I. Pea Freely

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.

About Jay Pea

I was born in Kentucky in 1809 and served as US President from 1860 to 1865 and have a strange fondness for stovepipe hats. I'm married with no children (yet), enjoy reading, sports, my wonderful x-box 360, and pretending that I understand what's going on most of the time.
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2 Responses to I. Pea Freely

  1. ken says:

    I don’t believe “free” is a quality of thought. The word “freethought” is quite misleading. Thought is essentially memory conditioned by knowledge, experience and the past, all of which are fragmentary and incomplete. Thought is nothing more than a tool, it doesn’t possess consciousness, insight, and never operates “freely” unless the person using thought is psychologically free to begin with. Good luck finding such a specimen. The simplest observation is largely a conditioned one, colored by dozens of unexamined biases and conclusions. So it isn’t a question of thinking freely, which I think is fallacious. The problem is the nature of psychological conditioning and whether is is possible to understand it and be free of it. A skeptic may reject organized religion and yet carry around a carload’s worth of other stupidities and prejudices. The skeptic may be free of Christianity. But is he free of nationalism and all the violence and war it leads to? Not necessarily. Does he pursue recognition and the flattery of his ego. Obviously. Can he exploit others in the name of family or self interest? Undoubtedly. Is he or she free of these things? Unlikely.

  2. Happy Skeptic says:

    “They hate us for our Freedom!” Do you really need me to tell you who said it?
    Sorry, nice post and here is a present for you. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/affect-versus-effect.aspx

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