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Freethinking

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 conventional wisdom, popular culture, cognitive bias, prejudice, tradition, and 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 encourages freethought:

"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.

See also