FreeThinkers. Is that like ‘Freezer Burn’ or ‘Jumbo Shrimp’?

Besides the mindless drones that will send money to the 700 Club so that their dog may be healed of its anal cysts, another group that annoys the hell out of me are FreeThinkers�.

From my run-ins with them on the web, they’re “militant atheists” that are as smug, annoying and self-righteous as their religious counterparts. Both have a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” mentality. Biblical discrepancies is enough for them to dismiss religion and the supernatural, just as “Piltdown Man” and other scientific setbacks are enough for Fundies to dismiss Evolution.

And quite frankly, I despise extremists to begin with.

What is a Freethinker?

free-think-er n. A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists.

No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.*

* This may have been re-written, or I saw it on another site, but I remember the wording to say “No FreeThinker can believe in a deity of any kind” This is confirmed on this site as well.

Gee… there’s another club that wouldn’t last five minutes in! It didn’t take too long for them to dictate what a FreeThinker is expected to believe or not believe. Sounds real “Free” to me.

While their name suggests a freeflow of ideas, usually their opinions are spewed from other people’s ideas word for word, and they’re irrationally intolerant of any schools of thought that are different from theirs. (It’s like how all “Non-Conformists” have to wear black, what’s up with that anyway?)

Before I go on, let me offer a simple caveat before I piss off the remaining few readers that visit:

I see a HUGE difference between these people and your average atheist. In the course of an atheist’s life, they’ve come to the conclusion that there is no God, or at least not a God as depicted in traditional scripture. And that’s cool. A part of me feels bad that they’re occasionally *forced* to defend this position, many of them have to do this by knowing the scriptures better than the religious nut trying to “save them”. Technically speaking, the side claiming something exists should have the “burden of proof”.

And Agnostics? I respect the hell out of them. They probably have the capacity to learn more than ANY of the above mentioned groups. I welcome skepticism here any day.

My thoughts on God?
My experience is that we live on a perfect ecosystem, skillfully designed for it’s inhabitants to adapt and/or evolve to its surroundings. Personally, I have a hard time believing it was done by a random accident. We were given a free will. Do we want to live free, or have God make all our decisions for us? Frankly I think our concept of God is all wrong. Creation? Probably a lot more complicated than than the Biblical accounts… but for the level of understanding at the time, it sufficed.

“I have given you all you need, and you’re on your own. Just think of me every once in a while.”
– George Burns as God –

Somewhere in “Truth”, there has to come a place where Science, History, Philosophy and Religion have to intersect and harmonize. A good example is Zen’s Yin/Yang (“With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”), or Karma (“What goes around comes around.”). The Golden Rule isn’t rocket science. It just requires common sense.

Modern history has failed to record a Deity stepping in to annhilate the oppressors of some people crying out for them. (I would imagine the Holocaust would have been a perfect time for YHVH to flex his omnipotent muscle). A lot of horrific things have been done in the name of God, and you’d think maybe once in a while the Virgin Mary would appear on someone’s toast to go “Hey, cut that out! They don’t want to be converted, get the hint???”, or something.

The crux of many militant atheist’s arguments stem from the Judeo/Christian perspective. Rarely do they tackle Buddhism, Hinduism, or even Islam. First argument is what I call “The Cosmic Santa Claus Strawman“:

“If there is a caring benevolent God watching over us, why is there so much suffering/evil in the world?”

The argument is flawed because of the assumption that God is supposed to step in every time we act up. Maybe he drops in every couple of thousands of years, maybe he doesn’t. Who knows? But then where is the free will? Can you direct me to the scriptures that led you to believe we can sit on our asses and everything will come to us? Who is to say that King David wasn’t annhilating whole races and using God as an excuse? (Won’t be the first time it’s happened.) Has it occured to you that it’s in the Bible to teach us a lesson that (apparently) he didn’t get. Who is to say that the Crusades were sanctioned by God? I can think of plenty of times where people do stupid things because they believe God (or the Devil) told them to do it.

I believe evil to be an abstract, just like “cold”or “darkness”. Evil is simply the “absence of good”. It’s what coincides with science and it’s our choice to make.

As far as suffering… it builds character. It makes you stronger and wiser. As far as “suffering in the world”, have you done anything to help someone less fortunate than you? Someone down on their luck? No? Then shut the fuck up about all the suffering, you’re part of the problem!

The other is the pointing out of glaring errors and contradictions. Something that shouldn’t be in an “infallible” book.

Strawman alert! There is a glaring difference between “inspired” and “infallible”. I’ve seen the former acknowledged by scholars and the latter by less-informed on both sides of the argument. I contend anything with a “human touch” is bound to have errors in it.

Let’s take “The Death of Judas” for example. Did he hang himself, or did he buy land and spilled his innards after a nasty fall? Well, it obviously can’t be both. Matthew never saw Judas again after the night of the betrayal and Luke derived his gospel by investigation. Both received their information second-hand. Perhaps the Gospel of the Holy 12 can shed some light on this:

1. NOW Judas, who had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
2. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed and went out and hanged himself.
3. And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
4. And they took council and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called Aceldama, that is, the field of blood, unto this day.

A more plausable scenario in my opinion, and it certainly explains how the story distorted in time, doesn’t it?

Here’s a real life scenario:
If you’ve been here long enough, you know I was raised by a single mom. My dad skipped out long before I was born. The question was once asked: “Did my father know my mom was pregnant?”

One family member told me “No. They split up after a fight, and he never found out.”

Another family member said “Yes. The news was broken to him, and he wasn’t ready to be a father, and left.”

