Atheism

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atheism
Portrait of Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723 - 1789) was an early advocate of atheism in Europe.

Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.[1]

As far as individuals adopting an atheistic worldview, atheism has a number of causal factors which will be addressed shortly. In addition, an examination of atheism will be offered and some of the historical events relating to atheism will also be covered. For example, since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists or agnostics.[2]

Contents

Types of atheism

See also: Schools of atheist thought and Atheist factions

There are different types of atheism, based on different answers to the following questions:

  • What God or gods does the atheist deny?
  • Why does the atheist deny?
  • How does the atheist's denial manifest itself?

Atheism and Which God or gods?

The Greek philosopher Socrates

Since atheism is denial of the existence of God or gods, it is important first to identify in which God and/or gods the atheist denies. In ancient times, for example, Christians were accused of being atheists because of their denial of the pagan gods, even though they believed in the Christian God.[3] Socrates was also accused of atheism, although references to God run throughout his recorded statements.[4] Also, Albert Einstein and Baruch Spinoza professed belief in "God," but they defined "God" as the cosmos as a whole, and without personality.

Atheism and why do atheists state they disbelieve?

Atheists claim there are two main reasons for their denial of the existence of God and/or disbelief in God: the conviction that there is positive evidence or argument that God does not exist (Strong atheism which is also sometimes called positive atheism), and their claim that theists bear the burden of proof to show that God exists, that they have failed to do so, and that belief is therefore unwarranted (Weak atheism). For more information, please see: Causes of atheism.

Some common manifestations of atheism

Below are three common ways that atheism manifests itself:

Atheist factions

See also: Atheist factions and Schools of atheist thought and Atheist cults

Jacques Rousseau wrote in the Daily Maverick: "Elevatorgate..has resulted in three weeks of infighting in the secular community. Some might observe that we indulge in these squabbles fairly frequently."[6] An ex-atheist wrote: "As an Atheist for 40 years, I noticed that there is not just a wide variety of Atheist positions, but there exists an actual battle between certain Atheist factions."[7] See also: Atheist cults

Testimony of Blair Scott about atheist infighting

Blair Scott served on the American Atheists board of directors.[8] Mr. Scott formerly served as a State Director for the American Atheists organization in the state of Alabama. On December 1, 2012 he quit his post as a director of outreach for the American Atheists due to infighting within the American atheist movement.[9]

Mr. Blair wrote:

I have spent the last week mulling over what I want to do at this point in the movement. I’m tired of the in-fighting: at every level. I am especially tired of allowing myself to get sucked into it and engaging in the very behavior that is irritating...me.[9]

Attempts to dilute the definition of atheism

See :Attempts to dilute the definition of atheism

Biblical statements concerning atheism

see also: Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

The psalmist David wrote: "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'"

The writers of the Bible considered the existence of God to be self-evident and Moses simply wrote: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1).[10]

Accordingly, the psalmist David declared:

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." — Psalms 14:1 (KJV)

The psalmist David also wrote "The heavens declare the glory of God..." — Psalms 19:1

In his letter to the Romans the Apostle Paul declared:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..." — Romans 1:19-20 (NKJV)

Atheists have a low retention rate compared to other worldviews

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[11]

See also: Atheism has a lower retention rate compared to other worldviews and Desecularization

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[11] Similarly, according to recent research by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in the United States, a majority of those surveyed who were raised in atheist or agnostic households, or where there was no specific religious attachment, later chose to join a religious faith.[12] A 2012 study by the General Social Survey of the social science research organization NORC at the University of Chicago found that belief in God rises with age, even in atheistic nations[13] (see also: Atheism and immaturity).

In addition, in atheistic Communist China, Christianity is experiencing explosive growth.[14] On July 3, 2005, the New York Times reported concerning many countries in the former Soviet Union: "A return to religion in Romania and the region's other formerly Communist countries has in many places outrun the speed at which the church can screen and train clergy..."[15] See also: Desecularization

Atheism has an inverse relationship to education

See also: Atheism and education and Atheism and intelligence

Atheism is inversely proportional to education; a scholarly study published in an academic journal titled the Review of Religious Research demonstrated that increased education is correlated with belief in God and that "education positively affects religious participation, devotional activities, and emphasizing the importance of religion in daily life."[16] See also: Atheism and intelligence

Atheism and intelligence

See also: Atheism and intelligence and Causes of atheism

Citing data from the General Social Survey (GSS), Vox Day writes about atheist intelligence quotient (IQ) scores: "..the two most common types of atheists are the High Church atheists with +2SD IQs (128+) and Low Church atheists with -2SD IQs (65-72). Note that the Low Church atheists actually outnumber the High Church atheists, 22.9 to 17.2 percent."[17] For more information please see: Atheism and intelligence

Claims about the conditionality of atheism and doubts that atheists exist

Reverend William T. Cummings is famous for declaring There are no atheists in foxholes.[18]

Conditionality or non-conditionality of atheism

See also: There are no atheists in foxholes

Hannah More wrote: "[T]he mind, which knows not where to fly, flies to God. In agony, nature is no Atheist. The soul is drawn to God by a sort of natural impulse; not always, perhaps by an emotion of piety; but from a feeling conviction, that every other refuge is 'a refuge of lies'."[19] Reverend William T. Cummings is famous for declaring "There are no atheists in foxholes."[20] Chaplain F. W. Lawson of the 302d Machine Gun Battalion, who was wounded twice in wartime, stated "I doubt if there is such a thing as an atheist. At least there isn't in a front line trench."[21]On the other hand, the news organization NBC featured a story in which atheist veterans claimed that there are atheists in foxholes.[22]

Denials that atheists exist

See also: Denials that atheists exist

It has been asserted by various theists that atheists do not exist and that atheists are actively suppressing their belief and knowledge of God and enigmatically engage in self-deception and in the deception of others (see: Denials that atheists exist and Atheism and deception).

Atheism and communism

see also: Atheism and communism and Militant atheism and Atheism and economics and Atheism and mass murder and Atheist cults and Atheism and Karl Marx

Karl Marx said "[Religion] is the opium of the people". Marx also stated: "Communism begins from the outset (Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction.[23]

Vladimir Lenin similarly wrote regarding atheism and communism: "A Marxist must be a materialist, i. e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i. e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could."[24]

According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[25] Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists."[26] However, prior to this, the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution established an atheist state, with the official ideology being the Cult of Reason; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the guillotine.[27]

The atheism in communist regimes has been and continues to be militant atheism and various acts of repression including the razing of thousands of religious buildings and the killing, imprisoning, and oppression of religious leaders and believers.[28]

The persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union was the result of the violently atheist Soviet government. In the first five years after the October Revolution, 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were murdered, many on the orders of Leon Trotsky. When Joseph Stalin came to power in 1927, he ordered his secret police, under Genrikh Yagoda to intensify persecution of Christians. In the next few years, 50,000 clergy were murdered, many were tortured, including crucifixion. "Russia turned red with the blood of martyrs", said Father Gleb Yakunin of the Russian Orthodox Church.[29] According to Orthodox Church sources, as many as fifty million Orthodox believers may have died in the twentieth century, mainly from persecution by Communists.[30]

