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Encyclopedia > Freethinkers

Freethought is a characteristic of individuals whose opinions are formed on the basis of an understanding and rejection of tradition, authority or established belief. This definition as for example is applicable to thought based on rejection of religious dogma. In politics, authority generally refers to the ability to make laws, independent of the power to enforce them, or the ability to permit something. ...


Freethinkers tend to form opinions primarily using facts and reason. The term may describe viewpoints independent of established or dogmatic political, social or intellectual views. It most often also describes one who is skeptical about orthodox religious dogma. In Western society, it usually refers to one who questions or refuses to accept Christian dogma. In philosophy, reason (from Latin ratio, by way of French raison) is the faculty by means of which or the process through which human beings perform thought, especially abstract thought. ... Dogma (the plural is either dogmata or dogmas) is belief or doctrine held by a religion or any kind of organization to be authoritative or beyond question. ... Politics is the process and method of decision-making for groups of human beings. ... The term social is derived from the Latin word socius, which as a noun means an associate, ally, business partner or comrade and in the adjectival form socialis refers to a bond between people (such as marriage) or to their collective or connected existence. ... An intellectual is a person who uses his or her intellect to study, reflect, and speculate on a variety of different ideas. ... The word orthodoxy, from the Greek ortho (right, correct) and doxa (thought, teaching), is typically used to refer to the correct theological or doctrinal observance of religion, as determined by some overseeing body. ... Religion—sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system—is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the moral codes, practices and institutions associated with such belief. ... Dogma (the plural is either dogmata or dogmas) is belief or doctrine held by a religion or any kind of organization to be authoritative or beyond question. ... For alternative meanings for The West in the United States, see the U.S. West and American West. ... Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life, teachings, death by crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. ...


Many freethinkers believe that the weight of evidence for any claims of supernaturalism are insufficient. The term derives its meaning from the freedom to question any and all assertions. Belief is assent to a proposition. ... Evidence is: Any observable event which tends to prove or disprove a proposition, see scientific method and reality. ...


There are strong ties between freethought and atheism, deism, heresy, skepticism (scepticism), and both humanism and secular humanism, but none of these terms are synonymous with one another. Freethought may be defined differently by different people. For example, deists believe in the existence of a first cause through rational argument, rather than authority, tradition, or scripture. Atheist freethinkers however disagree that logic or evidence leads to the possibility of a first cause. Some atheist freethinkers hold that freethought is best considered as a religion itself since it offers alternative analyses of and conclusions about religious questions which simply happen not to include supernaturalism. Refer to Atheist (band) for information about the American band. ... Historical and modern Deism are defined by the view that reason should be the basis of belief rather than revelation or tradition. ... Heresy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a theological or religious opinion or doctrine maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary, to the ‘catholic’ or orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church, or, by extension, to that of any church, creed, or religious system, considered as orthodox. ... Skepticism (British spelling: Scepticism) can mean: Philosophical skepticism - a philosophical position in which people choose to critically examine whether the knowledge and perceptions that they have are actually true, and whether or not one can ever be said to have absolutely true knowledge; or Scientific skepticism - a scientific, or practical... Skepticism (Commonwealth spelling: Scepticism) can mean: Philosophical skepticism - a philosophical position in which people choose to critically examine whether the knowledge and perceptions that they have are actually true, and whether or not one can ever be said to have absolutely true knowledge; or Scientific skepticism - a scientific, or practical... Humanism is a general term for many different lines of thought which focus on common solutions to common human issues. ... Secular humanism is an active lifestance that holds a naturalisic worldview and advocates the use of reason, compassion, scientific inquiry, ethics, justice and equality. ... Historical and modern Deism are defined by the view that reason should be the basis of belief rather than revelation or tradition. ... Categories: Wikipedia cleanup | Stub | Philosophy of science | Religious Philosophy | Theology ...


