Having gone back through all of the blog posts BNFree has produced so far, I realized something: we have yet to have a blog about Freethought. Since BNFree (think Bein’ Free) stands for Bloomington/Normal Freethinkers (not Pee Drinkers, FREE THINKERS, sorry I had to shout, but I just wanted to be clear for my readers who are hard of hearing), I thought, freely I must admit, that it would probably be a good idea to actual do a blog about free thinking.
So, what exactly is a free thinker? Someone who thinks freely. That explains that. OK, that wasn’t very helpful, but in my defense, when has a blog I wrote ever been helpful? A freethinker is basically someone who is an agnostic, atheist, humanist, skeptic, and/or a deist (in some definitions). Freethought/freethinking is a kind of catch-all name that encompasses many different groups. From the fifteen seconds of research I did (this is the second most research I have ever done in a blog), I found that freethinking is basically adogmatic with a strong scientific bent. Freethought is based on following where the evidence leads.
In my first post I discussed the difference between atheist and agnostic, but because I am too lazy to go back and read what I wrote, I don’t expect you, the reader, to do it either. So, here’s a quick overview to refresh your memory. An agnostic makes a claim of knowledge: we can’t know there is or isn’t a god, so it’s not worth dealing with. An atheist makes a belief claim: there is no evidence of a god, so I believe there isn’t a god until such time that there is sufficient evidence. Do you believe in god? No, then your an atheist. Yes? Then you are a theist. It’s really that simple.
So why be a Freethinker, then? There is a very simple reason and it’s the reason that I use the term freethinker except when I am with people that are “in the know.” The term “atheist” carries a bunker full of baggage. You tell someone you are an atheist and immediately they are most likely on guard and not receptive to anything you have to say. You tell someone you are a free thinker and chances are they think something to the effect (affect? I still don’t know the right one to use and I always forget to learn the difference) of “oh, ok, then we can have a good conversation because at least you will listen.”
Freethinker is really a great term to use because 1) it doesn’t have the same negative connotation as atheist, 2) it encompasses both the relgious side (atheism) and the scientific side (skepticism) of rational thought, and 3) it just kind of sounds warm and cuddly like a puppy that’s just glad to see you. I think that calling our little group “Bloomington/Normal Freethinkers” is a great idea because it is more accepting of non-believers (atheists, agnostics, skeptics, secularists, humanists, etc) than just the term “atheist.” *
*BNFree, while allowing Jay Pea to post his silly little blog, does not endorse or even recognize the validity of his statements. It’s members, officials, and people who just happened to have passed by a meeting one day do not neccessarily agree in whole or in part, with any comment made. If anything he has said offends you please direct your comments and complaints to the site administrator.