The Freethinkers were a group of people who believed that science was the source of truth and that many of the ideas of Christianity were unreasonable. In 1870 a society of Freethinkers was established in Indianapolis, and most of its members were German-Americans. Though the established religious organizations were wary of them, the Freethinkers actively supported intellectual pursuits within the community for a number of years.
The Freethinkers held free public lectures and debates about all kinds of topics in order to encourage people to think for themselves. One of the founders of the society, Clemens Vonnegut, Sr., wrote a pamphlet called A Proposed Guide for Instruction in Morals from the Standpoint of a Freethinker that outlined many of the Freethinkers' beliefs. By the 1880s, however, the Freethinker movement had lost much of its popularity, and the group dissolved.
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Updated: 27 April 2004, RKB
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