Unfortunately, many nonbelievers perceive all Christians as gullible individuals. This myth has been perpetuated with the common vocabulary used amongst the atheistic community. Thus, nonbelievers are generally referred to as “skeptics” or “freethinkers”. However, is there any reason that these terms should only be applicable to those who do not hold religious belief?
Actually, the fact that nonbelievers alone are generally called “skeptics” or “freethinkers” undermines the meaning of the terms themselves! Since skeptics and freethinkers are all considered to be atheists, they categorically deny the existence of gods. In other words, skeptics and freethinkers might as well be defined as “those who deny the supernatural, including gods”. However, this does not do justice to the term skeptic or freethinker.
Skeptic is defined (courtesy of dictionary.com) as:
“One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.”
Now, if skeptics are supposed to instinctively doubt or question beliefs, should they not also be skeptical towards atheism? Should they be skeptical towards evolution? But the fact of the matter is, none of these self-professed “skeptics” actually doubt atheism! Doesn’t this seem a little strange, that the term skeptic, which is supposed to imply a questioning nature, has come to be known as referring to those who categorically deny something and never seem to question their own belief?
Freethinker seems easy enough to define. It is simply one who thinks freely without allowing their thought process to be affected by bias and presuppositions. Although this may not be an actual definition found in the dictionary, it is obvious that the word “freethinker” carries this sort of connotation. So, is a freethinker merely someone who has rejected the existence of the supernatural? This seems like an unfair definition, because the evidence could lead someone to accept such beliefs.
The words “skeptic” and “freethinker” should not be used merely to refer to atheists. I am a Christian, and I think that I doubt or question beliefs until I am provided with sufficient evidence. In fact, that is one of my main reasons for participating in apologetics. Thus, I am a skeptical Christian.