Famous atheists

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In atheism, famous atheists (CR:289) (LH:2) (TL:291) refers to noted, famous, infamous, great, influential, or legendary atheists, non-believers, or dis-believers in the existence of god; shortcut key: (FA:#), e.g. Heraclitus (FA:6) means he is the 6th earliest rumored to be atheist on record.


The following is the chronological listing of famous atheists:

# Person Date Summary
Akhenaten (c.1380-1335BC).png Akhenaten
(3335-3290 BE)
(c.1380-1335 BCM)
c.1320BC “Akhenaten’s fascination for the sun disc Aten is akin to constituting atheism.”
— Donald Redford (1984), Akhenaten: the Heretic King; cited by Karl Luckert (1991) in Egyptian Light and Hebrew Fire (pg. 109)
Thales 75.png Thales
(2579-2501 BE)
(c.624-546 BCM)
600BC The first crypto "god doubter" in history, according to Jennifer Hecht (2003); like for his belief that "all is water", out of which earth and fire are second principles.
No image 2.png Charvaka
600BC A sect of Indian materialism-based atheists; a reaction to the difficulties of Hinduism.
Anaximander 75.png Anaximander
(2565-2519 BE)
(c.610-564BC BCM)
580BC “Anaximander was the chief of the old atheistic philosophers.”
— Ralph Cudworth (1678), The True Intellectual System of the Universe (pg. #)
Xenophanes 75.png Xenophanes
(2515-2435 BE)
(c.560-480 BCM)
530BC “There has been a considerable number of those whom history calls ‘atheists’. Leucippus, Democritus, Xenophanes, and others of the atomistic and Eleatic schools (Ѻ), are said to have been such. In his Intellectual System, Cudworth puts into this category Seneca and the younger Pliny among the Romans. Since the reformation, such men as: Rabelais, Machiavel, Bruno, Vanini, D'Alembert, Diderot, Buffon, Condorcet, Mirabeau, La Place, Frederic II, and even Pope Leo X, have been charged with atheism.”
— Willis Lord (1875), Christian Theology for the People (pg. 67)
Heraclitus 75.png Heraclitus
(2490-2405 BE)
(c.535-450 BCM)
475BC “The universe, that is the all, is made neither of gods nor of men, but ever has been and ever will be an eternal-living fire, kindling and extinguishing in destined measure.”
— Heraclitus (c.470BC), Publication[1]

His fragments (Ѻ) indicate a difficult-to-pin-down exact belief system, but approximately the following type of pantheism logic: “god = fire/lightening [principle] + reason/cause [λόγος]”. Generally, a type of agnosticism-to-atheism of the Olympian gods, amid a search for a universal principle, rooted in fire, electricity, flux, and eternal change.

Leucippus 75.png Leucippus
(2455-2390 BE)
(c.500-435 BCM)
450BC Often called the 'father of atomic theory', he was the first to conceive of the theory of atoms, arguing that the universe consisted entirely of atoms and void, a theory purposely contrived so to contradict Greek philosopher Parmenides' earlier view that voids are impossible; called by Francis Bacon, in his "On Atheism" (1597), the chief or head of the school "most accused" of atheism.
No image 2.png Hippo
450BC Held water to be the first principle, out of which fire arise; believed the soul to be made of water (not blood); classified as a materialist and atheist.
No image 2.png Anaxagoras
(2455-2383 BE)
(500-428 BCM)
Apollo pulling sun.png
Was the first person to be legally “indicted for atheism”, per his assertion that the sun was not a god (Helios), but rather a fallen meteorite (467BC); in 438BC, a law was passed against Anaxagoras-like atheism: “society must denounce those who do not believe in the divine beings or who teach doctrines about things in the sky” (Hecht, 2003; pg. 10). When, according to Voltaire (1764), he claimed that the sun was not driven by Apollo, mounted on a chariot, but rather, based on the "evidence" of examined fallen meteors, and the reasoned postulate that moon light was reflected sunlight, that it was a hot or fiery stone, moving in a fifth element, in addition to the standard four elements, he called “aether”, which he conceived of as being in constant rotation and carried with it the celestial bodies, he was called an atheist, and had to flee.
Empedocles 75.png Empedocles
(2450-2390 BE)
(495-435 BCM)
450BC Theophilus (c.120-184) (Ѻ) believed that Empedocles “taught atheism”, about which he says as follows:
“What good did it do Epicurus to maintain that there is no providence; or Empedocles to teach atheism; or Socrates to swear by the dog, and the goose, and the plane-tree, and AEsculapius struck by lightning, and the demons whom he invoked? And why did he willingly die? What reward, or of what kind, did he expect to receive after death? What did Plato's system of culture profit him? Or what benefit did the rest of the philosophers derive from their doctrines, not to enumerate the whole of them, since they are numerous? But these things we say, for the purpose of exhibiting their useless and godless opinions.”

Irenaeus (130-202AD) viewed most of the pre-Socratics as “atheists” in their materialist explanations of the origin of the world, including: Homer, Thales, Anaximander, Empedocles, and Anaxagoras. Clement of Alexandria (150-215), likewise, saw Thales, Anximenes, Diogenes of Apollonia, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and all of the ists as such.

Protagoras 75.png Protagoras
(2445-2375 BE)
(c.490-420 BCM)
440BC “Concerning the gods, I am unable to discover whether they exist or not, or what they are like in form; for there are many hindrances to knowledge, the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of the human mind.”
Euripides 75.png Euripides
(c.2435-2361 BE)
(c.480-406 BCM)
430BC “He was a wise man who invented god.”

— Euripides (c.450BC), “Concerning God” (Ѻ); oft-attributed, incorrectly, in 20th century (Ѻ), to Plato, in the form “He was a wise man that invented god”

Was threatened with an indictment for atheism (Lange, 1865; pg. 7).

Socrates 75.png Socrates
(2424-2354 BE)
(469-399 BCM)
420BC Was “indicted for atheism” (Hecht, 2003; pg. 11).
No image 2.png Prodicus


415BC God theory: Gods were what the ancients invented to equate the sun, rivers, and other beneficial things with. (Empiricus, 200AD). Tried for figure out, from a secular linguistic point of view, how humans learn the names of their gods; latter classified as an atheist by early contemporaries (Hecht, 2003; pg. 8). He also advanced an account of Demeter (Isis) and Dionysus (Osiris) as mortals who taught agriculture and viticulture, and who were accorded divine honors after their deaths in recognition of their gifts to humanity. The argument that the gods familiar to the Greeks were once mortals was a key element in the suspicion that sophists like Prodicus were atheists
No image 2.png Diogenes of Apollonia (c.460-400BC) 410BC Labeled, by Irenaeus (130-202AD), an atheist per his materialistic account of the world.
Thucydides 75.png Thucydides


410BC Retrospectively characterized a secular historian, in his god free account of things; Thomas Hobbes (1629) defended him against the charge of atheism.
Democritus 75.png Democritus
(2415-2325 BE)
(c.460-370 BCM)
410BC “Some men said something stretched out their hands tither, where we Greeks now speak of ‘air’ and thus they call the whole ‘Zeus’ and say: he knows everything, he gives and takes, he is king of everything.” [14]
No image 2.png Critias


410BC “Critias seems to be from the ranks of the atheists when he says that the lawgivers of ancient times invented god as a kind of overseer of the right and wrong actions of men. Their purpose was to prevent anyone from wronging his neighbors secretly, as he would incur the risk of vengeance at the hands of the gods.”

— Sextus Empiricus (c.200AD) (Ѻ)

Hippocrates 75.png Hippocrates


Quote: “Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. We will one day understand what causes it, and then cease to call it divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.” Note: while often deemed atheist, the Hippocratic oath (Ѻ) speaks of “gods and goddesses” being witness to oath.
Diagoras 75.png Diagoras


“With reason did the Athenians adjudge Diagoras guilty of atheism, in that he not only divulged the Orphic doctrine, and published the mysteries of Eleusis and of the Cabiri, and chopped up the wooden statue of Hercules to boil his turnips, but openly declared that there was no god at all.”

— Athenagoras (200AD), A Plea for the Christians

Aristophanes 75.png Aristophanes


In his satirical play The Clouds (Ѻ), tells a dialogue about the nature of rain (natural or Zeus caused), between a fictional atheist character Socrates and a lay character Strepsaides, who thinks rain is caused by “Zeus pissing into a sieve” (Hecht, 2013; pg. 12).
Theophrastus 75.png Theophrastus
(2326-2242 BE)
(c.371-287 BCM)
280BC Penned an essay, now lost, entitled “On Gods” (Περì ῶεῶν), wherein, supposedly, he debunks religion and proves gods non-existent.
Strato 75.png Strato


c.287BC Successor to Theophrastus; David Hume declared his brand of atheism to be: “the most dangerous of the ancients.”
No image 2.png Euhemerus


c.270BC Was considered an atheist in the ancient world (Ѻ); his atheism was discussed by the Anon Theophrastus (c.1659).
No image 2.png Theodorus


c.260BC “The Theodoreans derived their name from Theodorus, known as ‘the atheist’, and adopted his doctrines. Theodorus was a man who utterly rejected the current belief in the gods. And I have come across a book of his entitled Of the Gods which is not contemptible. From that book, they say, Epicurus borrowed most of what he wrote on the subject.”
— Diogenes Laertius (c.225), Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [9]
“Diagoras and Theodorus flatly deny that there were ever gods at all.”
— Michel Montaigne (c.1580)

Classified, along with Diagoras of Melos, as one of the first two “outright atheists”. [7] Studied the lectures of determinism philosopher Zeno of Citium. [8]

Epicurus 75.png Epicurus


Epitaphs: “head of school most-accused of atheism” (Francis Bacon, 1597); “chief father of atheism” (Jonathan Edwards, c.1750) (Ѻ); “father of atheism” (Monydit Malieth, 2013); eponyms: Epicureanism; Epicurean atheism; is the main conduit of atheism, throughout history, in atheism genealogy; e.g. Marxian atheism, Freudian atheism, and Jeffersonian atheism (American atheism) all stem from him, along with all the other big atheist, e.g. Giordano Bruno, Pierre Gassendi, Walter Charleton, among unlistable others; in his “Letter to Herodotus” (Ѻ), he, supposedly, relegates the gods to the role of non-interfering material entities, in capable of controlling human affairs. [2] Diogenes Laertius (c.225) asserts, to note, that he borrowed most what he wrote from “outright atheist” Theodorus and his On the Gods.
No image 2.png Leontion


Epicurus' first female disciple; argued against Theophrastus.
No image 2.png Bion


A follower of atheists Theodorus and Theophrastus; would “often vehemently assail belief in the gods” (Laertius, 230AD).
Cicero 75.png Cicero


Supposedly, was first to transliterate the Greek word ἄθεος, from the privative ἀ- + θεός "god", meaning "godless", into the Latin átheos (Ѻ), i.e. to introduce the "atheism" to the modern western world.

“There are many questions in philosophy to which no satisfactory answer has yet been given. But the question of the nature of the gods is the darkest and most difficult of all …. So various and so contradictory are the opinions of the most learned men on this matter as to persuade one of the truth of the saying that philosophy is the child of ignorance.”

— Cicero (45BC), On the Nature of the Gods (Ѻ)

One of the first neutral commentators on atheism, specifically atomic atheism, namely differences on free will of Democritus vs Epicurus/Lucretius (describing him as a "brilliant genius", and atheists, e.g. Diagoras; also the person credited with coining the term “moral” and moral science; the originator of the "anti-chance argument" (aka typing monkeys argument); technically: an atheism-curious skeptical agnostic, approximately.

