He conceived it as " a religious monopoly " to which " the nation at large contributes," while " Presbyterians alone receive," and which placed him in " a relation to the state " so " seriously objectionable " as to be " impossible to hold."5 The invidious distinction it drew between Presbyterians on the one hand, and Catholics, Friends, freethinking Christians, unbelievers and Jews on the other, who were compelled to support a ministry they " conscientiously disapproved," offended his always delicate conscience; while possibly the intellectual and ecclesiastical atmosphere of the city proved uncongenial to his liberal magnanimity.
Freethinking is a right which cannot and must not be limited, for it is the only means of attaining to a knowledge of truth, it essentially contributes to the well-being of society, and it is not only permitted but enjoined by the Bible.
In fact the first introduction of Christianity and the success of all missionary enterprise involve freethinking (in its etymological sense) on the part of those converted.
The same year, in his Analyst, he attacked the higher mathematics as leading to freethinking; this involved him in a hot controversy.
In its commonest use it is applied to all who decline to accept the authority of the Bible as the infallible record of a divine revelation, and is practically synonymous with freethinking.