A New Conspiracy Theory -- of science and religion

Copyright 2010, John Manimas Medeiros

The purpose of this essay is to explain my theory regarding the conspiracy of the Freemasons, which is probably also the conspiracy of the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion (if it exists) and possibly also the Gnostics and the Pythagoreans. My perception of what the conspiracy is, what is the goal or purpose "they" are working secretly to achieve, is unlike any you have ever heard before. It is both simple and enormously complex; in some ways obvious but apparently hidden until now. I hope you enjoy this surprising trip.

Copernicus and Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Aristotle, Archimedes, Cardinal Bellarmine, Pope Urban VIII and the "doctrines" of the Roman Catholic Church. The alleged "battle" between science and the Church, or between science and religion, reached a high point of drama and of historical interest in 1632, when Galileo Galilei was found guilty of heresy by the Roman Catholic Inquisition and placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. The true story unfolds over a period of sixteen years, and is far more complex than can be fully described in a few paragraphs, or a few pages, or even in an entire book. This intellectual and political conflict played out during the same period of European history that is often described or defined as "the rise of science." The implication of course is that what we call science was developing in its persuasive "power" and scientists were engaged in a struggle to overcome the "power" of the Church.

This struggle between science and the Church takes place during the "Middle Ages" and actually continues over centuries. The Church had denounced scientific ideas before Galileo and has continued since Galileo. What raises this occurrence to high intensity in modern history is the fact that Galileo was proven right shortly after his passing, and the heliocentric view of the universe was consistently confirmed thereafter. The "Solar System" replaced the ancient "religious" geocentric view that said our planet Earth was the center of the universe. Of course, we now know that neither the Sun nor the Earth are the center of anything. We are either off in a far corner of a reality so vast it is beyond imagination, or we are, as astronomers like to point out as a kind of cosmic joke, if the universe is infinite then wherever you are you are in the center. The conflict began in 1615 when Galileo publicly supported the heliocentric viewpoint published by Copernicus. Galileo was suspected of heresy at that time and both Church officials and other scientists denounced his position. He quieted down and more or less accepted a temporary defeat. In 1632 Galileo went a step further and defended the heliocentric viewpoint with a substantial new work: Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. This time his position was taken more seriously and he was found through the Inquisition process to be suspected of heresy and placed under house arrest which continued until his death. Galileo identified himself as a Catholic and he did not renounce or discredit his membership in that religion. This was true for most scientists included in the Renaissance history of Southern Europe during the Middle Ages. I have gathered this information from one of my favorite books: The Gallileo Connection: Resolving Conflicts Between Science and the Bible, by Charles E. Hummel, 1986; published by the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the United States of America. The story of Galileo and the Church can be found in many resources, including the Universal Internet source of approximately accurate information: Wikipedia. Check it out, but I recommend one not rely on one source of information. There is always another version of history, even when other versions are politically incorrect.

It is during this period that a very interesting secret society is supposed to have come into being: the Masons or Freemasons, also known as the "Free and Accepted Masons." The Freemasons, when asked, usually claim this short version of their history, and some even say they were founded during the seventeen hundreds. This "short history" version is in enormous opposition to other historical viewpoints that argue the Masons are an ancient secret society that started in Biblical times, possibly existing when the Great Pyramid was built, possibly being responsible for the Great Pyramid, possibly being the same somewhat "amorphous" organization as the Pythagoreans or the Gnostics.

This is the most common conspiracy theory discussed today, the theory that the Masons, who played a major role in the formation of the United States of America, may have played a secret or semi-secret role in several key events in world history. This conspiracy theory includes, for some theoretical historians, the possibility that the Masons participate in some form of communication with superior beings or extraterrestrials, or God or messengers of God. That would be a possible explanation for why the American dollar bill and the Great Seal of the United States of America states, in Latin, that "He approves our endeavor." If there is some higher power that "approves our endeavor," just what is the endeavor that "He" approves? Who is "He," and what could be the true meaning of such a "conspiracy" where a group of human beings have secretly made us all parties to some kind of arrangement with another civilization of intelligent beings?

I treasure The Gallileo Connection by Charles Hummel because it offers an explanation of this conflict and historical description that includes the important details and illustrates what is essentially the main theme of the book: the conflict was not really between science and the Church, but rather between two interpretations of data, or two different interpretations of the same scientific observations. The Church, in 1632, was in possession of what may have been the world's greatest library (long after having burned other books) and was also in possession of a first class astronomical observatory. The Church did not necessarily base its position of geocentricism only on Biblical scripture. They used scientific observations to defend their viewpoint, as did Galileo also of course. What interests us today, and certainly must have been of the greatest interest to people of that time, is the conflict of authority. For the people and for the world, the matter of most profound significance was not and is not who has the correct interpretation, but rather who, which institution, is going to be the keeper of knowledge, the authority that provides us with answers to cosmological questions? Viewed this way, not as only a conflict between two interpretations of astronomical data, and not only as a conflict between a scientist and a Pope, but rather as a conflict over where shall human civilization invest ordinary, flawed human beings with the power of authority, with the power to teach, with the power to state what is true and what is false?! That is the question, and that question is the origin of my New Conspiracy Theory. The fight between the Vatican authorities and Galileo made Galileo the proxy for a large informal group of people. Those interested in the outcome included everyone in Europe and the Mediterranean region who wanted to use the scientific method to question the interpretations of ancient scriptures and either confirm or revise beliefs (knowledge) accordingly. It does look like a battle between science and religion, but with a just a little adjustment of our viewpoint, we can see both the conflict and its possible outcomes differently. We can discover the conspiracy, the secret purpose of secret societies.

