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those who arrive at conclusions, particularly in questions of religion, by employing the rules of reason while rejecting supernatural authority or ecclesiastical tradition. The freethinkers believe that independence of thought from such authority leads all men to essentially identical conclusions concerning morality and religion. The name came into general use in the 18th cent. after the publication (1713) of Anthony Collins's Discourse of Freethinking Occasioned by the Rise and Growth of a Sect Called Freethinkers. The movement took different forms in different countries. In England it was intimately connected with deism but did not break completely with traditional Christianity. It took a more radical form in France. Voltaire renounced all connection with Christianity, and the Encyclopedists broke with religion altogether. Freethinking also has an important social side and influenced the philosophies of the Freemasons and, in France, the Culte de l'Être Suprême. In the United States the organizations established to further freethinking include the American Rationalist Association, the American Secular Union, and the Freethinkers of America. The International Order for Ethics and Culture, organized at Bern in 1908, is designed to investigate the ethical factors in society without theological or metaphysical bias.
References in periodicals archive ?
FFRF publishes Freethought Today which is the only freethoutht newspaper in the United States, broadcasts Freethought Radio, and promotes freedom from religion with educational books, literature, music, and freethought billboards.
Part one examines the outlines of the postbellum freethought movement, freethinkers' theorizing about gender, and their conception of ideal gender relations.
Freethought support for complete intellectual and religious liberty was based on principle, not pragmatism.
Atheists, Freethinkers, and Secular Humanists will enjoy all the Freethought content in the novel.
The Church of Freethought enjoys federal tax-exempt status, but was unable to obtain similar status in Texas.
Arnell Dowret is a freethought activist, a writer, and the facilitator of "Secular Connections" an alternative, experiential workshop for freethinkers.
After abandoning belief in Christianity, Kagin became a freethought activist.
On a list serve used by a student freethought group, Mirecki called religious conservatives "fundies" and said the course would be a "nice slap in their big fat face.
What I didn't get from this book was clear analysis of O'Hair's place in the history of the freethought movement.
I fail to see the logic behind Theodore Pavlovitz's lament for the Freethought Equality Fund PAC ("Don't Tear Down this Wall," J/F 2014), which he claims would adopt the methods of the discriminating majority who are hostile to atheists.
Academy policies that permit evangelical Christian cadets to leave Academy grounds to attend religious meetings offsite but deny that same right to non-religious cadets who want to attend freethought meetings.
Historian and activist Bill Cooke reconsiders the legacy of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, whose one-woman war against religion divided America's humanist and freethought movements--but restored atheism to the national agenda in ways a less abrasive activist might never have achieved.