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9 Questions

What is the definition of freethought?

What is the symbol of freethought?

When did the term 'freethinker' emerge and what was its original meaning?

What is the name of the first Freethinker magazine and where was it published?

What is the name of the organization in France that refers to the tradition of Lefebvre de la Barre?

What is the name of the secular 'confirmation' ceremony developed by free thought organizations in Germany?

When did the Free Thought movement first organize itself in the United States?

Who established 'modern' or progressive schools in Barcelona in 1901, with the goal of educating the working class in a rational, secular, and non-coercive setting?

What is the name of the organization in Switzerland that was founded in Zürich around 1870?


Freethought is a viewpoint that beliefs should not be formed on the basis of authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma but instead reached by other methods such as logic, reason, and empirical observation. Freethinkers hold that knowledge should be grounded in facts, scientific inquiry, and logic. According to Bertrand Russell, freethinkers are open-minded individuals who can form their own beliefs. Freethinkers reject conformity for the sake of conformity and create their own beliefs by considering the way the world around them works. The pansy serves as the long-established and enduring symbol of free thought. The term freethinker emerged towards the end of the 17th century in England to describe those who stood in opposition to the institution of the Church and the literal belief in the Bible. The Freethinker magazine was first published in Britain in 1881. In France, Lefebvre de la Barre is widely regarded a symbol of the victims of Christian religious intolerance, and the main organization referring to this tradition to this day is the Fédération nationale de la libre pensée. In Germany, free thought organizations developed the "Jugendweihe" (literally Youth consecration), a secular "confirmation" ceremony, and atheist funeral rites.Free Thought Around the World

  • In Germany, the Free Thought movement began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with activists promoting disaffiliation from the Church and secularization of elementary schools.
  • In Ireland, George Ensor scandalized received opinion in the 19th century with his Review of the Miracles, Prophecies, & Mysteries of the Old and New Testaments, arguing that revealed religion did not provide moral teaching.
  • In the Netherlands, free thought has existed in organized form since the establishment of De Dageraad in 1856. Free thought in the Netherlands has become more well-known as a political phenomenon with themes of "freedom", "liberty", and "individualism".
  • In Switzerland, anti-clericals began to organize themselves with the introduction of cantonal church taxes in the 1870s. A "freethinkers club" was founded in Zürich around 1870, and during the debate on the Zürich church law in 1883, professor Friedrich Salomon Vögelin and city council member Kunz proposed to separate church and state.
  • In Turkey, free thought made its voice heard in the late Ottoman Empire, with intellectuals like Mustafa Kemal Atatürk making reforms that modernized the country and describing Islam as the religion of the Arabs.
  • In the United States, the Free Thought movement first organized itself in 1827 as the "Free Press Association". The "Golden Age of Freethought" in the US came in the late 1800s. Free thought in the United States declined in the early twentieth century, with most free thought congregations disbanding or joining other mainstream churches.
  • Free thought influenced the development of anarchism in the United States and Europe, with many anarchists being ardent freethinkers. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia established "modern" or progressive schools in Barcelona in 1901, with the goal of educating the working class in a rational, secular, and non-coercive setting.


How much do you know about the global history of freethought? Take this quiz and test your knowledge on the origins of the movement, its impact around the world, and the key figures who shaped its development. From the Free Thought movement in the US to anti-clericalism in Switzerland, this quiz will challenge your understanding of the history and diversity of freethought. Whether you're a seasoned freethinker or just curious to learn more, this quiz is sure to provide insights and surprises

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