Linked with Is atheism the answer? Part 3.
Published on Examiner.com, by D.M. Murdock, October 10, 2009.
It’s been a couple of months since I began this series, and I’ve been putting off concluding it because it’s such a huge subject and there’s just too much to discuss. Yet, at the same time, in my own mind the whole theism-vs-atheism debate is entirely reconciled. And that is precisely the reason I am writing this series, which I thought might end with this entry but which may be continued …
… What is freethought?
To me, the word “freethought” conveys the ability to think freely, period. I have defined it on my Freethought Gear also as: the liberty to question and doubt unscientific and uncritical beliefs, especially as concerns religion”.
Each human being is endowed from birth, hopefully, with the ability to think freely. However, external factors constantly shape the way he or she does think eventually—and here, of course, is where religion comes in very heavily, as religion is a brainwashing, mind-control tool par excellence, and its purveyors know that fact very well. In order truly to be freethinkers, then, we need to break through the religious conditioning to determine whether or not any of it represents the truth. Our exploration of religious ideation, however, need not lead to the complete dismissal of it, as in a remark oft-heard in atheist circles: “Religion is all bunk.”
While I as a freethinker do not find myself subscribing to much religious ideology, I absolutely disagree with the contention that “religion is all bunk.” That statement is completely inaccurate, and here is where I do not find myself in that particular unbelieving camp. My freethinking perspective allows me to enjoy religion—when I know its true roots, of which too many people are unaware—without being a subscriber to it or a believer in its gods.
Here is the bottom line: Whether or not the entire worldview is correct, or whether or not there are details here and there that are not exactly precise or accurate, neither theism nor atheism is desirable if its adherents or spokespeople are not pleasant and constructive participants in society. In other words, while atheists complain that powerful theists such as clergy and politicians are nasty and despotic, and hence theism must be destroyed, we do not want to replace one unpleasant and tyrannical mind-control agency with another. If your perspective of reality as manifested on a daily basis in your interactions with others is hostile, aggressive and selfish, whether you are a theist or an atheist, your mindset is not an improvement over what we already find dominant. Fanaticism and extremism in any ideology is not the answer.
Stay tuned for more … (full text).