In addition, in the atheistic and communist Soviet Union, 44 anti-religious museums were opened and the largest was the 'The Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism' in Leningrad’s Kazan cathedral.[31] Despite intense effort by the atheistic leaders of the Soviet Union, their efforts were not effective in converting the masses to atheism.[32]

With its large population, China has the largest population of atheists with 8 - 14% of Chinese being atheists.[33] The religious landscape of China is quickly changing, however, due to the explosive growth of Christianity. [14] See also: Global atheism

China is a communist country. In 1999, the publication Christian Century reported that "China has persecuted religious believers by means of harassment, prolonged detention, and incarceration in prison or 'reform-through-labor' camps and police closure of places of worship." In 2003, owners of Bibles in China were sent to prison camps and 125 Chinese churches were closed.[34] China continues to practice religious oppression today.[35]

According to Asian Economic News, in 2004 the atheistic and communist government of China had an internal document which directed the Chinese media to promote atheism, instructed internet media to remove user comments that advocate alternative spiritual views, and called for a ban on publications that disseminate religious material out of step with Marxism or atheism.[36] The efforts of China's atheist leaders in promoting atheism, however, is increasingly losing its effectiveness and the number of Christians in China is explosively growing.[14] China's state sponsored atheism and atheistic indoctrination has been a failure and a 2007 religious survey in China indicated that only 15% of Chinese identified themselves as atheists.[37]

North Korea is a repressive communist state and is officially atheistic.[38] The North Korean government practices brutal repression and atrocities against North Korean Christians.[39]

It has been estimated that in less than the past 100 years, governments under the banner of communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 to 259,432,000 human lives.[40] Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. R. J. Rummel's mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[41] Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities and Dawkins was shown to be in gross error.

Atheism, politics and related matters:

Criticism of atheism

See also: Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian and Christian apologetics and Decline of atheism

Commonly Cited Arguments Against Atheism and For Theism

Anselm of Canterbury's version of the ontological argument appeared in his work Proslogium.

In relation to the debate between theism and atheism, theists often criticize atheism as being contrary to persuasive argument and have a number of arguments against atheism. Arguments for the existence of God include:

  • Ontological argument: According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world — e.g., from reason alone."[42]
  • Experiential arguments for the existence of God: Arguments based on personal experience and human intuition. According to philosopher Alvin Plantinga belief in the existence of God exists is a "properly basic" belief and not based on inference from other beliefs but is rationally justified due to one's circumstances of immediate experience of God.[43]

Atheism and mass murder

The militant atheistic regime of Joseph Stalin killed tens of millions of people.
See articles: Atheism and Mass Murder and Atheism and communism and Atheism and sadism and Atheism and forced labor

Christian apologist Gregory Koukl wrote relative to atheism and mass murder that "the assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them."[47] Koukl details the number of people killed in various events involving theism and compares them to the much higher tens of millions of people killed under regimes which advocated atheism.[47] As noted earlier, Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities and Dawkins was shown to be in gross error.

Koukl summarized by stating:

It is true that it's possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the detail it produces evil because the individual people are actually living in a rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it can produce it, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We're talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God.[47]

Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was asked to account for the great tragedies that occurred under the brutal communist regime he and fellow citizens suffered under.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote:

Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.

Since then I have spend well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."[48]

In 2008, Vox Day notes concerning atheism and mass murder:

Apparently it was just an amazing coincidence that every Communist of historical note publicly declared his atheism … .there have been twenty-eight countries in world history that can be confirmed to have been ruled by regimes with avowed atheists at the helm … These twenty-eight historical regimes have been ruled by eighty-nine atheists, of whom more than half have engaged in democidal acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao …

The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined.

The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere but in the lands they once ruled with a red hand.

Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them. If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation![49]

See also:

A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts.[50]

Atheism and charity

See also: Atheism and charity and Atheism and depression and Atheism, uncharitableness and depression

Concerning the issue of atheism and uncharitableness, the evidence indicates that per capita charitable giving by atheists and agnostics in America is significantly less than by theists, according to a study by the Barna Group:

The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven times less than the amount contributed by the prototypical active-faith adult ($1500). Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics. In fact, while just 7% of active-faith adults failed to contribute any personal funds in 2006, that compares with 22% among the no-faith adults.[51]

A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts.[50] The study revealed that forty percent of worship service attending Americans volunteer regularly to help the poor and elderly as opposed to 15% of Americans who never attend services.[50] Moreover, religious individuals are more likely than non-religious individuals to volunteer for school and youth programs (36% vs. 15%), a neighborhood or civic group (26% vs. 13%), and for health care (21% vs. 13%).[50]

Atheism and immoral views

See: Atheism and morality and Atheism and bestiality and Atheism and homosexuality and Atheism and sadism and Atheism and rape and Atheism and slavery and Atheism and hell and Atheist hypocrisy and Atheism and the persecution of homosexuals

The Barna Group found regarding atheism and morality that those who hold to the worldviews of atheism or agnosticism in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality.[52] Given the many diseases associated with homosexuality, the biblical prohibition against homosexuality is quite arguably one of the many example where the Bible exhibited knowledge that was ahead of its time.

James Randi is a leader within the atheist community. Brian Thompson, former James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Outreach Coordinator, wrote:

But I no longer identify with this community of benevolent know-it-alls, because not all of them are the best folks in the world. In fact, a good percentage of the top ten worst humans I’ve ever met are prominent members of the skeptics’ club. They’re dishonest, mean-spirited, narcissistic, misogynistic. Pick a personality flaw, and I can probably point you to someone who epitomizes it. And that person has probably had a speaking slot at a major skeptical conference.

I grew particularly disgusted with the boys’ club attitude I saw among skeptical leaders and luminaries. The kind of attitude that’s dismissive of women, sexually predatory, and downright gross. When I first started going to skeptical conferences as a fresh-faced know-it-all, I started hearing things about people I once admired. Then I started seeing things myself. Then I got a job with the JREF, and the pattern continued.[53]

The perverse and cruel atheist Marquis de Sade in prison, 18th century line engraving.

The Journal of Medical Ethics declared concerning the atheist and sadist Marquis de Sade:

In 1795 the Marquis de Sade published his La Philosophie dans le boudoir, in which he proposed the use of induced abortion for social reasons and as a means of population control. It is from this time that medical and social acceptance of abortion can be dated, although previously the subject had not been discussed in public in modern times. It is suggested that it was largely due to de Sade's writing that induced abortion received the impetus which resulted in its subsequent spread in western society.[54]

Population control is based on pseudoscience and ill founded economic assumptions.[55] CBS News reported: "According to a mail-in survey of nearly 4,000 British doctors, those who were atheist or agnostic were almost twice as willing to take actions designed to hasten the end of life."[56]

In 2007 the Baptist Press reported:

...a pollster at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, found that adults who profess a belief in God are significantly more likely than atheists to say that forgiveness, patience, generosity and a concern for others are "very important." In fact, the poll found that on 11 of 12 values, there was a double-digit gap between theists and atheists, with theists more likely to label each value "very important."

