Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Friend

by Warren Brackmann

I have a really cool friend I’d like to tell you about.  He’s the type of friend any good person would love to have.  He is an “up” person; a positive person.  He approaches life in a positive manner and with courage.  Problems and issues tend to be viewed as a challenge and are solved or resolved in a positive manner.

He is very ordered.  One might say he is obsessive about it, but that someone wouldn't be standing in my friend’s shoes.  They might like it if they could.  He is fair and wants everyone to have a fair shake.  Again to an appropriate obsession, he endlessly and fervently devises schemes and processes that address many issues or moral dilemmas facing our society, environment and lives.

He cares, loves and hopes.  He cares about people, their feelings and well being, and he cares about the earth.  He advocates love as well as rationality.  He has hope!  In this world headed towards doom, he has hope!  I find this amazing because I do not have hope for this planet.  I think things have gone too far.  There are just too many issues that affect our planet that need solutions.  I think the solutions will not happen in time.  But HE has hope.

My friend is logical to a tee in his approach to everything.  He is not always right, but it is difficult to refute his logic and one might have to get used to his rationality and almost flawless logic.  I've seen him in heated arguments. He never gets mad and is very respectful to his opponent.  He listens carefully.  He has an open mind and is ready to consider and analyze any opinion or hypothesis.

He is kind and non-judgmental.  He is kind in his discussions or academic arguments (or any arguments for that matter).  He is kind and respectful in the manner in which he addresses his fellow person, and is non-judgmental in thought and approach.

He is a giving person.  He gives of himself and he gives his resources.  He thinks.  Man, does he think!  His philosophies and opinions are well thought out.  His Humanistic philosophy keeps him pretty busy.  He is a successful influencer with integrity.  He uses his fine traits to influence and lobby for good.

Yes, his opinions, thoughts and methods are liberal, which the less-liberal or conservative might find threatening, but they are logically thought out and usually address the betterment of mankind and the planet.
On the home front he is a wonderful loving and supportive husband and father.  He is no stranger to personal strife and emotional pain either.  For that alone I find him courageous.

My friend is ethical and moral.  He is also a Freethinker, pretty much like a Freethinker is defined:  One who forms his own opinions about important subjects (such as religion, politics and justice) instead of accepting what other people say.  One who forms opinions on the basis of reason independent of authority; especially, one who doubts or denies religious dogma.

Wikipedia defines Freethought as a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas.

Thus, freethinkers strive to build their opinions on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of any logical fallacies or the intellectually limiting effects of authority, confirmation bias, cognitive bias, conventional wisdom, popular culture, prejudice, sectarianism, tradition, urban legend, and all other dogmas. Regarding religion, Freethinkers hold that there is insufficient evidence to support the existence of supernatural phenomena.

Many find these qualities and principles admirable, even those whose beliefs are religious and who conceive of a God.  I've observed that the methods used by freethinkers to promote their philosophies and opinions vary from person to person, and organization to organization.  One may choose to come from a negative point of view and attack, as opposed to challenge and debate those whose beliefs are different than their own.  I would call such attacks religion or God bashing.  I believe they are judgmental.  But not all Freethinkers or Freethinker organizations are negative.  They do not believe Freethinker philosophies should be shoved down other’s throats.  Rather, being a Freethinker gives one an opportunity to look at the world as a real world with real people that deserve respectful and non-judgmental treatment.

My friend regularly attends Freethinkers meetings.  Many of the people who attend these discussion groups have similar qualities.  They care.  They observe, analyze, collaborate, philosophize and discuss many topics.  Freethinkers consider and discuss many topics of which religion and God are just one.  I've been to meetings and programs with topics such as, “Reforming Our Democracy,” "Unmanned: America's Drone Wars," “The JFK Assassination: 50th Anniversary,” “Thom Hartmann: The Boston Tea Party Revealed,” Clips of George Carlin, “The People vs. Larry Flint,” “Dr. Jeanette Narden: Understanding the Brain,” and many more programs that have nothing to do with God or religion.

Of course, not all Freethinkers have the exemplary integrity and moral fiber my friend has, but more than not have similar ideals and attitudes.  From my perspective, although somewhat bias, I find Freethinkers tend to be non-abrasive and friendly.  They do not necessarily proselytize.  In fact, I've never observed such coercion in my association with Freethinkers.  I am extremely fortunate to have comrades such my friend and the majority of Freethinkers I meet.  I find the associations stimulating and up lifting.