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Darkshaunz
The Precipice of Sin

Today at lunch, someone asked me if I was an Atheist. I thought that was an interesting question.

The truth is, I really dislike that term. When asked what religious school of thought I belonged to, my go-to answer had always been "Freethinker". My father had a lot to do with the introduction of that "label" in my formative years, because when you're at a certain age - you start digging at the fundamental truths about the world around you, the same timeless mysteries that have haunted and beguiled entire civilizations across the span of time. My father being a Buddhist, and my mother - coincidentally also a Protestant Christian - it was perhaps more than likely that I either sought out Nirvana or accepted Christ into my soul. I would come to do none of that, which confused me when I was a child. That's when my father told me, "Son, that's what they call freethinking". He later explained that freethinking is not a religion, it's just what a certain group of people do. He told me to imagine a group of vagabonds that wandered around, free to explore various paths - seeking answers and truths which might never materialize in their lifetime. The biggest distinction he tried to illustrate to me, was that I'd be living most of my life seeking answers and truths that people with scripture would already have. So on one path, I saw written answers provided to me about most of life's most pressing questions, and on the other - a path that was littered with unknown truths that I may never, ever come to realize even until death.

There's something about the term, "Atheism" and how people flag that way of thinking that strikes a bad chord with me. I think that Atheism has become a sort of militant anti-religious movement, I get the impression that atheists need theists around to validate their own school of thought. Both sides feed off each other in a perpetual cycle of hatred and animosity. I see parallels with the current state of Atheism when referenced alongside the new age of faux-feminism that you see on Tumblr. Some of you have read about my recent facebook cull, and although the people I culled were indeed religious, yet many religious individuals still remain - on account of them harnessing their faith in a way that doesn't antagonize others (well not publicly anyway). I realize that not all of atheism is like this, but a lot of what I see and read is unfortunately leaning towards a hardline approach to waging a war on religion.

As a freethinker, I'd like to think that freethought is a worldview that isn't antagonistic towards anything, except for ignorance and blatant idiocy. You could argue that Freethought is inherently at odds with dogma, but I'd posit that freethought is indifferent to its existence and doesn't really give it much stock for consideration. This isn't to say that as a freethinker, I'm averse to ignorance (or idiocy) - quite the contrary, I may live day to day quite steeped in both, but consciously grateful for the knowledge that I have previously gained. The best thing about freethought, in my view - is that everything is dependent on my own personal knowledge. There's nothing to unify freethinkers, such as a methodology to standardize our way of thought. We really are lonely wanderers hiking about the grandiose trails of what is known, and not. It is admittedly, a narcissistic and constantly critical state of being. The slightly grim outlook may be noted as being a given - because religious people have some sort of amazing paradise to look forward to, such as eternal bliss or seventy-two virgins. I've accepted my fate as returning my energy back into the world that gave me life (a nice, euphemistic way of saying that I'm going to rot and decay unceremoniously).

Freethought isn't a particular "-ism" or "-ology", and it certainly doesn't have the term, "theist" in it. Freethought doesn't need to be deciphered or interpreted like Atheism or Theism, it just is. Freethought is precisely what it describes, a beautifully simple combination of two words to illustrate a life that will demand a great quantity and quality of both those terms.

It would be prudent to end this corner of psychobabble and existential drivel with a profound quote from one of history's greatest philosophers, but that can fuck right off.

To quote Teal'c of Chulak:

"I die free"
Spoon
Darkshaunz wrote:
There's something about the term, "Atheism" and how people flag that way of thinking that strikes a bad chord with me. I think that Atheism has become a sort of militant anti-religious movement, I get the impression that atheists need theists around to validate their own school of thought. Both sides feed off each other in a perpetual cycle of hatred and animosity.

I realize that not all of atheism is like this, but a lot of what I see and read is unfortunately leaning towards a hardline approach to waging a war on religion.

Yes I've also noticed this and think it is pointless. Places like Reddit espouse a lot of anti-religious bigotry and think that because they are smart enough to know x or y is made up, that makes them superior to people that believe otherwise.

I am fully for anyone's right to think whatever they want (but prefer they do it in a way that doesn't harm, persecute or marginalise other people because of it).

