Sunday, December 31, 2006

Learning from Atheists

An interesting article passed my way today from the Freemason Pride discussion site. The article is actually from the American Atheist website and seeks to tie atheism to Freemasonry, the Illuminati and the Enlightenment. Tall order.

The article by Conrad Goeringer is long and winding, but contains nuggets of interesting information. He starts out by stating that atheism (and deism, which he does not distinguish from atheism) were the sparks for the Enlightenment. He rambles on identifying various non-Christian masons as sympathetic with the atheist (that is, anti-organized religion) cause. Here, the proof is not convincing and seems to be a mish-mash of tired old cliches.

The interesting bit comes when he starts getting into the actual history. His section on the Illuminati reveals that it was started by atheists as an alternative to the corruption of the Church. They were looking for ways to elevate mankind without the need for God -- or at least his Church.

For all the work these highly secretive men put into the organization, it died less than ten years after its inception under the weight of its own secrecy and the misdeeds of its leadership. The secrecy cut off lines of communication and prevented the real sharing of knowledge. The misdeeds were many and fantastic. One leader was caught trying to bed the wife of another. A third leader was constantly drunk. The founder, Adam Weishaupt was no angel either. Turns out that in between his lamenting about the wretched excesses of the Church, he had been bedding his sister-in-law.

The best part of the article, was the very thorough discussion of my favorite prankster, Leo Taxil. For those of you who don't know, Leo is the source of most of the anti-Masonic charges and literature in use today. He was an ardent atheist and devised a plan to swindle the Catholic Church while making them all look like fools.

Taxil pretended to repent of his sins and began to work for the Church. He published a magazine outlining the sins of the Freemasons. Much to the delight of his atheist colleagues and friends, Taxil whipped the Catholic faithful into a frenzy with stories of Freemasons worshipping Lucifer, Baphomet and engaging in orgies beyond belief. He invented quotes by Albert Pike which are still in use on various anti-Masonic web sites today. He even invented a character to do most of the confessing. Diana Vaughn, supposed daugher of an reknowned Satanist was described as the head of all Freemasonry. She told of orgies and ritual sacrifices and lots of other interesting tidbits.

Eventually the scheme fell apart when Taxil could not produce Miss Vaughn for a press conference. It was then that he spilled the whole story to the press, thanking the clergy and laymen who unwittingly helped him perpetrate such a grand hoax. Even though the stories were revealed as falsehoods, they remain in use today by the enemies of the Craft.

The article is long, but parts of it are well worth a read by Freemasons wanting to learn more about the Craft.



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