Lucretius 75.png Lucretius
(2054-2010 BE)
(99-55 BCM)
In his On the Nature of Things, a summary of the main points of the atomic theory of Leucippus, Democritus, Epicurus, in poetic form, on “gods” his aim is the following:

“My object is to dispel the fear of the gods, which arises simply from the fact that there are so many things which men do not yet understand, and therefore imagine to be effected by divine power.”

On where everything came from, without a "creator", he has the following to say:

“For surely the atoms did not hold council, assigning order to each, flexing their keen minds with questions of place and motion and who goes where. But shuffled and jumbled in many ways, in the course of endless time they are buffeted, driven along, chancing upon all motions, combinations. At last they fall into such an arrangement as would create this universe.”

Lucretius' aim, according to American chemist-theologian Edwin Slosson, was to abolish belief in all gods from the mind of mankind.

Seneca 75.png Seneca


“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

— Seneca (c.50AD), attributed; paraphrase of Lucretius; rephrased by Edward Gibbon (Ѻ)

Pliny the elder 75.png Pliny the elder


77AD “The enlightened and benevolent Pliny [in his Natural History] thus publicly professes himself an atheist.”

— Percy Shelley (1811), The Necessity of Atheism

No image 2.png Wang Chung


A Chinese rational materialist who debunked most aspects of Chinese folk religion and magical thinking, via logic and natural thinking.
Plutarch 75.png Plutarch


Supposedly a “secret atheist” like Cicero (Ѻ).
Pliny the elder.png Pliny the Younger


A retrospectively categorized Roman atheist, along with Seneca (Cudworth, 1678).
Lucian 75.png Lucian


In the renaissance, theists used the label "slave of Lucian" or "student of Lucian" as code for atheist.
Marcus Aurelius 75.png Marcus Aurelius


An adherent of stoicism, an oft-classified “anti-theist” (Ѻ) or "philosophical agnostic and practical atheist" (Hecht, 2004); representative quote:

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

— Marcus Aurelius (c.170AD), Meditations, Book II (Ѻ)(Ѻ)

No image 2.png Aetius


Surnamed the “atheist” by his trinitarian enemies (Ѻ); listed by Jean Meslier (1729) in his Testament (pg. 343) as a famous atheist; generally cited (Ѻ) atheist.
Hypatia 75.jpg Hypatia


“All formal religions are delusive and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final.”

— Hypatia (c.400)

“Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he or she be in after years relieved of them. The reason for this is that a superstition is so intangible a thing that you cannot get at it to refute it.”

— Hypatia (c.400)

She was stripped, stoned, and burned for her anti-Christian, anti-religious, pro-science views.

No image 2.png Tribonian


Classified by Jean Meslier (1729) in The Testament (pg. 344) as an atheist.
No image 2.png Ibn al-Rawandi


Zakariya Razi 75.png Zakariya Razi


c.900 Characterized as an "outspoken deist" and a "full-time freethinker" (Ѻ); some of his religion-debunking quotes are very-ripe (see: Middle ages geniuses).
Al-Marri 75.png Al-Marri


Ranked (Ѻ), by Luke Meuhlauser (2009), alongside: Epicurus, Jean Meslier, Robert Ingersoll, and Noam Chomsky, as a top classical nonbeliever; categorized (Ѻ) as an Arab atheist.
Averroes 75.png Averroes


Classified by Jean Meslier (1729) in The Testament (pg. 343) as an atheist.
Khayyam 75.png Omar Khayyam


[HD:1]; Jabari (Ѻ) 2016 top 20 smartest atheist; described by Christopher Hitchens (2007) as a skeptic, whose poetry was satirizing the claims and practices of religion. [5]
Frederick II 75.png Frederick II
Frederick II not only published some treatise that denied the divinity of Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad, declaring each of them imposters, but conducted experiments to test the truths of various religious models, e.g. that Adam and Eve were the first two humans (language deprivation experiments) and soul detection experiments.
“Frederick II, this pestilent king, a scorpion spitting out poison from the stinger of his tail, has notably and openly stated that—in his own words—the whole world has been fooled by three impostors, Jesus Christ, Moses, and Muhammad, two of whom died honorably, while Jesus himself died on the cross. Moreover, he has dared to affirm, or rather, he has fraudulently claimed, that all those who believe that a virgin could give birth to the god who created nature, and all the rest, were fools. And Fredrick has aggravated the heresy by this insane assertion, according to which no one can be born without having been conceived by the prior intercourse of a man and woman; he also claims that people ought to believe nothing that cannot be proven by the strength and reason of nature.”
— Pope Gregory IX (1239), address to monarchs

This resulted in the anonymous Treatise on the Three Impostors (aka The Atheist’s Bible), either written by Frederick II or Simon of Tournai (1130-1201) or Bernardino Ochino (1487-1564), which began to circulate (Ѻ) in the centuries to follow; in 1770, the great Enlightenment satirist Voltaire, published a response to the hoax treatise entitled Epistle to the Author of the Book of the Three Impostors (Épître à l'Auteur du Livre des Trois Imposteurs) (Ѻ), which contains one of his best-known quotations, "If god didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent Him."

Pietro Pomponazzi 75.png Pietro Pomponazzi


Associated with the three impostors theory; categorized as having been charged with atheism and or a “secret atheist”, along with Machiavelli, Bodin, Arentino, Montaingne, Charron, and Gassendi. (Ѻ)
Machiavelli 75.png Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
No image 2.png Thomas Tailour


Pope Leo X 75.png Pope Leo X


1514 Famously gave a Good Friday Vatican toast (1514), wherein he referred to the story of Jesus as a profitable fable:

“How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us and our predecessors.”

Also categorized as having been charged with atheism and or a “secret atheist”, along with Machiavelli, Bodin, Arentino, Pomponazzi, Montaingne, Chrarron, and Gassendi. (Ѻ)

Rabelais 75.png Francois Rabelais
(c.466-401 BE)
(c.1489-1553 ACM)
1532 His The Life of Gargantua and Pantagruel tells the story of two giants who make fun of religion.
Etienne Dolet 75.png Etienne Dolet


1535 In 1535, was rumored to be a “materialist” and to deny the immortality of the soul (Ѻ), and eventually was convicted of the “crime” of atheism, tortured, strangled, and then burned, with his books.



1537 Published, in the protection of Marguerite of Navarre, Cymbalum Mundi, said to be (Ѻ) one of the first humanist-like and or crypto-atheist books on “unbelief”; Lucien Febvre, supposedly, labels him as the first “real atheist” (Hecht, Doubt: a History [pg. 280] 2004); after being “charged with atheism”, supposedly, he committed suicide by running himself though his sword. (Ѻ)
Piero Strozzi


1558 On his deathbed, after being wounded in battle, plainly renounced god, denied immortality, and asserted that the scriptures were fiction (Hecht, 2004, pg. 286).
No image 2.png Geoffroy Vallee


1574 Burned at the stake for heresy and or atheism; he cited the unbelief evident in Ecclesiastes and Psalm 1. He claimed that believers were “like parrots” reciting the irrational views they had memorized before they left the cradle. He asserted that one should only believe that which could be learned by the senses and those ideas for which one could show rational proof.
No image 2.png Alvise Capuano (c.1525-1580) 1577
Jean Bodin 75.png Jean Bodin


1580 A famous "secret atheist"; his Colloquium of the Seven about Secrets of the Sublime (c.1580), supposedly, became and “underground classic” of 17th century atheism.
Montaigne 75.png Michel Montaigne
(422-363 BE)
(1533-1592 ACM)
“Man is certainly stark mad: he cannot make a worm, yet ye will make gods by the dozen.”
— Michel Montaigne (c.1570) (Ѻ)

[HD:2] Many commentators assert that he was an atheist or skeptic who hid is true beliefs for his own protection or for the sake of social stability; evidence for the claim he was an atheists rests on his reply to the second objection against Raymond Sebond’s circa 1425 Natural Theology: the Book of Creatures. (Ѻ)

Girolamo Garzoni


1586 During his inquisition trial, in Venice, states that he was an atheist, that he believes there is no god, and that the world was created by chance or “the world is made at random” (“ch'el mondo sia fatto a caso”) (Ѻ) (Hecht, 2003; pg. 292).
Pomponio Rustico


1587 Was executed (Ѻ) and or burned in Rome for his “libertine materialistic tendencies” (Ѻ) and for stating thing such as “the stories on the Bible are worthy only of derision”. (Hecht, 2003; pg. 292).
Bruno 75.png Giordano Bruno
(407-355 BE)
(1548-1600 ACM)
1600 A debatably-labeled (Ѻ)(Ѻ) “atheist” and or “courageous thinker who lay under the stigma of atheism” (Ѻ), in opposition to Thomas Aquinas’ causality argument, added Lucretius’ atomic theory together with Copernican heliocentrism to argue for an infinite world’s hypothesis, and for these views, which he would not recant, was burned at the stake. Bruno's burning, in the history of atheism (Ѻ), is said to mark a transition point for the re-emergence of atheism; though, to note, his works remained on the Index of Prohibited Books until 1965, and it was not until 2000 that he received a public apology from the Catholic Church. [2]
Charron 75.png Pierre Charron


1601 His Of Wisdom (De la sagesse), a system of moral philosophy that develops ideas of Michel Montaigne, was characterized, for centuries, as a “seminary of atheism” (Hecht, 2004; pg. 307); he was listed in Marin Mersenne’s c.1640 “catalog of atheists”.
Marlowe 75.png Christopher Marlowe


[HD:3] England’s most-famous “alleged atheist” of the time; in his The Jew of Malta, the Italian political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli (anglicized to “Machevil”) declares, “I count religion but a childish toy … ”; his Doctor Faustus, Marlowe’s most important play, was even more dangerous: Faustus declares, “I think hell’s a fable”, which some have attributed as his view. (Ѻ)
Sarpi 75.png Paolo Sarpi


1607 Characterized as the “first philosopher to develop systematic arguments for atheism”. (Ѻ)
Shakespeare 75.png William Shakespeare


Lucilio Vanini 75.png Lucilio Vanini
(370-336 BE)
(1585-1619 ACM)
1619 Italian philosopher, physician and free-thinker, who was one of the first significant representatives of intellectual libertinism; among the first modern thinkers who viewed the universe as an entity governed by natural laws (nomological determinism); was the first literate proponent of the thesis that humans evolved from apes; was executed for the "crime of atheism".
Hobbes 75.png Thomas Hobbes


1651 [HD:5] His Leviathan: or the Matter, Form, and Power, of a Common Wealth Ecclesiastical and Civil, an attempt to develop a political theory out of the mechanical view, sometimes associated with the term “atheist’s bible” (Ѻ), is described by British atheism historian David Berman, as a “crypto-atheistic work”. [4]
Ralph Cudworth 75.png Ralph Cudworth
(411-338 BE)
(1617-1688 ACM)
1678 His True Intellectual System of the Universe: Wherein All the Reason and Philosophy of Atheism is Confuted, and Its Impossibility Demonstrated, with a Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality (1678) attempted to refute the atheism of Pierre Gassendi; his materialistic hylozoism model, however, later brought the charge of “atheism” to his name (Anthony Collins, 1713).
Walter Charleton 75.png Walter Charleton


1652 The so-called “main conduit for the transmission of Epicurean ideas to England”, and friend of Thomas Hobbes and reader of Pierre Gassendi, published his The Darkness of Atheism Dispelled by the Light of Nature, followed by Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charletoniana: or a fabrick of science natural, upon the hypothesis of atoms (1654), largely based Gassendi’s Animadversiones (1649), Epicurus's Morals (1656), and Natural History of the Passions (1674).
No image 2.png Anon Theophrastus


c.1659 French materialistic atheism free thinking author of Theophrastus Redivivus, an aggressive history of atheism and religion disproof, Greek philosophy to present.
Spinoza 75.png Benedict Spinoza
(323-278 BE)
(1632-1677 ACM)
1656 [HD:6] Excommunicated from Judaism for asserting that there was no “immortal soul”, among other things such as that the Torah was not the literal world of god, and the Jews were not the chosen people; debatably labeled a pantheist, atheist (or secret atheist), or polite pantheist, per his “god OR nature” (nature = god) style of argument; was a springboard for a number of atheists to follow: Goethe, Shelley, Einstein, among others.
Mahomet Effendi


c.1665 “Although there is no recompense to be looked for, yet truth is truth, and the love of it constrains me to die in its defense.”