The survey by sociologist and pollster Reginald Bibby examined the beliefs of 1,600 Canadians, 82 percent who said they believed in "God or a higher power" and 18 percent who said they did not.[57]

An essay by the Christian apologist Dr. James Spiegel describes Bertrand Russell as a "misogynistic and a serial adulterer; a chronic seducer of women, especially very young women, even in his old age."[58] Bertrand Russell was an agnostic who had favorable views towards atheism.[59]

Dr. Phil Fernandes states the following regarding atheism and moral relativism:

Nietzsche preached that a group of "supermen" must arise with the courage to create their own values through their "will to power." Nietzsche rejected the "soft" values of Christianity (brotherly love, turning the other cheek, charity, compassion, etc.); he felt they hindered man's creativity and potential....

Many other atheists agree with Nietzsche concerning moral relativism. British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) once wrote, "Outside human desires there is no moral standard." A. J. Ayer believed that moral commands did not result from any objective standard above man. Instead, Ayer stated that moral commands merely express one's subjective feelings. When one says that murder is wrong, one is merely saying that he or she feels that murder is wrong. Jean-Paul Sartre, a French existentialist, believed that there is no objective meaning to life. Therefore, according to Sartre, man must create his own values.

There are many different ways that moral relativists attempt to determine what action should be taken. Hedonism is probably the most extreme. It declares that whatever brings the most pleasure is right. In other words, if it feels good, do it. If this position is true, then there is no basis from which to judge the actions of Adolph Hitler as being evil.[60]

Many consider atheist Harry Hay to be the founder of the American homosexual movement.

Given that atheistic evolutionary thinking has engendered social darwinism and given that the proponents of atheism have no rational basis for morality in their ideology, the immoral views that atheists often hold and the low per capita giving of American atheists is not unpredictable.

Atheism, pederasty and NAMBLA

see also: Atheism, pederasty and NAMBLA and Teenage homosexuality and Homosexuality and pederasty

Some of the well known atheist advocates of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) are:

1. The atheist and homosexual David Thorstad was a founding member of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).[61]

2. Harry Hay (1912 - 2002) was an liberal advocate of statutory rape and the widely acknowledged founder and progenitor of the activist homosexual agenda in the United States. Hay joined the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) in 1934. [62] Harry Hay was an atheist.[63] He was a vociferous advocate of man/boy love. [64] In 1986, Hay marched in a gay parade wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words "NAMBLA walks with me."[65]

3. The writer Samuel R. Delany is an atheist and a homosexual.[66] Delaney said he was a supporter of NAMBLA.[67]

See also: Richard Dawkins on child molestation and so called "gentle pedophiles" and John Maynard Keynes and pederasty

Atheism and bestiality

See also: Atheism and bestiality

Bestiality is the act of engaging in sexual relations with an animal. The atheist philosopher Peter Singer defends the practice bestiality (as well as abortion, infanticide and euthanasia). Despite holding these views the liberal and pro-evolution academic establishment rewarded his views with a bioethics chair at Princeton University.[68]

The prominent atheist P. Z. Meyers declared, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions...."[69]

The atheist philosopher Peter Singer defends the practice of bestiality Despite holding these immoral views academia rewarded his views with a bioethics chair at Princeton University.[70] See: Atheism and bestiality

The Bible says that bestiality is a perversion and, under the Old Testament Jewish Law, punishable by death (Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 18:23, Leviticus 20:15 and Deuteronomy 27:21). The atheistic worldview does not lend itself to the establishment of morality within society and individuals (see: Atheism and morality and Atheism and deception).

The Christian apologist and author Michael Caputo writes:

Although bestiality is not openly supported by well known Militant Atheist sites, support for it is inherent in their insistence that decisions of a sexual nature should be left up to the individual adults to determine. God disagrees.[71]

For additional information please see:

In areas of the Western World where there is a significant amount of atheism and evolutionary belief, there have been notable problems related to bestiality (see: Geographic areas where bestiality is posing a notable problem).

Other issues relating to atheism and immorality

For more more information please see: Atheism and morality

Atheism and hypocrisy

See also: Atheist hypocrisy

In order to attempt to justify their atheism, atheists often engage in hypocritical argumentation. In addition, atheists often engage in hypocritical behavior. Please see: Atheist hypocrisy

Atheism and miracles

See main article: Atheism and Miracles

In relation to atheism and miracles, modern scholars are divided on the issue of whether or not David Hume was an atheist.[72] With that caveat in mind, Hume is well known for arguing that it is always more probable that the testimony of a miracle is false than that the miracle occurred.[73] Christian apologists William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler, C.S. Lewis, JP Holding, and others have shown the inadequacy and unreasonableness of Hume's position regarding miracles.[74]

Atheism and questions of origins

See articles: Atheism and Evolution and Evolution as a secular origins myth

Creationist scientists state that the first law of thermodynamics and the second law of thermodynamics argue against an eternal universe or a universe created by natural processes and argue for a universe created by God.[75] A majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism since World War II have had the worldview of atheism.[2] Creation scientists assert that the theory of evolution is an inadequate explanation for the variety of life forms on earth.[76] In addition, the current naturalistic explanations for the origin of life are inadequate. The theory of evolution has had a number of negative social effects.

The Freedom From Atheism Foundation (FFAF)

In 2012, the Freedom From Atheism Foundation (FFAF) http://www.facebook.com/FFAF.International was formed as an online interfaith civil rights group to provide support for victims of militant atheism, protect the rights of religious believers, and address the increasing amount of atheist intolerance around the world. As of July 2014 the group has over 220,000 followers and makes an average of 80 posts a week. Along with tens of thousands of religious supporters, the group also found support from atheist author and biologist PZ Myers.[77] The group's many admins are all anonymous due to the large amount of hate mail, threats, and stalking the site receives from militant atheists. A May 2014 article in The Christian Post titled "Freedom From Religion? How About Freedom From Atheism?" profiled the Freedom From Atheism Foundation in greater detail. [78]

Atheism and mental and physical health

See also: Atheism and health and Atheism and obesity and Atheism and alcoholism

The is considerable amount of scientific evidence that suggest that theism is more conducive to mental and physical health than atheism and some of the more significant findings are given below [79] (For more information please see: Atheism and health).

Mayo Clinic, university studies, and other research

The prestigious Mayo Clinic found that that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life and other health outcomes.[80]

The prestigious Mayo Clinic reported the following on December 11, 2001:

In an article also published in this issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed published studies, meta-analyses, systematic reviews and subject reviews that examined the association between religious involvement and spirituality and physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life and other health outcomes.

