Atheists are freethinkers unlike those subjected to religious dogma.


The religious person, in countering this charge, could point out that the atheist’s thoughts, existing within an atheistic worldview, are wholly deterministic. In other words, “free-thinking” would be illusory as our thoughts, actions, and dreams are solely determined by genetics, background, and environment. However, the Christian might respond by saying that theism provides rational grounds for freewill and “free-thinking” as a result of being made in the image of a rational God. Such a belief would encourage the Christian believer to explore, discover and to learn about the universe their God created. This is arguably the very reason why Christianity was so instrumental in the development of science.

Secondly, one may point out that it may be true (if we ignore determinism for a moment) that the atheist is indeed a freethinker in the precise sense of not being subjected to religious dogma. However, it does not follow that he, or other atheists, are freethinkers that are not subjected to some form of anti-religious dogma. It is also not true that there are no religious freethinkers (whether subjected to dogma or not). In fact, there are many, one could argue, who have become “religious” due to their freethinking or who freely think about dogma and accept it in that way. Daniel Wallace captures this line of thought:

“I would ask them “What do you mean by “Free thinkers” and “religious dogma”? Then truly listen and follow up perhaps with: Are you truly free to challenge the dogma that matter in motion is all there is? Are you free to consider the possibility that if you were right, and you and your brain are merely the result of matter in motion acting in law like fashion according to biochemistry and physics, you could never know it because you were physically determined to reach that conclusion and had no choice? Isn’t “that” more dogmatic, unreasonable and locked in than free thinkers who have a real foundation that allows them to believe they can reach valid conclusions based on free will, evidence, and reason?” (1) In a similar way Jonathan Sarfati find the “freethinker” concept quite strange, saying “We must wonder why atheists call themselves “freethinkers” if they believe thoughts are merely the results of atomic motion obeying the fixed laws of chemistry” (2)


1. Personal correspondence with Daniel Wallace on Facebook.

2. Sarfati, J. Using the Bible to prove the Bible? Are biblical creationists guilty of circular reasoning? Available.


10 responses to “Atheists are freethinkers unlike those subjected to religious dogma.

  1. You’re making a bunch of assumptions about atheists.

    All being atheist means is that the person does not believe in the existence of a god or gods.

    It doesn’t mean that they’re claiming answers about other things.

    I can be atheist and still think it’s possible for a god to exist, I just don’t currently believe one does.

    This is what freethinking is.

    Where a theist must maintain a dogmatic belief that “a god or gods exist,” the a-theist is not claiming a dogmatic belief.

    • I think you’re confused on terms

      {Where a theist must maintain a dogmatic belief that “a god or gods exist,” the a-theist is not claiming a dogmatic belief.}

      An Atheist says no god or Gods exist.

      n agnostic makes no claim but may lean either way. (I think this is the term you want)

      And folks currently smoking weed don’t care any way it goes.

      • I’m not confused, I’ve been agnostic atheist goin on 20 years. I don’t claim no god exists, I’m just not convinced one does. Could be wrong though.

    • Your reply, distrbnce, it’s common among the “New Atheist” religion. The term “atheist” does mean “no/not any god,” and in order to shift the argument, atheists have been claiming that they’re not making any claims. But this post has nothing to do with that.

      Perhaps you ought to re-read the above post. There’s nothing about claiming God exists/doesn’t exist. The point is that the existence of God grounds the entire idea of free thought. Without God no one could have what is called “freedom.” So, the other common theme among atheists as addressed above, is self-defeating.

  2. Pingback: “Atheists Are Freethinkers Unlike Those Subjected To Religious Dogma.” A Reply. | A disciple's study·

  3. If my brain is nothing but a pile of atoms, then I have no reason to believe anything it tells me is true, including the notion that my brain is nothing but a pile of atoms.
    In other words, if naturalism (atheism) were true, WE COULD NEVER KNOW IT.

    • …what? lol

      What have you asserted such a claim? Why do you believe what you’ve said?

      I’m not convinced by your claim. It’s nonsensical.

      • Simply restating what Daniel Wallace, Jonathan Sarfati, etc. said above, only shorter. Didn’t you read the article?

  4. Pingback: ‘The Unbelievers’ Documentary in 10 Points. | James Bishop's Theology & Apologetics.·

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