Organized religions are laden with the debris of archaic, superstitious images. Everywhere people go they are submerged in biblical ignorance, religious illiteracy and historical stupidity (Edelen, “The 10 Commandments”). People are surrounded by cultic codes and images at every turn. This must stop! One organization that is taking a stand is called The Freedom From Religion Foundation. It is most commonly referred to as free thought.
A freethinker is a person who forms opinions and beliefs on the basis of reason, independent of tradition, authority, or established belief (Barker). Freethinkers love to learn new ideas and are not satisfied with what is already known. Thus, all members must be free from the conformity of a bible, creed, or messiah. They must be allowed to think for themselves, rather than blindly follow tradition or “cosmic absolutes.”
Freethinkers believe the truth and choose not to follow the lies and superstitions that are, inevitably, part of religion. Common mythological themes are saturated through out the bible, from the creation and flood myth to virgin birth and hero resurrection (Edelen, “The Sin”). Unlike conventional religions, Freethinkers’ beliefs are based on reality and reason. As defined in Nontract #11, “What is a Freethinker,” “Reality is limited to that which is directly perceivable though our natural senses or indirectly ascertained through the proper use of reason” (Barker).
For an idea or belief to be considered true it must be testable, falsifiable, parsimonious, and logical. Every belief a freethinker has must have evidence or experiments to confirm it; all attempts to disprove it must repeatedly fail, require little to
no assumptions, and be free from contradictions and character attacks (Barker). Freethinkers use the thinking part of there brain to understand the universe.
Many people who don’t understand free thought think that freethinkers lack morals. The morality of a freethinker can be summed up in one word, kindness. Morality is not a bunch of dos and don’ts but, instead, is based on human needs (Barker). Freethinkers try to be good and fair to everyone. They believe that all human beings should live in peace no matter what their race, sex, religion, what they think, who they love, or where they come from. They do their best to protect the earth and all its creatures. Religion promotes dangerous and inadequate “morality” based on blind obedience, rather than a careful use of reason to weigh the possible outcomes when faced with a moral dilemma (Barker).
The most common philoshical question pondered is whether there is a meaning of life. Freethinkers know that the meaning of life must originate in the mind. Since the universe is mindless and the cosmos do not care, if you wish to have a purpose, YOU must care (Barker). Not all freethinkers believe in a meaning of life, as with all beliefs, individuals are free to accept or discard it. Where as many freethinker choose to believe there is no divine plan, most freethinkers find meaning in life. They find meaning in human compassion, social progress, the beauty of humanity, personal happiness, pleasure, joy, love, and the advancement of knowledge (Barker).
Unlike convention religions, free thought requires an explanation rather than a designer to explain the complexity of life. One such explanation is Darwin’s theory of evolution along with natural selection. Freethinkers do not believe in a divine designer
because the complexity of such a creature would be subject to the same scrutiny itself (Barker).
Freethinkers also believe that religion is not only useless but also harmful. Historically, religion has always produced violence (Edelen “Religion”). From Moses to the Crusades, Henry VIII, Salem, Hitler, Kosovo. Edelen writes, “it is the countries with out religion that are the least violent” (“Religion”). He also stated in the same article that, “America is the most ‘religious’ of all industrialized nations, and yet is the most violent nation in the world.” Many of the world’s most gruesome leaders believed they were performing god’s work. Hitler himself wrote, “I am completely convinced that I am acting as the agent of god. I am now a Catholic and will always remain so,” in Mein Kampf (qtd in Edelen, “Religion”).
Freethinkers do not believe that all religious people are harmful or violent. Many religious people are good people and perform many good deeds, but they would be good anyway. Being a good person has nothing to do with your relationship with god but rather personal feelings toward yourself, others, and the world in general. According to Barker, people free from religion have made most modern social and moral progress.
Free thought is reasonable and allows you to do your own thinking. Ideas and beliefs are indivually tested and, in turn, adopted or discarded. There should be no pride in maintaining ancient superstitions. Leslie Weatherhead, Seniour Minister of City Temple of London, wrote, “not for much longer will the world put up with the lies, distortions, and superstitions about Jesus and the Bible” (qtd by Edelen, “The Sin”).
Barker, Dan. Nontract #11 What is a Freethinker? Internet Infidels, 1993. 26 May 2000.
Edelen, William. “Religion is the Cause if Violence (1999).” Internet Infidels. 1999. 26 May 2000.
—. “The Sin of Silence (1999).” Internet Infidels, 1999. 26 May 2000.
—. “The Ten Commandments (2000).” Internet Infidels, 2000. 26 May 2000.
—. “Where was God? (1999).” Internet Infidels, 1999. 26 May 2000.