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] Paul Edwards, who was a prominent atheist and editor of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, defined an atheist as "a person who maintains that there is no God." [2]

Beginning in the latter portion of the 20th century and continuing beyond, many agnostics/atheists have argued that the definition of atheism should be defined as a lack of belief in God or gods. [2][3] [4][5]

Atheism has been examined by many disciplines in terms of its effects on individuals and on societies and these effects will be covered shortly.

As far as individuals adopting an atheistic worldview, atheism has a number of causal factors and these will be elaborated on below.

Contents

Types of atheism

See also: Schools of atheist thought and Atheist factions

Diagoras of Melos was an ancient Greek atheist, poet and sophist of the 5th century BC. See: History of atheism

The history of atheism can be dated to as early as the 5th century B.C. Diagoras of Melos was a 5th century BC. Greek atheist, poet and sophist. Since this time, there have been many schools of atheist thought that have developed.

Atheism and why do atheists state they disbelieve?

See also: Weak atheism and Strong atheism

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).

As as alluded to above, theists and others have posited a number of causes of atheism and this matter will be further addressed in this article.

Attempts to broaden the definition of atheism

Charles Bradlaugh, in 1876, proposed that atheism does not assert "there is no God," and by doing so he endeavored to dilute the traditional definition of atheism.[3][6] As noted above, in the latter portion of the 20th century, the proposition that the definition of atheism be defined as a mere lack of belief in God or gods began to be commonly advanced by agnostics/atheists.[3][7] It is now common for atheists/agnostics and theists to debate the meaning of the word atheism.[3][8]

Critics of a broader definition of atheism to be a mere lack of belief indicate that such a definition is contrary to the traditional/historical meaning of the word and that such a definition makes atheism indistinguishable from agnosticism.[2][3][9]

For more information, please see:

Some common types of atheism

Below are three common ways that atheism manifests itself:

1. Militant atheism which continues to suppress and oppress religious believers today

Topics related to militant atheism

2. Philosophical atheism - Atheist philosophers assert that God does not exist. (See also: Naturalism and Materialism)

Secular humanism is a philosophy which holds that human beings are the most important figures, and that social problems are best solved without the involvement of religious doctrine.

The philosophy of postmodernism is atheistic (see: Atheism and postmodernism).

3. Atheistic Buddhism (some schools of Buddhism are theistic)

4. Practical atheism: atheism of the life - that is, living as though God does not exist.[10]

6. Other schools of atheist thought: Schools of atheist thought

Atheist factions

See also: Atheist factions and Atheist organizations

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins was a central figure in the Elevatorgate controversy.

In 2015, Dr. J. Gordon Melton said about the atheist movement (organized atheism) that atheism is not a movement which tends to create community, but in the last few years there has been some growth of organized atheism.[11] See also; Atheist factions and Atheist organizations

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."[12] 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."[13]

Atheist infighting

See also: Atheist movement and Atheism and anger

Blair Scott served on the American Atheists board of directors.[14] 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.[15]

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.[15]

The atheist Neil Carter wrote:

Friends of mine have noted lately how biting and critical the atheist community can be, not only toward outsiders, but even toward its own members. Has there ever been a subculture more prone to eating its own than this one? I really don’t know.[16]
See also: Antitheism and antisocial behavior

Eddie Tabash on atheist argumentativeness

See also: Atheism and social intelligence and Atheism and emotional intelligence

The American, atheist activist Eddie Tabash said in a speech to the Michigan Atheists State Convention, "Since we are a bit of a cantankerous, opinionated lot...".[17]

Low retention rate of atheists in atheist households

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

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household in the United States remain atheists as adults.[18] See: Atheism retention rate

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.[18] 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.[19] See also: Atheism and poor relationships with parents

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[20] Pew Forum reports about American atheists: "Among self-identified atheists and agnostics, the median age is 34, and roughly four-in-ten adults in these categories are between the ages of 18 and 29."[21] See also: Atheism and immaturity.

In addition, in atheistic Communist China, Christianity is experiencing rapid growth (see: Growth of Christianity in China).

See also:

Difficulty in participating in atheist community

See also: Atheism and loneliness and Atheism and apathy and Internet atheism and Atheist organizations

In comparison to many religious groups, which have many meetings in numerous places in a given day or week which are convenient to attend, atheist meetings are sparse. One of the causes of this situation is the apathy of many atheists (see: Atheism and apathy).

Jerry Coyne speaking at a 2013 atheist meeting entitled The Amazing Meeting (TAM). TAM is an annual meeting.

