It is clear that the Masonic approach is a source of ambiguities; some see it as an individual process of moral improvement, others see it as a collective movement towards more social progress and more individual freedoms, still others link it to a mystical path.
These different approaches are explained by the influence of biblical inspiration that existed at the time of the creation of the first Masonic lodges in England, Scotland and Ireland, but also by the influence of occultist movements such as Freemasonry. was known in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Let us not forget either, the role of the philosophical current of the "Enlightenment" present in the 18th century.
In France, the involvement of many Freemasons in the political action of the Third Republic led to believe that Freemasonry could also have a political role. Globally, the influence of the United Grand Lodge of England has modeled the functioning of Masonic Lodges on an institutional basis with an almost exclusive charitable social commitment.
This historicity, although rapid and schematic, clearly shows that in the current situation, Freemasonry, as a whole, does not have a clear and univocal orientation that is understandable by the general public.
The different approaches can appear to be confusing or even internal divisions to the point that some authors claim that there is not ONE Freemasonry but Freemasonry!
There is another reading grid which would make it possible to understand the current ambiguity and to propose a "clarification" which would facilitate the understanding of the specificity of the Masonic process in the 21st century.
At the end of the 17th century, at a time when the first Masonic lodges appeared in England, Scotland and Ireland, the King Jacques Bible (Bible translated into English) was the reference book for intellectuals as well as for those and those who can read; there are no notable differences of opinion on its content and many religious movements claim it.
This consensus did not prevent religious quarrels, which could lead to a climate of violence. This is why one of the motivations of Freemasonry at this time was to pacify these inter-sect religious quarrels and it is recognized that this was indeed one of its first successes.
Ideologically, this first Freemasonry is therefore biblical, non-clerical, open to aristocrats as well as to bourgeois and intellectuals, and under the indirect authority of the royal family.
Its biblical character explains why there is on the theological level no fundamental difference of opinion with the Christian churches. Globally, these see life on earth as the opportunity for the atonement of human beings' sins in order to allow them to hope to reach heavenly paradise. Terrestrial life is secondary and is ultimately only the preparatory phase for the celestial life which it is fantasized about.
Compared to the Bible, the originality of Masonic rituals lies not in the content but in the expression of the biblical teaching via a symbolic vocabulary and the reappropriation of the legendary discourse. This is how some authors have been able to say that in the legend of Hiram, Hiram was a substitute for Jesus Christ.
Basically, at that time, the Masonic approach, as it is illustrated in Masonic rituals ", is faithful to biblical teaching and is also intended as a preparation for the passage to" the Eternal East ".
With the creation of the Antient and Accepted Scottish Rite and Ramsay's speech, we will observe an accentuation of this Christic impregnation and the addition of occultist contributions which also make terrestrial life the stage prior to passage into the celestial world.
But even today, for the most part we have the same Masonic rituals that have this same content.
By simplifying, we could analyze the impact of Freemasonry from two components:
Masonic rituals of biblical inspiration supposed to prepare the initiate for the celestial life; this "preparation" can go as far as a mystical process;
The ambition of social fraternity inspired by the charitable teaching of Jesus Christ: this duty of social fraternity is expressed either by a charitable effort (for Anglo-Saxon lodges) or by a societal commitment (for certain so-called liberal lodges ).
From the end of the 19th century, the evolution of knowledge and societal mores explains that this mode of operation has become fundamentally conflicting. Several elements can be identified:
Female initiation; Although in most of the obediences that have accepted to initiate women, the institutionalization of the masculine as a neutral gender has been a way of denying femininity and as such can be considered a diversion of procedure, feminine initiation can to be considered as a reconsideration of a landmark, that is to say of a provision which was supposed to be non-modifiable for life!
The rise in power of atheism and non-belief: If the Grand Orient of Belgium was the first Masonic obedience not to demand belief in God (another landmark), the recognition of freedom of conscience is today 'hui accepted by many so-called liberal obediences; if the vast majority of obediences under the influence of the United Grand Lodge of England still maintain the obligation of belief in God, the societal fact of atheism and non-belief will become inescapable.
The criticism of the religious discourse tending to privilege the hope of a heavenly heavenly life (which is found in all the major monotheistic religions) is becoming more and more inaudible for a large part of the world's youth who take into account the risks of environmental deterioration of our planet.
For these fundamental reasons, and also for others in relation to the problematic of the functioning of Masonic lodges, it is clear that the very existence of Freemasonry arises!
And yet, all those who have lived experience in a Masonic lodge know how extraordinary this can be: To be able to meet in an atmosphere of seriousness and mutual respect and to discuss the meaning of life that one leads, on ethics, on fraternity, is not easily accessible and one could say that it is a specificity of the Masonic lodge.
We must therefore do everything to save Freemasonry!
The Masonic commitment could very well be a commitment to implement earthly happiness for every human being and for society! The Masonic Happiness that one might idealize can only be wise, non-passionate, aesthetic and non-violent happiness. A harmony to live in peace on our planet, an emulation of intelligence and research to better explore the unknowns of human existence.
This would obviously suppose a rewrite of the Masonic ritual to propose a ritual which is clearly in adequacy with this motivation.
By clearly orienting ourselves towards this objective of working for earthly human happiness, we would not run the risk of encroaching on the raison d'être of religions and on the mystico-esoteric quibbles of the rituals of the past!
Happiness encompasses everything that concerns human beings in their environments: this ipso facto entails a universalism of benevolence!
At the beginning of the year 2021, my very dear sisters, my very dear brothers, dear friends, I hope that this idea will continue its path and that it be the seed of the renewal of Freemasonry, always a new idea!