— Mahomet Effendi (c.1665), Turkish atheist (Ѻ)(Ѻ) for his atheism; as reported (Ѻ) by Pierre Bayle and Bernard Mandeville

Locke 75.png John Locke
(323-251 BE)
(1632-1704 ACM)
[HD:7] Note: possibly not an atheist, but rather an anti-atheist theist (Ѻ).
Lyszczynski 75.png Kazimierz Lyszczynski


1689 Known as the “first Polish atheist” (Ѻ); executed for the crime of atheism.
Daniel Scargill


Charles Blount


1679 A “practical atheist” (Ѻ) whose Anima Mundi: an Historical Narration of the Opinions of the Ancients Concerning Man’s Soul after this Life according to Unenlightened Nature (1679), aimed at comparing Christianity with paganism, was deemed an “atheistical, heretical pamphlet” (Ѻ)
Bayle 75.png Pierre Bayle


1682 In his Various Thoughts on the Occasion of the Comet, in commentary on the famous comet of 1680, argued that comets were a natural phenomenon, that comets did not presage disaster, and presented the “first-ever all-out defense of the morals of an atheist (see: atheistic morality)”, as Jennifer Hecht (2003) summarizes things.
Toland 75.png John Toland
1696 The self-proclaimed atheist and first person called a "free thinker".
Philippe II 75.png Philippe II
(291-233 BE)
(1674-1723 ACM)
1715 After being raised in a highly structured and principled educational process, he became an “avowed atheist”, and did things such as having the works of Francois Rabelais bound into his Bible so that he could read them privately during mass; during his rule, as regent of France, from 1715 to 1723, he moved the court to Paris, and as a “liberal regent”, loosened censorship and encouraged intellectual and literary activity (Blom, 2010).
No image 75.png Thomas Aikenhead
(279-258 BE)
(1676-1697 ACM)
Aikenhead award.png
Philosopher, medical student, and satirical and outspoken irreligionist;
“It is a principle innate and co-natural to every man to have an insatiable inclination to the truth, and to seek for it as for hid treasure. So I proceeded until the more I thought thereon, the further I was from finding the verity I desired.”
— Thomas Aikenhead (1697) “Letter to Friend” (last words) morning, Jan 8

after losing two of his sisters and both of his parents before age 10, he began to seek answers to questions such as: if more truth could be made by stretching the truth? Why did the Lord need so many bairn? Do cats have souls, and if so, can cats go to hell?”; at age 17, read Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Blount, Toland, and Servetus; by age 20, was a medical student at University of Edinburgh, wherein he began to profess some form a pantheism, after which he was hung (by vote)

Nicolas Freret
Meslier 75 2.jpg Jean Meslier


Meslier meteor.png
“Meslier’s Testament is the most singular phenomenon ever seen among all the meteors fatal to the Christian religion.”
— Voltaire (1766) [2]

Oft-said to mark the start of "true atheism"; overtly, a French Catholic priest (abbe) who was discovered, upon his death (dereaction), to have written an atheism advocating essay like book entitled Testament, that denied the existence of the soul, dismissed the notion of free will, denounced all belief in god, and all religion, with a “frenzied anger that makes Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion (2006) seem like a work of reasoned scholarship”, as atheism historian Nick Spencer characterizes (Ѻ) him.

Anthony Collins 75.png Anthony Collins


Bolingbroke 75.png Lord Bolingbroke


Although not a proclaimed atheist himself, he held certain views of opposition to church and theological teachings; Baron d’Holbach, e.g., quotes (Ѻ) from Bolingbroke’s Good Sense.
“The church of the country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. For my part, I would say, ‘welcome infidelity!’, ‘Welcome atheists!’, ‘Welcome anything!’, in preference to the gospel, as preached by these divines. They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke (1678-1751) (Ѻ) have together done.”
— Frederick Douglass (1852), cited by Jennifer Hecht (2003) in Doubt: a History (pg. 418)
Montesquieu 75.png Charles Montesquieu
(266-200 BE)
(1689-1755 ACM)
Voltaire 75.png Voltaire
(261-177 BE)
(1694-1778 BCM)
[HD:9] Translated (watered down version of): Jean Meslier; known as the most “influential atheist of Europe in his day” (Ѻ); technically: an "atheism-curious agnostic deist" (see: Voltaire on religion); one of the rocks to avoid in the Christian captain anecdote;
Hume 75.png David Hume


1740 [HD:10] Described by John Adams [HD:14] as an “atheist, deist, and libertine”; denounced by John Q. Adams as the “atheist Jacobite” (Ѻ); known as the “great infidel”; oft-classified as an agnostic atheist; his first work A Treatise on Human Nature (1740), which includes considerations against an immortal soul, develops a system of morality independent of a deity, attempts to refute occasionalism, and argues against a necessary being, led to the charge of atheism. (Ѻ)
Mettrie 75.png Julien Mettrie
(246-204 BE)
(1709-1751 ACM)
1745 Was said to have held, according to Voltaire, as rumored by Maupertuis, to have held the post of the “royal atheist” (or “court atheist”) of Frederick the Great (1712-1786); an “extreme materialist” (Ѻ) philosopher Julien la Mettrie—a translator of Seneca’s essay on happiness—in his The Natural History of the Soul (1745), argued for a mechanist materialistic position, according to which there was no need of the soul to animate matter, that life was a property of matter, not something breathed into; to quote: “What is the soul, but an empty word to which no idea corresponds?” Likewise, his 1747 Man a Machine, dubbed a “materialist manifesto” (Ѻ), rooted in quasi-atheistic principles, caused a scandal because it denied Cartesian dualism, i.e. it denied that there was a distinction between humans, who alone had souls (in the pineal gland), and animals who, like machines, had none. He rejected immortality, arguing that humans, like all other beings in the entire universe, consist of nothing but matter. He attacked the monadism proposed by Gottfried Leibniz and his supporters as “incomprehensible” writing that: “They have spiritualized matter rather than 'materializing' the soul.” He was known throughout Europe as an advocate of godlessness and vice, was eventually condemned, his books were burned, after which he fled to Prussia, where he was granted a safe haven by King Frederick II, where he was asked to be the King’s personal physician. (Ѻ)
Maupertuis 75.png Pierre Maupertuis
(257-197 BE)
(1698-1758 ACM)
1745 Is described as “an atheist friend of La Mettrie” (Ѻ); Voltaire, in his article “Atheism”, in his Philosophical Dictionary (1764), makes Maupertuis an interlocutor in his fictional dialogue between god worshippers and modern atheists (Ѻ); in his debate with Denis Diderot (see: Maupertuis-Diderot debate) is described as an “exchange or polemic of two authors trading accusations of atheism”. (Ѻ)
Franklin 75.png Benjamin Franklin


[HD:13] AskMen.com Top 10 Unknown Atheist (Ѻ) (#10)
Diderot 75.png Denis Diderot
(241-171 BE)
(1713-1784 ACM)
[HD:11] His Philosophical Thoughts (1743) and Letter on the Blind (1749) championed reason over religion, and thematically argued for atheism; read: Jean Meslier; sometimes incorrectly labeled as the "first true atheist"; some label him an "explicit atheist" [4]
Holbach 75.png Baron Holbach
(232-166 BE)
(1723-1789 ACM)
1751 In 1751, he began the Holbach salon, the meetup place for French enlightenment atheists for the next two decades;
“All children are born atheists; they have no idea of god.”
— Baron Holbach (1772), Freethoughts Opposed to Supernatural Ideas [5]

His 1770 System of Nature, is ranked as a top atheist's bible.

Helvetius 75.png Claude Helvetius
(240-184 BE)
(1715-1771 ACM)
1758 His Essay on Mind, which was burned in Paris, espoused atheistic, utilitarian, and egalitarian doctrines; was materialistic in its conception of the universe; and argued that a "nonreligious morality" is what really guided most people's virtues.
Barre 75.png Francois Barre
(210-189 BE)
(1745-1766 ACM)
1766 Was tortured, beheaded, and his body burned for alleged vandalism of a crucifix; a case that became celebrated because Voltaire tried unsuccessfully to have the sentence reversed (Ѻ); adjacent (right): is a circa monument to Barre at Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre (1906); adjacent (left): interrogation of the chevalier de La Barre as depicted on the monument to him in Abbeville (1907)
Lichtenberg 75.png Georg Lichtenberg
(213-156 BE)
(1742-1799 ACM)
Naigeon 75.png Jacques Naigeon
(217-145 BE)
(1738-1810 ACM)
1769 The so-called “monk of atheism” (Ѻ), a friend of Baron d’Holbach (Ѻ), who in circa 1869 had begun to increasingly politicize d’Holbach and his views; and who assisted d’Holbach in the classic atheist works, such as Jean Meslier.
John Adams 75.png John Adams
Gibbon 75.png Edward Gibbon
1776 [HD:12] Has an enlarged reputation for harboring “irreligion” or atheism (Ѻ); his 1776-1788 six-volume The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, noted for its open criticism of organized religion; quote: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful” (Ѻ); and or a paraphrase of Seneca the Younger. (Ѻ)
Allen 75.png Ethan Allen


[HD:16] (Ѻ)
Matthew Turner


1782 The supposed scholar (Ѻ), or possibly two authors combined, of Answer to Dr. Priestley’s Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever (Ѻ), in response to Joseph Priestley’s book against atheism (Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion, 1772), published by an anonymous “Mr. Hammon”, by stating the following, becomes the first overt or avowed atheist in Britain:

“As to the question whether there is such an existent being as an atheist, to put that out of all manner of doubt, I do declare upon my honor that I am one.”

Condorcet 75.png Marquis Condorcet (1743-1794)
John Stewart (walking) 75.png John Stewart
(208-133 BE)
(1747-1822 ACM)
1789 Author of the godless "moral motion" (or moral movement) theory.
Pierre Chaumette 75.png Pierre Chaumette


1792 Fueled by Holbach, Diderot, and Meslier, he became the leader, during the French revolution, of the “dechristianization of France”; he even changed his name from Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette to “Anaxagoras Chaumette” because he says he wanted to take the name Anaxagoras, an atheist “saint who was hanged for his republican principles”; he was eventually guillotined on 13 Apr 1794 by the order of Maximilien Robespierre per the crime of atheism, which conflicted with Robespierre’s deism “supreme being” based government.
Godwin 75.png William Godwin


1792 “I became in my 36th year an atheist.”