Atheist Francois Tremblay wrote about the difficulty of motivating atheists to engage in activities related to atheism: "One last problem that undermines any propagation of atheism is inspiration. Let's be honest here, "there is no god!" is not a very motivating call for most people." (see also: Atheism and inspiration).[22] The atheist Jerry Coyne said about atheist meetings/conferences, "But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks."[23]

In an essay entitled How the Atheist Movement Failed Me, an atheist woman noted that participation in the atheist community is often expensive due to the cost of attending atheist conferences and even local atheist meetings in restaurants and bars challenged her modest budget.[24] As a result of the challenges that atheists commonly have in terms of socializing in person, some atheists turn to the internet in terms of communicating with other atheists.[25] Often internet communication between atheists turns turns contentious (see: Atheist factions).

For more information, please see: Atheism and loneliness

Abandonment of atheism and communist regimes

Claims about the conditionality and existence of atheism

Dr. Cornelius Van Til argued that atheists actively suppress their belief and knowledge of God.[26] In other words, atheists engage in self-deception about the existence of God.

See also: Atheists doubting the validity of atheism

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'."[27]

Denials that atheists exist

See also: Denials that atheists exist and Atheists doubting the validity of atheism and Atheism and apathy

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). In atheistic Japan, researchers found that Japanese children see the world as designed.[28]

Atheism and death

See also: Atheism and death and Atheist funerals and Atheism and Hell

According to a study performed in the United States by researchers Wink and Scott, very religious people fear death the least.[29] See: Atheism and death

Science Daily reported that Death anxiety increases atheists' unconscious belief in God.[30] In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Nathan A. Heflick reported similar results in other studies.[31] Under stress, the brain's processing works in a way that prefers unconscious thinking.[32]

A United States study and a Taiwanese study indicated that the irreligious fear death more than the very religious.[33]

Atheists and belief in life after death

See also: Atheism and life after death and Atheists and supernatural beliefs

A significant percentage of atheists believe in life after death (see: Atheism and life after death).[34]

For additional information, please see:

Atheism and Hell

See also: Atheism and Hell

The journalist and ex-atheist Peter Hitchens, who is the brother of the late atheist Christopher Hitchens, said upon seeing an art exhibit of Michelangelo's painting The Last Judgment he came to the realization that he might be judged which startled him.[35] This started a train of thought within Peter Hitchens that eventually led him to become a Christian.[35]

There are no atheists in foxholes

See also: There are no atheists in foxholes and Atheists doubting the validity of atheism

Reverend William T. Cummings is famous for declaring There are no atheists in foxholes.[36]

Reverend William T. Cummings is famous for declaring "There are no atheists in foxholes."[37] 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."[38] On the other hand, the news organization NBC featured a story in which atheist veterans claimed that there are atheists in foxholes.[39]

Research indicates that heavy combat has a positive correlation to the strength of the religious faith in soldiers during the battles and subsequent to the war if they indicated their experience was a negative experience (for more information please see: There are no atheists in foxholes).

Also, due to research showing that death anxiety increases atheists' unconscious belief in God, Dr. Nathan Heflick declared in a Psychology Today article, "But, at a less conscious (or pre-conscious) level, this research suggests that there might be less atheism in foxholes than atheists in foxholes report."[31] Please see: Atheism and death

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

Atheist Karl Marx, Vladmir Lenin and Zhou Enlai

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.[40]

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."[41]

In 1955, Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai declared, "We Communists are atheists".[42] In 2014, the Communist Party of China reaffirmed that members of their party must be atheists.[43]

Russian revolution caused the most notable spread of atheism

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."[44] Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists."[45] However, prior to this, the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution established a state which was anti-Roman Catholicism/Christian in nature [46] (anti-clerical deism and anti-religious atheism and played a significant role in the French Revolution[47]), with the official ideology being the Cult of Reason; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the guillotine.[48]

Atheistic communism and mass murder

See also: Atheism and mass murder and Atheist atrocities

The militant atheistic regime of Joseph Stalin killed tens of millions of people. See: Atheism and mass murder

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 and 259,432,000 human lives.[49] 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.[50] Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities and Dawkins was shown to be in gross error. See also: Atheism and historical revisionism

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."[51] 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.[51] 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.[51]

The ex-atheist Theodore Beale 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![52]

See also:

Communism and religious oppression

See also: Communism and religious persecution and Atheistic communism and torture and Atheism and forced labor and China and involuntary organ harvesting

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.[53]

