Some people have the assumption that the Filipino Freethinkers (FF) are a bunch of atheists who bonded together for the purpose of converting others towards atheism. This assumption is wrong on two counts: first, we are not all atheists; second, we do not preach atheism.
A quick visit to our info page yields the following:
Freethought is not the same as atheism. Freethinking is a way of thinking that can lead to different conclusions. Although most freethinkers are nontheistic — atheists, agnostics, deists — many freethinkers still reach religious conclusions. However, theistic freethinkers do tend to have more liberal or progressive religious views than other believers.
Whenever you try to use reason and science to reach your own conclusions, you are freethinking. Freethinking is a process of thinking free from dogma, authority, and tradition. Although these things may influence a freethinker’s conclusions, freethinkers make up their own minds.
To a freethinker, no idea is sacred; the worth of all truth claims is best determined by skepticism, rational inquiry, and scientific testing.
While we publish quite a few essays that argue for the non-existence of God, these articles merely reflect the views of the individual atheist authors and do not necessarily represent the collective position of the Filipino Freethinkers. What these atheistic articles do represent about the FF, however, is the way arguments are built around science and reason and presented in a non-dogmatic, non-adversarial way.
What the FF is basically promoting is reason; we are trying to open the eyes of Filipinos living in this predominantly religious and superstitious country. Why? Because religion has always been a powerful and oppressive force that has crossed the line to supposedly secular politics and medicine and stunted our progress over the centuries by refusing to implement practical solutions to real issues. (As I have said before, religion, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, shares a large part of the blame for overpopulation, poverty, and the spread of STDs because of its stand on contraceptives. And this stand is based on an encyclical called Humanae Vitae on the Regulation of Birth written more than 40 years ago by a pope who is now long dead. Of course the Catholic church has the right – the duty – to preach its doctrine to its members. That’s called freedom of religion. The problem starts when the church meddles with issues affecting the whole country as if all Filipinos were Catholics.)
Another reason why the Filipino Freethinkers are quite active in advocating freethought is that we want to live in a society where we will not be discrimated or prejudiced for our lack of faith in religious dogma, where in a job interview we can honestly say that we’re atheists or agnostics without fear of being passed over in favor of a more religious candidate, and where our lack of religion will not be taken as a lack of moral standards.
Some may think that ‘atheists’ who congregate are weak, in need of a support group because they cannot fend for themselves in a religious world. Well, let them think what they want, but don’t people congregate for many other reasons and interests? Why can’t they congregate for the love of stimulating discussions that do not always have to be about religion?
Freethought is a journey; atheism, agnosticism, deism, and even philosophical theism are just some of the destinations, and none of them has to be final. Won’t the journey be a lot more fun having fellow truth seekers along the way?