I self-identify as Agnostic. It's a non-religious catch-all really where I say I don't believe in any particular faith or doctrine but I don't deny the possibility of a God or any other such deity. As far as I'm concerned, science can explain everything in our universe, but it will never be able to explain where the universe came from. I cannot see any logical progression that could explain how 'nothing became something', but nor do I really feel the need to apply any sort of answer to this question, I simply accept it.

I was having a conversation with one of my Filipino friends the other night while out in Dubai (if you're looking for free thinking individuals, this is certainly not the place to do it) and he asked what religion I was. I answered that I had no religion and that I was Agnostic. He seemed very taken aback by this answer and [jokingly] offered to baptise me. I informed him that I was already baptised and confirmed but did not hold any of that childhood doctrine to define myself or my life.

As the night progressed and he got drunk he brought it up with me again and after various "discussions" (i.e me being informed why I needed religion) we got onto the topic of evolution. He informed me evolution is bullshit and then went on to the argument of 'if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?'.

Well firstly, that would be apes, not monkeys...

If you ever find yourself starting to explain evolutionary divergence to a drunk, belligerent Filipino, just stop. It is not worth the effort.
thorment
Darkshaunz wrote:
Freethought is precisely what it describes, a beautifully simple combination of two words to illustrate a life that will demand a great quantity and quality of both those terms.

Though I continue to walk the course of my forebears, my path is unbridled; my direction unrestrained.
Spoon
Any other freethinkers [or whatever you personally want to call it] up in this bitch?

Those of you that are religious, how do you feel about people that aren't?
Hunterbob
I definitely fall into the Free Thinkers category.

I'm not religious, but have learnt a lot from religions in terms of morality etc. Relgions definitely have a good intention, but a lot of people abuse it or follow it blindly without question, which I find absurd.

How can someone not have any questions about all of it? It's pretty much a fairy tale that got blown out of proportion.
Hanlol
I fall into the Atheist category I guess. I don't have any want or need to wonder what is out there spiritually. I'm happy with the assumption that once I'm dead I'm just plain dead, but I also understand that Spirituality isn't black and white for a lot of people and it's more about how they live their life. I support that.
Neifelheim
I'm a freethinker.

In my early teens I read the bible cover to cover...I read anything I could get my hands on. mid to late teens I moved on to reading about all the other major eastern religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc Islam.

I smoked quite a lot of marijuana during this time too and combined with listening to a lot of music I guess this was my spiritual phase. That ended when I entered industry age 19 and rubbed shoulders with very practical, down to earth working class people and forced me to 'grow up'.

The closest religious/spiritual experiences was when I greened out from too much weed one night circa late '90s my picture of Jim Morrison on the wall starting talking to me - it was actually Jesus telling me that smoking weed was a bad life choice.

Later I had another similar experience while really high and I heard voices saying pot was a bad life choice. I listened to the voices and gave it away for good.

In hindsight it was probably early schizophrenia or something. I didn't want to cross that threshold.

Oh I found having sex while stoned and trying tantra techniques with a willing partner was pretty amazing...later on I found sex on ecstasy was even better.

Now having said that you might have the impression that I was a wild drug/sex man...not really I was just experimenting that maybe lasted 5 years I guess and these days I don't smoke or do drugs and only drink on social occasions.

But yeah freethinking, if anything I tend to think science holds the answers to our universe not 2000 year old texts. I do however think that there are some great morals/parables thought various religious texts that people should live by etc.
Jiminy
If I had to define myself I would be agnostic also. Which is pretty much what you're deciding to call freethinking, shaunz. I'm open to answers. I don't believe in any of them yet, but they're there somewhere.

Having said that I go through my own little phases of inward philosophical moments where I try to rationalize the existence of the uni/multiverse. I'm currently working on a "balance" theory where I believe literally everything is trying to reach equilibrium all the time for eternity. There was no start because there is no end. I think the big bang was simply the result of the previous universe collapsing into itself, dieing and then spectacularly exploding again and that it just does this over and over.

As far as religion goes I believe it doesn't get the credit for the historical value it holds. Between early animalism, paganism etc to old testament Christianity and Judaism forward to the modern big five, these are the stories of our species. Handed down from generation to generation and I believe quite likely for over 50,000 years. You just need to accept the Chinese whispers factor. These are the stories that would have helped us evolve from club wielding rock apes to the modern moral wielding humans we are today.
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