Monday, July 16, 2018

A Brother Asks: What About Satan?

 

A Brother Asks: Can a person believe in Satan as a higher power and still be a Freemason?
Coach: No.
Brother: No?
Coach: They are not allowed to be a member. Why do you ask?
Brother:  We have this weird guy at work who claims to be a Freemason, and we also believe he’s into the occult.
 
OCCULT
 
Coach: What do you mean be the occult?
Brother: Yeah, more specifically, Satan worshiping.  Why do you ask?
Coach: Occult has many meanings.
Brother: It does?
Coach: Yes.  And depending upon how you are using it and to what you refer, it takes on entirely different meanings.
Brother: Such as?
Coach: You used it as a noun. 
Brother: Yes.
Coach: In its simplest form, when used as a noun, “occult” describes something that is “supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, or phenomena”.
Brother: Okay, and?
Coach: Well, that describes every known faith on the planet, whether you like the faith or not.
Brother: Okay, I see where you are going with this.
Coach: Okay, thanks. 
Brother: You make a valuable point here.  Let me rephrase it.
Coach: Please do.
Brother: His occult references all appear to be pointing back to satanic practices and beliefs.
 
DISCUSSION GROUPS
Coach: Thanks for clarifying this for me.  This topic, the one you originally asked about and all the surrounding issues related to it, comes up on discussion forums ad nauseam.
Brother: Really?!
Coach: Yes.  It is a hot topic at times too and the discourses that unfold are usually altogether interesting, annoying and amusing, all at once.
Brother: Why’s that?
Coach: Because it usually reveals the personal biases, attitudes, assumptions and all sorts of logical fallacies that each poster has. 
Brother: I can imagine.
Coach: All of which are easily spotted by those who have seriously studied the Trivium.
Brother: Ah!  This is yet another reason to study Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric?
Coach:  Yes.  The answer you'll get from most everyone on the topic of Satanists being Freemasons is “no way in hell”.
Brother: Was that a pun?
Coach: Of course.
Brother: Why is that a typical response? 


TECHICALITIES
Coach: The problem stems from the technicalities involved in the term "belief in a higher power".  
Brother: How is that a problem?
Coach: It's a euphemism for "God", as is the term "supreme being".
Brother: So?
Coach: Well, each of them appear to be a harmless substitution.
Brother: They sure do.
Coach: And therein lays the problem.
Brother: How so?
Coach: Neither is harmless because each is not an equal substitution.
Brother: Please explain.
 
MYTHOS
Coach: In Judeo-Christian mythos…
Brother: Mythos?
Coach: Yes. Mythos.
Brother: Does mythos mean it’s not true?
Coach: Mythos means belief systems that reveal truth through the use of symbols, metaphor, allegory and analogy.
Brother: So, in this light, religions are mythos?
Coach: Yes. And in this case, it’s the Judeo-Christian mythos to which I refer.
Brother: Oh!  Okay.  Thanks for that.
Coach: You’re most welcome.
Brother: So, what about this mythos?
Coach: In Judeo-Christian mythos, Satan is not a higher power, hence to believe in Satan as a higher power is to believe in a lesser power.
Brother: So, since Satan is a lesser power, they falsely believe that Satan is a higher power?
Coach: Yes!  Satan comes from the Hebrew word for adversary a.k.a. God’s opponent so to speak.  Satan continually puts forth “that which is counter to God's Word”.
Brother: Really?
Coach: Yes.  According to scripture, and rabbinical tradition, Satan was God's "Right hand man" when it came to testing humanity, especially when God’s Word was involved.
Brother: Meaning?