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.[54] According to Orthodox Church sources, as many as fifty million Orthodox believers may have died in the twentieth century, mainly from persecution by Communists.[55]

With its large population, China has the largest population of atheists.[56] The religious landscape of China is quickly changing, however, due to the rapid growth of Christianity. See also: Global atheism

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.[57] Despite intense effort by the atheistic leaders of the Soviet Union, their efforts were not effective in converting the masses to atheism.[58]

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.[59] China continues to practice religious oppression today.[60]

The efforts of China's atheist leaders in promoting atheism, however, is increasingly losing its effectiveness and the number of Christians in China is rapidly growing (see: Growth of Christianity in China). 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.[61]

North Korea is a repressive communist state and is officially atheistic.[62] The North Korean government practices brutal repression and atrocities against North Korean Christians.[63]

The above photograph shows the Russian Nikolai Khmara, a new Baptist convert in the Soviet Union, after his arrest by the KGB. He was tortured to death and his tongue cut out.[64][65] See also: Atheistic communism and torture

Atheistic communism and torture

See also: Atheistic communism and torture

The website Victimsofcommunism.org declares concerning atheistic communism and the use of torture:

Significantly, communists did not merely try to block or halt religious faith but to reverse it. This was particularly true for Romania, even before the Nicolai Ceausescu era. This meant not just forbidding religious practice and jailing ministers and believers but employing torture to force them to renounce their faith. It was not enough to contain, silence, even punish believers in prison; it was decided they must be tortured in truly unimaginably degrading ways to attempt to undo religious faith.[66]

For more information, please see: Atheistic communism and torture

Atheistic communist regimes and forced labor

See also: Atheism and forced labor and Atheism and slavery

In atheistic communist regimes forced labor has often played a significant role in their economies and this practice continues to this day (see: Atheism and forced labor).[67]

Communist China and involuntary organ harvesting

See: Communist China and involuntary organ harvesting

Atheism and politics

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.[68] See: Desecularization

Historically, atheists have favored the left side of the political aisle (see: Atheism and politics).

According to the Pew Forum, in the United States: "About two-thirds of atheists (69%) identify as Democrats (or lean in that direction), and a majority (56%) call themselves political liberals (compared with just one-in-ten who say they are conservatives)."[69]

In some regions where the secular left has considerable influence, they are losing an increasing amount of their power. For example, in secular Europe right-wing, nationalist parties are growing and in China conservative Protestantism is growing rapidly (see: Growth of Christianity in China).[70]

For more information please see:

Desecularization and politics

See also: Desecularization and politics

Desecularization is the process by which religion reasserts its societal influence though religious values, institutions, sectors of society and symbols in reaction to previous and/or co-occurring secularization processes.[71]

Scholars of religious demographics frequently use the term the "global resurgence of religion" to describe the process of global desecularization which began in the late portion of the 20th century.[72]

Due to the higher fertility of religious conservatives and religious immigration to the Western World, the religious are expected to see a net gain in political power in the 21st century and this may cause a rise in social conservatism within various societies over time (see: Desecularization and politics).

Atheism and history

Voroshilov, Molotov, Stalin, with Nikolai Yezhov.jpg
Nikolai Yezhov walking with Joseph Stalin in the top photo taken in the mid 1930s. Subsequent to his execution in 1940, Yezhov was edited out of the photo by Soviet Union censors.[73] See: Atheism and historical revisionism

See also: Atheists and historical illiteracy and History of atheism and Atheist indoctrination and Atheism and historical revisionism

The history of atheism: History of atheism

Atheists and historical illiteracy

A common complaint concerning many atheists is their lack of depth when it comes to knowledge of history and historiography - particularly in areas such as historicity of Jesus Christ and atheist mass murders in history.[74]

For more information, please see:

Atheists and historical revisionism

Atheists commonly engage in historical revisionism in order to illegitimately distort the historical record (see: Atheism and historical revisionism).

Religion/irreligion and war

See also: Irreligion/religion and war

Louise Ridley (assistant news editor at the Huffington Post UK), Vox Day and others point out that academic studies and other research consistently challenge the link between religion and war.[75]

Darwinism and war

There is historical evidence indicating that Darwinism was a causal factor for WWI and WWII (see: Irreligion/religion and war and World War I and Darwinism).

Atheism and economics

Analysis of atheism and common objections to atheism

See also: Resources for leaving atheism and Rebuttals to atheist arguments

The phrase apologetics comes directly from the ancient Greek word apologia which is a derivative of a word meaning to speak in one's defence.[76] Christian apologetics is a field of Christian theology which focuses on the evidence and arguments for Christianity and the evidence and arguments opposing other worldviews.

