Response to “Letter to a Freethinker” from an Atheist
Dear Free Thinker,
What does it mean to think freely?
Does it mean I must be an atheist?
I’ve gotten different answers on this, but usually I’m told you can’t be religious and be a free thinker. The idea is that “freethinkers” are supposed to base their beliefs on reason. People who believe in God don’t usually rely on reason. They lean on faith.
If you’re a believer in God because of reason and evidence, however, then you would be a freethinker.
Reason and evidence aren’t enough to get to the truth, though. That’s just the best strategy we have available. It’s also necessary to have a good working knowledge of how people can be tricked into believing things that aren’t true. There are several common mechanisms in which this commonly takes place, confirmation bias being one of them. These flaws in human perception can fool even a reasonable person. The scientific method is the best way to bypass these flaws.
You tell me there is no evidence for the existence of God.
You say that there is more evidence for unicorns than the object of my worship.
I don’t know that I’ve seen evidence for unicorns, but it’s at least plausible. They are pretty close to horses, which do exist. It’s only the horn we have lacking, and it would be easy for natural selection to make it happen. It just doesn’t seem to be the case that it has.
An all-powerful God, though? There is no evidence. The only “evidence” that’s ever cited is riddled with confirmation bias or arguments from ignorance.
You tell me that I’m an atheist too.
Why do you say “we’re all atheists” when I believe in God?
I believe the idea is that if you don’t believe in Thor but you do believe in God, then you are an atheist with respect to Thor but a theist with respect to God. It’s an attempt to get theists to understand that they require evidence for everything in life except God.
You tell me “That’s just your interpretation”; “You’re wrong”; “I’m right.”
I reject science, according to you. I don’t know how to open my eyes. I’m blind, foolish, and stubborn.
You say that I’m delusional, and that my belief is a disease.
Yep! Now you’re getting it. I shouldn’t be snide, though. I don’t follow your blog closely enough to accuse you of anything.
I have a final question:
Am I allowed to think freely…
Or is it just you?
Ah, one of the reasons I dislike that term so much. I tried to tell my friends that it’s an insulting term, but they said “tough”. I prefer to just tell you you’re wrong. I don’t need creative euphemisms for that.