Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is It OK to Pray Together?

OK, here's another scenario.  You are invited to a wedding.  Your friend is of another religious faith than you.  His daughter is getting married and he wants to share it with you, so you are invited.  You are one of the only ones there of your faith, but it is a beautiful ceremony.  Although you don't completely understand all of the details, the traditions, or the significance of each activity, you can follow along pretty good.

It turns out the wedding is pretty similar to how weddings take place in your religion.  There are commitments made, with participation and expectations for family and friends, and there are appeals to God for the blessing of the union.  You stand up when everyone else stands, and you kneel when everyone else kneels.  You repeat what others say, if you can follow along.  Nothing is said which would contradict your own beliefs, so you feel pretty OK.

At a few points throughout the ceremony, there is prayer.  You find that everyone is asked to bow their heads or close their eyes.  The prayers are in English, so nothing is said you wouldn't understand.  The Officiant prays to "God".  he asks for blessings for the couple.  Even though you don't practice this religion, you know who "God" is, and when you prayed in your heart, you prayed to the God you know, understand, and worship.

But wait?  Which God did you pray to?  Which God did all the other people around you pray to?  Oh no?!  Have you blasphemed?

Of course not.  You prayed only to "God".  When you asked for a blessing for the couple, you were thinking in your heart of the God you worship.  It never occurred to you that you might be worshiping a different God than your own, because you were not.

Freemasonry is much like this.  Even though people around you may mean something other than what you mean, your religion is not compromised even if you step inside a house of worship of a religion you do not practice.  Because you are not scared of people who have a different religion, you were able to learn, experience another culture.  You might have liked it, you might have hated it.  But it did not harm you spiritually.  

People can pray together and be of different religions.  Just as someone of a different faith could come into your Church without harming the practice of your religion, you could go into someone else's house of worship.

Those critics of Freemasonry who object to it on religious reasons, sometimes say this is why a person of faith cannot be a Freemason.  Basically, they are saying if you practice their religion, your relationship with God is external.  Whatever is said around you is what you believe.  If someone prays around you to a God you do not pray to, YOU will have sinned.  If you pray near someone who does not practice your faith, you won't be practicing your faith.

If your relationship with your God is on a firm enough foundation that the mere existence of other religions is not enough to shatter your faith, you might be able to be a Freemason.


Post a Comment