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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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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).


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


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™‚



h/t @bingst

@VictoriaNotes. There it is!

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


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....


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


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


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?


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.


All religions require adherence to a dogma.

How about the Religion of Dudeism?


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


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.


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"...


During the deconversion process, there's overlap. Cognitive dissonance is recognised and acknowledged. Bad theories and beliefs tossed with reticence. It's like - Gee, what if...

But to maintain both in equilibrium is madness.


I have known very dedicated Christians that believed in evolution, so they were outside main stream Christian doctrine. Some were prochoice. I thought of them as free thinkers. I think it is wrong to view all of them in the same light. I have seen secular critical thinking in religious people, and their attraction to religion was to sit in the light of the stained glass and meditate. All of them are not Zealots. I am pretty sure that most of them would not die for their faith.


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.


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.


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.


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.


How are you defining Christian? πŸ™‚

skado Level 8 Jan 8, 2018

The atheist group has the greatest knowledge of all groups, about worldwide Religions.

It is why they reject to pratice Religion, and why they use it to protect themselves.

When another group knows your Religion better than you know your own Religion. That is a sure sign you lack thinking about your own core life system.


Being a Christian REQUIRES holding specific beliefs. Free thought has no requirements, it's free. It's like when someone says "I'm a Christian because I'm a skeptic" or "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist". A skeptic is someone who does not believe a claim until there is sufficient evidence to support believing that the claim is true, and it doesn't take faith to Not believe something. And your not a free thinker if you have required beliefs and restrictions on what you can doubt, that's not freedom.


I said, "Yes" to the poll. I know one Christian who is. People like him are rare. The majority of Christians cannot be. They are arrogant. They do not want to learn anything other than what they were taught in catechism of Sunday school.


obviously only in a limited way, they may think freely on some things?


It's fairly cut and dry to me. Based on the Webster definitions, if you are a free thinker then you can't truly practice any faith based religion.


Only partially in my view. They might not be excercising free thought in terms of their religious beliefs but they can be free thinkers when it comes to other things. Yes there's some cognitive dissonance there but still. It's not impossible.


Seem a cartoon of the painting of Michelangelo. Take off of God touching a finger with Abam . Rather this cartoonist had God offering a brain to Adam. Adam waved back with his finger, no, no no.


Can't see an over Obedient Christian being a true free thinker . Maybe a soft believer, for sure not a Christ fundamentalist.

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