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Media RSS Feed Report media Is atheism really free-thought? (view original)
Is atheism really free-thought?
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HinduMan
HinduMan Dec 6 2013, 1:23pm says:

In no order, here are some quotes from Christians, a Muslim, two agnostics and an atheist on free-thought.

“The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive. However, I am also not a "Freethinker" in the usual sense of the word because I find that this is in the main an attitude nourished exclusively by an opposition against naive superstition. My feeling is insofar religious as I am imbued with the consciousness of the insuffiency of the human mind to understand deeply the harmony of the Universe which we try to formulate as "laws of nature." It is this consciousness and humility I miss in the Freethinker mentality.” ~ Einstein

“A free thinker used to be a man who had been educated on ideas of religion, law, morality, and had arrived at free thought by virtue of his own struggle and toil; but now a new type of born freethinker has been appearing, who’ve never even heard that there have been laws of morality and religion, and that there are authorities, but who simply grow up with negative ideas about everything, that is savages.” — Leo Tolstoy

“There is yet another class that, having found that their own religion not only prevents free thinking but that some of its philosophies are also against some basic social, economic and scientific concepts of life as required by the progressive society, comes to the illogical conclusion that all religions similarly thwart the growth of progressive societies... Such people fall easy prey to materialism and denounce all religions without having any definite idea of any religion at all.” ― Mohammed Ali Muhiyaddin

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HinduMan
HinduMan Dec 6 2013, 1:23pm says:

“It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions makes it impossible to earn a living. It is clear also that thought is not free if all the arguments on one side of a controversy are perpetually presented as attractively as possible, while the arguments on the other side can only be discovered by diligent search.” — Bertrand Russell

“But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. . . . As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. . . . The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.” ― G.K. Chesterton

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Spudman619
Spudman619 Dec 6 2013, 1:31pm says:

Referring to the picture; I was an atheist before I'd even heard of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and the 'Youtube Greats' of the Amazing Atheist and Thunderf00t. The first I've heard of Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett is right now. I don't know if that's the case for every atheist, but definitely for me.

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Headhunter128
Headhunter128 Dec 6 2013, 2:51pm replied:

I had heard of Dawkins before, however until maybe 6 years ago (I'm 20), I didn't even know what Atheism was, however I quickly realized I had been one most of my life.

I didn't need these guys to figure it out.

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Kalga
Kalga Dec 6 2013, 1:52pm says:

Actually isn't this more of "is free thought even capable of existing"?

... and that's another question topic (i.e. does free will actually exist?).

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Headhunter128
Headhunter128 Dec 6 2013, 2:58pm says:

The way I see it. You can be religious or an atheist and still be "free thinking". All it requires is for one to be open to other possibilities. To acknowledge/accept that there may, even if incredibly unlikely in your opinion, be a chance that one self is wrong.

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KnightofEquulei
KnightofEquulei Dec 6 2013, 6:25pm replied:

I actually think that's a fair description. To question one own's belief. That's real free-thought and it doesn't boil down to belief or lack of belief in gods.

Though Kalga raises a interesting question. Are humans even capable of true free-thought? We are all biased in our own way.

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InsanityPays
InsanityPays Dec 6 2013, 3:06pm says:

Hindu, this post is really nothing but an attempt to rouse some sort of reaction out of the atheists on this site- but as I said earlier, I'm open to discussion. Argument is the only way we can achieve any kind of mutual understanding here.

The point your image is missing is the fact that many atheists grow up thinking otherwise. I think I mentioned before that I thought of myself as a Christian- there was a point when I believed I was talking to god. when you identify as an atheist, you don't do so by declaring you ARE something, rather, you come to the realization that you ARE NOT religious.

I didn't even know there were people who didn't believe in god until I lived in Germany at ~14yo.

Your image does bring to light a problem in atheism- I believe there are some people out there that say they're atheists for the same reason you'd post this picture here- attention.

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Cervi_Messias
Cervi_Messias Dec 6 2013, 4:37pm says:

This images is off topic, and will be deleted, this is not your personal page to bash any specific group Hindu

I give you a warning, if you stray off topic again you will be banned

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KnightofEquulei
KnightofEquulei Dec 6 2013, 6:23pm replied:

This is the debate group. It's on topic and everyone has responded fairly and constructively to a constructive post. If you disagree, then reply with your argument.

