Early Freethinkers, Abolitionists, and Unitarians


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This Age of Enlightenment was a time:
Wherein men became involved in societal class warfare and social revolutions leading to the overthrow the feudal system and thus allowed the average man greater freedom of physical movement and freedom to enter discourse about the world and the reasons for living, and man’s relationship with God;
Wherein men acquired new scientific information about the physical world and such information clashed and challenged the old ideas about the physical world and about the nature of man;
Wherein new teachings about reasoning and logic challenged orthodox religious faith and superstitions, and where the idea of human rights, including the notion that all men should be free sprang forth.

It was an age wherein the common man began to feel and think that he was a worthwhile being and that he had a right to the fruits of his own labors; and men became suspicious of their churches and governments, as these institutions effected his personal freedom.

Enter the Free-thinkers
So out of the Enlightenment Age there sprang forth here and there, persons who referred to themselves as Freethinkers. Others referred to themselves as Secularists or humanists.

Most Freethinkers believed that “morality” (Right and Wrong or Good and Evil) should be based solely on regard to the wellbeing of mankind in the present life.

Most Freethinkers had theological beliefs that differed from the dogma espoused by the orthodox, conventional Christian Churches. Freethinker ranged from those persons who were truly anti-religious to persons who may have adhered to a private, unconventional faith revering some form of God, but at odds with the orthodox religious authority.

Most Freethinkers were convinced that the affairs of human beings should not be governed by faith in the supernatural, but by a reliance on reason and evidence adduced from the natural world.

Many Freethinkers were secularist and believed that the church and the civil government should be kept separate.

Enter the Unitarians:
Out of these various groups of Freethinkers arose a religious/spiritual community who called themselves “Unitarians.” These Unitarians were a religious/spiritual community that emerged in Europe during the Enlightenment Age and many of the proponents of this new way of believing found their way to America. Beginning in the late 1700s many New England Puritan-founded Congregationalist churches began transforming into much more liberal and rationalist Unitarian fellowships.

These Unitarians shared the general philosophy of the other freethinkers and as a spiritual community, they rejected a wide variety of orthodox Christian tenets, including the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

In my day and time: Unitarian congregations expressed a spirituality of Freedom and Liberty; a spirituality which refused to accept authoritarian “revelations” or “dogmas” which contradicted the revelations they found in their own experience.

In my day and time: Unitarians opposed the reliance of superstition in arriving at spiritual truths and purport that their religion or spirituality lay in a deep reverence for the power of the human mind, and the value of human doubt.

In my day and time: Unitarian espoused the notion that their spirituality did not accept “authoritarian” revelations or dogmas which contradicted the revelation they found in their own experiences.

In my day and time, Unitarians as a group believed in freedom of the mind in the continuing search for truth.

It is my unconfirmed opinion that Unitarians today think similarly to the Unitarians of my day and time.

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