Today, a colleague asked me a very interesting question, “What is your religion?” Which kinda got me thinking…
I’ll usually answer, “Free-thinker but closer to Buddhism” and that got me thinking…
What do I mean when I say I’m a free-thinker and what does the other person think I meant when I said that.
My personal take on the denotation is someone who respects all religion and see them all equally.
A quick wikipedia search defines it as:
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas.
Which kinda sounds weird when I put it together in the same sentence as Buddhism. After all, Buddhism does have a certain aspect of faith and dogma and Free-thought is the viewpoint that one should not be influenced by any form of dogma. So what exactly am I?
Interestingly if one were to look into one of the teachings of Gautama Buddha.
It is said,
"It is proper for you, Kalamas [the people of the village 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. "...Do not accept anything by mere tradition... Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures... Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions... But when you know for yourselves—these things are moral, these things are blameless, these things are praised by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to well-being and happiness—then do you live acting accordingly."
So perhaps, even though I think Buddhism resonates with my logical and reasoning self more, I should not be feeling weird to say, “Free-thinker but leaning towards Buddhism” anymore.