HIS DAY JOB
Coach: Satan had a job to do. 
Brother: Which was?
Coach: To test God's Word to assure that it could not be shown to be false.  God depended on this to be done and done so passionately!
Brother: Yikes!
Coach: Exactly!  It was an important job and God had Satan around to assure God's Word was proved to be infallible.
Brother: That’s amazing.  God did this?
Coach: According to scripture, God trusted Satan to do this and to do this continually and impeccably.
Brother: Is that why even the Vatican has the devil's advocate, Satan’s spokesman so to speak, to be played by some of the smartest of their members so as to assure what the Vatican said could not be proven false?
Coach: Yes.  I’m glad that you’re seeing the connections. It's a vital role and it is not played lightly by believers.
Brother: So, what does this have to do with people who say Satan is their higher power?
Coach: Good!  You’re coming back the original question.  The problem with believing in Satan as a higher power is that the believer assumes that Satan has higher power than God.
Brother: And that’s not a sound assumption.
Coach: Precisely!  But it’s not enough just to say it’s not sound.  You have to show why.
Brother: Let me take it from here.
Coach: Okay.
Brother: Obviously those who accept this have embraced God's tester, believing that Satan can prove a much more powerful being to be false.
Coach: Exactly.  God created Satan.  Satan did not create God.
Brother: Wait!  There’s some esoteric stuff here!
Coach: Indeed.  Take it further, please.
 
FALLACIES
Brother: God is Truth.  Speaking Truth creates the possibility of Fallacy and opportunity to test Truth. 
Coach: Yes.  But couldn’t the opposite be also true?
Brother: As in… Satan represents Fallacy.  Speaking Fallacy creates the possibility of Truth and opportunity to test Fallacy. 
Coach: Yes.
Brother: So, you’re implying Satan speaking Fallacy could have Created God thus saying Satan is a higher power than God?
Coach: What I’m saying is that we have to be careful with our premises, arguments and conclusions.  That’s how trouble starts.  Satan is not the opposite of God.  Satan is God’s tester.  It cannot be said equally that God is Satan’s tester even though it is superficially interesting to entertain that notion.
Brother: But why not?
Coach: Because “Not God” is not the same as the opposite of God; although many people fall for this trap.
Brother: Sounds like logical studies would help prevent this.
Coach: Indeed and it is one of a few subjects one needs to study seriously and thoroughly to assure you don’t fall into accepting things presented as valid until they are understood to be valid based upon solid premises and arguments.
Brother: Agreed!
Coach: Do you see where I am going with this?
Brother: Yes, and it makes perfect sense.
Coach: Good. So, let's go back to the actual problem. 
Brother: Okay, I’m ready!

EUPHEMISMS (and other Substitutions...)
Coach: Good! By substituting euphemisms like "Higher Power" and "Supreme Being" for the word "God", you take light off of God and allow for a different premise and a false argument to occur that no longer has to do with God. 
Brother: Are you saying that using euphemisms for God create straw man arguments?
Coach:  Yes!
Brother: So, it’s using a logical fallacy to support Satan as “A Higher Power” or “A Supreme Being. 
Coach: Exactly!
Brother: However, Satan is not “THE” Higher Power or “THE” Supreme Being.
Coach: Yes!  Does this all make sense?
Brother: Yes, very much.  It’s very logical the way this is explained
Coach: Good!
Brother: But let’s get back to the original situation.  We have several Brothers who want to call this guy out.
Coach: If you are dealing with a Satan worshiper, you are likely dealing with a sophist and you must know how to spot logical fallacies to deal with them for they are masterful at twisting words.  That is, unless…
Brother: Unless what?
Coach: Unless he is too dim minded to twist words, and then you just have an easily influenced individual who is effortlessly deceived. This too is a possibility.
Brother: Yes. That's the other side of this and it describes him very well.  I can see that some people who get pulled into Satan worship are easily duped.
Coach: Yes.  They would have weak minds and be easily manipulated.
 
BUT WHAT ABOUT...
Brother: Ok. Then can a Hindu become a Freemason.  With like, 23,000 gods…is that even plausible?
Coach: Wow!  You’re changing directions here.
Brother: Sorry.  Yes.
Coach: Okay, the answer is “yes”.
Brother: But wouldn’t that mean they believe in many higher sources?
Coach: Not really.  The nature of their belief supports every notion of one ultimate source for all their gods.
Brother: So while they have many gods, their gods answer to one?
Coach: More like, even though they believe in many gods, they know through their teachings that each god represents one of many masks that the one true God may chose to wear.
Brother: So, although there are many masks, there’s still only one player – okay, I get it! God manifests in billions of ways...
Coach: Yes!
Brother: Is this is why they don't get upset by different names others may use or by different manners of worship?
Coach: Yes.  They recognize each is valid in its own right.
Brother: And that means they believe in God.