The authors report a majority of the nearly 350 studies of physical health and 850 studies of mental health that have used religious and spiritual variables have found that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes.[80]

The Iona Institute reported:

A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[81]

In December of 2003, the University of Warwick reported:

Dr. Stephen Joseph, from the University of Warwick, said: "Religious people seem to have a greater purpose in life, which is why they are happier. Looking at the research evidence, it seems that those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are on the whole likely to be happier.[82]

Duke University has established the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health.[83] The Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health is based in the Center for Aging at Duke and gives opportunities for scholarly trans-disciplinary conversation and the development of collaborative research projects.[84] In respect to the atheism and mental and physical health, the center offers many studies which suggest that theism is more beneficial than atheism.[85]

Currently, there is an ongoing debate on whether Friedrich Nietzsche's insanity was caused purely through disease or whether his atheistic/nihilistic philosophical outlook on life was the cause.[86]

The Christian group Teen Challenge reported:

Teen Challenge claims of a 70% cure rate for the drug addicts graduating from their program attracted the attention of the U.S. Federal Government in 1973. Most secular drug rehabilitation programs only experienced a cure rate of 1-15% of their graduates. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, funded the first year of this study to evaluate the long term results of the Teen Challenge program.[87]

Teen Challenge has a number of studies that indicate the high effectiveness of their drug treatment program compared to other programs.[87] Studies indicate that consumers of secular counseling psychology programs show hardly any benefit at all for alcoholism (see also: Ineffectiveness of secular counseling psychology).[88] The Apostle Paul in a letter to the church of Corinth indicated that Christians were able to overcome being drunkards through the power of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 6:9-11). The website The Berean Call has a number of articles on various false claims and unbiblical notions that many practioners of counseling psychology promote.[89]

Currently, there is an ongoing debate on whether Friedrich Nietzsche's insanity was caused purely through disease or whether his atheistic/nihilistic philosophical outlook on life was the cause.[86]

An article published on the Hong Kong Baptist University declares:

Trying to explain what caused his insanity can only be a matter of speculation. Some people believe it was the result of a physical illness. Others interpret his suffering as that of a true prophet, almost as if he were accepting the punishment on behalf of those who could not see mankind's tendency towards self-destruction so clearly. Still others regard his final fate as a natural outcome of his philosophical outlook.[90]

The Russian-born psychoanalyst and writer Lou Andreas-Salomé, who had a brief and tempestuous affair with Nietzsche, believed that Nietzsche's philosophy can be viewed as a reflection of his psychology and that his madness was the result of his philosophizing.[91] In addition, the French historian René Girard asserted that Nietzsche's philosophy led to his insanity.[92]

Atheism and suicide

See also: Atheism and depression and Atheism and suicide and Hopelessness of atheism and Atheism, gender and suicide and Atheism, marriage and suicide

Although there are recent studies relating to atheism being a causal factor for suicide for some individuals, an early proponent of atheism being a causal factor for suicide was the Reverend Dr. Robert Stuart MacArthur.[93] In 1894, the NY Times stated the following in relation to atheism and suicide:

Dr. Martin urged that a great cause of suicide was atheism. It was, he said, a remarkable fact that where atheism prevailed most, there suicides were most numerous. In Paris, a recent census showed one suicide to every 2,700 of the population. After the publication of Paine's "Age of Reason" suicides increased.[94]
Pitzer College sociologist Phil Zuckerman stated concerning suicide rates: "this is the one indicator of societal health in which religious nations fare much better than secular nations."

The same NY Times article quotes the Reverend Dr. MacArthur describing suicide in the following manner:

It is mean and not manly; it is dastardly and not daring. A man who involves his innocent wife and children in financial disaster and disgrace and takes his life and leaves them to bear the burden he was unwilling to bear, is a coward.[94]

In 2004, the American Journal of Psychiatry reported:

Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found.[95]

For more information please see:

Atheism and obesity

See also: Atheism and obesity and Atheism and health

According to the Gallup Organization, "Very religious Americans are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are moderately religious or nonreligious."[96] For more information please Atheism and obesity

Gallup declared concerning the study which measured the degree to which religiosity affects health practices: "Generalized linear model analysis was used to estimate marginal scores all five reported metrics after controlling for age (in years), gender, race/ethnicity, marital status, education (number of years), log of income, and region of the country... Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-July 28, 2010, with a random sample of 554,066 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling."[96]

Please see:

Atheism and alcohol abuse

See: Atheism and alcohol abuse

Atheism and sexually transmitted diseases

Atheistic populations commonly have significant problems with sexually transmitted diseases. See: Atheism and sexually transmitted diseases.

Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

Numerous studies report that athletes to be more religious than non-athletes.[97]

See also: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism and Atheism and obesity

The Sports Journal is a monthly refereed journal published by the United States Sports Academy. A journal article appeared in the Sports Journal entitled Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions. The article was submitted by Nathan T. Bell, Scott R. Johnson, and Jeffrey C. Petersen from Ball State University.[97] An excerpt from the abstract of the journal article Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions declares:

Numerous studies report athletes to be more religious than nonathletes (Fischer, 1997; Storch, Kolsky, Silvestri, & Storch, 2001; Storch et al., 2004). According to Storch, Kolsky, Silvestri, and Storch (2001), four reasons may explain why religion interacts with athletic performance.[97]

Atheism is a religion

See also: Atheism is a religion and Atheist cults and Atheist hypocrisy

Richard Dawkins
The Oxford University Professor Daniel Came wrote to the agnostic Richard Dawkins: "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[98]

Many of the leaders of the atheist movement, such as the evolutionist and weak atheist/agnostic Richard Dawkins, argue for agnosticism/atheism with a religious fervor.

Roderick Ninian Smart, a Scottish writer and professor, defined a seven-part scheme of understanding both religious and secular worldviews[99]. These can be understood as narrative, experiential, social, ethical, doctrinal, ritual and material.

English Pastor Daniel Smartt defines atheism as a religion, using Ninian Smart's seven dimensions of worldview as a list of criteria. It is not necessary in Smartt's model for every one of these to be present in order for something to be a religion.[100]. However, it can be argued that all seven are present in the case of atheism.[101]

In 2013, a trend of atheist services began and atheist services were reported in the New York Times, The Blaze and other major news outlets.[102]

See also: Atheism: A religion and Atheism is a religion and Atheist cults and Atheism

Atheism is a religion and its legal implications relative to the teaching of evolution

Atheism is a religion and naturalistic notions of origins are religious which has legal implications relative to evolution being taught in public schools.[103][104][105]

John Calvert, a lawyer and intelligent design proponent declared:

The Seventh Judicial Circuit of the Court of Appeals of the United States held that atheism is a religion. Therefore, it cannot be promoted by a public school. Currently, public schools are often unwittingly promoting atheism through a dogmatic and uncritical teaching of materialistic theories of origins.[106]

The atheist philosopher of science Michael Ruse admitted: "Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today."[107] In the their Question evolution! campaign, Creation Ministries International asks as a part of their 15 questions for evolutionists: "Why is a fundamentally religious idea, a dogmatic belief system that fails to explain the evidence, taught in science classes?...If “you can’t teach religion in science classes”, why is evolution taught?[108]