A related movement is that of the "Brights", a term coined in 2003 by Paul Geisert to refer to people who hold a naturalistic worldview, free of supernatural and mystical elements. The term bright, used as a noun, is a neologism invented by Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell (now the co-Directors of The Brights Net) in 2003 as a positive-sounding umbrella term to describe various kinds of non-religious and non-superstitious people. ... 2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the adjective, see brightness; for people named Bright see this list. ... The supernatural (Latin:super- exceeding+nature) refers to a conceptualizaion of forces and phenomenon that cannot be perceived by natural or empirical senses, and whos understanding may be said to lie with religious, magical, or otherwise mysterious explanation —yet remains firmly outside of the realm of science. ... Mysticism (ancient Greek mysticon = secret) is meditation, prayer, or theology focused on the direct experience of union with divinity, God, or Ultimate Reality; or the belief that such experience is a genuine and important source of knowledge. ...


History

The Freethinker magazine was first published in Britain in 1881. It was founded by G W Foote.


In issue 1 of the Freethinker (May, 1881) Foote wrote: "The Freethinker is an anti‑Christian organ, and must therefore be chiefly aggressive. It will wage relentless war against Superstition in general, and against Christian Superstition in particular. It will do its best to employ the resources of Science, Scholarship, Philosophy and Ethics against the claims of the Bible as a Divine Revelation; and it will not scruple to employ for the same purpose any weapons of ridicule or sarcasm that may be borrowed from the armoury of Common Sense."


Prosecuted for blasphemy, partly because of anti-religious cartoons which appeared in the Christmas 1882 edition of The Freethinker, Foote was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour. Blasphemy is the defamation of the name of God or the gods, and by extension any display of gross irreverence towards any person or thing deemed worthy of exalted esteem. ...


The Freethinker is currently edited by Barry Duke.


See also

American Atheist logo. ... The Golden Age of Freethought is a term sometimes used to describe the freethought boom of the late 19th century. ... A one-week summer camp for the children of Humanist, Atheist, Agnostic and Free-Thinking parents ( Freethought qv), Camp Quest was founded in 1996 by the Free Inquiry Group, Inc. ... The Brethren of the Free Spirit (Brüder und Schwestern des Freien Geistes) was a medieval heretical pantheistic movement. ...

External links and references

  • [http://www.freethoughtradio.com The #1 Internet Radio Station for Conservative Atheists and Agnostics, Freethinkers, Skeptics, Liberals, Brights, Humanists, Naturalists, and Religious Historians.
  • A History of Freethought (http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/history.htm)
  • The Freethinker (http://www.freethinker.co.uk)
  • PunkerSlut Freethought (http://www.punkerslut.com/main.html)
  • The North Texas Church of Freethought (http://church.freethought.org/)
  • Freethought Association (http://freethoughtassociation.org/)
  • The Houston Church of Freethought (http://www.hcof.org/)
  • The Freedom from Religion Foundation (http://www.ffrf.org/)
  • FreeThoughtFilter (http://www.freethoughtfilter.com) Latest links to news articles of interest to free thinkers.
  • The Brights (http://www.the-brights.net/)
  • Universist Movement (http://www.universist.org/)
  • Freethinkers A History of American Secularism (http://www.holtzbrinckpublishers.com/henryholt/search/SearchBookDisplay.asp?BookKey=1531709), a book on the subject
  • Camp Quest (http://www.camp-quest.com)
  • Freidenker-Verband e.v. (Germany) (http://www.freidenker.de/)
  • The Infidel Guy  (http://www.infidelguy.com/), a popular radio show broadcast over the Internet.
  • Free Inquiry (http://www.secularhumanism.org/fi/), a magazine published by the Council for Secular Humanism, which addresses Freethought issues.
  • Free Cognition (http://freecognition.blogspot.com/), a blog dedicated to freethinking and philosophy
  • HighTech Zen (http://www.hightechzen.com/), Freethinking Spirituality via Technology

  Results from FactBites:
 
What Is A Freethinker? (0 words)
Freethinkers recognize that there is much chaos, ugliness and pain in the universe for which any explanation of origins must also account.
Freethinkers are convinced that religious claims have not withstood the tests of reason.
Freethinkers see no pride in the blind maintenance of ancient superstitions or self-effacing prostration before divine tyrants known only through primitive "revelations." Freethought is respectable.
Freethinker Rock in Comfort, TX (0 words)
The Freethinker Rock in the Comfort, Texas, town park was removed December 21, 2000.
Freethinkers and their ideas were also evident in other German areas like Kerrville, Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, La Grange and Brenham.
Texas was attractive because of available land and the freethinking principles of the Republic of Texas Constitution.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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