What Makes Us Different?

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Volume 01 Issue 06

How’s it going?

Welcome to the 6th issue of the official news source for those interested in free-thinking, truth-seeking, and keeping up-to-date with the Free Thought Initiative! Use the button below to view the full PDF edition of this issue, complete with images and links. The raw information about our announcements this week is as follows:

What Makes Us Different?

On the surface, your local Free Thought Forum may seem like just any other intellectual meetup or church-alternate group. But there are a handful of things that set us apart. Here are four unique things about our group that we are proud to share:

1. We Encourage a Diversity of Political and Religious Opinions

Sometimes, those of us who leave religion behind find ourselves going from one rigid worldview to another. Our organization is not necessarily anti-religious, atheistic or theistic. Likewise, we are not accurately described as politically left-leaning or right-leaning. We leave it to our members to think for themselves and decide where they fit on the political and theological spectra. Therefore, we will never exclude anyone for their religious, nonreligious, left, or right views. Put another way, we are attempting to be an “anti-echo-chamber.”

This approach is imperative if we all expect to live by what is actually real and morally right. We should always be open to new perspectives and ideas while maintaining a dedication to only live by the best information we’ve found thus far.

2. We Embrace Discussions on Important, Challenging, and Controversial Ideas

Your Free Thought Forum is not just a social group which plans camping trips and cocktail parties. Rather than focus only on fun and games, we ask all participants to stretch their minds as part of a quest for constant self-improvement.

We promote the idea that life is best lived when one has found a balance between skepticism and open-mindedness. In order to guarantee a genuinely open forum, we encourage our guests and members to share exactly what they need to say, something that can lead to discussing controversial ideas. Rather than suppress uncommon opinions, we allow them to be prodded and tested in the discussion itself. We would never want to censor a good idea, and we believe that bad ideas should be exposed. This follows the common saying that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

This approach also yields a refreshing liberation that comes only from being able to sincerely test your ideas out with others. We aren’t here to judge or label you. Instead, we recognize that every person is on a journey. An important part of that journey is the opportunity to truly think out loud, find support for great ideas, and be exposed to compelling reasons to leave bad ideas behind.

None of us have fully made up our minds on all topics, and none of us claim to know what is best in every possible case. We have no taboos or “sacred cows.” When you attend our meetings, you need not worry about sharing ideas that are too “off-topic” or unpopular.

3. We offer Dogma-Free Philosophical Suggestions

Although we seek to provide the most open-possible forum, we do have two main goals. The first goal is on the personal level. We support one another as we each strive to realize our own greatest individual potential. This is otherwise known as “Self-Actualization.” For many of us, we cannot become our greatest selves without various forms of support. Therefore, this community is being formed to fill those personal needs. Our second main goal is on the societal level. We seek to improve the cohesion, health, and scientific literacy of our society.

Our personal lives and our societies face several ills and important issues which call for real solutions. Since many questions only have one correct answer, we can’t realistically be expected to serve our members by saying that all ideas are of equal value. Therefore, we prioritize the best arguments that are supported by evidence, experimentation, logic, reason, and so forth. We are unified by our sincere search for truth, wherever that search may lead.

This is all part of our “Foundational Philosophy,” a proto-world-view that we offer to those who find themselves in need of sound guiding personal metaphysics and epistemology. Many of us have experienced a lack of direction and purpose that comes from leaving a belief system behind. Our Foundational Philosophy is intentionally being designed to meet the needs of every kind of person from every kind of background. It draws from the best ideas from scientific, philosophic, and religious teachers from around the world.

With all that said, our psychological direction only comes in the form of a suggestion. To be intellectually honest, we cannot claim to both have all the answers while also still looking for better answers. The best we can do is offer a moral system that is continually undergoing minor adjustment and refinement.

Rather than tell people what to believe, we invite them to define and refine their beliefs over time with the clear goal to live by the best information on reality and morality at hand.

4. We Run Under a Simple and Reproducible Format

On the first weekend of each month, we meet for a pot-luck picnic where we all take turns talking about our progress on personal goals as all others volunteer suggestions on how they can help. On the other weekends, we casually meet for 15 minutes, enjoy a presentation from the Group Leader that lasts about 15 minutes, and then participate in an open forum for the remainder of the time. We also hold community volunteer projects once or twice a month.

Just about anyone can volunteer to be a Group Leader and create their own group. Anyone can be trained to be an Official Host and help the open discussions remain civil and productive. This is all by design, and with any luck, will lead to the creation of multiple Free Thought Forums around the world!

Utah Valley Group CALENDAR

  • July 28 – The Political Compass

  • Aug 4 – Feast Sunday & Support Circle

  • Aug 10 – Volunteer Project: Springville Animal Shelter Clinic

  • Aug 11 – The Epic FIRST Meeting for a NEW Draper Group! (We will not meet in Springville on this date.)

  • Aug 18 – How to Moderate Public Discussions

  • Aug 25 – Great Ideas From Sikhism

  • Sep 1 – Feast Sunday & Support Circle

  • Sep 8 – Human-Caused Climate Change

  • Sep 15 – The Ideas and Ethics of Baruch Spinoza

  • Sep 22 – Wisdom Festival (Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox)

Social Media Watch

How many people have we reached this week? Here is a quick update:

  • YouTube Subscribers: 61

  • Freethinkers on Meetup: 59 (Utah Valley) and 63 (Draper)

  • Pinterest Monthly Views: 440

  • Facebook Page: 21 (Likes) 23 (Follows)

  • Minds Page Subscribers: 24

  • Discord Server Members: 16

  • Instagram Followers: 10

  • Bitchute Subscribers: 5

  • Reddit Followers: 4

  • Twitter Followers: 6

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Written By Nicholas Burk, Executive Board Member © 2019 Free Thought Initiative