Who Are the Free Thinkers?
by Bill Pratt
Many skeptics of Christianity proudly point out that they are “free thinkers.” This expression used to confuse me, as I consider myself a free thinker, but clearly I could not be one in the same way the skeptic means it. After talking to several skeptics, I discovered that “free thinker” is mostly a synonym for “atheist.” The general idea seems to be that religious people are trapped in their thinking by the family and culture they were born into, whereas atheists are not – they are free to think as they please.
If you were born into a Christian family and culture, then it is natural for you to believe Christianity. If you were born into Hindu-dominated India, it is natural for you to believe Hinduism. Wherever we are born largely determines what kind of god we believe in, according to the free thinkers.
For skeptics, a person becomes a free thinker when they escape the chains of their family and culture. I don’t know what atheists call themselves when they grow up with atheist parents who live in a non-religious community. It seems like they’re trapped in their thinking just like the religious folks, but that’s a topic for another time.
There are two points I want to make about this idea of being born into your religion. First, skeptics of Christianity do us a favor when they point out that many Christians have never questioned what they were taught growing up. It is true that many Christians have merely taken on their parents’ beliefs without any reflection of their own. Often this can lead to a shallow faith that collapses at the first signs of trouble. Additionally, the Bible is quite clear that a person is never physically born into a saving relationship with God. The decision to embrace Jesus Christ is a personal one that cannot be made by one’s parents. Growing up in a Christian home absolutely does not guarantee a person’s salvation. It is truly dangerous to take on your parents’ beliefs without thinking about them for yourself…
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|Recommended Resources: The Real Face of Atheism | Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists | The Reason for God|