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HinduMan
HinduMan Dec 6 2013, 6:28pm says:

@InsanityPays

I presented a very valid and legitimate argument and question. One you haven't responded to. Don't accuse me of trolling because you're offended by the truth of what I'm saying.

But I'm glad we've all reached a mutual agreement that free-thought is not exclusive or even linked to atheism.

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InsanityPays
InsanityPays Dec 7 2013, 12:12am replied:

I'll make a simple response to the image itself- there are sheep in anything- people who want that simple, human feeling of affirmation- this just tends to happen less with atheism as the viewpoint is more often developed by the individual rather than the circumstances in which they're born into (as is often seen in devout religion)

Of course it works either way- atheists can be followers, religious people can be amazing free thinkers such as Gandhi- the larger picture here is that atheists don't become free-thinkers because they're atheists, free thinkers tend to become atheists because they're just that- free thinkers, bound to no gods or deities, deciding rather to seek their humanity in a more solitary, less impressionable path. With religion, you have no choice but to be bound to it's code, even in such a rare case that this code is irrelevant or barbaric in today's world.

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KnightofEquulei
KnightofEquulei Dec 7 2013, 12:48am replied:
Quote:free thinkers tend to become atheists because they're just that- free thinkers, bound to no gods or deities, deciding rather to seek their humanity in a more solitary, less impressionable path.

I think the majority of them are still tied to religion. HinduMan quoted Einstein on free-thought but I prefer his quote on atheism:

"I was barked at by numerous dogs who are earning their food guarding ignorance and superstition for the benefit of those who profit from it. Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional "opium of the people"—cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims."

Einstein puts it perfectly well here. He notes that the atheists (who were formally religious) are still fanatics and still house an intolerance in their hearts. Instead of intolerance against other religions not theirs, it's intolerance against all religions now.

Free-thought hardly leaves to denial of theism. If anything, a true free-thinker would be agnostic in all philosophical and theological areas and not the "atheist agnostic" type either.

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Headhunter128
Headhunter128 Dec 7 2013, 5:46pm replied:

"Einstein puts it perfectly well here. He notes that the atheists (who were formally religious) are still fanatics and still house an intolerance in their hearts. Instead of intolerance against other religions not theirs, it's intolerance against all religions now"

I disagree with your interpretation of his words. What I get from his statement is that a fanatical atheist is driven by the same that drives a fanatical religious person. A grudge/hate of people who doesn't believe the same as them. (And here we seem to split when it comes to the interpretation) He doesn't state all atheists are intolerant to religion. He is speaking of fanatics only, unless he believe that all atheists are fanatics. I seriously doubt that.

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KnightofEquulei
KnightofEquulei Dec 7 2013, 11:50pm replied:

I never said all atheists.

<_<

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Headhunter128
Headhunter128 Dec 8 2013, 9:08am replied:

My bad then, that was just how I read it.

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HinduMan
HinduMan Dec 6 2013, 6:53pm says:

This is for you Cervi and Insanity:

Moddb.com

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One attribute that atheists proclaim is part of their world view is an aspect called "free thought" which implies that they have the ability to think freely without restriction or anything imposing upon their ability to do so. It implies that atheism is open mindedness but is that really the case?

Is atheism really free thought? What is free thinking? Since the atheists themselves are bias in their beliefs, simply denying the supernatural cannot be an act of free-thought since it's not open mindedness to deny it. Proper skeptics and philosophers of the past didn't classify atheism as free-thought.

Today, it seems that free-thought is likened to lacking belief in gods because this requires "blind faith" according to the atheist. However, the atheist has blind faith themselves. They have blind faith in a causeless universe and blind faith in the hypothesizes that support their world-view.

It becomes apparent that atheism isn't free thought. It's almost an affirmative claim and lacks open mindedness. It's philosophy is one based on the works of many scholars. So what is free-thought? Housing doubts about everything or questioning everything? Or is it simply examining all ways and retaining an open mind?

I leave you with this quote:

“A spiritually illumined soul lives in the world, yet is never contaminated by it.”
― Swami Bhaskarananda

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