Through my study of the Knights Templar, Freemasonry (I have never been a member and never will be) and European history, I noticed there is an allegation that Francis Bacon, often considered to be a prime mover of modern science, achieved the highest position in the Freemasons. Also, it is argued that Leonardo da Vinci was a member and a Grand Master. Also Isaac Newton was a Grand Master. This is all a kind of "conspiracy history" because it is difficult to be certain that a person is a member of a secret society, or it would not be secret. Possibly one can document membership, but not place or leadership position. In any case, it is obvious that these three were devoted to what we call "science."

There are a lot of tantalizing stories and details related to the grand conspiracy theories around the Knights Templar and the Freemasons. There is the battle at Bannockburn, Rosslyn Chapel, the escape of Knights Templar by sea after the infamous "Friday the 13th" in 1307. There is the theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and she was the one expected, and even selected, to lead the religious community after Christ was gone. I have argued in my essay Don Quijote of the Knights Templar (April 2009) that the great work of Miguel Cervantes (Don Quijote of La Mancha, 1605), often called "the first novel," was actually a sarcastic Roman Catholic document intended to discredit the view that the Knights Templar even existed, and to ridicule the belief of the Knights Templar -- also known among the Cathars or Albigensians of the French Languedoc (Southern France) -- that Mary Magdalene was a noble woman and Christ's wife. Don Quijote thinks he is a knight riding out into a dangerous world to correct injustices and protect the noble female, such as Dulcinea, who is Don Quijote's romantic love, but who is depicted by the all-knowing narrator as a tavern maid. She is, shall we say, "not noble." Instead of being a real knight who can accomplish any good, Don Quijote is an old fool who drives his lance through the turning paddle of a windmill. The alleged source of the story is an obscure manuscript attributed to a deceased Moor, and therefore the very existence of Don Quijote, though entertaining and interesting, is itself called into doubt. I concluded that these literary devices look very much like they are saying that the Knights Templar are fools -- if they even existed -- and the noble woman they endeavor to protect is a tavern whore, which was the Vatican view of Mary Magdalene.

Books and movies have popularized the idea that Masons played a special role in the founding of the United States of America. George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and several others who signed the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons. Franklin was a scientist. His key-on-a-kite experiment demonstrated that lightning was electricity. He is credited with the invention of bi-focal glasses and a cast iron cook stove. There is a design known as a "Franklin stove," but several satisfactory designs for cast iron cook stoves have evolved since and are still used today. Before the cast iron cook stove, which became commonplace in early America, people cooked foods in iron utensils that hung from hooks over the fire in a fireplace. The cast iron kitchen stove is known as a device that heats the house in winter as well as cooking food.

The New Conspiracy Theory -- of science and religion:

So what does all this have to do with a conspiracy managed by the Freemasons? What is their goal, and has it been their goal since 1776, or since 1500, or since 1307, or since the Knights Templar discovered some still guarded cosmic secret beneath the Temple of Solomon? Did they find a treasure? What was that treasure? Where is it now? And all these questions are now as popular as hand-held computers. But the answers are not certain -- for most people. But I have found a degree of certainty in my conclusion as to what the conspiracy is. The conspiratorial goal of the Masons, which could have begun many centuries ago, even in ancient times, is to have the human species accept responsibility for their own learning. This is what we often call "science." Science itself is the goal, and having human beings overtly and unequivocally believe and act upon the belief that we are responsible for what we learn and what we know. We must not rely on religion only, which, when referenced as a source of knowledge, is called "revelation." In other words, if we rely on religion for our knowledge, then the truth about the universe, any and all facts about how the universe works, are "revealed" to us by a God or messengers sent by God. There is no need for science. Why make the great efforts required to test every hypothesis? God will tell us what we need to know when we need to know it. That is in fact the position of the Medieval Church, and a position that is still very much with us.

If this is in fact the secret goal of the Freemasons, they had better keep working on it. We have Islamic fundamentalists who appear to be willing to kill a million or more people with a nuclear bomb on the grounds that they are "infidels" who are hated by Allah. We have Christian fundamentalists in America who are willing to overturn the separation of church and state, and suspend or eliminate the rights of the accused -- in short destroy democracy -- in order to set the stage for an authoritarian theocracy in the United States. We have people claiming that Noah really did have two of every living animal on his boat, even though such a boat would have to be larger than Disney World in order to convey all the creatures and their food and water for forty days. Noah would also need a method to prevent many of those animals from being dinner for other animals on that very special cruise ship. We have people claiming that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, and that God is a lot like a person who created every living plant and animal in accordance with something he imagined. We have flowers and toads of many colors because God likes colors. And on and on it goes. Even though the fundamentalists drive cars and use electricity produced by turbines and eat food brought to them on jet planes, they still claim that science is wrong. They still claim that we get our knowledge from the writings of people who lived three or more thousand years ago and who got their information directly from God. So, I must say that the goal of having the human species accept responsibility for their own learning is yet a way off in the future. Possibly a long way off.