Atheism and women

see also: Atheism and women and Atheism and rape and Elevatorgate and Prominent atheists whose wives believe in the existence of God

Studies and web traffic data appear to indicate that women in the Western World tend to be more religious than men.[109]

Recent studies

Surveys by country

In November of 2010, Discover Magazine published survey results published by the World Values Survey which showed significant differences between the percentage of men and women who are atheists for various countries.[110] See also: Atheism and women

United States surveys

A 2009 article in LiveScience.com entitled Women More Religious Than Men reported: "A new analysis of survey data finds women pray more often then men, are more likely to believe in God, and are more religious than men in a variety of other ways...The latest findings, released Friday, are no surprise, only confirming what other studies have found for decades. [111] In 2007, the Pew Research Center found that American women were more religious than American men.[112]

Large atheist group survey and atheist meetings

In 2011, Beliefnetnews reported concerning the race and gender of American atheists:

From the smallest local meetings to the largest conferences, the vast majority of speakers and attendees are almost always white men. Leading figures of the atheist movement - Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett -- are all white men.

But making atheism more diverse is proving to be no easy task.

Surveys suggest most atheists are white men. A recent survey of 4,000 members of the Freedom from Religion Foundation found that 95 percent were white, and men comprised a majority.[113]

Atheism and sexism

Atheist women currently experience a considerable amount of sexism and harassment from atheist men.

For more information please see:

Atheism and marriageability

See also: Atheism and marriage and Prominent atheists whose wives believe in the existence of God

Atheism and rates of marriage in the United States

See also: Atheism and marriageability and Atheism and women

The Christian apologist Michael Caputo wrote:

Recently the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has published its mammoth study on Religion in America based on 35,000 interviews... According to the Pew Forum a whopping 37% of atheists never marry as opposed to 19% of the American population, 17% of Protestants and 17% of Catholics.[114]

Vox Day declared that according to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) "more than half of all atheists and agnostics don’t get married."[114]

For more information please see: Atheism and marriageability

Atheist PZ Myers says atheists are largely a population of internet nerds and geeks

PZ Myers declared, "...I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..."[69][115] See: Atheism and bestiality

(photo obtained from Flickr, see license agreement)

See also: Atheist nerds and Internet atheism and Atheism and women and Atheism and social outcasts and Decline of atheism

In 2013, the atheist PZ Myers declared:

If we're going to expand our base and we're going to draw in more people to recognize the virtues of living in a secular world, we need to appeal to more than just that geek and nerd subset of the population. We need to have a wider base. ...I seriously believe that we're on the cusp of a crisis. We're not there yet but it's looming in front of us. Will we adapt and thrive and change the world? Or will we remain an avocation for a prosperous and largely irrelevant subset of the population? Will we become something more than a scattered society of internet nerds? That's what we have to do.[116]

In response, Evolution News and Views wrote:

A crisis looms, in Myers's view, because he looks around himself and sees a not very promising basis for a mass movement. He's right. There is indeed a quality of geeky isolation from reality, common sense, and the fullness of life that I see as a motif in atheist and Darwin activism alike.[117]

For more information please see: Internet atheism and Atheist nerds

Decline of atheism in terms of the global population

Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, using a a wealth of demographic studies argues the decline of atheism in terms of its global adherents is an established trend that will persist for the foreseeable future and the rate of decline will accelerate.[118][119][120][121]

See also: Desecularization and Global atheism and Atheist Population and British atheism and Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

Atheists as a percentage of the world's population have declined since 1970 and global atheism is expected to face long term decline.[122]

On July 24, 2013, CNS News reported:

Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass."[123]

In 2012, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary reported that globally every day there are 800 less atheists per day, 1,100 less non-religious (agnostic) people per day and 83,000 more people professing to be Christians per day.[124][125]

Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck, University of London, using a wealth of demographic studies argues the decline of atheism in terms of its global adherents is an established trend that will persist for the foreseeable future and the rate of decline will accelerate.[126] Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."[127] For example, in 2013, citing experts in demography and survey data, the Christian Post declared that there were three trends pointing to the United States potentially becoming more religious in coming years - namely an aging population becoming more religious over time, religious immigrants and the higher fertility rate of religious conservatives.[128]

One of the steepest declines of atheism that is expected to occur is in China which currently has the largest atheist population in the world. China is experiencing a rapid growth of theologically conservative Christianity which will have a significant effect on the global atheist population.[129]

Desecularization can also occur through providential acts of God and in reaction to God granting Christian's prayers.[130][131][132][133] The theologian and Harvard University academic Harvey Cox asserted that grassroots movements such as fundamentalism and the Charismatic movement/pentecostalism are significant religious forces that are resistant to secularization forces.[134][135]

For more information please see:

Western atheism and race

See also: Western atheism and race and Atheist hypocrisy

As note earlier, an atheists' meeting was organized in the United States concerning the future direction of the atheist movement and 370 people attended. The conference, sponsored by the Council for Secular Humanism, drew members from all the major atheist organizations in the United States. The New York Times described the attendees as "The largely white and male crowd — imagine a Star Trek convention, but older..."[136] According to the Quantcast data, white males appear to be the group of individuals who are most receptive to Richard Dawkins' and atheist Sam Harris' message.[137][138] These findings, combined with the aforementioned data indicating that atheism is significantly less appealing to women, suggests that atheist movement in the Western world and New Atheism movement are significantly more appealing to white males.

Atheism and evolutionary racism

An evolutionary racist put Ota Benga on display at the Bronx Zoo in the monkey house.[139]

See also: Atheism and evolutionary racism and Social effects of the theory of evolution

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists.[2] The errant and ill founded writings of atheist Charles Darwin (see: religious views of Charles Darwin)[140], which became very influential in the late 19th century, provided a pretext for racism. Evolutionary racism refers to a racist philosophy based on Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory. It assumes that men have continually evolved, and thus some races are more evolved than others. It replaces Christian morality with the atheistic "survival of the fittest" ideology of Social Darwinism.

