The Freethinker (journal)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Freethinker
CategoriesScience magazine
First issue1 May 1881
Final issueApril 2014 (print)
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Freethinker was a British secular humanist magazine, founded by G.W. Foote in 1881.[1] One of the world's oldest surviving freethought publications, it moved online-only in 2014.

It has always taken an unapologetically atheist, anti-religious stance. In Issue 1 (May, 1881), Foote set out The Freethinker's purpose:

The Freethinker is an anti-Christian organ, and must therefore be chiefly aggressive. It will wage relentless war against superstition in general, and against Christian superstition in particular. It will do its best to employ the resources of Science, Scholarship, Philosophy and Ethics against the claims of the Bible as a Divine Revelation; and it will not scruple to employ for the same purpose any weapons of ridicule or sarcasm that may be borrowed from the armoury of Common Sense.

Although closely linked with the National Secular Society for most of its history (NSS Presidents and General Secretaries have at various times also served as Freethinker editor), The Freethinker is strictly autonomous and is not, and never has been, published by the NSS.

In 2006, the magazine's front-page masthead was changed from "Secular humanist monthly" to "The Voice of Atheism since 1881".

Barry Duke is the current editor.


Following the publication of anti-religious cartoons in the Christmas 1882 edition of The Freethinker, Foote was prosecuted for blasphemy, and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour. On receiving his sentence from Mr Justice North (a devout Catholic), Foote said "with great deliberation" to the Judge "My Lord, I thank you; it is worthy of your creed". His description of this experience was published in 1886 as Prisoner for Blasphemy.

The April 2014 edition of The Freethinker contained an announcement that the May issue would be the last to appear in print; publication would continue online.[2]

List of Freethinker editors[edit]

Here is a list of editors of The Freethinker from 1881:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Atheism and Humanism Links". Arthur Chappell. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  2. ^


External links[edit]