Published in Poland, Wrocław 1999, Wydawnictwo GAJT s.c.; 155pp 205 x 145mm; PAPERBACK; ISBN 83-910542-5-X
The following work is an attempt to present Masonic notions and statements concerning the concept of God. Freemasonry is a very heterogeneous movement, therefore in our research we encounter most varying ideas of God. And when Masonic view of God differs from case to case, how large are the differences? It would be impossible to discuss here all the possible variants, hence the author has described only the most prevalent and important tendencies.
When trying to answer the question of possible variations of Freemasons' concepts, one should pay detailed attention to the two main currents of this society. They are: the traditional Anglo-Saxon movement and, existing since 1877, the liberal freemasonry. In the first case we find that the official attitude towards theological problems is based on the „natural religion”. Old Rites, as Ludwik Hass has remarked, „were to some extent equivalents, or substitutes, of religious cult for persons who, in varying degree, break mentally away from systems of belief and from dogmas. Freemasonic rites filled a particular gap left by rationalistic and free-thinking philosophy in the minds of people accustomed from their earliest childhood to religious ceremonies; these rites satisfied some conscious longings and desires”. Making no precise definitions of the consequences of their statements, the Brothers underline the need to use an unclearly defined concept of the Great Architect and the Initial Revelation. Thinking of all the religions as equal is a sign of religious syncretism prevalent among the Lodges. In the liberal current, the belief in the Great Architect is stressed to much lesser degree. Negation of possibility of learning the Absolute is permissible, moreover, one can even negate the existence of God Himself. Because, as Andrzej Nowicki has said, „all Freemasons have been and are free-thinkers”, one cannot deny them the right to „know, see and feel that the Man is for himself God, the priest and the king simultaneously”.
Because everything has its beginnings and its roots, in the following part of the book author, trying to find sources of Masonic concepts of God, pointed to such ideas as gnosis, deism, and these currents of thought, which negate either the Absolute or possibilities of learning anything about the Absolute. This move enabled author to analyse sources from which Freemasonic thought is derived. In the part devoted to concept of deism, widely spread in the traditional current, „Voltairean deism” is described in detail, because when Voltaire entered Masonic ranks „almost every one of those who introduced and accepted him were Voltaireans”. Liberal branch gladly exploits the works of Immanuel Kant, therefore a little more space is devoted to him and his system.
In order to analyse critically any notion, one should compare it with another system; therefore in Chapter Three we examine in detail a Christian vision of God who reveals and saves. This step, sketching of this Christian concept in order to criticise on its basis thoughts taken from Freemasonic statements, we consider as very important. In this chapter we speak about God the Creator, but Freemasonry „does not think of God as the creator of the man, despite the fact that individual members can believe in the act of Creation”. We have shown God the Saviour, but according to Freemasonry man can achieve the perfectness by himself, because „salvation is a matter of self-improvement, morality and good deeds in connection with obeying Masonic oaths and with obedience towards all the Masonic authorities”. Pointing to God of Hope, we have met doubts and these words: „we know not, what death does to us… nothing begins, nothing ends, everything undergoes everlasting and never-ending changes… it seems that life end in nothingness”.
Among various views of God presented by Freemasons of many periods and Obediences there exist many differences. They represent a whole spectrum of attitudes, therefore the notion we generally name „Masonic religiousness” stretches from the „natural religion”, proposed by Rev. James Anderson, through deistic approach seeing in God only some unclearly specified Transcendence, up to agnosticism or even atheism. There are many concepts of God, but are they compatible with the Christian vision of God, or with the specific, Catholic point of view? Contrary to what many Freemasonic speakers sometimes try to prove, none of their concepts agrees completely with God WHO IS. Masonic view of God cannot be equalled to Christian depiction of Him revealing Himself in Jesus Christ, to Him „Who was, Who is and Who comes”.