As I have it stated in my profile, I've been baptized into Christianity, energized by Taoism, swallowed up by Buddhism and shit out as what you now see. What has attracted me to the halls of Masonry, besides its long history, one is free to believe in God in whatever way his mind and experience have led or concluded for him. There are many who have professed their faith or belief or experience in Christianity or in other than Christianity and have found themselves better for having known the fraternity known as the Freemasons.
But the Freemasons are just a diluted portion of the whole of religious, philosophical or moral thought. Our current religious, philosophical and moral thought that most people currently ascribe to has been foreshadowed by great Sages, teachers and prophets past.
One could delve deep into the rich thinking within the Indian Vedas, the Upanisads, the Bhagvad-Gita; and you have only just begun to scratch the surface.
You could travel to the area of ancient Iran and learn from one of the world's greatest prophets, Zarathushtra. (Zoroaster) Or return again to old India and delve into the teachings of Gotama Buddha. There, you could spent a lifetime (or lifetimes) branching off into their many schools of thought and tradition. Then, head on over to China and look at Confucianism, Moism, Taoism and yes, legalism.
You could study the Law and the Prophets, the Wisdom Literature of ancient Israel, Hellenistic or Rabbinic Judaism and then jump on over to Greece and Milesians and Heraclitus and the Pythaogoreans and Parmenides. Then there are the Greek Moralists. And let us not forget the names of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. I could go on. We haven't even touched upon the early Christian writers, the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists, the Anti-Gnostic Fathers, Marcion and later, the Alexandrian School. We haven't even touched upon Arabic and Islamic thought which should not be ignored. After all, Huston Smith, a wise albeit self educated student and practitioner of Hinduism, Zen Buddhism and Sufism has great things to say about Islam. But to quote Mother Jones magazine, "Smith has devoted his life to the study of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism. He believes in them all."
It leaves me speechless when someone asks me, "What religion are you?" I admit that I sometimes ponder about being the man who has dug too many wells; many holes with none of them having enough depth to gain the fullness of producing a wellspring of cool, cool water.
But it has often been the case that the road has just not led me there. Other times, it has been the result of seeing the worst in those that should be showing the best of what they profess. And it is to this that I have finally come to the point of this brief ramble.
You see, there is an established criteria that a man must meet before he is admitted to the fraternity of Freemasons. To quote a respected fellow Mason, "The purpose of Freemasonry was never to admit every man into the fraternity! The purpose was to take men who were already upstanding, good men, and through the principles of the fraternity, make them in to better men. It was never to take every man and reform them into adequate men… yet in the name of numbers, we seem to have lost sight of that goal."
I have noted in the past that I thought one could successfully argue about the decrease in the number of homes with front porches and the increase in back yard decks being the result of the loss of a collective sense of security after the assassination of President Kennedy. I've recently read about someone who has found a connection between the number of people enrolled in bowling leagues and the number of people who join clubs, fraternities and groups as a whole. As goes bowling, so goes fraternities, I guess. The Masons have left their gates unguarded in an effort to increase their numbers, and to all this I am saddened. It saddens me that one could lose sight of that which is so obvious and an integral part of calling oneself a Mason. There is more to being a Mason than wearing the sign of the Square and Compass. Like the pagan that feels that they must dress Goth or the Christian that feels that they must plaster their car with bumper stickers that proclaims, "Jesus Saves" they wear their professed belief and seldom live it.
I may soon be digging another well.