Charles Darwin wrote in his work The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex:

At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes...will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.[141][142]

An example of evolutionary racism is when an evolutionary racist put Ota Benga on display at the Bronx Zoo in the monkey house.[143] In addition, evolutionary racism was directed at Michelle Obama.[144]

The atheist Ernst Haeckel was a virulent evolutionary racist. The agnostic and staunch evolutionist Stephen Gould admitted the following:

Haeckel was the chief apostle of evolution in Germany.... His evolutionary racism; his call to the German people for racial purity and unflinching devotion to a "just" state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism that had always stood in strange communion with his brave words about objective science - all contributed to the rise of Nazism. - Stephen J. Gould, "Ontogeny and Phylogeny," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1977, pp.77-78).[145]

Creativity Movement

See also: Creativity Movement and Atheist cults

The Creativity Movement, formerly known as the World Church Of The Creator, is an atheistic white supremacist organization.[146][147][148] The movement has denounced Christianity,[147] as it purports to promote love for all of mankind.[149] It denounces religion for bringing horror into the world by dividing the white race.[147]

Atheism and deception

For more information please see: Atheism and deception and Irreligion and superstition and Atheist cults

As alluded to earlier, prior to Charles Darwin publishing his evolutionist work On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, Darwin wrote in his private notebooks that he was a materialist, which is a type of atheist.[150] Charles Darwin’s casual mentioning of a ‘creator’ in earlier editions of The Origin of Species appears to have been a merely a deceitful ploy to downplay the implications of his materialistic theory. [150]

German scientist Ernst Haeckel was a very influential proponent of the evolutionary position and Haeckel was an advocate of atheism.[151] Ernst Haeckel attempted to portray himself as an ethical proponent of atheism, however, history shows he was a deceitful individual.[152] The March 9, 1907 edition of the NY Times refers to Ernst Haeckel as the "celebrated Darwinian and founder of the Association for the Propagation of Ethical Atheism."[151]

For more information please see: Atheism and deception

Irreligion and superstition

The Wall Street Journal reported: "A comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows ...that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians."[153]

See also: Irreligion and superstition and Theory of Evolution, Liberalism, Atheism, and Irrationality and Atheist cults

In September of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported:

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won't create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition. And that's not a conclusion to take on faith -- it's what the empirical data tell us.

"What Americans Really Believe," a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians....

This is not a new finding. In his 1983 book "The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener," skeptic and science writer Martin Gardner cited the decline of traditional religious belief among the better educated as one of the causes for an increase in pseudoscience, cults and superstition. He referenced a 1980 study published in the magazine Skeptical Inquirer that showed irreligious college students to be by far the most likely to embrace paranormal beliefs, while born-again Christian college students were the least likely.[154]

For more information please see: Irreligion and superstition

Intellectuals increasingly rejecting atheistic ideology

According to Munich theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg "Atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide."[155] Given that the evolutionary position is a often cited component of the ideology of atheism in the Western world, the gradual loss of public support of the evolutionary position is one of the many factors which are eroding the ideology of atheism. Oxford scholar Alister McGrath cites a number of additional factors in regards to the decline of atheism as an intellectual position.[156] [157]

Given the many factors which are eroding atheistic ideology McGrath states:

...Atheism is in trouble. Its future seems increasingly to lie in the private beliefs of individuals rather than in the great public domain it once regarded as its natural habitat.[158]

Christian websites with a large focus on the topic of atheism

See also: Internet atheism

Four of the more notable Christian apologetics which have a large focus on the topic of atheism are: True Free Thinker, the Creation Ministries International resources on atheism, the Fixed Point Foundation website, and Atheism Analyzed.

Liberal media - apostles of atheism

The Media Research Center released a study in 2008 reporting pro-atheism bias by major press outlets in the United States.[159] The study is not surprising given the liberal bias that commonly exists in the major media outlets.

Causes of atheism

See main article: Causes of atheism and Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

There are a number of psychological, societal, familial, economic and spiritual factors which cause atheism which have been proposed over the centuries. Please see: Causes of atheism

Atheism and the foundation of modern science

See also: Christianity and science

The birth of modern science occurred in Christianized Europe.[160] Sociologist Rodney Stark investigated the individuals who made the most significant scientific contributions between 1543 and 1680 A.D., the time of the Scientific Revolution. In Stark's list of 52 top scientific contributors,[161] only one (Edmund Halley) was a skeptic and another (Paracelsus) was a pantheist. The other 50 were Christians, 30 of whom could be characterized as being devout Christians.[161] Sir Francis Bacon, sometimes referred to as "the Father of Modern Science", wrote in his essay entitled Of Atheism the following: "I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind."[162]

Atheism and debate

See also: Atheism debates and Atheism and cowardice and Atheist factions

Dr. Greg Bahnsen became known as the man atheists fear most due to Michael Martin's cancellation of their scheduled debate. See: Greg Bahnsen and debate

Historically speaking, atheism has fared very poorly in debates. In addition, due to prominent atheists dodging debates, the cowardice associated with atheism has become so obvious that it is making newspaper headlines (For more information please see: Atheism and cowardice).[163] [164]

Richard Dawkins, who flip-flops between being an agnostic and an atheist as far as his public persona (see: Richard Dawkins and agnosticism), has established a reputation of avoiding his strongest debate opponents. On May 14, 2011, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published a news story entitled Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God.[165] In The Daily Telegraph article Dr. Daniel Came, a a member of the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University was quoted as writing to fellow atheist Richard Dawkins concerning his refusal to debate Dr. William Lane Craig, "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[166] Also, atheists tend to dodge creation vs. evolution debates.

For more information see: Atheism debates and Atheism and cowardice

Creation vs. evolution debates

See also: Creation scientists tend to win debates with evolutionists

The worldwide atheist community was challenged to a debate by Creation Ministries International as prominent atheists were speaking at a 2010 global atheist convention in Australia.[167] Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers and other prominent atheists refused to debate Creation Ministries International.[168] Generally speaking, creation scientists tend to win the creation vs. evolution debates (see: Creation scientists tend to win the creation vs. evolution debates.

Notable atheists who became ex-atheists

See: Ex-atheists

Views on atheists

See also: Views on atheists and Atheism and social outcasts

Concerning various views on atheists, research in the American Sociological Review finds that among several groups listed, those who hold the position of atheism are the group that Americans relate least to in terms of their vision of American society and are the group most likely to be mentioned as one that Americans would not want to have marry into their family.[169] Dr. Sam Harris, a founder of the New Atheism movement, is well aware of the stigma surrounding atheism and has advocated that atheists no longer call themselves atheists.[170] In fact, Dr. Harris has said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."[171]

Americans and Canadians distrust atheists as much as rapists

See also: Atheism and rape and Atheism and morality

On December 10, 2011, USA Today reported in a story entitled Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists:

The study, conducted among 350 Americans adults and 420 Canadian college students, asked participants to decide if a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher?

The participants, who were from religious and nonreligious backgrounds, most often chose the atheist teacher.

The study is part of an attempt to understand what needs religion fulfills in people. Among the conclusions is a sense of trust in others.

"People find atheists very suspect," Shariff said. "They don't fear God so we should distrust them; they do not have the same moral obligations of others. This is a common refrain against atheists. People fear them as a group."[172]

New Atheism

See also: New Atheism and Atheist factions and Brights Movement and Militant atheism and Atheist cults

Dissent Magazine stated the following about the "New Atheism":

A number of prominent authors and scientists have published books in the past year that advocate a "New Atheism." The books, which include Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell, Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, and Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great, have sparked considerable public controversy across the political spectrum.[173]

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. describes some of the key attributes of the "New Atheism":

Now, WIRED magazine comes out with a cover story on atheism for its November 2006 issue. In "The New Atheism," WIRED contributing editor Gary Wolf explains that this newly assertive form of atheism declares a very simple message: "No heaven. No hell. Just science."...

