Freethought

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Freethought or Free Thought is a viewpoint holding that opinions of truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and science rather than on tradition and dogma. Freethinkers tended to be liberal in social matters, advocating for abolition of slavery, and promoting racial and sexual equality. Freethought movements developed in Europe after 1600, the year that Giordano Bruno died, and in North America. In the United States, the movement grew with the immigration of German freethinkers after 1848, but declined due to its lack of focus and the antireligious bias that did not appeal to most Americans.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott were very sympathetic to the writings of radical freethinker D. M. Bennett, publisher of The Truth Seeker, whom they met in India. Another of their associates, Robert G. Ingersoll, was a prominent leader in the American Freethought movement until his death in 1899. Labor leader L. W. Rogers was an advocate for freethought before he joined the Theosophical Society and eventually became president of the American Theosophical Society.

It is possible to view some Buddhist writings as a form of freethought, as in the Kalama Sutta.

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