— William Godwin (c.1810), "Autobiography"; one the best example of an avowed in print Enlightenment atheist [12]

Paine 75.png Thomas Paine
(218-146 BE)
(1737-1809 ACM)
1794 [HD:15] Known as the “leading atheistic writer in the American colonies” (Ѻ); his The Age of Reason (1794) is the most-widely cited “atheist’s bible”, historically (Ѻ)(Ѻ); one of the rocks to avoid in the Christian captain anecdote;
Sadi 75.png Marquis Sade
(215-141 BE)
(1740-1814 ACM)
An Epicurean atheist with focus on the aim to define living bodies within a sensuous order of matter ‘naturally’ seeking the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. (Ѻ)
“Religion — as noted by Marquis de Sade (1797), Novalis (1798), Marx (1843), and Dirac (1927) — is but an opiate or opium for the mind; and like all drugs, it can be replaced, upgraded, or in some cases treated, with a better or less symptomatic one.”
Libb Thims (2014), personal note, Sep 17

Described as the “most shocking of French atheists”; his The Philosophy in the Bedroom (1795) argued for speculative and also ‘practical’ atheism, supposedly in some type of “immoralism” terms. [12]

Lagrange 75.png Joseph Lagrange


Quote: “How comes it, then, that Laplace was an atheist? At the Institute neither he nor Monge, nor Berthollet, nor Lagrange believed in God. But they do not like to say so.” (Napoleon to Gaspard Gourgaud, c.1814)
Monge 75.png Gaspard Monge


Quote: “How comes it, then, that Laplace was an atheist? At the Institute neither he nor Monge, nor Berthollet, nor Lagrange believed in God. But they do not like to say so.” (Napoleon to Gaspard Gourgaud, c.1814)
Berthollet 75.png Claude Berthollet


Quote: “Bah! Laplace was an atheist, and Berthollet too. At the Institute they all were atheists, and yet Newton and Leibnitz were believers. Atheists compare man to a clock; but the clock-maker is a being of superior intelligence. They grant that creation is the result of matter, as warmth is the effect of fire.” (Napoleon to Gaspard Gourgaud, c.1814)
Palmer 75.png Elihu Palmer


1801 A noted American freethinker, who worked to establish freedom from religion in the new world.[2]
Jefferson 75.png Thomas Jefferson
(212-129 BE)
(1743-1826 ACM)
1802 [HD:17] In 1800, during his presidential campaign, he was said to be unfit to hold office because he did not have orthodox religious beliefs and called a “howling atheist”; in 1802, he added the separation of church and state clause to the Constitution; in the years to follow he became reticent, vacillated in belief system labels over time; in private letters, variously refers to himself as "Christian" (1803), "a sect by myself" (1819), an "Epicurean" (1819), a "materialist" (1820), and a "Unitarian by myself" (1825). (Ѻ)
Bentham 75.png Jeremy Bentham


“Meslier, d’Holbach, Diderot, Hume, and Bentham can, with fair certainly, be called atheists.”

— Sunand Joshi (2014), The Original Atheists

Listed (Ѻ) as “atheist philosopher”; famously decreed in his will to have his body dissected, and his bones made into a wax sculpture, and displayed in public, so to evidence his utter indifference to the "afterlife" model, and his commitment to materialism.[3]

Laplace 75.png Pierre Laplace


1802 “I had no need of that [god] hypothesis.”

— Pierre Laplace (1802), response to Napoleon why the divine was not found in his new celestial mechanics book (see: Napoleon Laplace anecdote)

Goethe 75.jpg Johann Goethe
[HD:19] His Elective Affinities, showed that physical chemistry invalidates the logic of the sixth commandment; the "trainer of assassins of god", namely: Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Libb Thims; among which, Nietzsche, who went beyond good (right) and evil (wrong) declaring "God is dead!" (1882) and venturing into thermodynamics (1888) in his last penned notes, before going insane, according to Albert Camus (1942), is “the most famous of God's assassins.” See: Goethe on religion; Goethe on the soul.
Mirabeau 75.png Honore Mirabeau


Madison 75.png James Madison


Fichte 75.png Johann Fichte


Semi-labeled as the “first true atheist”. (Ѻ)
Napoleon Bonaparte 75.png Napoleon Bonaparte


1802 [HD:20] Noted for Napoleon Laplace anecdote (1802), wherein Laplace declared he no longer had need for the “hypothesis of god” in celestial mechanics; noted for his famous French scientific elite atheism queries (see: Napoleon on the soul) .
Schopenhauer 75.png Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) 1806 [HD:21] Trained by Goethe, at age 18, to become the first "god assassin"; himself later training Friedrich Nietzsche in the art of god assassination.

“Schopenhauer was the first admitted and inexorable atheist among us Germans.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche (1882), The Gay Science (Ѻ)

“Schopenhauer prided himself on being the first true atheist in German philosophy, and scorned his contemporaries’ attempts to substitute a world spirit for a bankrupt deity. Yet he never abandoned a notion of cosmic justice.”

— Susan Neiman (2004), Evil in Modern Thought: an Alternative History of Philosophy (Ѻ)
Shelley 75.png Percy Shelley
(163-133 BE)
(1792-1822 ACM)
1811 “Every time we say that god is the author of some phenomenon, that signifies that we are ignorant of how such a phenomenon was able to operate by the aid of forces or causes that we know in nature.”
— Percy Shelley (1811), The Necessity of Atheism (inspired by Spinoza)

Described as the “most famous of all British atheists”; his: The Necessity of Atheism, got him expelled from Oxford.

William Lawrence 1819
c.1820 “Gods only excuse is that he does not exist.”
— Stendhal (c.1820), cited by Nietzsche, in Ecce Homo, as “best atheist joke”, saying he was jealous of for not having said it first
Robert Taylor 75.png Robert Taylor


Anne Royall


1828 She knew Thomas Jefferson and George Washington; admired Voltaire and Thomas Paine (Ѻ); she was characterized cross between Voltaire, Carry Nation, Joan of Arc, and Henry Mencken; noted for the irreligion book Black Book (1828) (Ѻ), e.g. “all priests are dangerous when clothed with power” (Hecht, 2003).
Owen 75.png Robert Owen


1829 Characterized a "practical atheist" (Wright, 1850).
Richard Carlile 75.png Richard Carlile


Heine 75.png Heinrich Heine


Emerson 75.png Ralph Emerson
(152-73 BE)
(1803-1882 ACM)
In 1836, he proclaimed “make your own Bible” (Ѻ); in 1841, in his Essays, his second book, is found his essay “Self-Reliance”, described by his aunt as “strange medley of atheism and false independence” (Ѻ); listed in CelebAtheists.com (Ѻ); one of the promulgators of the godless Goethean calendar.
Bauer 75.png Bruno Bauer


1837 A “fiery atheist” (Hecht, 2003) who argued that Jesus was a myth (see: Christ myth theory) per silent historians problem reasons; founded the Doctor's Club (aka the Free Society) (1837) a group of intellectuals who wrote (Ѻ) the most anti-Christian pamphlets in Germany at the time; met and influenced a young Karl Marx.
Comte 75.png Auguste Comte
(157-98 BE)
(1798-1857 ACM)
c.1840 Was “avowedly atheistic” (Ѻ); stated: “while the Protestants and deists have always attacked religion in the name of god, we must discard god, once and for all, in the name of religion” (Ѻ); ran one of the first "atheist churches", namely a movement of unbelieving congregations, which lasted for one generation .
Martineau 75.png Harriet Martineau


“There is no god, and Harriet Martineau is her prophet.”

— Douglass Jerrold (c.1852), see: Paul Dirac and The Strangest Man (pg. 456)

Publicly declared her atheism with the publication of her The Atkinson Letters (Ѻ); thereafter embracing atheism, as a philosophy. (Ѻ)

Feuerbach 75.png Ludwig Feuerbach


Morality Squared.png
Known for this Essence of Christianity; known as a "legendary atheist" (Ѻ) (Ѻ), whose “extreme atheism” (Ѻ) was sometimes tempered with “divine humanism”, whose work is a forerunner to Marx-based Soviet atheism, who was said to have become more of an extreme atheist in later years.

“Someday the scientific revolution, chemistry in particular, will dissolve Christianity in vat of nitric acid.”

— Ludwig Feuerbach (1850), The Natural Sciences and the Revolution

“Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever the right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established. Morality is then surrendered to the groundless arbitrariness of religion.”

— Ludwig Feuerbach (c.1860) (Ѻ)

Marx 75.png Karl Marx


1841 After meeting “fiery atheist” Bruno Bauer (1837), in 1841, the pair began to edit a journal called Atheist Archives, that didn’t pan out; they then wrote an atheist pamphlet, that got Bauer fired and made it impossible for Marx to find employment in academia; later became the eponym of “Marxian atheism”, a derivative of Epicurean atheism, Ludwig Feuerbach, and new scientific ideas, the result of which was dialectical materialism.
Charles Southwell


1841 Together with George Holyoake, they dissented from the official policy of Owenism, that lecturers should take a religious oath, to enable them to take collections on Sunday; founded the atheist publication Oracle of Reason, because of which he was soon imprisoned because of its content; Holyoake took over as editor, and was moved to an atheist position as a result of his experiences.
Heinzen 75.png Karl Heinzen


1846 His Six Letters to a Pious Man, presented a series of letters, in the form of a pamphlet, which contain the confession of the belief of an ‘atheist’ in concise form; involved in an atheism dispute in Zurich of some sort.
Friedrich Engels 75.png Friedrich Engels


1848 Came to his own atheism via Ludwig Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer, the “Young Hegelians”, and the works of Robert Owen (Hecht, 2003); he co-authored, with Karl Marx, the Communist Manifesto (1848), and later supported Marx financially to write On Capital.
Stanton 75.png Elizabeth Stanton


1848 [HD:28] In 1848, she began to engage in the conflicts between the Bible and women’s rights (Ѻ); in 1895, she penned The Women’s Bible; therein becoming one of the pioneers of “atheist feminism”. (Ѻ)
Moleschott 75.png Jacob Moleschott
(133-62 BE)
(1822-1893 ACM)
1850 “Force is no impelling god, no entity separate from the material substratum; it is inseparable from matter, is one of its eternal indwelling properties. A force unconnected with matter, hovering loose over matter, is an utterly empty conception. In nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, in sulphur and phosphorus, their several properties have dwelt from all eternity.”
Bradlaugh 75.png Charles Bradlaugh


1850 As a youth, was kicked out of his family for questioning things in Sunday school, such as discrepancies between the 39 articles of the Anglican Church and the Bible; at 17, gave his first public lecture on atheism and published A Few Words on the Christian Creed (1850), Who Was Jesus Christ, and What Did He Teach (1860), A Plea for Atheism (1864), and in 1880 after being elected to a seat in Parliament, was kicked out for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance, which invoked God: [2]

“I, (Insert full name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

Legal battle ensued over the next five years, culminating in the Oaths Act of 1888. (Ѻ)

Holyoake 75.png George Holyoake


1851 A disbeliever who in 1851 coined the term “secularism” because he regarded “atheism” as a negative word (Ѻ)(Ѻ); his The Principles of Secularism Illustrated (1871) discusses Thomas Jefferson’s god questionings. (Ѻ)
No image 2.png E.B.


