Contrary to popular belief, Freemasonry is NOT a religion. In fact religion is one of two restricted subjects within a Masonic lodge. The other being politics, for obvious reasons. They divide us as Brothers, causing conflict and often derailing the true purposes of the Craft.
However, there is a Bible on the altar, representing "the volume of sacred text" or volume of law. To be a Mason one must only believe in a supreme being and the immortality of the soul. But we never said which supreme being, for a reason...
The idea that we worship a Baphomet is just a hilarious example of how the evolution of urban legends knows no bounds. I would guess it was the "Goat" in the Goat of Mendes that started it. But for the record it's the "G.A.O.T.U" or the Great Architect Of The Universe that we speak of, which is a really slick way to acknowledge a supreme being without using any name that would assert any one religion. That's what Masons is all about.
So here's a shot of my "Masonic Bible" which is nothing more than an Old King James (Master Mason Edition) with a "Lodge Blue" cover complete with a square and Compass. It starts out with a "presented to" page for Mother Lodge, York and Scottish Rites and after that the first hundred or so pages consist of experts from Morals & Dogma for each degree and a Biblical index to Freemasonry. Other than that its a Standard Bible.
In a conversation about the Golden Dawn, someone once said that it was not a religion, but he did it religiously. I can say the same for Masonry. I use my Masonic Bible, Square and Compass in my own personal rituals. There's something to be said about giving the due guard and sign, and starting each day "on the square".
But I never thought I would be pulling it out to read it from start to finish, but here I am taking a break from my Old Testament class to share some interesting finds. I have written before about the old Masonic Tracing Boards a few times, and know them quite well and that's where it started.
Many of the Tracing Boards include navigational orientations along the outer borders. N, S, E, & W giving clues and symbolism to direction. Today while completing research and homework on the book of Exodus, I was reviewing plans of the Tabernacle Complex and saw the same thing, which gave me the right perspective to see some very interesting things in the Christan teachings of the symbolism of the tabernacle, its parts and contents. This is something we are taught in Masonry about King Solomons Temple.
My recent shift in awareness has really helped me appreciate spirituality during my Bible study as much as being a Mason has aided my Academic studies and assisted in a few personal "revelations".
Thank you Holy Mother & Holy Father.