Biblical statements concerning atheism

See also: Bible verses relating to atheism

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).[77]

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)

Commonly Cited Arguments Against Atheism and For Theism

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

See also: Christian apologetics and Rebuttals to atheist arguments and Responses to atheist arguments

The majority of philosophers of religion, or those who have extensively studied the issue of the existence of God, are theists (72 percent).[78]

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:

  • Cosmological argument: Every event in our universe necessarily has a cause. However, it is impossible that there should be an unending chain of causes going back. Therefore, there necessarily must be a cause distinct from the universe as we know it which is capable of causing all things and is itself uncaused. Atheism denies that that first cause is God. Christians point out that the question "Who created God" is an illogical question.[80] See also: Atheism and the origin of the universe
  • Historical arguments for the existence of God. For example, arguments stemming from historical accounts such as Christian historical apologetics, Christian legal apologetics and archaeological evidence such as Bible archaeology
  • 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."[81]
The argument from beauty argues the existence of beauty in the natural world testifies to the existence of God who both designed natural beauty and who possesses a divine beauty.
  • 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.[82]
  • Inconsistency when it comes to the probability of supernatural phenomena or extremely unlikely events. For example, a significant percentage of atheists believe in life after death and possess superstitious beliefs (see: Atheism and the supernatural).
  • Historically, the atheist population has often used mockery as a substitution for reasonable discussion/debate (see: Atheism and mockery).[87]

For more information, please see:

Atheism and morality/ethics

See also: Atheism and morality and Moral failures of the atheist population and Atheist hypocrisy and Religion and morality

Objective morality incompatible with atheism

Dr. Paul Copan wrote: "...the existence of a personal God is crucial for a coherent understanding of objective morality."[88]

Under an atheist worldview, there is no logical basis for objective morality or ultimate meaning and purpose.[89] See also: Atheism and morality and Atheism and meaninglessness

Atheism and moral relativism

See also: Moral relativism and Atheism and morality

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.[90]

For additional quotes about atheism and morality, please see: Atheism and morality quotes

Barna Group studies: Atheism and morality

Barna Group study on behavior of atheists vs. evangelical Christians:

Richard Deem wrote:

A random sample of 1003 adults were surveyed in May, 2008 by The Barna Group for their participation in a number of negative behaviors within the previous week. The results showed that there were vast differences in the behaviors of evangelicals compared to agnostics/atheists.

These results show that atheists/agnostics participate in morally questionable behaviors to a much greater degree than evangelical Christians - an average of nearly five times the frequency![91]

Barna Group study related to atheist beliefs about behaviors:

The Barna Group found that atheists and agnostics 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.[92]

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. See also: Atheism and sexual immorality

Study: U.S. public perception of atheist morality

In 2014, a University of Kentucky study was published by Will M. Gervais, which was entitled "Everything is permitted? People intuitively judge immorality as representative of atheists", and the study indicated that "even atheist participants viewed immorality as significantly more representative of atheists than of other people."[93]

Atheism and uncharitableness

See also: Atheism and charity and Atheist nonprofit scandals and Atheism, uncharitableness and depression
A child in Thailand where the nontheistic form of Buddhism called the Theravada school of Buddhism is prevalent. In 2010, the Pew Research Forum indicated that 93.2% of the people of Thailand were Buddhists.[94] A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts.[95] See: Atheism and uncharitableness

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.[96]

A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts.[95]

See also: Atheism, social justice and hypocrisy

Atheism and lower empathy

See: Atheism and lower empathy

Church-state issues emphasis. Charity low priority

See also: Atheism and uncharitableness and Western atheism and race and Atheism and love

In June 2014, the African-American atheist woman Sikivu Hutchinson wrote in the Washington Post that atheist organizations generally focus on church-state separation and creationism issues and not the concerns the less affluent African American population faces.[97] Hutchinson also mentioned that church organizations do focus on helping poor African Americans.[97]

Atheist nonprofit scandals

See also: Atheist nonprofit scandals and Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science - Embezzlement allegation

Two atheist nonprofit scandals which recently received some publicity were the organizations Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and the We Are Atheism organization.[98]

In addition, David Gorski at Scienceblogs indicated that many atheist/skeptic organizations are poorly run from a financial standpoint.[99]

For more information, please see: Atheist nonprofit scandals

Atheist fundraising vs. Religious fundraising

See: Atheist fundraising vs. religious fundraising

Atheism and pornography

See also: Atheism and pornography

One of the causes of atheism is a hedonistic lifestyle. See: Atheism and hedonism.

