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Volume of Sacred Law

THE BIBLE & THE RELIGIOUS WRITINGS OF THE WORLD:
Could the Masonic Teaching of the "Volume of Sacred Law" be True, that All Religions Lead to God, or is it Just Religious Stew?

One of the hallmark heretical teachings of Freemasonry is their universally accepted Masonic Doctrine of the Volume of Sacred Law, which states:

"A 'Book of the Law' (Volume of Sacred Law or VSL) shall constitute an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge. Advisedly, any Book of the Law because it is not absolutely required that the Bible be used. The 'Book of the Law' is that volume which, by the religion of the Mason, is believed to contain the revealed will of the Grand Architect of the Universe."

What the Masonic Lodge would have you and its members believe is that it doesn't matter which religious writings are used to obligate its candidates, because they all contain the inspired Word of God. Is this true? Truth, by definition is absolute. Truth matters!

If these religious writings are so different in what they each teach, doesn't common sense tell us that it does make a difference? As Gregory Koukl said, "It's the differences that are critical." To answer these questions, and challenge this Masonic worldview, we will look at three articles from the Christian Research Institute. References are listed at the end.

THE BIBLE AND THE RELIGIOUS WRITINGS OF THE WORLD

Many people agree that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, but is it exclusively inspired? What about the Upanishads? Or the Koran?

If the Bible is truly inspired by God, then it follows that it is trustworthy and authoritative in every area it covers (including matters of history and theology). It simply doesn't make any sense to acknowledge that the Bible is God's revelation to mankind and at the same time hold that its message is unreliable.

However, if we're to take the Bible very seriously, we also need to realize that its claims conflict with other works that many people deem to be inspired as well. For example, the Upanishads which are part of the Hindu scriptures teach that the world is God; of course the Bible says exactly the opposite. Also, while the Tripitaka the sacred writings of Buddhism prescribes morality, meditation, and wisdom as solutions to suffering, the Bible points to Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross as the only real answer to man's deepest problems, including suffering. And while the Bible centers on Christ's death on the cross and resurrection, the Koran for example Islam's holy book denies Christ's crucifixion.

As it stands, the Bible is clearly at odds with the sacred writings of the world's religions. And while, of course, it's logically acceptable for someone to believe that one of the writings is inspired, it makes absolutely no sense at all to believe that they're all inspired, since their claims and statements are, in many cases, mutually exclusive. If we are to regard the Bible as being truly inspired by God, we can only conclude that He had no hand whatsoever in these other writings. To profess otherwise is to mischaracterize God as someone who Himself is full of contradictions and inconsistencies. Now, I want to make it absolutely clear that the Bible alone gives us the answer for living successfully in this life and the life to come. In fact the Bible says, "These things are written that you may know that you have eternal life." The Bible is the only answer, and the Bible alone is the inspired Word of God.1

DON'T ALL RELIGIONS LEAD TO GOD?

Can Christianity be faulted for unabashed arrogance in claiming to offer the only way to God? After all, don't all religions lead to God?

A number of people equate religious tolerance with religious truth. Many assume that all religions are basically the same and that all beliefs are therefore equally valid. They picture each religion as having identical faces hidden behind different masks.

Sound reasoning tells us, however, that all religions are not essentially the same merely because they contain some similarities. A brief survey of a few religions would quickly reveal that every single one of them has competing claims which contradict other religions. How, for example, can someone logically square the Hindu teaching that the universe is God with the Muslim belief that Allah, the God of Islam, is distinct from the universe? Any honest investigator would have to admit that religions harbor irreconcilable differences, demonstrating that they cannot all possibly lead to the same God. Logically speaking, they can all be wrong, but they cannot all be right.

We, therefore, need to ask which religion points to the right God, and consider how certain its claims really are. Regarding these questions, Christianity towers above the religions of the world. For instance, while every religion would have man try to reach up to God, Christianity says that it's God who reached down to man - that only through God's grace and mercy, and never by mere human effort, can we ever hope to obtain God's favor.

Furthermore, the Lord Jesus, who declared this message, claimed to be God and backed His pronouncements with His own bodily resurrection. No other religious figure throughout history has ever justified any claim with such power and authority. And precisely because Jesus pointed to Himself as the only way to God does His message need to be heard by everyone, everywhere, regardless of their religious beliefs.2

RELIGIOUS STEW by Gregory Koukl

The great philosopher Socrates once counseled, "The unexamined life is not worth living." The theological parallel is just as valid: The unexamined faith is not worth believing. Sadly, this advice is often ignored.

