Based on what I have read in most ‘Freethinker’ and ‘Skeptic’ websites and social site posts, the labels ‘freethinker’ and ‘skeptic’ are often more of a self-complement that an accurate title. In this brief essay, I will use the term ‘Freethinker’ to describe both of these groups.
Many self-described Freethinkers assume (like Dan Barker appears to in his essay “What is a Freethinker”) that their intellect “…forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists.” This attitude seems objectively self-contradictory. It calls itself ‘free’ while simultaneously mandating that any inquiry through ‘reason and evidence’ must reject any and all notion of the Divine. Does not the mandatory rejection of religion form a ‘tradition’ based upon the ‘authority’ of prior ‘Free-Thinkers’ in and of itself form an ‘established belief’?
As Dr. Jordon B. Peterson has noted about the high-visibility atheists such as Sam Harris, the Freethinkers, skeptics et al. are daily taking advantage of Christian Civilization. Western Europe was founded upon Christianity, particularly Catholicism. The Catholic Church preserved the Classical theories and thought from Greco-Roman Civilization. Catholicism preserved and encouraged learning, built science as a way to pursue knowledge of the Creator (though learning about His Creation). Pursuit of science (including creating the scientific method) was the work of monks and priests. Religious orders (monks, priests and nuns) were the driving force behind creating hospitals, universities and even education for all.
All of the virtues, and desirable behaviors listed in Dan’s essay are universal Christian virtues. They were unwelcome in Communist/Atheist nations in Eastern Europe, Africa, southeast Asia and Latin America if following any one (honesty, or sanctity of human life for example) would not be in the Party’s interest. They are still most unwelcome in communist/socialist nations such as Cuba, China and North Korea for the same reason. Outside of a Christian context, “Nice” is nothing more than a vague platitude. It is a highly subjective term about a subjective idea. Nice means almost nothing when it comes to behavior.
Any steadfast adherence to a given belief without sufficient evidence is contradictory to the idea of ‘Free Thought’ as Dan Barker describes it. Yet those who attach themselves to that label deliberately close their eyes, ears and minds to the abundant evidence for the existence of a Creator. Astronomers have dated the Universe as being approximately 14 billion years old. Therefore everything about the universe (time, space, matter and energy) had a beginning. By definitions, there was nothing before the instant when the singularity occurred. The rules of logic, from which we can determine the laws governing time, matter and space mandate that nothing can spontaneously appear from nothing. Therefore, the very existence of the universe requires a Creator that exists outside of time and space because a Creator cannot originate from inside its own creation.
Even allowing a spontaneous ‘singularity’ from which all matter, time, energy and space originated, the incredibly narrow tolerance for the laws governing the universe argue for a Creator. The balance between strong and weak nuclear forces (which allow the elements to react and interact as they do) and gravity is so precise that the odds of it happening through mere chance have been calculated as 1:(10 to the power of ten to the power of 123).
This makes the odds of everything in the universe forming so blindingly small, that anyone with free thought must question why does anything even exist? Unless the ‘free thinker’ has already closed their mind to the possibility of a Creator (which would prove they are not free thinkers), they must at least honestly consider that possibility.
Additionally, the odds of the nuclear forces, gravity, electromagnetism, the weight and energy balances between protons and electrons and all the other factors necessary for the current universe, capable of sustaining life, to exist are analogous to giving a single monkey a word processor and it immediately typing Shakespeare’s Hamlet without a single error.
‘Freethinkers’ and ‘Skeptics’ congratulate themselves and each other for their reason and logic. Yet they consistently choose to ignore the mounting evidence for a Creator and to cling to their faith in random chance as the sole cause of the universe and life. They hold and spout their dogma of Random Chance creating highly organized galaxies (composed of hundreds of millions of stars, many with planets that may even host life) spontaneously formed (in contradiction to the law of Entropy) from the matter that was randomly created from the wild energy and chaos resulting from the Big Bang, when nothing became something in direct contradiction of both logic and the laws of physics.