Society and Atheism
Sociology of Religion, Celebrity
Comments on Theism and Atheism, Existentialism, Countries and percentage of
nonbelievers in God, Books on Atheism, Syllabus, Bibliography, Abstracts, Journals,
Atheism is as old as religion. As religion and its place in society have
evolved throughout history, so have the standing and philosophical justification for
non-belief. Epicurus (341-270 BC) was a materialist and probably the first philosopher to
develop the argument from evil.
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
During the 5,000 years of history when men developed a higher
culture Atheism appeared.
We see Atheism so widespread in civilization 2,500 years ago.
Atheism takes a prominent place in history in the form of the Ionian philosophy of Greece
and the ethic of Buddha and Confucius.
From 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. we find the thinly veiled Atheism of
the Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics accepted by the great majority of the
better-educated. Atheism perishes again with the crass ignorance and clerical tyranny of
the Iron Age, but it spreads widely in the light of the Arab-Persian civilization,
wherever the fanatics are checked, and at the Renaissance it reappears in Christendom.
The hardening of the religious attitude after the Reformation
again checks it, but in the 18th Century it enters upon a development which has, in spite
of murderous clerical tyranny in some countries, proceeded steadily ever since." -
Joseph McCabe, From Chapter I - The odds against the atheist.
atheism from celebrities:
Warren Buffett "did not subscribe to his family's
religion. Even at a young age he was too mathematical, too logical, to make the leap of
faith. He adopted his father's ethical underpinnings, but not his belief in an unseen
divinity." -- from "Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist" by Roger
Linus Torvalds, Computer Programmer, the creator of Linux.
"completely a-religious -- atheist." "I find that people seem to think
religion brings morals and appreciation of nature. I actually think it detracts from
Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman. "In terms of doing things
I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen. I don't know
if there's a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid."
"Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient.
There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning."
Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist - Although he speaks of
"God" in the metaphorical sense of some creative force, he has stated that he is
an atheist. "I do not believe in a personal God." "contrary to Einstein's
thought that "God does not play dice," he said that "God must be quite a
gambler..." (Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking )
John Conway, Mathematician. "I don't believe in God, but
I believe that nature is unbelievably subtle and clever. In physics, for instance, the
real answer to a problem is usually so subtle and surprising that it wasn't even
considered in the first place. That the speed of light is a constant - impossible! Nobody
even thought about it. And quantum mechanics is even worse, but it's so beautiful, and it
John McCarthy, AI Researcher. John McCarthy is an outspoken
atheist: "An atheist doesn't have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there
can't be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God
question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.
Steve Wozniak, Cofounder of Apple Computer. Response of Woz to
a letter published on his website: - "I am also atheist or agnostic (I don't even
know the difference). I've never been to church and prefer to think for myself."
"Steve Jobs may be an informal fan of Eastern religions but it's never obvious in him
and I never heard of him regularly attending a church. That's only a guess."
Ed Fredkin, Computer Scientist. "I guess what I'm saying
is: I don't have any religious belief. I don't believe there is a God. I don't believe in
Christianity or Judaism or anything like that, okay? I'm not an atheist...I'm not an
agnostic...I'm just in a simple state. I don't know what there is or might be..."
John Carmack, id Software Owner. "Having a reasonable
grounding in statistics and probability and no belief in luck, fate, karma, or god(s), the
only casino game that interests me is blackjack.
Richard Stallman, Software Guru. Stallman is a very popular
figure in the 'free software' movement and founded the Free Software Foundation fsf.org.
In a footnote of the O'Reilly Book Open Sources, Stallman says "As an atheist, I
don't follow any religious leaders, but I sometimes find I admire something one of them
Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist - Books - The Blind
Watchmaker, The Selfish Gene, River out of Eden and Climbing Mount Improbable. In all of
his work he successfully explains how complex forms of life evolved from simple forms of
life. In a number of lectures and debates, notably the Voltaire Lecture "Viruses of
the Mind", he demands that scientists and other rational people stop waffling and
accept the lack of evidence for religious claims and draw the obvious conclusions: there
is no god, and religion is a pack of lies.
David Deutsch, Physicist. Deutsch is a scientist at the Oxford
Univ. Centre for Quantum Computation. Author of The Fabric Of Reality. "First of all,
I do not believe in the supernatural, so I take it for granted that consciousness has a
material explanation. I also do not believe in insoluble problems, therefore I believe
that this explanation is accessible in principle to reason, and that one day we will
understand consciousness just as we today understand what life is, whereas once this was a
Steven Weinberg, Theoretical Physicist/Author. Weinberg is a a
winner of 1979 Nobel Prize. "The more we refine our understanding of God to make the
concept plausible, the more it seems pointless."
Ian Wilmut, Embryologist. Dr. Wilmut pioneered the first
successful cloning of a large mammal. This clone is now known to all as a healthy and
otherwise normal sheep named Dolly. From a published story profiling Wilmut: "...but
Ian Wilmut said he 'does not have a belief in God."'
Lewis Wolpert. Wolpert is a Professor of Biology as Applied to
Medicine at University College London. In The Biology of Belief, Professor Wolpert
argues that religion is a biological trait that emerged as part of evolution. The
difference between human beings and animals was that human beings had developed an
understanding of cause and effect. 'Once there was a concept of cause, we needed to
understand the causes of all the terrible things that happened to us. The most obvious
thing to do was to invent God.'
Bhagat Singh, from 'Why I Am An
Atheist?': "Judgment is already too well known. ---. What is the
consolation with the exception of the idea that I am going to sacrifice my life for a
cause? A God-believing Hindu might be expecting to be reborn as a king, a Muslim or a
Christian might dream of the luxuries to be enjoyed in paradise ---. But what am I to
expect? I know the moment the rope is fitted round my neck and rafters removed, from under
my feet - that will be the final moment - that will be the last moment. I, or to be more
precise, my soul, as interpreted in the metaphysical terminology, shall all be finished
there. Nothing further. ---. With no selfish motive, or desire to be awarded here or
hereafter, quite disinterestedly have I devoted my life to the cause of independence,
because I could not do otherwise. The day we find a great number of men and women with
this psychology who cannot devote themselves to anything else than the service of mankind
and emancipation of the suffering humanity; that day shall inaugurate the era of
percentage of nonbelievers in God
||Total country population (2004)
||% Nonbelievers in God
|Source: Zuckerman, Phil. "Atheism: Contemporary
Rates and Patterns", chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, ed. by Michael
Martin, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK (2005).
Books on Atheism
The God Delusion Richard Dawkins
Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism David Mills
Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution Richard Dawkins
Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design Richard Dawkins
How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists Dan Barker
Quotable Atheist: Ammunition for Non-Believers, Political Junkies, Gadflies, and Those
Generally Hell-Bound Jack Huberman
Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever Christopher Hitchens
God Virus: How religion infects our lives and culture Darrel W. Ray (Author) Ed. D. (Illust)
New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason Victor J. Stenger
The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Victor J. Stenger
God Get Diarrhea?: Flushing 4,000 Years Of Lies, Myths, And Fairy Tales Down The Toilet Odin Zeus McGaffer
Hates You, Hate Him Back: Making Sense of The Bible (Revised International Edition) CJ Werleman
Lied - He Was Only Human: Debunking The New Testament CJ Werleman
Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails John W. Loftus
I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity John W. Loftus
Atheist's Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings
of Christianity Mike Davis