The infamous pornographers Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt are both atheists.[101]

In 2003, Arena magazine magazine listed Flynt as #1 on the "50 Powerful People in Porn" list.[102] Flynt is paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries sustained from a 1978 assassination attempt by the serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.[103]

Atheism and child pornography

See also: Atheism and child pornography

In 2005 Denmark was ranked the third most atheistic country in the world and the website adherents.com reported that in 2005 43 - 80% of Danes are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[104]

The 2003 book entitled Overcoming Violence Against Women and Girls: The International Campaign to Eradicate a Worldwide Problem written by authors Rahel Nardos; Mary K. Radpour; William S. Hatcher and Michael L. Penn, declared:

The largest source of commercial child pornography is Denmark. Denmark became the world's leading producer of child pornography when, in 1969, it removed all restrictions on the production and sale of any type of pornographic material. "The result," notes Tim Tate, "was a short-lived explosion in adult pornography, and the birth of commercial child pornography. ....by 1979 when Denmark finally banned the production and sale of child pornography it had already become such a financial success on the international market that it has proven to be nearly impossible to bring its spread under control.[105]

Suzanne Ost, in her 2009 book Child Pornography and Sexual Grooming: Legal and Societal Responses published by Cambridge University Press, wrote about the child pornography created by Denmark/Holland during this period: "Taylor and Quayle note that the material produced during this period still constitutes the largest part of child pornography that is currently available, having been transferred into digital format and uploaded onto the internet."[106]

Other atheistic countries and child pornography/child prostitution:

Atheism, pedophilia/pederasty and NAMBLA

See also: Atheism, pederasty and NAMBLA and Teenage homosexuality and Homosexuality and pedophilia

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

The North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) was founded in December 1978 and is an activist homosexuality and pedophilia/pederasty coalition group.

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).[107]

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.[108] Harry Hay was an atheist.[109] He was a vociferous advocate of man/boy love.[110] In 1986, Hay marched in a gay parade wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words "NAMBLA walks with me."[111]

3. The writer Samuel R. Delany is an atheist and a homosexual.[112] Delaney said he was a supporter of NAMBLA.[113]

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

Atheism and slavery/forced labor

Immorality of prominent atheists

See also: Atheism, polyamory and other immoral relationships

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.[114]

See also:

Atheism and polyamory

See also: Atheism, polyamory and other immoral relationships

The prominent, American, atheist blogger JT Eberhard wrote: "You may also consider turning to the atheist community. It seems half of us are poly nowadays."[115]

Irreligion and domestic violence

See also: Irreligion and domestic violence and Atheism and women and Atheism and rape

Research suggests that irreligiousity is a causal factor for domestic violence.[116]

The abstract for the 2007 article in the journal Violence Against Women entitled Race/Ethnicity, Religious Involvement, and Domestic Violence indicated:

The authors explored the relationship between religious involvement and intimate partner violence by analyzing data from the first wave of the National Survey of Families and Households. They found that: (a) religious involvement is correlated with reduced levels of domestic violence; (b) levels of domestic violence vary by race/ethnicity; (c) the effects of religious involvement on domestic violence vary by race/ethnicity; and (d) religious involvement, specifically church attendance, protects against domestic violence, and this protective effect is stronger for African American men and women and for Hispanic men, groups that, for a variety of reasons, experience elevated risk for this type of violence.[116]
Secular Europe and domestic violence
See also: Secular Europe and domestic violence

Atheism and rape

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

Atheism and abortion

The Journal of Medical Ethics wrote this about 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.[117]

Population control is based on pseudoscience and ill founded economic assumptions.[118] 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."[119]

Atheism and profanity

See also: Atheism and profanity and Atheism and culture

Studies indicate that atheists engage in more profanity than Christians/theists and are more likely to believe that obscene language is acceptable to engage in.[120] Use of profanity by individuals is negatively correlated with conscientiousness and agreeableness.[121]

For more information, please see: Atheism and profanity

Atheism and bestiality

See also: Atheism and bestiality

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.[122] See: Atheism and bestiality

Bestiality is the act of engaging in sexual relations with an animal. In addition to being repulsive and being a sexual taboo in societies, bestiality can cause harm to both animals and humans.[123]

In 2014, a global news channel which broadcasts documentaries about current topics, reported concerning secular Europe: "Bestiality is having a weird renaissance in Europe."[124] See also: Bestiality and secular Europe

A 2015 Jerusalem Post article indicates "Copenhagen has for long been the bestiality capital of Europe and has attracted many tourists mainly visiting to have sex with animals. Legislation against this practice was only enacted this year."[125]

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.[126]

The prominent atheist P. Z. Meyers declared, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions...."[127]

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."[128]

For additional information please see:

In areas of the West 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).