BACK TO THE SUBJECT...
Coach: Yes. This brings us back to Satanists.
Brother: How so?
Coach: They will argue that they should be considered under that same umbrella as Hindu.  Unfortunately, it's apples and oranges.
Brother: Why is that?
Coach: Satanists, if atheistic are automatically disqualified.
Brother:  What?
Coach: Bro.!  Atheists don’t believe in God, and by default, any other deity.
Brother: But what about theistic or, as you just shared, deistic Satanists?
Coach: They admit Satan is God’s “right hand man”, second to another deity.
Brother: Okay, this brings up the question of deity. 
Coach: And?
Brother: If all that one has to do is believe in a deity, then shouldn’t Satanist qualify.
Coach: No
Brother:  No?! Why not?
Coach: Good Question.  That was covered by the same straw man argument involving higher powers and supreme beings.  Freemasons are not talking about “A” Deity.  They are referring to THE Deity.
Brother: Okay, but what if they say that Satan is God, THE Deity, THE Supreme Being, or THE Highest Power?
Coach: Great question!  The operative term in your question then becomes “if all that one has to do is believe in a deity”. 
Brother: How is that operative?
Coach: Believing in a deity is yet another euphemism and that’s not the question or is it the focus.


BELIEF IS NOT ALL
Brother: Okay, I see the euphemism part.  Belief in a deity changes it into a straw man situation.  But what’s the focus?
Coach: Believing in God is not all that one has to do.
Brother: No?
Coach: No!
Brother: How so?
Coach: Although “belief in God” is the only “religious” requirement that you’ll usually see in most jurisdictions, one must also be a man, of age, well recommended and, here’s the biggie, fit in with the other lodge members.
Brother: You’re emphasizing that. Why is that so important?
Coach: Because to be accepted, one must fit in to the lodge one is joining.  When one doesn’t fit in, the lodge’s harmony is affected and that would detrimentally affect the lodge and its operation.
Brother: So, even if a candidate does believe in God, no matter how he may chose to define and practice this, if he doesn’t fit in, he is likely to not be accepted.
Coach: Yes.  But let’s get back to Satanists who believe in Satan as a deity.
Brother: Okay.
 
 
THE SWITCH
 
Coach: All of this assumes Satanist believe in the same Satan that is written within scripture.
Brother: Are you saying the Satanist might not be worshiping the same Satan as in the Bible?
Coach: What I’m saying is we assume in the premises of your arguments that this is true.
Brother: So, they might be using the name, but they have an entirely different mythos involved?
Coach: Yes. 
Brother: Wow!  That means they might be able to get away with claiming to believe in God then.
Coach: As strange as it seems to anyone who does not have this deceptive thinking, it could apply.  Think about it.  Is this just the kind of thinking one could expect from Satanist?
Brother: It sure fits the mythos. 
Coach: Do you really think so?!
Brother: Yes, absolutely.  Is this why Freemasons speak about no equivocating, having any reservations of mind and things like this?
Coach: Of course!  We’re not looking for sophists or sophistry; and for that matter, individuals whose core beliefs are founded upon deception.
Brother: Wow!  Freemasonic ritual makes even more sense to me after this talk.
Coach: Good!  People who speak equivocally will say what you want to hear and not appear to be lying by doing so. When you don’t train yourself to recognize such things, you are a sucker for being misled.
Brother: And not being able to spot this character might open the West Gate to such candidates?
Coach: You mean like, when individuals say that they believe in God and leave out the part about worshiping Satan anyway?
Brother: Well, yes.  I’m seeing how language can mislead us into falsely assuming extremely important understandings.
Coach: Are you also seeing why it’s so important to know who is petitioning before you sign your name and give him your endorsement?
Brother: Yes.  I am.
Coach: Good!