1851 Defended George Holyoake from the attacks by John Mackintosh, in his pamphlet The Logic of Atheism: With Especial Reference to Mr. Holyoake's Pretended Refutation of Paley, during which he coined the term "human chemistry."
Huxley 75.png Thomas Huxley
(130-60 BE)
(1825-1895 ACM)
1854 A freethinking “agnostic” (term he coined); in 1854, began attacking the Bible, because Moses was getting in the way of science; portrayed theology and science as “mortal enemies” (1859); both he and John Tyndall in 1874 were being referred to as promoters of "material atheism".
Eliot 75.png George Eliot
(136-75 BE)
(1819-1880 ACM)
1854 [HD:30] In 1854, in the house of Adolf Stahr (1805-1876) she defended Goethe’s “everything holy overturning” (Heinrich Heine, 1810) physicochemical morality based Elective Affinities, the “sixth commandment” overthrowing end chapter (P2:C18) dénouement, which Stahr faulted; her nonbeliever efforts comprise chapter 10 of Christopher Hitchens’ The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever (2007).
Buchner 75.png Ludwig Buchner


1855 Modern Christian apologists consider Büchner the father of atheistic evangelism, or antitheism, in Germany, a counterpart to Thomas Huxley, who some consider to be the first atheistic evangelist—though Huxley himself denied, supposedly, that he was an atheist, preferring the term agnostic, which he coined in 1868—the ‘atheistic evangelism’ standard, as some have categorized, since then has been carried by Bertrand Russell, Henry Mencken, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris.
Vogt 75.png Karl Vogt


c.1860 Was an "atheist preacher" of sorts for Darwinism, materialism based.
Haeckel 75.png Ernst Haeckel


1868 An "unabashed atheist" (James Birx, 1992); after reading Darwin in 1860 he ventured into a bold consideration of the philosophical implications and theological consequences of taking organic evolution seriously, and through about eight main published works, e.g. The Natural History of Creation (1868), to The Riddle of the Universe (1999), to Eternity (1916), engaged in a "scathing attack on religious dogma", referring to Judaeo-Christian traditions as "those dogmatic doctrines of anthropism", and produced philosophical work beyond "crude materialism" and "crude mechanism".[4]
Woodhull 75.png Victoria Woodhull


1871 “All that is good and commendable now existing would continue to exist if all marriage laws were repealed tomorrow.”

— Victoria Woodhull (c.1872) (Ѻ)

In 1871, at age 33, after arising from sexually-abuse and financially exploited by her father, as a child, and, at age 15, forced via escape method into an 11-year “nightmare” marriage, prior to obtaining of very-difficult to obtain "divorce", penned the Introduction to the first English translation—done by "anonymously" by James Froude (whose Nemesis of Faith was publicly burned in 1849, during reverend William Sewells’ moral philosophy class at Oxford)—of Goethe’s “everything holy overturning” (Heinrich Heine, 1810), sixth commandment usurping, physicochemical morality based Elective Affinities, during which he outlined the Goethe revolution; in 1871, she became the first female presidential candidate; in 1872, she was derisively characterized by Thomas Nast as “Mrs Satan” (Ѻ) for her "divorce rights" advocation; in 1885, William Patton (1821-1889), a minister turned (1877) Howard University president, in his “Women and Skepticism” sermon, named Woodhull as “representative of the movement in America that gave evidence of atheism and immorality.” (Ѻ)

Woolf 75.png Virginia Woolf


“The names of individuals who surrendered their belief in a universe governed by a supernatural being include: Percy Shelley, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus, Simone Beauvoir, Salmon Rushdie, and Marquis Sade. Others who choose to live without religion—Ernestine Rose and Charles Bradlaugh are examples—should be better known, given their historical import and former notoriety.”
— Mitchell Stephens (2014), Imagine There’s No Heaven
John Blackie


1871 Authored: Four Phases of Morals: Socrates, Aristotle, Christianity, Utilitarianism (1871) and The Natural History of Atheism (1877).
William Reade


1872 His The Martyrdom of Man: From Nebula to Nation (1872), in the 19th century, was conceptualized as an “atheist’s bible”. (Ѻ)
Mill 75.png John Mill
(149-82 BE)
(1806-1873 ACM)
1873 [HD:24]; declared his atheism, and that of his father, in a famous essay published posthumously.
DeRobigne Bennett 75.png DeRobigne Bennett (1818-1882) 1873
Tyndall 75.png John Tyndall
(135-62 BE)
(1820-1893 ACM)
1874 In the famous four-year Tyndall-Stewart-Tait debate, Tyndall stood on the side of science and god-free education, whereas John Stewart and Peter Tait stood on the side of a god and possible afterlife; in the wake of the debate, both Tyndall and Thomas Huxley were charged with “material atheism”.
Ingersoll 75.png Robert Ingersoll


1880 [HD:34] Nicknamed the “great agnostic”; image shown is the frontispiece from his 1879 The Gods and Other Lectures (Ѻ); by 1888, known as a “great American atheist” (Ѻ); his Some Mistakes of Moses (1880), is one of the books cited in the Redford deconversion model; is one of the most-prolific atheism quotesmiths; one of the rocks to avoid in the Christian captain anecdote;
Friedrich Nietzsche 75.png Friedrich Nietzsche


1882 In his Gay Science, famously proclaimed: god is dead.
Annie Besant


Johannes Wislicenus 75.png Johannes Wislicenus


1885 “That must disappear!”

— Johannes Wislicenus (1885), order to his guide, during his orientation tour of the University of Leipzig, as the new chemistry professor successor to Hermann Kolbe, in reference to Kolbe’s Biblical quotation "God has arranged all things by measure and number and weight" (Wisdom of Solomon 11:20) in large letters, such as depicted adjacent, above the periodic table chart of the chemical elements at the front of his lecture theater (Ѻ)

Burroughs 75.png John Burroughs


Heston 75.png Watson Heston


1890 After making illustrations in the free thinker journal Truth Seeker (Ѻ), he went on to published The Old Testament Comically Illustrated (1890), The New Testament Comically Illustrated (1898), and The Bible Comically Illustrated (1900), the latter of which being 800 pages in length containing 400 pictures. (Ѻ)
Freud 75.png Sigmund Freud
(99-16 BE)
(1856-1939 ACM)
1895 [HD:51] [L50:15] (Ѻ) In his “A Project for Scientific Psychology”, he sought to base all of mental phenomena on the logic of free energy (Gibbs energy) and bound energy (entropy), an atheism-implicit (implicit atheism) program; eponym of Freudian atheism, a synthesis of Feuerbach, Epicurean atheism (Epicureanism), and German atheism; noted Moses religio-mythology debunker (Moses and Monotheism, 1939).
Jack London 75.png Jack London


Ostwald 75.png Wilhelm Ostwald


1901 “Research workers were, at one time, obliged to endeavor to ensure that their theories did not contradict those of the church; nowadays, in contrast the church is at pains to prove that its teachings are compatible with those of science. In other words, the church acknowledges science as the higher authority.”

— Wilhelm Ostwald (1909). “On Catalysis”, Nobel Lectures

“Ostwald, who was the most ‘radical atheist’ among these scholars [Marx, Buchner, Fourier, Weber, Riehl], used the instrument of the ‘Monistic Sunday Sermons’ to spread his ideas on rationality.”

— Gird Spittler (2010), “Beginnings of Anthropology”

In 1901, gave a seven part lecture series on "natural philosophy", wherein he sought to upgrade, in his own words, the classical atheistic “matter-and-motion theory (or scientific materialism)” with the new replacement theory named of energetics; in 1905, he was relieved of his lecture duties owing to “religious questions” issues, as biographer Eduard Farber puts it, at the time of the official obsequies for freethinker Johannes Wislicenus (1935-1902); after retiring in 1906, with Ernst Haeckel, he founded the “Monisten Bund” or German Monist League (Ѻ), in Jena, a free-thinking organization; in 1910, Haeckel elected Ostwald as the president of the Monist League, after which he began giving his famous “Monistic Sunday Sermons”, at the center of which was his energy or energetics based universal belief, which usurped god and religion; in 1912, his The Energetic Imperative, outlined a thermodynamic imperative to Kant’s “categorical imperative”.

Bierce 75.png Ambrose Bierce


1906 [HD:43] Author of the hilarious The Devils Dictionary.
Mangasarian 75.png Mangasar Mangasarian (1859-1943) 1909
Edison 75.png Thomas Edison


1910 [HD:41] His 1910 New York Times interview (see: the Edison on the soul) on whereabouts of William James [HD:38], following is passing, is a fairly cogent and frank religion-ripping piece of work.
Shaw 75.png George Shaw


1912 [HD:45]; Jabari (Ѻ) 2016 top 20 smartest atheist
Emma Goldman
1916 “I am not interested in the theological Christ. Brilliant minds like Bauer, Strauss, Renan, Thomas Paine, and others, refuted that myth long ago. The theological Christ, however, is less dangerous than the ethical and social one. But the ethical and poetical Christ myth has so thoroughly saturated our lives that even some of the most advanced minds find it difficult to emancipate themselves from its yoke.”
— Emma Goldman (1916), “The Philosophy of Atheism”; cited by Jennifer Hecht (2003) in Doubt: a History (pg. 440)
Lovecraft 75.png Howard Lovecraft
(65-18 BE)
(1890-1937 ACM)
Chapman Cohen 75.png Chapman Cohen
“Gods are fragile things; they can be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.”
— Chapman Cohen (c.1920), The Devil (Ѻ); in FSM atheism app
Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) .png Hubert Harrison


Known as the "black atheist" or "black Socrates".
Steinmetz 75.png Charles Steinmetz (1865-1923) 1922
Fritz Mauthner


c.1923 Penned a four-volume history of atheism in the early 1920s. (Ѻ)
Darrow 75.png Clarence Darrow


1925 [HD:46] Son of an atheist father who famously defended high school biology teacher John Scopes, in the Scopes Monkey Trail, accused of teaching evolution to high school students.
Mencken 75.png Henry Mencken
(75 BE-1 AE)
(1880-1956 ACM)
1925 [HD:53] The witty reporter, on the atheist's side, of the "Scopes Monkey trial"; a self-classified agnostic, technically.
Luther Burbank 75.png Luther Burbank


Santayana 75.png George Santayana


[HD:49] “My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.”

— George Santayana (1922), “On My Friendly Critics”, Soliloquies in England (Ѻ)(Ѻ)

“Faith in the supernatural is a desperate wager made by man at the lowest ebb of his fortunes.” (Ѻ)

Russell 75.png Bertrand Russell


1927 [HD:51] Oft-ranked as the greatest atheist of the 20th century, for his Why I Am Not a Christian (1927)—itself sometimes referred to as an “atheist’s bible”—among later television appearances; quote: “I see no reason, [owing to the universal nature of] the second law of thermodynamics, to believe in any sort of god, however vague and however attenuated.”
Margaret Sanger 75.png Margaret Sanger


[HD:54] Leading birth control activist; founder of Planned Parenthood; declared “no god; no masters”; braved the opposition of the Roman Catholic church. (Ѻ)
Bhagat Singh 75.png Bhagat Singh


1930 While in prison, in 1930, he penned the resonating essay “Why I Am an Atheist” (Ѻ), response to a deeply religious inmate who thought he became an atheist because of his vanity. (Ѻ)
Abdullah al-Qasemi


A so-labeled “godfather of Arab atheism” (Ѻ); his The Lie In Order to See God (يكذبون كي يروا الله جميلا) (c.1930), supposedly, is a good ex-Muslim book (Ѻ); another is The Universe Judges the God (c.1940) (Ѻ)
John Jackson 75.png John Jackson


Max Otto


1932 Author of author of Is There a God? (1932); associate of John Dewey.
David Brooks


Einstein 75.png Albert Einstein


[HD:52] A self-defined atheism-leaning agnostic of the Spinozan atheism variety, who repeatedly denied the existence of a "personal god", but not explicitly god, per se.
Bertolt Brecht 75.png Bertolt Brecht


“Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such persons.”