I worked as a social worker for seventeen years. When writing a court report about a delinquent youth, or troubled pre-adolescent child, the most devastating assessment of a child's behavior was to write "He doesn't learn from experience." What is the humanity and hope remaining for a child or adult who does not learn from experience? To use science as the method of learning means to learn from experience, and not to sit waiting for information from God. One could justifiably take this back to Genesis. Having ignored God's advice and eaten the apple we were told not to eat, we clearly were sending a message to God: "I can do it myself. We don't need your advice and guidance any more. We will make our own decisions." It does not matter if this involved an apple or nakedness or sex or desire or disobedience or rebellion or whatever. What it most certainly involved was an act that communicated a willingness to take the risk of learning from experience, science. The Bible is often accused of being a mish mash of interpretations and mis-translations, some accidental, some deliberate. I have heard the teachings of Jesus as hard science and explained my understanding of the New Testament in my book The Primacy of Stewardship. One of my personal interpretations of Genesis is that it is incomplete. There is a section that was removed and was lost. What is missing is the reaction of Adam and Eve after they realize they are expelled from Paradise just because they made a decision on their own. The story that is missing is that they came back to the gate where they were expelled and pleaded with the angel with the flaming sword to obtain God's forgiveness and be allowed back in. But the angel was prepared for this pitiful apology and begging for forgiveness.

"Sorry. Once you decide that you can learn on your own, God sets you free to learn until you have learned enough to understand who and what you are, and until you accept full responsibility for what you know and what you do. So long as you continue to attribute your fortunes and fate to God, you will not be ready to come back to the Garden and discover what it is. God loves you and wants you to succeed, but that means you have to do what you have already decided to do, learn on your own. You decided that you do not need God to tell you what to do, and that decision is final. It was your decision, not God's. Your decision was the sign that told God you were willing to learn from experience and he did not need to guide you any longer. Goodbye and good luck."

Shortly thereafter, two sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, light fires to send smoke up to God. The smoke of Abel rises straight up. Cain's smoke circles him and chokes him. Cain hates Abel because he believes God loves Abel and Abel is successful. Therefore Cain kills Abel. Cain and Abel are among the first humans. Adam and Eve are not the first humans because they were created by God -- according to the story. To be human, one must have human parents, I say. Therefore the first real humans who have human parents are the children of Adam and Eve. One of those first humans, Cain, kills his brother because his brother is successful and appears to him to be loved by God. That, my dear brothers and sisters, looks a lot more like our "original sin" than the foolish eating of an apple or noticing one is naked, or sexuality. How and why centuries of human society have argued that choosing to eat an apple, petty disobedience, is a great sin, when we have the first murder to consider, is a cornucopia of psychological material. Search me. It is cosmically obvious to me that the first murder motivated by envy is the sin of interest, of far greater interest than disobedience or sexual impulse. Eat all the apples you want, I say, enjoy a bushel of sexual fantasies, but if you are thinking that I am more loved than you are, or more successful, or happier, let's talk. I could save you from your error and we can build a fire together, and bake apples on it, and dance around the fire with our friends. And whether God is going to let us back into Paradise or not, we can make ourselves comfortable here. Let life be like summer camp. We can enjoy our dance around the fire of questions and searches for answers, enjoy the arrival of both the expected and the sudden surprise.

What did the Knights Templar find under King Solomon's Temple? I believe they did find lots of gold. But they also found a far greater treasure, a treasure really worth dying for. They found science. This is the secret conspiratorial goal of the Freemasons: to have you accept responsibility for your own learning, to learn from experience. This is not easily achieved. You persist in your argument that God is telling you what to do, as though you are still in the Garden of Eden. Go back to the Old Testament that you use to justify your attitude. It says in that scripture, the writing that you claim is the word of God, that you were kicked out of God's Paradise. You were sent away and told to continue what you had started by your own act of independent will. "I can learn on my own" is what you said with your hand on the apple, or whatever your hand was on at that time. Stop going back and begging for reconsideration. You chose to learn from experience. Accept reality. This is not a battle between science and religion; this is the battle that rages in the hearts and souls of Adam and Eve and all their children. Learning from experience feels a lot like work. There we are still, back at the gates of Eden, begging to be allowed back in: "Please God, tell me what to do. I will be good, I promise." But there is no response, no flaming sword, no angel to talk to. It's over. We have to accept reality, because reality is the only Paradise we have. Consider the likelihood that there are superior intelligent beings observing us. We don't want them to write down in a report "Humans do not learn from experience." If I am right, if having us learn from experience and be scientific is the conspiratorial goal of the Masons, count me as one who desperately hopes they succeed.

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