Wolf accomplishes a great deal in his article, thoughtfully introducing the work of militant atheists such as Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett. At the same time, he probes more deeply into the actual meaning of the New Atheism as a movement and a message.

At the beginning of his article, he gets right to the point: "The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it's evil. Now that the battle has been joined, there's no excuse for shirking."[174]

Impact of the New Atheism

See also: Impact of the New Atheism

The New Atheism has not had much of an impact in terms of gaining new adherents to atheism. In a March 10, 2008 USA Today article Stephen Prothero indicated that the New Atheism movement was not effective in adding new adherents to atheism and he cited statistics from a large Pew Research Center study which indicated that the number of atheists in the United States was merely 1.6% of respondents.[175]

Atheism in academia

In 2001 atheist and philosopher Quentin Smith declared:

Naturalists [atheists] passively watched as realist versions of theism … began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today perhaps one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians…. God is not 'dead' in academia; he returned to life in the 1960's and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments."[176]

In 2004, Professor Alister McGrath, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University declared, "The golden age of atheism is over."[177]

American Atheists

See also: American atheism

American Atheists is an American atheists group founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair that has a history of intellectual incompetence. Madalyn Murray O'Hair did particularly badly in her debate with Dr. Walter Martin.[178] For example, when she claimed there were supposedly were contradictions in the Bible, Dr. Martin asked her to provide an example of one and Ms. O'Hair did not and could not offer even an alleged example of a Bible contradiction.[178] In addition, Ms. O'Hair was ill prepared in terms of defending against the issue of atheism and mass murder.[178]

see also: Frank Zindler vs. William Lane Craig debate

For more information please see:

French Revolution and atheism

see: History of Atheism

Atheism and homosexuality

See:

Atheist population as a percentage of various countries' populations

See main article: Atheist Population

Specific research on the worldwide atheist population conducted in 2006 suggests that the true proportion of atheists is 4% in the United States, 17% in Great Britain and 32% in France. A survey published in the 2005 Encyclopedia Britannica declared that 2.3% of the world's population consists of individuals who profess "atheism, skepticism, disbelief, or irreligion, including the militantly antireligious." Concerning the 2.3% figure just mentioned, the 2005 survey cited by Encyclopedia Britannica survey did not include Buddhist in regards to the 2.3% figure and Buddhism can be theistic or atheistic.[179]

Ipsos, a major global market research company, published a report on report on religious belief/skepticism from a worlwide perspective and the report provides various statistics gained from survey results.

Other well known proponents of atheism

Prominent holders of the position of atheism and atheist schools of thought have been or include:

Atheism quotes

See articles: Atheism Quotes and Humorous quotes about atheism and evolution

Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

See also

Online videos concerning atheism and related topics

External links

see also: Atheism website resources

General articles on atheism:

Atheism and purpose/meaning:

Atheism and morality:

Psychology of atheism:

Atheism and leadership:

Documentary on atheism:

Decline of global atheism:

Christian outreach to atheists on YouTube:

Unreasonableness of atheism:

Atheism and uncharitableness:

Atheism is a religion:

Comedy/satire concerning atheism

Atheism and intelligence:

Atheism and cowardice:

Atheism and science:

Various issues concerning atheism:

Atheism and history

Atheism and some recent events

Sermons

Miscellaneous

Recommended reading

General Works Relating to Atheism and/or Defense of Theism:


Book on the New Atheism:

  • R. Albert Mohler Jr., (2008), Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists, Crossway, ISBN 9781433504976

Atheism and history:

  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (December, 1987), A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Antireligious Policies, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0312381328
  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (November, 1987), Soviet Antireligious Campaigns and Persecutions (History of Soviet Atheism in Theory and Practice and the Believers, Vol 2), Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0312009054
  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (August, 1988), Soviet Studies on the Church and the Believer's Response to Atheism: A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory and Practice and the Believers, Vol 3, Palgrave Macmillan, hardcover: ISBN 0312012918, paperback edition: ISBN 0312012926


