Sunday, September 18, 2011

Atheism: Freedom of Thought

Pansy: The Symbol of Freethought
From Wikipedia: Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas. The cognitive application of freethought is known as 'freethinking,' and practitioners of freethought are known as 'freethinkers.'

Freethinkers, such as Atheists, have a freedom that those who profess to be "born-again Christians" do not have.  We have the ability to change our minds without fear and without guilt.  We would change our minds about evolution if a single fossil were found in the wrong period.  For instance, if rabbits were found in the Precambrian period.

Christians, on the other hand, are told constantly that reason is the enemy.  They usually are not told this outright and blatantly, but their churches have ways of spreading the word that freethinking will not be tolerated and those who practice such devilry should be frowned upon.

Martin Luther himself, the hero of the Protestant Reformation, spoke openly about reason and thinking.  Here are a couple of his quotes:

  • Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.
  • Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. 
For a faith that claims to hold the truth, the one and only truth, isn't it suspicious that they work so hard to keep you from thinking about it?

As Atheists, we expect our kind to think critically.  This means that if we accept anything, it must be with an air of suspicion and hesitation until we have enough facts.  It also means that we must be open to thinking about everything else we believe in.

Atheists understand that we don't (and probably can't) believe as a sheer act of will.  We will end up believing what the evidence proves and we will change our mind in a second if new evidence arises.

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