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won by arguments that we can analyse
There is simply NO universal agreement on how to respond to the critics of Masonry. Since the first disparaging comments began to be heard, members of the Fraternity have taken various approaches. You'll need to decide which is right for you, remembering always the Masonic virtues of Temperance and Virtue!
This approach appeals to many since it robs the anti-Mason of the attention he (or she) so desperately seeks. It also, however, permits the 'lie' to stand unchallenged in the eyes of the world. Like those who would deny the Holocaust or other evils of mankind, permitting a lie to stand simply allows the liar to gain legitimacy as time proceeds.
Fight Fire With Fire!
Drown them with their own methods! If, after all, they're going to behave rudely, twist words around, make false accusations, etc., they should be responded to in kind. The problem with this tactic, though, is that it lowers the responder to the level of the attacker. Maintaining the 'high ground' is a military term that reminds us of the usual location of the victor in battle. We strongly discourage this tactic, regardless of the provocation - which, regrettably, can often be great.
Appeal to Reason
Upon first encountering those who are against Freemasonry, the novice believes that "If only they heard the truth....". Sadly, however, there are precious few who attack Masonry who are at all interested in the truth. You see, they already KNOW the truth and it's the Mason or those who support Freemasonry who need to hear (their version of) the truth. Reasoning is either an art they have learned to manipulate to their own ends OR it is a concept which totally eludes them. Either way, it rarely if ever works.
Exploit Their Weaknesses!
Sometimes it's easy to find flaws in the anti-Masonic argument. When responding, it then becomes tempting to also exploit the weakness of personality of the anti-Mason. Personal attacks, however, won't serve their purpose and often make the attacker look petty or desperate. Comparison to others similarly flawed also fails to make an impression since - remember - the anti-Mason alone knows 'The Truth'. Cutting down another to make oneself look bigger is a common anti-Masonic tactic: it is NOT a practice that Masons should emulate!
Lull Them Into Acceptance!
(Also known as "Give them enough rope....") Regretfully, some folks think that anti-Masons will allow themselves to be caught off-guard if only we give some credence to their beliefs. In our opinion, it's not at all like 'whistling past the graveyard' but rather like trying to talk a starving, rabid bear into believing that you're not his next meal!
Show Our Good Works!
This methodology regularly fails - and for totally unexpected reasons. We think that because we appreciate the good works of Masonry, they will too if only they're exposed to them. A visit to a Shriners Burns Institute, perhaps, or a trip to a Scottish Rite Learning Center where children are being helped to overcome dyslexia. It's all for naught: one anti-Mason has spent the past several years trying to prove that Masons either (a) exaggerate their generosity or (b) should leave charitable projects to others. No matter what is done, it's not enough. In other instances, Masons are accused of setting up charities in order to 'lure in' the unsuspecting. It's hard to get those who have their own agenda to look at the good that Masons do....
Explain Their Misunderstanding of the Bible!
In all ages, the Bible has been used by people to support what they saw as the truth. Trying to explain biblical interpretations to an anti-Mason is similar to trying to teach a pig to sing: it accomplishes absolutely nothing and antagonizes the pig! If they do not understand enough about the Bible to appreciate the fact that there is nothing in it which contradicts Masonry, you will never in a million years be able to show them otherwise. It has been tried before; it will be tried again and again - and it invariably fails!
In summary, it's mostly a lose-lose proposition. The author of this web site believes that no amount of argument or attempts to reason with a true anti-Mason will ever succeed. (We've put together some further thoughts on a page titled Debating Anti-Masons.) Hate does not engender kindness and love and fighting hate with hate only serves to further reinforce wrong-headed conceptions.
What does succeed, we believe, is the TRUTH. Becoming knowledgeable about Masonry helps when confronted with false charges wrapped in the guise of fact.
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This site and its contents are © (copyright) 1998-2012 by Edward L. King (Ed King). All rights reserved. All comments and opinions are mine personally.
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