Freethinking or free thought is the philosophical practice of forming one's beliefs independently of the often
factual/logical falsehoods and intellectually limiting effects of
authority. Free thinkers base their beliefs on
facts and logic.
Freethinking in the Buddhist philosophy/religion
Free thought was advocated by Buddha in the
Buddhist text the
Kalama Sutta. The following excerpt
- "It is proper for you, Kalamas [the people of Kesaputta], to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what
is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is
in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered
over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These
things are bad; these things are blameable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and
ill, abandon them."
Freethinking and irreligion
Because so many religious beliefs are based on
tradition and authority and are often
cognitively biased, freethinkers are
often at odds with religious views and often discard them altogether.
Although freethinkers are irreligious it is important to note that freethinkers can have moral foundations just as strong as those who
are religious; the mere fact a person is irreligious has no coorelation with virtuous convictions such as kindness to and tolerance of
others, service to the less fortunate, nonviolence, or humility or humbleness.