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Re: [atheists-27] Atheist or Bright?

From: Martin
Sent on: Thursday, August 8, 2013 6:31 PM
Ken,

Gosh, I was with you until "If you're a "Free Thinker" you can't be a humanist by definition..." I don't see any dogma in secular humanism, nor does a manifesto imply a dogma, nor do I see any reason why a Freethinker should not be a Humanist. The Freethinker magazine is a secular humanist magazine!

"Atheist" is of course the most general of the terms, and as Christian Apologists are often quick to point out, characters like Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot were atheists. For just such reasons, "atheist" isn't a great term to use in naming modern groups and organizations with typically humanistic or humanistic-leaning members.

While "Humanist" is the least general as it involves a deliberate ethical stance.

But really I don't see much difference between "Freethinker" and "Bright", hence my complaint with "Bright".

In practice of course there is a massive overlap in the views of members of modern organizations with any of these four terms in their organization names...

Martin.

On 08/08/[masked]:05 PM, Ken wrote:
I like the phrase "Free Thinker" for the same reasons Martin does, but from my understanding the terms 

-Atheist
-Free Thinker 
-Humanist (secular that is) 
-Bright (I'm not sure about this one I've
           never heard of it before) 

Aren't really interchangeable terms or terms that are as synonymous as most people think. 

Ie.... If you're a "Free Thinker" you can't be a humanist by definition, since humanist are supposed to adhere to the "Humanist Manifesto"  and Free Thinkers are supposed to be unfettered from dogma. 

Seems to me "Atheist" is just a descriptor for someone who doesn't believe in god ..nothing else. 
While the other three are "labels" for what Atheist do with their beliefs in no god. ...I don't see them as being synonymous in any other way. 

On Aug 8, 2013, at 4:35 PM, Martin <[address removed]> wrote:

By the way I did not mean to imply the "Freethinker" term was originated in 1881 by G.W. Foote. The term originated in England about 2 centuries earlier in late 1600s, and spread to France and Germany, and Freethinker groups then sprouted up across Western Europe in the 1700s. It's a bit of a shame the alternative "Bright" term was ever coined (in 2002, by Paul Geisert in Chicago), not too bright IMHO.

Martin.

On 08/08/[masked]:05 PM, Martin wrote:
I agree with Ken, I have always thought that "Freethinker" is the best of the various terms used to describe, and the one I always choose for myself when asked. The Wiki definition of "Freethought" describes it quite well:

Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas. The cognitive application of freethought is known as "freethinking", and practitioners of freethought are known as "freethinkers".

Some of the things I like about the term are that:

  • it is very descriptive, and does not require much explanation
  • it is positive, non-aggressive, and lacks the lingering aura of conceit of terms like "Bright" ("I'm smarter"), or "Humanist" ("I have high moral values")
  • most people, religious or non-religious, have respect for the simple philosophy of it
  • it implies much more than being atheist
  • it is well established, with a long history: The Freethinker is a British secular humanist magazine, founded by G.W. Foote in 1881. It is the world's oldest surviving freethought publication. (from the Wiki entry on the famous magazine.)
  • it really sums up how I view the world, and how my actions are driven
Perhaps if it had originated in the US instead of the UK it would have gained much more traction here over the years.

Martin,

On 08/08/[masked]:32 AM, Ken wrote:
Agreed ...in general I don't like labels (concerning people) but I think the term "Free Thinker" is the one I like. 



On Aug 8, 2013, at 7:28 AM, Robert W Ahrens <[address removed]> wrote:

And my point is that atheists are, in that regard, much like other Americans.  There is little to separate us from others save our religious lack of belief.  Hence, the lack of a need to label us with a special word.

Like I said, nitpick the specifics all you want.  But do you agree or not with my premise?

Sent from my iPad

On Aug 8, 2013, at 7:21 AM, Ken <[address removed]> wrote:

Its not picking you clumping "Ideals" and "behavior" into the same category. They're two different things. Behavior comes from the Id ideals come from the ego ..ideals are consciously made behavior is not. The "ideals" that your say are commonly shared, ild contribute more to behavior then to any conscious decision. 


On Aug 8, 2013, at 7:12 AM, Robert W Ahrens <[address removed]> wrote:

My point is that there ARE many common ideals and behaviors that are fairly universally practiced in this country, although, since we ARE human, exceptions will always be seen.
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