Notes

  1. Multiple references:
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Multiple references:
  3. Athenagoras (2nd century A.D.). A Plea for the Christians. Retrieved from earlychristianwritings.com Early Christian Writings, July 16, 2014.
  4. Plato, Apol., 26 c.
  5. Dr. Martin Luther King in his sermon Rediscovering Lost Values spoke of "practical atheism". King, Dr. Martin Luther (1954). "Rediscovering lost values". Retrieved from Globatron, July 16, 2014. Caution: Presumably copyrighted work in the U.S. until 2049 and in Canada until 2018. For fair educational use only.
  6. Rousseau, Jacques (July 13, 2011). "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can rip my soul". Daily Maverick [South Africa]. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  7. Forty Year Atheist, The (2007). "The reasoning atheist". Atheism Analyzed: The Reality Approach. Retrieved July 16, 2014
  8. "Board of directors" (July 1, 2014). American Atheists. Retrieved from Internet Archive, July 16, 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Scott, Blair (December 1, 2012). "An open letter from Blair Scott". American Atheists. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  10. Harr, Ken and Lisle, Dr. Jason (August 9, 2007). "Chapter 1: Is there really a God?" The New Answers Book. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Nazworth, Nap (July 11, 2012). "Study: atheists have lowest 'retention rate' compared to religious groups". christianpost.com. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  12. Multiple references:
    • Pearson, Christopher (May 9, 2009). "Defectors to faith mark a growing trend". from theaustralian.com. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
    • Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (February 2011). "Faith in Flux" from Faith in Flux: Changes in Religious Affiliation in the U. S. PewResearchCenter. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  13. Harms, William (April 18, 2012). "Belief in God rises with age, even in atheist nations". UChicagoNews. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Multiple references:
  15. Smith, Craig S. (July 3, 2005). "A casualty on Romania's road back from atheism". From NYTimes.com. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  16. Multiple references:
    • Schwadel, Philip (2011). "The effects of education on Americans’ religious practices, beliefs, and affiliations" [abstract]. Review of Religious Research 53:2. DOI:10.1007/s13644-011-0007-4. "(2) [E]ducation positively affects religious participation, devotional activities, and emphasizing the importance of religion in daily life; (3) education positively affects switching religious affiliations, particularly to a mainline Protestant denomination, but not disaffiliation; (4) education is positively associated with questioning the role of religion in secular society but not with support for curbing the public opinions of religious leaders; and (5) the effects of education on religious beliefs and participation vary across religious traditions. Education does influence Americans’ religious beliefs and activities, but the effects of education on religion are complex." Abstract retrieved from link.springer.com, July 16, 2014.
    • Jim Kavanagh (11 August 2011). "Study: more educated tend to be more religious, by some measures". CNN. “‘With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, “I don’t believe in God,”’ he said. ‘But you are relatively more likely to say, “I believe in a higher power.”’” Retrieved July 17, 2014. See CNN.
    • Daily Mail reporter (12 August 2011). "The more education people receive, the more religious they become?". Daily Mail. “By analyzing data from a large national survey, sociologist Philip Schwadel of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that people tend to become more religious—by certain definitions—as they further their education. The survey also qualified what concept of God or a 'higher power' individuals held, as well as whether they had any doubts. Mr Schwadel said that: 'With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, "I don’t believe in God," but you are relatively more likely to say, "I believe in a higher power."'” Retrieved July 17, 2014. See Daily Mail.
    • Winkler, Amanda (13 August 2011). "More is more when it comes to education and religion", study says. The Christian Post. “Sociologist Philip Schwadel from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) studied this phenomenon. He discovered that people today tend to become more religious as they further their education.” Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  17. Day, Vox (January 15, 2014). "Mailvox: the distribution of atheist intelligence". Vox Populi. Retrieved July 16, 2014. See Vox Day
  18. Taylor-Blake, Bonnie (September 24, 2006). "'There are no atheists in [the] foxholes'". Message posted to The American Dialect Society [Electronic] Mailing List, archived at ListServ 16.0. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  19. More, Hannah (1815). An Essay on the Character and Practical Writings of St. Paul, 5th ed., vol. 2 (London: T. Cadell and W. Davies), p. 234. Retrieved from Internet Archive, July 16, 2014.
  20. "Milestones [excerpt]" (October 15, 1945). Time. Retrieved from Time magazine website, July 17, 2014.
  21. "Tells of religion in army. Chaplain Lawson says there are no atheists in front line" (November 25, 1918). New York Times, p. 13. Retrieved from nytimes.com on July 17, 2014.
  22. Breen, Tom (April 2, 2011)."Army group 'coming out of the atheist closet'" from NBCNews.com Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  23. Mulligan, Martin (1959). "Private property and communism" translation of Marx, Karl (1932), Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (Moscow: Progress Publishers). Retrieved on July 17, 2014. Caution: Presumably copyrighted in the United States until 2054 and in the United Kingdom until 2029. For fair educational use only.
  24. Rothstein, Andrew and Issacs, Bernard (1973). "The attitude of the worker's party to religion" translation of Lenin, Vladimir (1909), Proletary, No. 45, May 13 (26), Collected Works, (Moscow: Progress Publishers) vol. 15, pp. 402-13. Retrieved on July 17, 2014. Caution: Presumably copyrighted in the United States until 2068. For fair educational use only.
  25. "Investigating atheism: Marxism". University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”
  26. Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg (2009). On Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Scientific Autobiography p. 161. Springer Science+Business Media. Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists.”
  27. Multiple references:
    • James Adair (2007). Christianity: The eBook p. 461. JBE Online Books. Retrieved on July 18, 2014. “Although the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Changes to the calendar eliminated references to Christian holidays, and even the ancient seven-day week, and a list of officially recognized saints included such famous thinkers such as Socrates, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. A period of political persecution, often with religious overtones, broke out, known as the Reign of Terror. Thousands of people were executed by the guillotine, including many of the original leaders of the French Revolution.”
    • William Belsham (1801). Memoirs of the Reign of George III. to the Session of Parliament ending A.D. 1793, Volume 5 pp. 105-6. G.G. & J. Robinson. Retrieved on July 18, 2014. “In allusion to the monstrous transactions of this portentous period, it has been eloquently and energetically observed, 'that the reign of atheism in France was avowed the reign of terror. In the full madness of their career, in the highest climax of their horrors, they shut up the temples of God, abolished His worship, and proclaimed death to be an eternal sleep:—in the very centre of Christendom, Revelation underwent a total eclipse, while atheism, performing on a darkened theatre its strange and fearful tragedy, confounded the first elements of society, blended every age, rank, and sex, indiscriminate proscription and massacre, and convulsed all Europe to its centre, that the imperishable memorial of these events might teach the last generations of mankind to consider religion as the pillar of society, the parent of social order, and the safe-guard of nations.'
      "It is wonderful that, amid the horrors of this dismal period, while 'the death dance of democratic revolution' was still in rapid movement, among the tears of affliction, and the cries of despair, 'the masque, the song, the theatric scene, the buffoon laughter, went on as regularly as in the gay hour of festive peace.'”
    • William Kilpatrick (2012). Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West p. 57. Ignatius Press. Retrieved on July 18, 2014. “Actually, it's helpful to think in terms of two Enlightenments: the Enlightenment that cut itself off from God. The former led to the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the abolition of slavery, and the civil rights movement. The latter led to the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the suppression of church by state, and the godless philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche and their offspring—National Socialism and communism. More recently the abandonment of God has led to the regime of cultural relativism that regards rights as arbitrary constructions.
      "It's this second Enlightenment tradition that Cardinal Ratzinger referred to when he wrote, 'The radical detachment of the Enlightenment philosophy from its roots ultimately leads it to dispense with man.' Actually this transition happened not 'ultimately' but almost immediately. The first instance occurred when Enlightenment worship of abstract 'reason' and 'liberty' degenerated quickly into the mass murders committed during the antireligious Reign of Terror in France. 'Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name', said Madam Rolande as she faced the statue of Liberty in the Place de la Revolution movements before her death at the guillotine. She was one of the early victims of a succession of secular systems based on rootless notions of 'liberty', 'equality', and 'reason'.
      "As many historians have pointed out, the atheist regimes of modern times are guilty of far more crimes than any committed in the name of religion. Communist governments alone were guilty of more than one hundred million murders, most of them committed against their own people.”
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    • Delany, Samuel R. (2006). About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews (Middletown: Wesleyan), p. 36.
    • "Introduction" (2001). Contemporary Literary Criticism, ed. Hunter, Jeffrey W., vol. 141 (Gale Cengage). Retrieved from eNotes.com on July 20, 2014.
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  117. in Seattle, PZ Myers Reflects Candidly on His Constituency
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  123. Globally the worldviews of atheism and non-religious (agnostic) are declining while global Christianity is exploding in adherents
  124. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary - Status of Global Missions
  125. Shall the religious inherit the earth
  126. 3 Reasons America May Become More Religious
  127. 10 reasons why biblical Christianity will flood the UK in the 21st century
  128. Miracles seen in China revival Published on 20th January 2008
  129. Revival, Miracles in China during Bible Deliveries, Teresa Neumann : Nov 28, 2012 : Staff – Mission Network News
  130. Jesus in the Rice Fields: China's Countryside Revival By George Thomas, CBN News Sr. Reporter, Friday, August 09, 2013
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  146. The World's Religions: Continuities and Transformations. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved on 2011–03–27. “A competing atheistic or panthestic white racist movement also appeared, which included the Church of the Creator/ Creativity (Gardell 2003: 129–134).”
  147. Ludwig Feuerbach. The Essence of Christianity. John Chapman. Retrieved on 2011–03–27. “Christ loved men: he wished to bless and unite them all without distinction of sex, age, rank or nationality. Christ is the love of mankind to itself embodied in an image–in accordance with the nature of religion as we have developed it–or contemplated as a person, but a person who (we mean, of course, as a religious object) has only the significance of an image, who is only ideal. For this reason love is pronounced to be the characteristic mark of the disciples.”
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  168. Interview with an atheist
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