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OfflineDroz
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Freethought
    #1107542 - 12/03/02 05:16 PM (14 years, 5 days ago)

Taken from http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/blfaq_atheism_freethinker.htm

Webster's defines a freethinker as "one that forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; especially one who doubts or denies religious dogma." What this means is that to be a freethinker, a person has to be willing to consider any idea and any possibility . The standard for deciding the truth-value of claims is not tradition, dogma, or authorities - instead, it must be reason and logic .

The term was originally popularized by Anthony Collins (1676-1729), a confidant of John Locke who wrote many pamphlets and books attacking traditional religion. He even belonged to a group called "The Freethinkers" which published a journal entitled "The Free-Thinker."

Collins used the term as essentially a synonym for anyone who opposes organized religion and wrote his most famous book, The Discourse of Free Thinking (1713) to explain why he felt that way. He went beyond describing freethinking as desirable and declared it to be a moral obligation:

Because he who thinks freely does his best toward being right, and consequently does all that God, who can require nothing more of any Man than that he should do his best, can require of him.

As should be obvious, Collins did not equate freethinking with atheism - he retained his membership in the Anglican church. It wasn't belief in a god which attracted his ire, but instead people who simply "take the Opinions they have imbib'd form their Grandmothers, Mothers or Priests."

At the time, freethinking and the freethought movement was usually characteristic of those who were deists just as today freethinking is more often characteristic of atheists - but in both cases this relationship is not exclusive. It is not the conclusion which differentiates freethought from other philosophies, but the process. A person can be a theist because they are a freethinker and a person can be an atheist despite not being a freethinker.

For freethinkers and those who associate themselves with freethought, claims are judged based on how closely they are found to correlate with reality. Claims have to be capable of testing and it has to be possible to falsify it - to have a situation which, if discovered, would demonstrate that the claim is false. As the Freedom From Religion Foundation explains it:

For a statement to be considered true it must be testable (what evidence or repeatable experiments confirm it?), falsifiable (what, in theory, would disconfirm it, and have all attempts to disprove it failed?), parsimonious (is it the simplest explanation, requiring the fewest assumptions?), and logical (is it free of contradictions, non sequiturs, or irrelevant ad hominem character attacks?).

Although many atheists may be surprised or even annoyed by this, the obvious conclusion is that freethought and theism are compatible while freethought and atheism are not the same and one does not automatically necessitate the other. An atheist might legitimately raise the objection that a theist cannot also be a freethinker because theism - the belief in a god - cannot be rationally grounded and cannot be based upon reason.

The problem here, however, is the fact that this objection is confusing the conclusion with the process. As long as a person accepts the principle that beliefs regarding religion and politics should be based upon reason and makes a genuine, sincere, and consistent attempt to evaluate claims and ideas with reason, refusing to accept those which are unreasonable, then that person should be regarded as a freethinker.

Once again, the point about freethought is the process rather than the conclusion - which means that a person who fails to be perfect does not also fail to be a freethinker. An atheist might regard the theist's position as erroneous and a failure to apply reason and logic perfectly - but what atheist achieves such perfection? Freethought is not based upon perfection.

I really like what is written here. What do you think?

Peace,
Droz


--------------------
Evolution of Time.


Edited by Droz (12/03/02 05:25 PM)


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Anonymous

Re: Freethought [Re: Droz]
    #1108591 - 12/04/02 01:06 AM (14 years, 4 days ago)

I think it's very well said and completely correct.

5 shrooms for the thread!

Great job Droz!


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OfflineFcuerkt
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Re: Freethought [Re: Droz]
    #1108838 - 12/04/02 02:36 AM (14 years, 4 days ago)

That's beautiful, it's a justification for athiesm that a theist could appreciate.


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Offlinepostanaldrip
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Re: Freethought [Re: Droz]
    #1109114 - 12/04/02 04:50 AM (14 years, 4 days ago)

That is a very good writing.  Thanks! :grin: 


--------------------
"It's not until we've lost everything, that we're free to do anything." TDFC


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OfflineDroz
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Re: Freethought [Re: Droz]
    #1109890 - 12/04/02 02:37 PM (14 years, 4 days ago)

When i was younger my mother always took me to church. But she never really explained to me what god was and what the bible was. I think this is because my father didn't believe in the bible and didn't want me to become a "religious freak." For that i am thankful because it gave me a chance to actually think on my own about my spirituality. I have always been a dreamer. Back when i was six i decided to stop going to church because i had no belief at all in this Christian god. This gave me an open-mind and made me who i am today. The definition of freethinker is pretty much what i am. I don't believe any religion has the answers or what they proclaim as the truth. I believe that truth comes from inside of us and is ours alone. I think that when we put our beliefs into words it always changes perspective... i'd like someone to disagree with me on that because i want to see another view.  :grin: We are all human, so i don't see why people would try to think they are any different because they have different beliefs. The world is a certain way.. but i think we can only percieve it as individuals. Unless our communication advances to a new level unheard of where it can be discussed.

When we think and then verbalize or write down, the thought is clear, the thought is there.. when someone else reads it and percieves it and puts it into their own perspective is it ever the same?  :grin:

Just some thoughts.

Peace,
Droz 


--------------------
Evolution of Time.


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Freethought [Re: Droz]
    #1110041 - 12/04/02 03:35 PM (14 years, 4 days ago)

it may still be possible to join up with "the society of evangelical agnostics"
i think i still have my membership card somehwere...


--------------------
old enough to know better
not old enough to care


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Offline3eyedgod
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Re: Freethought [Re: Droz]
    #1110073 - 12/04/02 03:42 PM (14 years, 4 days ago)

I don't believe any religion has the answers or what they proclaim as the truth. I believe that truth comes from inside of us and is ours alone.

Can't disagree with that one :smile:


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Without everything wouldn't nothing be everything and without nothing wouldn't everything be nothing.I am the beginning and the end,the source and the void, the light and the darkness,i am but a small drop of the ocean yet i am an ocean unto myself


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Freethought [Re: Droz]
    #1110597 - 12/04/02 06:15 PM (14 years, 4 days ago)

I like much of what was stated in that post.
Especially this:
Because he who thinks freely does his best toward being right, and consequently does all that God, who can require nothing more of any Man than that he should do his best, can require of him.

It's my exact reason for not needing God... Anyone remember the "if God is an asshole... then fuck him, I'd rather burn in hell.." comment I made a while back? This quote is exactly what you should've read in that. I wish Zahid were still posting.


More amusement...
I just finished reading some Kierkegaard the other day and I will completely accept any Christian who adopts Kierkegaard's way of thinking about Christianity. I think a few of his premises are flawed, but it is possible that modification/clarification of some of his definitions and concepts might fix 'em.



--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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OfflineMurex
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Re: Freethought [Re: Sclorch]
    #1111072 - 12/04/02 08:48 PM (14 years, 3 days ago)

Kierkegaard kicks ass!  :wink:


--------------------
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know,
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
Is it all you want it to be?



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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Freethought [Re: Droz]
    #1111666 - 12/04/02 11:22 PM (14 years, 3 days ago)

An atheist believes that there is no god, which closes off the possibility of the existance of a god. An agnostic doesn't know either way.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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