A letter to the editor of my local paper is a case in point. Responding to a previous letter by a Christian, one woman ended her comments on religious tolerance with this unusual benediction: "May God, Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, Jehovah, Cosmic Consciousness, and 'All That Is' bless you."

Her gesture was genuine and gracious, an example of the tolerance she wanted to promote. No deity need take offense; all were included in the pantheon of possibilities. Yet it was a statement made without thinking. It was an example of an unexamined faith filled with inaccuracies and contradictions.

Buddha was a man who died, and dead men bless no one. Yahweh or Jehovah (both are variations of the same Hebrew word) is the personal name of the Lord God of the Bible, but according to His own statements He is a jealous God, as is Allah, the God of Islam. Neither would give their blessings to those who split loyalties.

Out of courtesy to Eastern religions, the author mentioned cosmic consciousness. Invoking the favor of an impersonal force, however, is much like saying, "May electricity bless you," or "May gravity smile on you today." Blind forces cannot act in a benevolent way; only persons can. "All That Is" suffers from the same drawback. If everything is doing the blessing, then what is left to be blessed?

This woman's confusing theology is characteristic of most who espouse the current form of religious pluralism - the view that no religion is objectively more true than any other. Nevertheless, one point ought to be obvious: Everything can't be true.

Let me give a parallel example. The political equivalent of this philosophy would be, "May Lenin, Jefferson, Idi Amin, or Yasar Arafat rule." Each was or is a political leader, but the similarity ends there. Each represents a different ideology. In some cases, they're polar opposites. One can't dismiss as inconsequential the differences between these men simply because each is associated with politics.

The religions mentioned above are like oil and water; they can't mix because they represent opposite and competing concepts. An appeal to their similarities doesn't help. We would never say aspirin and arsenic are basically the same just because they both come in tablet form.  It's the differences that are critical. That's true in all areas of life, especially the spiritual.

There are other problems with this woman's commonly held view. She suggested in her letter that proof of a religion "lies solely with the person who has experienced God's presences [sic] in his or her life." But how does she know that what she's experiencing is actually God? Adolph Hitler was convinced he had a divine appointment with destiny. That was his experience. Does that vindicate the Third Reich? Charles Manson suffered from the same delusion. I'm convinced the writer would recoil, with the rest of us, at Hitler and Manson and fully condemn what they did. She can only justify that rejection, however, by admitting to some absolute truth that stands outside of her experience and judges it right or wrong. The experience itself is not enough.

If God exists, He's either personal or not personal. He can't be both. If God is merely a cosmic energy, why ask His blessing? He can't hear or respond. If He's a person, then He's someone, not everyone.

People looking for truth would do well to bear this in mind. In life we must make judgments, separating the wheat from the chaff. We do it a hundred times a day. This kind of judgment is necessary for our very survival. If we must discern between truth and error in physical life, what makes us think we can change the rules in spiritual life, which has eternal ramifications? Why do we think we can mix everything together into one holy, religious stew in the area of spiritual truth and not suffer the consequences?3

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

1The issue of biblical inspiration is thoroughly discussed in Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible (Moody), pages 21-200 (B112/$37). For a discussion of the world's religions and a brief introduction to comparative religion from a Christian perspective, see Compact Guide to World Religions (B378/$11.00) by Dean Halverson. These resources are available through CRI. To place a credit card order, call toll-free (888) 7000-CRI. For shipping and handling information, please call CRI or refer to our Resource Listing. To receive a free copy of our Resource Listing, fax us at (949) 858-6111 or write us with your request at P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000. (back to article)

2Helpful discussions on this topic can be found in the following books: R. C. Sproul, Reason to Believe (SB839/$10); and Paul Little, Know Why You Believe (B267/$10). These resources are available through CRI. To place a credit card order, call toll-free (888) 7000-CRI. For shipping and handling information, please call CRI or refer to our Resource Listing. To receive a free copy of our Resource Listing, fax us at (949) 858-6111 or write us with your request at P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000. (back to article)

3Gregory Koukl is president of Stand to Reason, an apologetics organization, training Christians to think more clearly about their faith and values. This article first appeared in the Spring 1997 issue of the Christian Research Journal. (back to article)

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