— Bertolt Brecht (1935) “Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties” (Ѻ)

“Brecht was an atheist who believed not in the truth, but in probability. In contrast to the agnostic, he did not doubt for the sake of doubting; he weighed alternative courses of action for the sake of choosing one, and he chose Communism not because it struck him as infallible, but because he saw it as the most likely instrument of anti-Fascism and social justice” (Ѻ); listed in PositiveAtheism.org (Ѻ); quoted in AtheistNexus.org (Ѻ)

Dirac 75.png Paul Dirac


Walter Lippmann 75.png Walter Lippmann


Hemingway 75.png Ernest Hemingway


1929 “All thinking men are atheists.”

— Ernest Hemingway (1929), A Farewell to Arms

Dewey 75.png John Dewey


1935 “I feel the gods are pretty dead, though I suppose I ought to know that || however, to be somewhat more philosophical in the matter, if atheism means simply not being a theist, then of course I'm an atheist. But the popular if not the etymological significance of the word is much wider. It has come to signify it seems to me a denial of all ideal values as having the right to control material ones. An in that sense I’m not an atheist and don’t want to be labelled as one.”

— John Dewey (1935), letter to atheist friend Max Otto

Camus 75.png Albert Camus


1942 Oft-cited as someone "born Christian; died atheist"; noted for Camus model; quote (1942): “Nietzsche was the most famous of God’s assassins.”
Sartre 75.png Jean Sartre


1943 French atheist existentialist philosopher, predominately noted for his 1943 Being and Nothingness, who promoted an anti-deterministic variety, i.e. science not based on causality, of individual “freedom as the foundation of all values” type of existentialism, according to the logic of “existence precedes essence”, meaning that man first materializes into the world, encounters himself, and only afterwards defines himself.
Feynman 75.png Richard Feynman
(37 BE-33 AE)
(1918-1988 ACM)
1946 In 1946, at his father’s funeral, know that his father was atheist, and that he was, refused to take part in a mourner’s prayer in praise of God. In his 1963 Danz lecture turned book The Meaning of It All, was self-classifying himself as an atheist, in a beat around the bush manner (see: Feynman on religion).
Flew 75.png Antony Flew


1949 Concluded, at age 15, that there was no god (Ѻ); in the 1949, engaged with C.S. Lewis, in his Socratic Club, in debates about god; thereafter spent the next 70 years engaging in atheist philosophy; in 1998, debated William Craig; described by Ravi Zacharias (2013) as, in the 1980s, the “best known atheist in the western world” (Ѻ); in his last years, famously recanted (Ѻ) his atheism and came out as a believer, per reasons he calls "integrated complexity", i.e. new discoveries in biology and chemistry, as he put it.
Rand 75.png Ayn Rand


Harlow Shapley 75.png Harlow Shapley


Heidegger 75.png Martin Heidegger


“Philosophy will not be able to bring about a direct change of the present state of the world. This is true not only of philosophy but of all merely human meditations and endeavors. Only a god can still save us. I think the only possibility of salvation left to us is to prepare readiness, through thinking and poetry, for the appearance of the god or for the absence of the god during the decline; so that we do not, simply put, die meaningless deaths, but that when we decline, we decline in the face of the absent god.”

— Martin Heidegger (1966), interview with Spiegel (Ѻ)

See also: “The Basis of Heidegger’s Atheism” (Ѻ)

Barack Obama, Sr. 75.png Barack Obama, Sr.


“My father was almost entirely absent from my childhood, having been divorced from my mother when I was 2 years old; in any event, although my father had been raised a Muslim, by the time he met my mother [1960] he was a confirmed atheist, thinking religion to be so much superstition.”

— Barack Obama (2006), “My Spiritual Journey” (Ѻ), Time, Oct 16

Born Muslim, turned Christian (age 6), turned atheist (age 24); AskMen.com Top 10 Unknown Atheist (Ѻ) (#4)

Joseph Lewis 75.png Joseph Lewis


1960 Characterized as an “American freethinker and atheist activist” (Ѻ); gave a 1960 address, delivered over Radio Station WIME, Miami, Florida, on “The Philosophy of Atheism” (Ѻ); noted for his 1954 An Atheist Manifesto (Ѻ), the first (Ѻ) of a series of books titled as such, namely: Herman Philipse (1995), Michel Onfray (2005), and Sam Harris (2005).
Madalyn O'Hair 75.png Madalyn O’Hair


O'Hair at Robert Ingersoll statute.png
Her Murray vs Curlett (1963) landmark Supreme Court ruling ended official Bible-reading in American public schools; that year she founded American Atheists; she published: Why I’m an Atheist; Including a History of Materialism (1980). Right: O’Hair (1983) in front of the Robert Ingersoll statue in Glen Oak Park, Peoria, Illinois.
Richard Robinson


Crick 75.png Francis Crick
(39-BE-49 AE)
(1916-2004 ACM)
Reginald Hollingdale


1971 “I admit that the generation which produced Stalin, Auschwitz and Hiroshima will take some beating, but the radical and universal consciousness of the death of god is still ahead of us. Perhaps we shall have to colonize the stars before it is finally borne in upon us that god is not out there.”

— Reginald Hollingdale (c.1980)

Characterized as: “Grimly atheist, he appreciated Nietzsche's attempt to establish a philosophy that was simultaneously nihilist and life-affirming”; a self-educated scholar; paid to have German tutoring so that he could rehabilitate the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, in terms of English translation promotion; whom he had been led to via Richard Wagner and Arthur Schopenhauer.

George Smith 75.png George Smith


1974 In 1972, at age 23, building on Ayn Rand and her objectivism (Randianism), drafted an atheism book (Ѻ); published in 1974 as Atheism: the Case against God; later published two other atheism books.
John Patterson 75.png John Patterson


1975 Beginning in 1975, up to the present, e.g. Bill Nye vs Ken Ham (2014) commentary, began to publicly counter, in debates, radio, newspaper, lectures, etc., all creationism, religion-pushing views, in the area of science; in his engineering clashes, he famously have out creationism publications as homework assignments to check for errors and incorrectness.
Weinberg 75.png Steven Weinberg
(22- BE)
(1933- ACM)
1977 Brainz.org top 50 brilliant atheist (#24) (Ѻ); an “avowed atheist” (Lee Strobel, 2004); in his 1977 The First Three Minutes, he argues that according to the second law the universe is godless, albeit questionably pointless; his 1992 Dreams of a Final Theory, gives a number of noted atheism positions are stated.
Annie Gaylor 75.png Annie Gaylor


1978 A third-generation free thinker (on her mother’s side); debating believers as an atheist in 6th grade (Ѻ); together with her mother Annie Nicole Gaylor (1926-2015) and John Sontarck (Ѻ), in their kitchen (1976) started the Freedom From Religion Foundation (incorporated in 1978), after deducing that deduced that the root cause of much of the opposition to her pro-abortion and women's rights efforts came from organized religion; did battle on national television with Oprah (1984); author: Women Without Superstition (1984); wife of noted preacher turned atheist Dan Barker.[5]
Sagan 75.png Carl Sagan
(21 BE-41 AE)
(1934-1996) ACM)
1980 In 1980, Sagan, became famous for his PBS series Cosmos, co-written with his wife Ann Duryan, wherein he defines a human as “star-stuff” (Ѻ); used the term "cosmic perspective" for the advanced perspective; and seemed to conjecture for a universe that is god-free, though, it seems, not stated so explicitly.
“I am not an atheist. An atheist is someone who has compelling evidence that there is no Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. I am not that wise, but neither do I consider there to be anything approaching adequate evidence for such a god. Why are you in such a hurry to make up your mind? Why not simply wait until there is compelling evidence?”
— Carl Sagan (1996), “To Robert Pope”, Oct 2

Technically, was a “near-atheist”, “agnostoatheist”, or “DN: 6” or “DN:6-” on the Dawkins scale.

Beauvoir 75.png Simone Beauvoir


Michel Foucault 75.png Michel Foucault


Dave Allen 75.png Dave Allen


1971 His Dave Allen at Large BBC comedy skit show (1971-1979) ridiculed Catholic ritual via humor (Ѻ); known for his atheist vs theist black cat analogy, aka his “The Leap of Faith” joke (Ѻ)(Ѻ); raised Catholic by nuns; later came to describe himself a “practicing atheist”. (Ѻ)
Peter Atkins 75.png Peter Atkins
(15- BE)
(1940- ACM)
1971 An “implicit atheist” (of the chemical atheist variety); his 1981, his Creation, outlined a Darwinism + physical chemistry view that humans are emergent types of unimportant "molecules equipped for competition, survival, and reproduction" amid a purposeless universe; has debated William Craig (1998), John Lennox, among others, up the present; ranked by Bo Jinn (2013) as one of the “lower and more moderate figures in this new atheist priesthood”, along with “Krauss, Stenger, Shermer [and all the rest] e bella compagnia.”
Asimov 75.png Isaac Asimov


1982 “I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that god doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.”

— Isaac Asimov (1882), Free Inquiry (Ѻ), Spring

Dan Barker 75.png Dan Barker


1984 A preacher of 19-years, who, in 1984, came out as an atheist, going on a number of talk shows, e.g. Oprah (Ѻ); publications: Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist (1992), Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists (2008), and The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God (2011). (Ѻ)
Dawkins 75.png Richard Dawkins
(14- BE)
(1941- ACM)
1986 In 1986, in his The Blind Watchmaker, he argued for the view that humans were not created by god, but by blind random purposeless chance; his 2006 The God Delusion, takes aim at the theory of god, arguing that god does not exist, that religion is a delusion, and in which he introduced the 1-7 Dawkins scale of belief in the existence of God, on which he says he is about a 6.5 or "6 leaning towards 7" whatever that means; a 2015 dubbed “king of atheism” (Ѻ)(Ѻ).
Salman Rushdie 75.png Salman Rushdie


1988 “I’m a hardline atheist, I have to say.”

— Salman Rushdie (2006), “Interview with Bill Moyers” (Ѻ)

AskMen.com Top 10 Unknown Atheist (Ѻ) (#10; Note: as a teenager, he demonstrated his rejection of religion by eating a ham sandwich, and waited in vain for the thunderbolt from heaven; his The Satanic Verses (1988), in the Muslim world, drew accusations of blasphemy and unbelief; the Ayatollah of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill him, which was backed by the Iranian government until 1998. (Ѻ)

Douglas Adams 75.png Douglas Adams


Taslima Nasrin 75.png Taslima Nasrin


Shermer 75.png Michael Shermer


1992 An former fundamentalist evangelistic Christian turned circa 1991 “agnostic-nontheist atheist” scientific skeptic, who in 1992 found the Skeptic Society (Ѻ), which began as a hobby in his garage; came into notoriety with his Why People Believe Weird Things (1997); in the 2000s, began to engage in many atheism vs theism debates, on the atheism side (e.g. with Sam Harris).
Leon Lederman


A “confirmed atheist of Jewish descent” (Ѻ); in his The God Particle (1993), coined the term “god particle” for the then-hypothetical Higgs boson, per the reasoning that:

“This boson is so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive, that I have given it a nickname: the God Particle. Why God Particle? Two reasons. One, the publisher wouldn't let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing. And two, there is a connection, of sorts, to another book, a much older [Genesis] one...”

— Leon Lederman (1993), The God Particle (pg. 22)

In other words: (a) the publishers wouldn’t let him call it the “goddamn particle”, being that it was costing $2 billion particle accelerator funding to find.

