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Will you help me settle this debate with my friend: can a Christian be a freethinker?

Me and one of my oldest friends were debating this. We're both non-theists, by the way. I don't want to bias the results... so I won't say what side I'm on.

What do you think, can you be both a freethinker and a Christian?

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silvereyes 8 Jan 8

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4

How are you defining freethinker?

@silvereyes I'm not sure my definition helps in the debate with your friend but, honestly, I think of "freethinker" as sort of a self-aggrandizing term that doesn't really need to exist. I think it's often used as a synonym for various atheistic views, or similarly to "skeptic." I suppose if I have to nail it down, and not fall back to one of those exact definitions, I'd say it's a lack of dogmatic belief and behavior, an openness to new ideas and ways of thinking, and a strong measure of critical reasoning in how one approaches the complexities of life.

0

In a a world of infinite possibilities, discarding 1 or 2 or a million makes a small dent in the possibilities to consider. However, the little dent that most of these religions create is specifically important for politics and the treatment of others.

1

How are you defining Christian? πŸ™‚

skado Level 8 Jan 8, 2018
1

I think that one can be a freethinker and think that some sort of god may exist; but, once one buys into a religious belief, no matter what it is, how can they be a freethinker? A freethinker is "a person who rejects accepted opinions, especially those concerning religious belief." Or, as this site defines freethinker, it is one who believes truth comes from logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than religion

I think that christian is easier to say "i believe in God but not the religion surrounding him" or something to that effect. Atleast i am assuming this is the case.

@Neraven : If one does not accept the religion of Christianity (at least some interpretation of Christ) how can one be called a Christian rather than simply a Deist? And, if one equates Jesus as being God, they have bought into religion-based ideas about this person.

0

Depends on who and where you are on what opinions are accepted...but I think so. You can just believe in God and not really follow a lot of the stuff, not really believe the bullshit aspects of it I guess. Or you could follow it pretty much to the letter; thats definitely not very accepted lol. And you can certainly still base truths on logic and evidence and all that and still believe in a god.

3

Can, but it certainly seems more the exception than the rule.

0

I'd have to see actual evidence of such a thing. Until then, I'll classify that like a UFO.

@TomasMcCartney Your god is not real to me, neither is anyone else's. Knock yourself out though. LLAP

@TomasMcCartney Okay, first off, I never called you a 'fool', or anything else.
I told you that I do not believe your god is real. As to the UFO story, I do not care.
I'm not interested in your testimony, or your beliefs. Enjoy your day.

6

I have lots of Christian friends who are very open minded. Not all Christians are fanatics

6

I voted yes. That's how I became an unbeliever. πŸ˜€

But you're saying that you are a believer and an unbeliever. You were a believer until you became a free thinker - now you're an unbeliever... πŸ™‚

@Mandrake981

[merriam-webster.com]

h/t @bingst

@VictoriaNotes. There it is!

@VictoriaNotes - the definitions are all similar, but it depends on where you look....

[urbandictionary.com]

The quantifiable deciding factor is that a free thinker gravitates toward known fact with scientific basis, and moves away from opinions based on tradition, authority, or established belief (dogma).

If you feel Christianity aligns with free thinking, feel free to bring up that fact in a church. You will be reminded that it's about faith, and then you will be politely escorted out.

The two are not the same, and while you have those that claim they can be, the fact of the matter is that one overrides the other - and when you have one overriding the other, there is no coexistence, ever....

@Mandrake981 OK, you win. I magically became an unbeliever. πŸ˜‰

@VictoriaNotes - ha, no magic involved. You were a believer, then you were drawn to our side. It's a good place to be (even if you do have me here too, haha).

@Mandrake981 No, I wasn't "drawn" to your side. I studied my ass off. πŸ˜€

@VictoriaNotes - Well okay then! You came here of your own accord - that means you've come by it naturally. You made the leap - no looking back now! LOL....

2

You can't follow a religion which relies on faith and consider yourself a freethinker. Unless you think a freethinker thinks so freely that anything is possible, which in that case you're still not a Christian because there are no other possibilities than the "word of God"...

9

Being a theist and a freethinker seems to be a contradiction.

Definition of freethinker
: a person who thinks freely or independently : one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; especially : one who rejects or is skeptical of religious dogma

3

Many people I Know are Christian by label only; going thru the motions, be it out of habit, family, social or other reasons.

mzee Level 7 Jan 8, 2018

That's just semantics. Am I a Catholic because my mom had me baptized into the Catholic Church, or am I not a Catholic because I do not believe in God or any Catholic/Christian teachings whatsoever?

3

All religions require adherence to a dogma.

How about the Religion of Dudeism?

0

If you'll take a stroll through my gallery?

I have two perspectives. One is the one I grew up in. Everyone is a freethinker...except faith..."accept faith son...it'll be much better." This was in one of many rebel flag flying neighborhoods, when the only identifications with it were rebellion and being southern in my mind, but most others not so. Affiliated or not, if you were there you were probably a white supremacist.

