In many ways, to be a Bohemian and to be a Freethinker are synonymous. Both are highly individuated people who prefer the unconventional to what’s socially acceptable, especially when it comes to religion. They are non-conformists who want to think and interpret things in their own way. As a writer and musician myself, I feel most at home within a loose philosophical framework in which everything cannot be explained.
But I had a very narrow-minded religious upbringing which crippled, and almost killed my artist’s soul. Pedagogically indoctrinated, I tried to conform but instinctively felt something was not right. Desperate to make sense of it all, at the age of 40 I decided to study Christianity from an academic angle by attending divinity school. Not long after I arrived our insightful Dean pegged me as the class “seeker.”
Although I completed the Master’s program in 2003 I did not come away convinced by any answers found there. However as a life-long learner I loved the history, theology, and sociology courses I took, and doing the research for all the required papers. Being a journal writer already, I began to weave my new found insights onto those pages as well. Many of those entries have become the beginnings of essays in which I explore this intersection of historical facts and philosophy with religious dogma, in light of my own reality and that of others. Some of those essays appear in my blog posts.
As a final note, I should add that “Bohemian Freethinkers” were a real entity that existed in the early 1900’s. (And they probably still exist in some form or fashion today) They were Czech immigrants to this country who cast off their religious beliefs when they settled in America. They formed “congregations” that met regularly for mutual support and edification through the arts as well as to keep their cultural heritage alive.
My maternal Czech grandparents were members of this movement in Chicago. Sadly, I never knew them but it was my exploration into their history that led me to discover the Freethinkers and consequently, the adoption of their name for this website and blog.