I’ve thought, now, for a long time, being the skeptic I am, my thinking is relatively free of doctrinal or dogmatic influences. So, I found it interesting reading about the origins of a group of individuals calling themselves freethinkers. This organization was and still is, I guess, based on certain tenets generally in opposition to the kind of dogmatic, authoritarian beliefs generally associated with religions. They believe (or should I say operate upon the notion) truth can only be obtained through rational inquiry and speculation; any sort of supernatural phenomena is discounted out of hand.
These freethinkers, as a group, apparently share a fairly common mindset which makes, in my mind, calling themselves Freethinkers rather oxymoronic. I have to wonder, after all, whether any set of organizational tenets might not imply doctrinal restrictions. In the Freethinkers’ case the elimination of the possibility of expanding one’s views beyond the rational, logical and empirical.
I guess it’s only human nature for people to seek out others who think like they do; it’s nice to have social support, after all. Maybe this group just needs to come up with a different name, perhaps they could name themselves after one of the great freethinkers of the past, someone like Giordano Bruno or Michel de Montaigne, both great 16th century minds at odds with the doctrinal and dogmatic beliefs of the day.
But, I suppose the moderns might look askance at the fact that both of these men maintained a vibrant sense of a noumenal reality which, in the day, was usually attributed to supernatural entities. And I suppose such a name as, say, Montaigneist might be pretty obscure in terms of attracting new members. Maybe, though, de-emphasizing the ‘groupness’ of the organization might not be such a bad thing.