Two conflicting stories by people who were there. Only one of them can possibly be true. I suppose if you’re one of those FreeThinkers, that is ample evidence that I don’t exist. Congratulations!

Two sites I rely on for a well informed opinion on any religious topic is:

  • Secular Web: Atheism, Agnosticism, Naturalism and Skepticism Online
  • Tekton Apologetics Ministries. James Patrick Holding. Tektonitron apologetics Encyclopedia.
  • Both sites are well-written, informative, and use a keen sense of critical thinking. I may not arrive at the same conclusion of either of them sometimes, but they’re great resources that aren’t afraid to tackle tough questions.

    Life is a journey. We arrive at our conclusions at our own pace. A wise person will not only go on with what he’s experienced, but others experience as well. We’re here to learn, and to pass that knowledge on.

    I’ll leave you with one final thought from what’s becoming my favorite Gospel (Is this Yeshua guy smart or what?):

    3. The One Truth hath many sides, and one seeth one side only, another seeth another, and some see more than others, according as it is given to them.
    4. Behold this crystal: how the one light its manifest in twelve faces, yea four times twelve, and each face reflecteth one ray of light, and one regardeth one face, and another another, but it is the one crystal and the one light that shineth in all.

    You won’t find that in the four Gospels for some reason….

    Eric Brooks

    Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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    6 thoughts on “FreeThinkers. Is that like ‘Freezer Burn’ or ‘Jumbo Shrimp’?

    1. In my experince with others who view religion and matters of God differently from me…I try my best not to get involve as am a believer but than gain I do hear what you are saying on some aspects and points of religion…

      About the free will thing…dunno if this will mean anything but I believe the reason why God given us free will is cause to test us. You see and if you remember he threw Satan out of heaven and is kinda like a bet between those two as we (mortals) are caught in between a war between god and satan. Satan wants our precious souls…well atleast as much as he can get his claws on…God has given us free will so that we can choose for our own selves…make our own descion to do what is right…to know right from wrong. Wrong being evil. I dunno if this makes any sense at all. For god to just come in and dictate our lives would be the ULTIMATE NO NO NO…something that would drives us to evil (aka Satan) side…as Satan wants us to think God is no fun and there is more fun on his side…being bad.

      Alot of us (fuck, the majority of the world) is probaly non believers and are eiether athiests or as you hate most free thinkers…they eiether don’t believe in god or the devil and what is actually goin on behind the scenes or they are skeptical bout the whole concept of war between heaven and hell…skeptical bout God and the Devil. And part of the reason is cause lack of information about what is really goin on…I will say alot of religious folks go bout informing non believers the wrong way (I know cuz one of them tried that mess with me)…they force their own religion on you and talk really negatively (i.e. “You will burn in hell for not believing”)…they do not tell you the complete truth…they only want you to convert to their religion and that is all they care bout…if you think bout it…they are as bad as those free thinkers..EXTREMEISTS (sp?)…So, I always say and believe God does things for a certain reason…things happen for a good reason…in the end it will all balance out and we will know who is true and who isn’t. I always say Free Will is God’s way of leavin things in our hands and only those who are TRUE BELIEVERS will recieve and see the truth in God and his words…those who are non believers but wish to see him won’t…cause they truly do not believe…you must be a true believer to see and understand the way God works.

      And in truth, God is not suppose to step in everytime something goes wrong…all this suffering that is goin on in the world…wars…badness…is all part of a prophecy…and anyone who knows the bible and is a true believer these things are happenin for a good reason…it may not look good but I believe in order for all this to change…we must go thru hell to see the real truth and change things…it is not up to God to make these changes…it is up to us…cause when you think bout it…who is the one who started all this mess and chaos? Us! Humans! Not God! Not even the Devil! Sure the Devil had a hand in this mess…temptation and evil ideas and those who are weak and more prone towards evil were the weaker ones who fell into the palms of his hands to let him control their lives and cause hell on earth.

      But those are just my personal opinions…I am not an extremist believer and I don’t force religion on others nor am I an athiest cuz I had some experinces in my life that made me a true believer but at the same time am a Skeptic when it comes to some stuff of the spiritual and paranormal realm.

      Anyways, take care!

    2. Well, you get extremists from every religion and creed, as I can vouch for from personal experience. Atheists being no exception. Sometimes the internet vitriol can be worse from them! But whatever someone believes, it’s not for me to tell them they are wrong (which is what really irks me about all extremists)… I mean, really, you won’t know for sure what’s “out there” until you’re dead, and when you die, you ain’t comin’ back to explain it all!

      Anyway, thanks for the links, e. Hopefully they’ll help me with my Judas obsession. I still think, from all the reading I’ve done, that he was doing what he thought was right at the time because he was scared of where “the movement” was going…

      but I digress…:)

    3. You forgot the main requirement for a “Freethinker”…they must argue. They must anti-proselytize and un-convert people. They probably hand out leaflets in San Francisco or some other favorable venue to spread the anti-gospel. “Hello, my friend…have you been un-saved?”

      I say throw them AND the ones with backpacks full of Chick Tracts into a boxing ring and show it on pay-per-view.

    4. *ahem*

      I am a SEMI-militant atheist, thank you very much.

      Smug? Can be. Annoying? Depends on the person being asked. Self-righteous? As often as possible.

      Anyway, the difference between “biblical discrepancies” and “Piltdown man” is that the scientific method doesn’t claim to be the Word of God.

      Anyway, c’mon Eric, everyone knows that God doesn’t exist. 🙂

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