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"The time has come Old Tiler," the Petitioner said resolutely, "I'm ready for you."
"Oh really" said the Tiler with mock fierceness, "how so?"
"I'm not afraid of you anymore after today."
"Why on earth would you be afraid of me?"
"Because after our conversation, you may decide to decline my petition and keep me out of the Masons."
"Now I really am concerned." the Tiler said with sincerity. "Sit down and tell me what's on your mind."
"Okay. It's time for me to provide 'full disclosure' on whether I believe in a Supreme Being or not."
"Yes. Absolutely with all my heart and reason. But I also have to say that I am also an atheist, and agnostic, a heretic and a pantheist."
"Well you've certainly chosen some provocative words. And, if I judged things at face value, perhaps I would reject you on that. But I don't judge things on face value and I know you to be a thoughtful well-intentioned man, so why don't you tell me what you mean."
"Well, first, I'm an atheist, because I don't ascribe to God the characteristics of personhood that we humans have. I do believe that God has Intention, but I don't believe he has hopes, fears, or neuroses. I don't believe he has a gender, though I use he from the patriarchal habit. And I don't believe he hates or chooses the way people do or the way some religions say he does."
"Second, I'm an agnostic, because I believe that the nature of God is like the wave-particle duality of matter. Sometimes God acts like a Person, who interacts with humans and treats people as individuals. Sometimes God acts like a blind impersonal force, something that is 'not a respecter of persons'. So if you ask me, what do I think God is 'really' like, what is his True Nature, I must say with all honesty, 'I don't know and I'm not certain I can find out before I die'."
"Third, I am a heretic. The religion I grew up believing in teaches that only members of one special group are in God's favor and will survive death.
While I keep many of their beliefs and study their systems, I don't believe that God chooses among his children. I have two children, each with different gifts and I will never choose between them. Even if one commits unspeakable acts I will love them as my child forever. The God I believe in feels that way for all men and will either bring all men Home or none. I believe this regardless of what my 'religion of origin' may teach."
"Lastly, I'm a pantheist. I believe that there is nothing so small that God cannot enter, and nothing so large that God cannot fill. I believe that if you sum up all that exists, all that ever existed, all that will exist, and all that does not exists you have God. For me, God is the complete set of "I AM" and "I AM NOT". He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the All and the Nothing, the eternal Yin and Yang."
"So, do I believe in a Supreme Being? Yes, and passionately. But I worship him by trying as hard as I can to see him clearly for what he really is, knowing full well that I will never even come close. I worship him by rejecting any limiting definition of what he may utimately be. So, I stand today for who I am and who I imagine God to be and not to be. My beliefs may confuse some, but I will not be afraid any longer."
The Old Tiler was silent for some time. Finally he looked at the Petitioner and said, "Son, I believe with all my heart that there is nothing you've said that makes you unfit to be a Mason, and I know that there are many Masons who would be proud to call you their Brother. Stand firm in yourself and let the votes come as they may. And remember that there are many doors into the Temple. If this one closes, you may still find Light through another door."
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Last modified: March 22, 2014