Learn what it means to be a “freethinker.” See why the world needs more people who can do this and how you can become one.
Leo Tolstoy is the first to use the term freethinker. He uses it to describe specific traits of a person who can think without the negative bias or prejudice of the culture.
How to Define a Freethinker
“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.” ― Leo Tolstoy
“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 heard there are laws of morality and religion.” ― Leo Tolstoy (1)
A simple way to define a freethinker is a person with a healthy skeptical mindset. It is not a belief system. The ingredients of this mindset are critical thinking, observational skills, and intuition. All one needs to do is study. It’s simple. So, why are Freethinkers hard to find?
According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation:
“No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah.”
Is freethinking simply the absence of religious beliefs? Are all atheists and agnostics freethinkers? No, that is not accurate. You can exhibit several harmful traits without religious beliefs. You can be a bigot, racist, xenophobic, or chauvinist without religion. Although religion is often involved in promoting these mindsets, it is not a requirement. (2)
We propose freethinking is more than rejecting the negative side of humanity; it is also about bringing out the good of humanity. The virtues of the spirit are the highest values of humanity, the force for positive change.
A Freethinker Friendly Approved Environment
What does it mean when something is approved? When people say something is approved, we think of things that have undergone testing to verify their legitimacy. How do you determine if something is legitimate, valid, or true?
When we ask if something is true, the first thing most people do is see if it aligns with what they already believe. But just because it agrees with what we believe does not make it true; we must find a way to go beyond the barriers of belief to find universal truths.
Truth is the territory religion is the problem. Most religions are based on patriarchal, misogynistic antiquated, outdated social standards which justify everything from gender discrimination to genocide. The freethinker rejects these stone age standards as a legitimate platform for a legitimate foundation of morality or spiritual truth.
When you define a freethinker, here are the attributes they display.
1) A person who can identify and reject the negative bias and prejudice in the cultural narrative; these are the real enemies of progress.
2) A person who promotes processes for developing the virtues of the human spirit.
3) A person who supports science, rational thinking, and logic. (3) They demonstrate the ability to make decisions based on facts and evidence.
Some say finding or becoming a person like this is impossible. If this is your conclusion, you are unwilling to go beyond your current beliefs’ boundaries. Many are in this situation because they are influenced by religious dogma. The tools of self-hypnosis and group hypnosis used by religion create boundaries. A lot of people cannot cross these obstacles.
We believe these goals are attainable. You can find the Freethinkers; they are the ones who find solutions to global issues.
Contributions to Society
Another way to define a freethinker is by their positive contributions to society.
- Do they support human rights for everyone? Or do they promote preferential treatment of one class, race, or gender?
- Do they make positive contributions to people and the environment?
Here’s a little experiment you can try. If you ask most people if they are law-abiding citizens, they will answer yes. Then ask them if they ever broke the speed limit by more than one mile an hour. If they are honest, they will also say yes. The fact is, we break laws of some kind every day.
Here’s some advice from the Dalai Lama. The fifth of his 18 rules for living is to learn the rules so you know how to break them. If someone has a heart attack in your car, you must break the speed limit to get them to the hospital.
Find Freethinker Friendly Approved People
We live under the constant bombardment of propaganda. We have gotten used to it. It is the most dangerous when it becomes invisible. Media outlets like Fox News aren’t news outlets. They are right-wing ideology propaganda under the guise of news.
Fox News is not about providing accurate, unbiased reporting, just the opposite; they are well-known for inaccurate information and false claims. They are a health hazard, often providing health advice that undermines qualified health professionals. Fox News and similar propaganda outlets are not places for freethinkers. Find another channel.
Freethinkers Are Problem Solvers
The mind is like a muscle. It needs to be training to be strong. Athletes use resistance training to build strength. Freethinkers train their minds like athletes; they study and practice the tools of reason and logic. These skills help us solve complex problems, and the world needs more freethinker-friendly approved problem solvers.
What is the Scientific Method?
The scientific method is the most accurate way to find answers. Science doesn’t care what people believe; it bases its conclusions on evidence.
Humankind uses this method to gain new knowledge or update previous knowledge. The scientific method has given the world all of its modern conveniences. We can describe this process of inquiry in six steps:
1) Make an observation
2) Record and communicate the observation accurately as possible
3) Form questions concerning what we observe to find out more
4) Form a hypothesis based on the evidence and what it could mean
5) Conduct an experiment
6) Analyze the data and develop conclusions
These six steps lead to conclusions that either confirm or refute the hypothesis. Both of these provide data, which leads to more questions. The ability to make accurate observations is also essential for personal development. A skeptical mindset provides the foundation to learn other critical skills. Any person or organization supporting the use of the scientific method is freethinker friendly approved.
Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, they share the same features of the process above. Here’s a suite of three methods to help you discern the facts from the fiction.
The first tool to help sort out the facts is logical reasoning. It is the backbone of critical thinking.
Next are the spiritual axioms; these are simple formulas to help you understand how language is used to sell us things. The last toolset will help you spot logical fallacies. It shows us the most common ways people misuse arguments. These are the antidotes for the sickness of negative bias and prejudice within the dominant cultural narrative.
Why Freethinkers Are Hard to Find
The dominant religious culture demonizes those who do not support their backward thinking. So people who are freethinkers don’t advertise, which is why they can be hard to find. It would help if you were savvy enough to recognize them.
If you want to be a freethinker, take a multidisciplinary approach. Learn techniques that expand awareness. Enhance your critical thinking skills. Learn to meditate if you don’t know how.
Improve your observational skills so you can perceive things more clearly. It will help you see reality without overt prejudice and judgment. Remove all negative bias and prejudice. Investigate ideas outside of your worldview.
You’ll also need to nurture the connection with your intuitive mind. Albert Einstein said his intuition gave him the insight to develop his most profound conclusions. Observation led the way to provide data, and his analytical skills helped him explain it.
Find positive those on the same path. Here’s the real key. “Freethinker friendly approved” resources do not support religious agendas.
They can see the mechanisms behind customs, beliefs, and paradigm boundaries others simply cannot. It is a skill you can cultivate. It’s well worth the time because it will open doors to move beyond the programming you’ve accumulated living in our modern culture.
We conclude our discussion by asking some questions. How do you define a freethinker? Do you know why Freethinkers are hard to find? Do you see a freethinker as a positive force? Or are you scared of people who can think without religious bias and prejudice?
We hope you agree the world needs more freethinker-friendly approved organizations. If you aren’t one, we hope you are on the way. The world needs more people who are open-minded thinkers.
(1) Leo Tolstoy, Wikipedia.
(2) Psychology Today, Freethinkers, Reason, and Religion, Freedom of thought and evidence.
(3) Sage Publications, Freedom From Religion.