This is one in an ongoing series for the thinking sort of fellow, of which we have many. In college, I was struck with the declaration of two sorts of “Humanism,” the secular sort, with its atheistic influences: Niezsche et al, versus the spiritual or, as it was termed, Christian Humanism. The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was an early proponant. Humanism is the idea that institutions and ideas should be understood in a mankind centric point of view, as opposed to earlier philosophical systems that had a broader or bigger assumed perspective.

We are asked sometimes why Masons require a belief in God, and, except for some irregular French influenced jurisdictions, why we do not admit atheists as members.

I think it boils down to Masonry’s transcendent understanding of Man, and our belief in the ultimately ennobling value of a spiritual basis for life. Without it, we believe the result is de-humanizing: an absolute denial of the aspirations of any people, and that it is ultimately destructive.

Muggeridge’s classic essay on the subject, here, put this to words better than I:

“…If you envisage men as being only men, you are bound to see human society, not in Christian terms as a family, but as a factory farm in which the only consideration that matters is the well–being of the livestock and the prosperity or productivity of the enterprise. That’s where you land yourself. And it is in that situation that western man is increasingly finding himself.”

Masonry, it seems, stands in the gap, saying, “I am more than just a cog in the wheel. I carry in me, inviolate, a spark of the Divine, which you cannot take from me.” Words of defiance, and of responsibility.