Then there are those among our scientists, artists...there may even be some clergy left...who...I guess have compartmentalized so well they can be at once our greatest intellects, humanitarians and philanthropists.

Except those "Pray, then eat" missionaries. Please.

0

some of the smartest , nicest people I know are xians and look at the world much as I do . They just love to be in a group setting . safety in numbers may be their modus operandi.

0

Wow it’s 50/50 damn. Maybe we need a better definition for freethinker. It should not be evenly split.

Riley Level 6 Jan 8, 2018

freeΒ·thinkΒ·er
?fr??THiNGk?r/Submit
noun
a person who rejects accepted opinions, especially those concerning religious belief.
synonyms: nonconformist, individualist, independent, maverick; agnostic, atheist, nonbeliever, unbeliever; informalbad boy
"he has been celebrated as a freethinker and a rebel"

4

I’m sorry, but if you’re dedicated to the defense of a select ideology, then you’ll never be a free thinker.

0

I'm an ignostic episcopalian. I'm a free thinker. Happy to answer your question for you.

I'm confused, how can you believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ while at the same time claiming it is absurd to even propose to have a conception of god?

@JeffMurray Where did I say I believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ?

@Druvius How exactly are you Episcopalian if you don't?

@JeffMurray The same way anyone joins a church? Was that a trick question?

@Druvius Being a member of a church community is not the same thing as being a member of its faith. Does signing up on an atheist website mean someone is an atheist?

@JeffMurray So now you ate going to define my faith for me. We're done here. God bless. πŸ™‚

@Druvius I'm not defining it, the tenets of faith are. Saying you are two things in an effort to prove those things can coexist (you said you were a freethinker and a Christian) and then backing out and saying that you're not one of the things (not a believer in the divinity of Jesus) is a waste of everyone's time. Plus the "God bless" is pretty non-freethinkery of you...

1

Some people use the label β€œChristian” but work/behave more in line with freethinking. But as to what these people are, to me that is more like β€œlost” than freethinking or Cristian.

1

I'll put it this way, if you've got an evangelical or born again Christian saying "Hey, I'm a free thinker!" then I think you're probably dealing with either delusion or deception there.

1

Could be a free thinker about anything which isn't related to religion (though there aren't really that many things this would apply to, since an omnipotent god would trump science, and everything is tied together by science)...

I don't think one is a freethinker ABOUT individual things, they are just a freethinker, and it applies to everything.

Aaah, I see...Then I'll change my answer to 'no'....thanx!

I would think of Science as a branch in the tree of life. Don't think God or science as the be all and end all. I feel in the middle of extreme poles of atheist and Religion. When a group gets onesided or extreme, that limits your thinking.

0

Going by the definition, you cannot. Some have claimed that you can be and that's how they transitioned. I do not believe this to be true. Just because the journey may seem longer than an instant, it's really not. Kind of like being pregnant, whatever your definition of pregnancy is, you are either in that state, or you are not. (e.g. If you consider it to be implantation of a fertilized egg onto the uterine wall, the egg is either implanted, or it is not.) The same is true for being a Christian. There are probably a ton of definitions for it, but I think there is one that makes the most sense: you are a Christian if you believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. All the other definitions that take into account teachings and practices fail us because they are so vastly different and contradictory. But if you believe Jesus IS God, it bypasses all the other junk. But whatever your definition, it seems as though you either are, or you are not a Christian. Either I believe that god exists and Jesus is that god, or I don't. Let's face it, if you kind of believe or you think he's part god, then you don't believe he's god. And according to the definition of freethinker: "Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma" it cannot coexist with Christian for there can be no belief in the divinity of Jesus that is formed on logic, reason, and empirical data.

@Jeff
The Bible either is the Universal truth and Knowledge or it is a lie. No thinking required, you got the sheep herders guild to the Universe. Why explore or think any more?

Since everyone lies to different degrees, and man wrote the Bible, then the Bible must be a lie.

If the Bible is the be all and end akl. If your God asked you to kill your son or daughter to show your faith. Would you without thinking?. I would kill God before killing my daughter, yet I don't have too, because I can't imagine running out of ideas to kill anyone.

Just look at all the graveyards and tombstones worldwide who died written in the name of God. What were they thinking?

@Castlepaloma I have no idea what your comment is about...

2

Yes.
Just like an atheist, a lack of belief is only one trait in someone's personality. An atheist can have some "unusual" beliefs outside of their atheism. (Ghosts, Bigfoot, Aliens, Etc)

The way I see it, a theist can have other personality traits such as freethinking but for whatever reason(s) they're stuck on god.

0

With free in mind ultimately a christian has to answer to the higher power and have explanation for their actions. Where as a free thinker can express whatever they want with no fear of consequence.

There are plenty that don't believe in heaven or hell, or that their God is a judging/unfair one. And theres always laws to hold anyone back - for one, not everyone lives where freedom of speech is a thing (and theres definitely a lot of shutdown in the US as is).

0

I voted yes-cultural Christian?

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