Masonic Enlightenment

November 28, 2016
Freemasonry is on the decline
freemasonry rowan williamsThe Masonic square and compasses symbol around the primary floor wall frieze in the headquarters of the masonic lodge. Photograph: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Exactly why is Rowan Williams concered about Freemasonry? For the similar reason, surely, that nearly everybody else is: it's a secretive society with links to mystical gobbledegook that might possess a whiff of Satanism. A Christian leader ought to be particularly careful to not be connected with your stuff, for he wants the Christian belief to appear open, accessible, reasonable – absolutely dissimilar to such cloak-and-dagger Harry Potter stuff.

Well, yes, but there's really another dimension to Williams' aversion, that is somewhat counter-intuitive. Freemasonry might have links with ancient miracle, it has links with modern reason. I believe that this is exactly what Williams really dislikes about this. Not the funny handshakes and creepy initiation ceremony, however the implicit declare that the rationalist God from the Enlightenment is definitely an step up from the limited Christian one.

Within the 1700s, Freemasonry spread among middle-class males who felt that religion should modernise it ought to be about rational moral progress, also it should unite people instead of keep old divisions alive. Also it especially become a huge hit to individuals who felt that rationalism was at risk of searching dull, mechanical, soulless. Therefore it needed spicing track of a feeling of mystery, and a few cod ancient history, and a few ritual. It frequently were built with a strong anti-Catholic bent it had been a secularisation from the liberal Protestant hate of Chapel energy.

Therefore, it is deeply connected using the ideology referred to as deism, an ideology whose finest triumph was the American Revolution. Most of the Founders were keen Freemasons. The Truly Amazing Seal from the U . s . States features the attention of Providence, a Masonic symbol.

Williams' suspicion of the tradition would go to the heart of his theology. It's of the piece together with his suspicion from the Enlightenment, as well as "liberalism". The essence of liberalism, within this view, is its declare that the rational good of humanity has replaced any particular religion, including Christianity. Every belief should be judged by universal moral values. Which ideology provides a huge implicit blessing to capitalism, because the natural progressive condition of products.

Most importantly, it confers a quasi-religious aura around the liberal condition. The thought of America as "the earth's best hope", in Jefferson's phrase, is really a blasphemy: the Christian chapel is.

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