Freethought is the view of a freethinker. A freethinker is a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority or tradition, especially one who is skeptical about religious dogma. Freethinkers often believe that the weight of evidence for any form of religion is insufficient.
There are strong ties between the word freethought and the terms atheism, heretic, skepticism (scepticism), and both humanism and secular humanism, but these terms are not synonymous. A precise definition is at best difficult, as freethought is defined differently by different persons. For example Deists believe in the existence of a first cause through rational argument, rather than authority, tradition, or scripture. Some atheist freethinkers believe there are no rational arguments for deism and are reluctant to accept the claims of deists to be freethinkers. Universism is a movement having some success in resolving this dilemma by uniting freethinkers around the process rather than the conclusion.
A related movement is that of the "Brights", a term coined in 2003 by Paul Geisert of Sacramento, California to refer to people who hold a naturalistic worldview, free of supernatural and mystical elements.
External links and references
- The North Texas Church of Freethought
- The Freedom from Religion Foundation
- The Brights
- United Universists