [some number] so everything else that equals that number is the same thing (Gematria? Kabbalah?) my brain freezes and eventually my eyes glaze over (or jump to the next paragraph).
He surmises the legend of Hiram is simply a last minute substitute story for the death and resurrection of Jesus, which he says was the original story told in lodge. It was changed, or encoded, he said, to make it possible for Jews to feel comfortable joining Freemasonry.
So, anyway, I don't agree with his conclusions, or even his initial presumptions, and I don't understand his Kabbalistic/Hebrew logic, and he keeps seeming to place Albert Pike as having Masonic influence 50-75 years earlier than he did, but I enjoyed the article anyway. It nudged my current belief system, just a bit.
A third item that came to my attention recently was a letter to the editor in Gilroy, California from James Fennell, who whines about Freemasons getting special treatment by being the only group invited by the Gilroy City Council to participate in the cornerstone dedication of a new city building.
Even Fennell knows that Masonry is the only group that actually does a cornerstone dedication ceremony, but he doesn't let that stop him. To prove the city is supporting one particular religion over all others, he trots out a quote from Albert Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry thus "proving" Masonry is a religion.
Is it a religion? Was it? Should it be? What do you think?
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