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My community recently found out that one of our local priests is also a Freemason. I'm not entirely sure of what Freemasonry is about and how it relates to Christianity.

What exactly can outsiders know using publicly available sources about what Freemasonry teaches about the relationship between itself and Christianity? Does it teach that they overlap with, are a subset of, or are unrelated with the Christian faith?

Note: Since one of our local priests is one, there must be others who profess Christianity and practice Freemasonry. How do they view the practice in relation to their faith? Where do ultimate allegiances lie for practicers of both?

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<Obsolete comment removed.> –  El'endia Starman Oct 9 '11 at 6:22
    
Questions like this are the reason we started the Freemasonry SE. Please consider following: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/41173/freemasonry –  user1054 Jun 18 '12 at 16:39
    
This really explains a lot: cbsnews.com/news/inside-the-secret-world-of-the-freemasons –  The Freemason Dec 12 '13 at 0:17
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Freemasonry is not a religious order, and therefore as long as a freemason believes they are a Christian, they are Christian for the purposes of this site. Freemasons can also be Jewish, Muslim, Deist, or of any other faith as long as they believe in a Supreme Being.

From the New Hampshire Grand Lodge website, although nearly every Lodge has a similar blurb (emphasis mine):

Is Freemasonry a Religion?

Categorically, not. Freemasonry is not a religion, although there is a religious aspect of every Freemason. Those who claim that it is a religion either do not understand our tenets, are confused as to what constitutes a religion, or have simply made an error of judgement without basis of fact. Freemasonry does require that a man profess a sincere belief in God, but not as to how he practices it, or what else he might believe spiritually. It does not take the place of religion, nor does it supplant the teachings of any religion. If anything, it reinforces those moral teachings of religions that form the basis of all good societies. Finally, it is one of the ancient landmarks of Freemasonry that there is never any secular or political discussion in any legally constituted Lodge. So seriously do all regular Lodges take this principle, that the penalty for such discussion is severe and could result in expulsion.

Except for the requirement that they believe in God, nothing about masonic teachings is intended to supersede or override Christian teachings.

This is not without some controversy, as there have been allegations (particularly from the Roman Catholic Church) that because Freemasonry doesn't explicitly prefer one faith over another, it is incompatible with the true Catholic faith.

This is codified in 1738 by Pope Clement XII's papal bull, In eminenti apostolatus specula (emphasis mine):

Now it has come to Our ears, and common gossip has made clear, that certain Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations or Conventicles called in the popular tongue Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons or by other names according to the various languages, are spreading far and wide and daily growing in strength; and men of any Religion or sect, satisfied with the appearance of natural probity, are joined together, according to their laws and the statutes laid down for them, by a strict and unbreakable bond which obliges them, both by an oath upon the Holy Bible and by a host of grievous punishment, to an inviolable silence about all that they do in secret together.

Via this bull, the charge for joining a Masonic order is excommunication.

This was again reiterated in 1983 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in its "Declaration on Masonic Associations:"

Therefore the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enrol [sic] in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.

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Does Freemasonry make any claim on the allegiances of it's membership in over or in some specified balance to the faith(s) that they old? How do they account for when incompatibilities do arise? –  Caleb Oct 8 '11 at 20:46
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@Caleb Except as it pertains to a belief in God, masons do not touch the issues of faith or Christianity and accept anyone who believes in God. There have been allegations about what exactly that implies (for example, whether that means all Christian denominations are equal, or whether all religions are equal), it is the intent of Freemasonry to be compatible with all faiths. –  user72 Oct 8 '11 at 21:10
    
I like to tell people that we're the evil do gooders. I like to point out to people that in on of the masonic groups I belong to (Scottish Rite) there are two brothers from Turkey, 1 from Israel, and the rest are mostly Christian. Where else in the world can these people come together and "break bread" and discuss things and become friends? We hosted a multi-religion discussion of different places of worship within the city. Want to know who didn't show up after signing up? The Catholic father. –  user1054 Jan 18 '12 at 17:48
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How is Freemasonry related to Christianity?

Freemasonry is promotes indifferentism. Indifferentism is the heretical belief that all religions are equally legitimate attempts to explain the truth about God which, but for the truth of His existence, are unexplainable. Such a view makes all truths relative and holds that God can be equally pleased with truth and error.

Freemasonry's teachings and practices also result in syncretism which is the blending of different religious beliefs into a unified whole. This is evidenced most especially by Masonry's religious rituals which gather men of all faiths around a common altar, and place all religious writings along side the Bible on the Masonic altar.

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Neil this question (and the requested point of view) have changed dramatically since you answered in response to complaints about the original question. I am temporarily-deleting this answer since it isn't relevant to the current question any more. If you want to edit it for the new question please then flag it for moderator attention and we'll get it back online. Thanks! –  Caleb Oct 8 '11 at 19:57
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Ick. "Heretical" for whom? I'm pretty sure most Unitarians would have no trouble with this philosophy whatsoever, even in your strawman form. –  T.E.D. Oct 10 '11 at 2:04
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