William Provine 75.png William Provine


Ibn Warraq 75.png Ibn Warraq


Herman Philipse


1995 His 1995 The Atheist Manifesto, converted Ayaan Ali into an atheist, after the first four pages.
Haught 75.png James Haught


1996 Eponym of the Haught disbeliever, the top 64 atheists or disbelieving near-atheists, of the last two-millennia, as found in his 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt; technically, he self-classifies as a “skeptic” (2012), when confronted with god-talking Unitarian preachers. (Ѻ)
Stephen Gould


1997 A conceptualized “atheist”, e.g. a Brainz.org top 50 brilliant atheist (#33) (Ѻ); technically, was a Clarence Darrow fan agnostic who “if forced” would bet on atheism (Ѻ), but an agnostic, nonetheless; noted for his “Non-Overlapping Magisteria” (1997) dualism ideology often bandied about in atheism/religion discussions.
Harlan Ellison 75.png Harlan Ellison


George Carlin 75.png George Carlin


“I’m an atheist because George Carlin explained it all.”

— Mark Law (2012), “I’m an atheist because …” tweet (Ѻ), Nov 25

Carlin, notably, did a Mad TV “Touched by an Atheist” (Ѻ) skit on Pascal’s wager

Murdock 75.png Dorothy Murdock
Her first book The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold, argued that the concept of Jesus Christ is myth and that the Christ story is a fabrication;
“An atheist by the name of Dorothy Murdock (who often calls herself Acharya S.) has claimed to be able to demonstrate that the pagan gods Horus, Dionysius, Mithra and even Buddha were said to have been born of a virgin on December 25th (which she mistakenly presumes to be the Biblical position on Jesus' birth), laid in a manger, visited by shepherds and angels, a prodigy at age 12, to have walked on water, been crucified and risen.”
— Howie Gardner (2014), The Middle East Crisis Can be Solved (pg. 259)
Neil Tyson.png Neil Tyson
(3- AE)
(1958- ACM)
His “Holy Wars” (1999) article gives frank commentary on how if his lectures on the universe are “in America” the end questions “eventually reaches god”; oft-perceived atheist, albeit self-aligned (2012) agnostic, who frequently has to correct his Wikipedia page to clarify this (Ѻ), known for being outspoken against intelligent design (Ѻ), how faith and reason are irreconcilable, how the Bible is bunk, etc.; his 2014 interview with Bill Moyer (Ѻ)(Ѻ)(Ѻ) seems to give the impression that he is a "hard core atheist, but reluctant to commit to such a label.
Sunand Joshi 75.png Sunand Joshi
Thomas Nagel 75.png Thomas Nagel


2000 “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.”

— Thomas Nagel (c.2000) (Ѻ)

His Mind and Cosmos (2012) turned him into the “atheist who dared to question materialism” (Ѻ) and the atheist who doubted Darwin, etc.

Julia Sweeney 75.png Julia Sweeney


2001 A Johnson 100 atheists (Ѻ); in 2001, began working on her autobiographical “Letting Go of God” (Ѻ) deconversion comedy routine, on how she dug herself mentally out of her entrenched Catholic upbringing into Deepak Chopra (Ѻ) pseudoscientific quantum spirituality transition stage to intelligent design and then into rational sober atheism; available in DVD form in 2008; some of which was referenced in Dawkins’ The God Delusion.
Michael Palmer


2001 Noted for his 2010 atheist’s creed statement; publications include: The Question of God (2001), The Atheist’s Primer (2012), Atheism for Beginners (2013), among others.
Lewis Wolpert 75.png Lewis Wolpert


2002 Noted atheist who has spoken out against the argument for evil (Bo Jinn, 2013).
Sean Carroll 75.png Sean Carroll
(11- AE)
(1966 ACM)
2003 Prefers the self-label “naturalist” (2014), over atheist, although he doesn’t deny the latter, but considers the former a more positive term (Ѻ); Brainz.org top 50 brilliant atheist (#49) (Ѻ); in 2003, penned: “Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists” (Ѻ); in 2004, with Shadi Hartsch, taught a course on the history of atheism at the University of Chicago; in 2012, organized a workshop entitled “Moving Naturalism Forward”; in 2013, blogged “Why I Won’t Take Money from the Templeton Foundation” (Ѻ) (Ѻ); in 2014, received the “Emperor Has No Clothes” award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation”.
Jennifer Hecht 75.png Jennifer Hecht
(10- AE)
(1965 ACM)
2003 Her Doubt, a History: the Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson, is one of the top history of atheism publications.
Aron Nelson 75.png Aron Nelson


Michael Martin 75.png Michael Martin


Cited by Michael Palmer (2013) as atheism battler on the side of Victor Stenger and Daniel Dennett, attacking for all they are worth, believers like: William Craig and Alister McGrath [4]; books include: The Case Against Christianity (1991), Theism vs. Atheism: the Internet Debate (2000), Atheism, Morality and Meaning (2002), among others. (Ѻ)(Ѻ)(Ѻ)
Ayaan Ali (1969-) .png Ayaan Ali
(15- AE)
(1969- ACM)
2004 In 2002, became an atheist, in May, following 9/11, when she looked at herself in the mirror and asked “do I really believe in God?” (V); on 29 Aug 2004, her film Submission (V) — done while working with writer and director Theo van Gogh (who was shot 8 times, semi-decapitated, and stabbed in the chest, on 2 Nov 2004, at 9AM while biking to work), wherein she wrote the script and provided the voiceover — was aired on the Dutch public broadcasting network, which criticized the treatment of women in Islamic society, which was juxtaposed with passages from the Qur'an, were scenes of actresses portraying Muslim women suffering abuse, and an apparently nude actress dressed in a semi-transparent burqa was shown with texts from the Qur'an, written on her skin, interpreted as justifying the subjugation of Muslim women.
Michel Onfray 75.png Michel Onfray
(4- AE)
(1959- ACM)
“I am a sworn atheist and therefore from my point of view the Talmud or the Koran don't constitute works of political philosophy but rather writings that stand in utter contradiction to concepts like logic, freedom, feminism, secularism, brotherhood - which are my ideals.”
— Michel Onfray (c.2005) (Ѻ)

Noted epicurean (Ѻ); did preface to first English translation of Jean Meslier’s Testament; his 2005 Atheist Manifesto: the Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, has sold over 200,000 copies (Ѻ); cited as one of the big three modern atheists, behind Dawkins and Hitchens; backs his work by: Epicurus, Nietzsche, Georges Bataille, Jean Meslier, Baron Holbach, Michel Foucault, Jeremy Bentham and Freud. (Ѻ)

Lehn 75.png Jean Lehn


2006 “It is a scene I won’t forget in a hurry”, in commentary in defending (2006) his atheism at a packed public conference at the new Alexandria Library in Egypt. (Ѻ)
Jonathan Miller 75.png Jonathan Miller


2007 On May 4th, was the host of a three-part PBS atheism documentary like series "A Brief History of Disbelief", which aired in England; later uploaded to YouTube;

“The conspicuous absence of the Twin Towers involving, as it does, the inherent conflicts between Christianity, Islam and Judaism, is I think one of the most powerful expressions of religious fanaticism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

— Jonathan Miller (2007), Source[6]

part three touches on the Holbach salon.[3]

Sam Harris 75.png Sam Harris
(12- AE)
(1967- ACM)
2004 Launching the "new atheism" movement, something he began to initiate the day after 9/11, as he described in his 2004 The End of Faith:
“I began writing this book on September 12, 2001. Many friends read and commented on a long essay that I produced in those first weeks of collective grief and stupefaction, and that text became the basis for this book.”
— Sam Harris (2004), The End of Faith (pg. #)

which would go on to sell over 250,000 copies within three years alone. (Ѻ)

Thims 75.png Libb Thims
(17 AE-)

Launched the Journal of Human Thermodynamics (2005) with the explicit footnote that (a) "god theory" and (b) "information theory" were not permissible; began to be ranked, per his human molecular formula (2002) and defunct theory of life views, as an "extreme atheist" (2011) and or "strong atheist" (2014); in 2014 launched "Atheism Reviews"[7] YouTube channel (with co-host Patrick Fergus) publishing videos such as "history of atheism"; in Aug 2015, taught, with co-host Thor, the first ever "atheism for kids" class, which followed up into a Smart Atheism: for Kids book series, in draft form.

Ricky Gervais
“Science is constantly proved over time. You see, if we take any fiction or any holy book and destroy it, in a thousand years’ time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas, if we took ever science book and ever fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years’ time, they would all be back, because all the same tests would give all the same results.”
— Rick Gervais (2017), reply (Ѻ) to Stephen Colbert who said you just believe those science books because somebody, e.g. Hawking, told you they were true, Feb 2

Has been atheist quoted since at least 2005 (Ѻ)

Erik Wielenberg 75.png Erik Wielenberg
Bobby Henderson 75.png Bobby Henderson
2005 Person (Ѻ) behind the flying spaghetti monster; considered the founder of Pastafarian faith, which he outlined in his The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (2006); shown adjacent is a Reddit atheism forum “in pasta we trust” parody of the 1956 “in god we trust” motto of the one dollar bill.
Brian Flemming 75.png Brian Flemming
2005 In 2005, wrote and produced the documentary The God Who Wasn’t There (Ѻ), wherein, via interviews with Richard Carrier, Sam Harris, among others (Ѻ), he argues that it is likely that Jesus Christ never existed; at the end of which he returns to confront the principal of the fundamentalist Christian school he attended as a child; in 2006, ranked by Newsweek, as one of America’s ten most influential atheists. (Ѻ)
Paul Myers 75.png Paul Myers
2005 In 2005, began atheist blogging at Pharyngula, as PZ Myers, a top-ranked science blog, according to Nature (2006); published his Atheist’s creed (2008); visited (Ѻ) the Creation Museum; was one of the ten famous atheists at the 2012 American Atheists Conference (Ѻ), etc.
Lawrence Krauss 75.png Lawrence Krauss


2005 “I view myself as an anti-theist rather than an atheist” (Ѻ); engaged in public debate with Michel Behe (Ѻ); “Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.”

— Lawrence Krauss (2012), A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing (pg. #) (Ѻ) (3:50)

Noam Chomsky 75.png Noam Chomsky


2006 An label-avoiding agnostic, oft-classified as an atheist; quote (2006): “When people ask me if I’m an atheist, I have to ask them what they mean. What is it that I’m supposed to not believe in? Until you can answer that question I can’t tell you whether I’m an atheist. I don’t see anything logical in being agnostic about the Greek gods. There’s no agnosticism about ectoplasm. I don’t see how one can be an agnostic when one doesn’t know what it is that one is supposed to believe in, or reject” (Ѻ); in 2012, claimed to be an atheist, while at the same time deriding the “new atheists” as an embarrassment and as narrow-minded and ill-informed bigots. (Ѻ)
Daniel Dennett 75.png Daniel Dennett


2006 His Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006), supposedly is a top 5 atheism book. (Ѻ)
Hitchens 75.png Christopher Hitchens


2007 His God is Not Great (2007) launched him into new atheism stardom and into many debates to follow; one of the new four horsemen of atheism.
Victor Stenger 75.png Victor Stenger


2007 Penned: God: the Failed Hypothesis (2007), God: and the Follow of Faith (2012), God: and the Atom (2013).
Hemant Mehta 75.png Hemant Mehta


2007 In 2007, penned his I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith Through an Atheist's Eyes (Ѻ), then The Young Atheist's Survival Guide (2012) (Ѻ), which in 2014 was distributed (Ѻ) alongside the Bible to students of Boon County, Kentucky; in 2013, launched the YouTube channel “The Atheist’s Voice” (Ѻ), where he promotes “friendly atheism”; also blogs about “friendly atheism” at Patheos.com.
Greydon Square


A noted (Ѻ) physics major, Iraq war veteran turned, turned (2007) atheist rapper (Ѻ); noted for his “spoon fed” quote (Ѻ); supposedly able to “make an atheist come out of the closet faster than Ted Haggard” (Ѻ).
Bill Maher 75.png Bill Maher


2009 Technically an agnostic-atheist, who in 2011 self-defined as a “apatheist”, or “apathetic atheist” (Ѻ), born to a Catholic father and Jewish mother; noted for his 2008 documentary Religulous (Ѻ), a humorous look at religious silliness; in 2008, on his Bill Maher show, he interviewed Richard Dawkins who said he “might be a 6.9” on his Dawkins scale; in 2012, Maher was being parodied in respect to Jesus myth and Gerald Massey connections.
Christopher Redford 75.png Christopher Redford


Richard Carrier


2009 Penned Goodness Without God; debated William Craig (2009).
Hawking 75.png Stephen Hawking
(13 BE-63 AE) (1942-2018 ACM)
2010 “Cosmology is a kind of religion for intelligent atheists.”
— Stephen Hawking (c.1962), description (Ѻ) to his wife, when they first met, about himself

Other quotes: “the universe was not created by god” (2010); “there is no heaven or afterlife; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark” (2011). (Ѻ) Came out as an atheist in 2015.

David Silverman 75.png David Silverman


2010 After becoming president of the American Atheists, has done a number of notable public awareness accomplishments: atheism billboards (2010); atheism bench (2013); launched 24/7 AtheismTV (2014) on television available vis Roku (Ѻ); political conservatism atheism (2015), etc.
Bahram Moshiri 75.png Bahram Moshiri


Promotes atheism to Persians; Jabari (Ѻ) 2016 top 20 smartest atheist.
Jerry DeWitt


2011 Converted form Christian preacher to atheist preacher, after photo of him and Richard Dawkins began to circulate.
Sikivu Hutchinson


2011 Her Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars (2011), has been dubbed (Ѻ) the first book on atheism to be published by an African-American woman.
David Noise


2011 Penned the Nonbeliever Nation: the Rise of Secular Americans (2011) (Ѻ); has been a humanism promoter since.
Armin Navabi 75.png Armin Navabi


2011 In 2011, he launched Iranian Atheists on a social networking site called Orkut, out of loneliness he says, before being transferring it to Facebook, under the moniker Atheist Republic, which has 1M+ likes, sometime therein launching WhyThereIsNoGod.com, and publishing the 2014 book Why There Is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God (Ѻ); discusses (2017) (Ѻ) Facebook atheism pages takedown problem.
Alexander Rosenberg


2011 Published An Atheist's Guide to Reality; mostly a weak book, promoting: promotes what he refers to as "nice atheism", a "blind variation", "dumb luck", "random chance", "accident" themed, "mindless" process, "entropy = disorder" thermodynamics-conceptualized model of evolution.
Horus Gilgamesh


2011 Started the Awkward Moments Children's Bible Facebook pages as a joke, which attracted enough followers that by 2013 it resulted in a book series, a proto-type children's atheist bible, so to say.
Kurt Bell 75.png Kurt Bell


2011 An open and direct atheist who published a deemed controversial to some blog and vlog about how he considers his wife and children to be soulless bags of chemicals.
Howard Bloom


2012 Published The Lucifer Principle (1997) and The God Problem (2012) and gave talk on “Sex and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: How Sex Breaks the Law of Physics” (2013), towards the end of which he comes out as an anti-new atheism “pluralistic atheist” who uses numerous "Freudian god slips" in his supposedly atheism talks, e.g. “thank god”, “oh god”, “god knows”, “lord knows”, etc., arguing for free will a the particle physics level, “emergent properties”, that “humans can’t come out of the second law”, and teleological purpose; his The Mohammed Code (2014) seems to be going after Islam.
William Jensen 75.png William Jensen


2012 Science humor cartoonist of Gilbert Lewis as the new prophet of chemical thermodynamics based scientific religion; Dawkins number polled by Libb Thims (c.2012); gave his atheist’s creed in 2014.
Higgs 75.png Peter Higgs


Chris Johnson 75.png Chris Johnson


2012 Made 2012 video “What Do You Think About Atheists?” (Ѻ) In 2014, published A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God (Ѻ)(Ѻ), a result of two-years of in-person interviews, funded by a $100K pledge via KickStarter (Ѻ), to make a photo-interview book of 100 famous atheists, Including: A.C. Grayling, Daniel Dennett, Derren Brown, Donald Johanson, James Randi, James Watson, Janet Asimov, Julia Sweeney, Lawrence Krauss, Michael Shermer, Patricia Churchland, Penn & Teller, Richard Dawkins, Sean Carroll, and Steven Pinker. a follow-up video seems to have resulted as well.
Peter Boghossian 75.png Peter Boghossian


2012 Noted (Ѻ) for his A Manual For Creating Atheist (2013); work on morality of inmates; lecture “Jesus, The Easter Bunny and Other Delusions: Just Say No!” (2012) (Ѻ)
Alain Botton


2012 Noted for his Religion for Atheists (Ѻ), wherein he expressly reimagines Comte’s religion of humanity for contemporary nonbelievers. (Ѻ)
Sarah Haider 75.png Sarah Haider


2013 A Pakistani-born American ex-Muslim who at the circa age of 13 began to lose her faith when a “militant atheist”, as she says (Ѻ), in 2015 discussion with atheist Dave Rubin, gave her printed pages from the Quran, of some horrible passages, and said “look, this is what you believe”, after which, in order to prove the militant atheist wrong, she began to investigate things, became an atheist; and in 2013 co-founded Ex-Muslims of North America, where she advocates for the acceptance of religious dissent and works to create local support communities for those who have left Islam; in 2015 gave a decent icebreaker “Islam and the Necessity of Liberal Critique” (Ѻ) speech at the American Humanist Association.
Heina Dadabhoy 75.png Heina Dadabhoy


A devout California Muslim who in 2007 (age 19) starting becoming active in atheist organizations and events (Ѻ) around Orange County, CA and in 2012 started a Kickstarter (Ѻ) effort for a book entitled Skeptic’s Guide to Islam, raising about 10K, (supposedly due out Dec 2015); in 2014 interviewed (Ѻ) with Matt Dillahunty. (Ѻ)(Ѻ)
Patrick Fergus 75.png Patrick Fergus
(30-60 AE)
(1985-2015 ACM)
2014 In Nov 2014, became the launching co-host, with Libb Thims, of the Atheism Reviews[7] YouTube channel; in Apr 2015, a memorial park (Ѻ) bench was installed in his honor in Morton Grove, IL; shown adjacent is Thims, Art the god believer, and Yoni the agnostic, doing a Mar 2015 mid-night Bacardi 151 fire circle toast to the atheist who believed in energy.
Stephane Charbonnier 75.png Stephane Charbonnier


2015 “This is a satirical paper produced by left-wingers and when I say left-wingers that goes all the way from anarchists to communists to Greens, Socialists and the rest. Above all it is a secular and atheist newspaper.”

— Stephane Charbonnier (2011), comment to Reuters amid office firebombings, the day after it named Mohammed as its ‘editor-in-chief’ for the week’s issue, Nov 02 (Ѻ)

“I prefer to die standing rather than living on my knees.”

— Stephane Charbonnier (2013), said (Ѻ) after being placed on Al-Qaeda’s most-wanted list (Ѻ)

Michael Ruse 75.png Michael Ruse


2015 Published Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know.
Stephen Fry


2015 His 2015 viral video (Ѻ) (7M+) remarks on god, the most viewed video for key word atheism in YouTube (2017), got him near to being tried for the crime of atheism, under Ireland’s blasphemy laws.
Alfred Rogers 75.png Alfred Rogers

(22- BE) (1933- ACM)

2016 In his 2016 video “Abioism: Life Does NOT Exist”, stated, in respect to abioistic atheism, that he does not believe that life exists and that he endorses the atheistic point of view.
Mohammed Alkhadra 75.png Mohammed Alkhadra


Jordanian ex-Muslim atheist; founder of Jordanian Atheists Group; became atheist (c.2015) after watching a video of Richard Dawkins. (Ѻ)
Ali Rizvi


Mohamed Hisham 75.png Mohamed Hisham




The following are related quotes:

“Nietzsche launched a new building project that represents an advance for atheism. Meslier denied all divinity, Holbach dismantled Christianity, Feuerbach deconstructed god. Then Nietzsche introduced transvaluation: atheism is not an end in itself. Do away with god, yes, but then what? Another morality, a new ethic, values never before thought of because unthinkable, this innovation is what makes it possible to arrive at atheism and to surpass it. A formidable task, and one still to be brought to fruition.”
— Michel Onfray (2005), Atheist Manifesto [8]
“In the list given by Drachmann [1922], others designated atheoi in the period up to the 3rd century BC are Diogenes of Apollonia, Hippo of Rhegium, Diagoras of Melos, Prodicus of Keos, the aristocrat Critias of Athens, Theodorus of Cyrene, Bion of Borysthenes, and Euhemerus of Messina.”
— Michael Palmer (2013), Atheism for Beginners[9]
“After Harris came high pope Dawkins, then cardinal Hitchens, the bishop Dennett, and then the lower and more moderate figures in this new atheist priesthood: Krauss, Stenger, Atkins, Shermer [and all the rest] e bella compagnia.”
— Bo Jinn (2013), Illogical Atheism (loc. 286)
“Michel Foucault, Ludwig Feuerbach, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Santayana, Denis Diderot, John Mill, Richard Dawkins, Noam Chomsky, Bertrand Russell, Bertolt Brecht, Ayn Rand, Democritus, David Hume, Albert Camus, Sigmund Freud.”
— Cary Solomon (2014), God’s Not Dead (film); the “what do these individuals have in common?” scene[10]

End matter

See also


  1. (a) Palmer, Michael. (2013). Atheism for Beginners: a Coursebook for Schools and Colleges (pg. 15). Lutterworth Press.
    (b) Drachmann, A.B. (1922). Atheism in Pagan Antiquity (pg. 13). Gyldendal.
  2. Fischer, Kirsten. (2020). American Freethinker: Elihu Palmer and the Struggle for Religious Freedom in the New Nation. Pennsylvania.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Miller, Jonathan. (2007). “A History of Atheism: Part Three” (1:08-), BBC4, May; Tony Sobrado, YouTube, 2012.
  4. Birx, H. James. (1992). “Introduction”, in: The Riddle of the Universe (by: Ernst Haeckel, translator: Joseph McCabe) (pgs. ix-xiv). Prometheus Books, 1992.
  5. (a) Barker, Dan. (1984). “About his Atheism and Meets Annie Gaylor” (YT), The Clergy Project, 2013.
    (b) Gaylor, Annie L. (1997). Women Without Superstition: No Gods—No Masters: The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Freedom From Religion Foundation.
  6. Moyers, Bill. (2007). “A Brief History of Disbelief” (Ѻ), May.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Atheism Reviews – YouTube.
  8. Onfray, Michael. (2005). Atheist Manifesto: the Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (Traite d’Atheologie) (translator: Jeremy Leggatt) (pg. 34). Arcade Publishing, 2007.
  9. Palmer, Michael. (2013). Atheism for Beginners: a Coursebook for Schools and Colleges (pg. 15). Lutterworth Press.
  10. (a) God’s Not Dead (film) – Wikipedia.
    (b) Broocks, Rice. (2012). God's Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty. Thomas Nelson.
  11. Atheism timeline – Hmolpedia 2020.


  • Thims, Libb. (2015). “Atheism Genealogy” (YT), Atheism Reviews, Jun 24.

External links

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