Irreligion and crime/prison population

Atheism and cannibalism

See also: Atheism and cannibalism

As far as atheism and cannibalism, historically some of the more notable cases of cannibalism which occurred was the cannibalism which occurred under Communist regimes and the cannibalism of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (see: Atheism and cannibalism).

John Attarian wrote concerning the atheist Marquis de Sade: "For the Sadean egotist, then, everything is permitted. Sade incessantly rationalized the most depraved and libertine sexuality, and every crime including cannibalism and murder."[129]

Atheism and other moral issues

For more information please see: Atheism and morality and List of the moral failures of the atheist population and Atheism and hedonism

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

Angry and bitter demeanor of militant atheists

See also: Atheism and anger and Atheism and unforgiveness

An angry atheist speaking to a woman with a Bible in her hand. The Christian philosopher James S. Spiegel says that the path from Christianity to atheism among several of his friends involved moral slippage such as resentment or unforgiveness.[130] See: Atheism and unforgiveness

On January 1, 2011, CNN reported:

People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image - that is, what they imagined God might be like - said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist.

In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers.[131]

Various studies found that traumatic events in people's lives has a positive correlation with "emotional atheism".[132]

The atheist and lesbian Greta Christina told the journalist Chris Mooney on the Point of Inquiry podcast, "there isn't one emotion" that affects atheists "but anger is one of the emotions that many of us have ...[it] drives others to participate in the movement."[133]

Social science research indicates that anti-theists score the highest among atheists when it comes to personality traits such as narcissism, dogmatism, and anger.[134] Furthermore, they scored lowest when it comes to agreeableness and positive relations with others.[135]

For additional information, please see: Atheism and social intelligence and Atheism and emotional intelligence and Atheism and unforgiveness

Atheism and social justice

Atheist scandals

See: Atheist scandals

Earlier definitions of atheism

Dictionaries point out that previous/archaic meanings of the word atheism are: ungodliness. wickedness, immorality[136][137]

Atheism and meaning

Why atheism is irrational

See also: Atheism and irrationality and Irreligion and superstition

A common and legitimate criticism of the atheist worldview is that atheism is irrational.[138] In short, atheism is a fundamentally incoherent worldview with a number of inconsistencies.[139] For example, the atheistic worldview cannot account for the laws of logic.[140] See also: Atheism and critical thinking

The atheist worldview cannot explain the existence of consciousness either and the theistic worldview can offer a reasonable explanation.[141]

A common and legitimate criticism of the atheist worldview is that atheism is irrational.[138] In short, atheism is a fundamentally incoherent worldview with a number of inconsistencies.[139]

For more information, please see:

Atheism and reason

See also: Atheism and reason

If naturalism is true, then we ought not to trust our capacity for reason for the human brain would be a byproduct of blind/unintelligent natural forces. [142] Therefore, believing in naturalism is self-defeating.

In short, atheism/naturalism and reason are incompatible.[142]

Logical fallacies that atheists commonly commit

List of logical fallacies that atheists commonly commit: Atheism and logical fallacies

Atheism and meaninglessness

See also: Atheism and meaninglessness and Nihilism and Absurdism and Existentialism

Under an atheistic worldview, there is no objective meaning or purpose in life.[143] Through Jesus Christ, Christianity offers objective meaning and purpose to life.[144]

For more information, please see: Atheism and meaninglessness

Arrogance of atheism/atheists

See also: Atheism and arrogance and Atheism and narcissism and Atheism and deception

Even in atheistic Japan, researchers found that Japanese children see the world as designed.[145]

One of the common and well-founded charges against atheists is their arrogance and presumptuousness.[146]

Why atheism is an arrogant ideology

See also: Arguments against atheism and Atheism and arrogance

Atheists lack proof and evidence that God does not exist and ignore the clear and abundant proof and evidence that He does exist. The philosopher Mortimer Adler pointed out that atheism asserts an unreasonable universal negative that is self-defeating.[147]

Contrary to the mistaken notion of individuals who are inexperienced in logic/philosophy, there are plenty of cases where universal negatives can be proven.[148] However, atheists' universal negative claim that God does not exist is not a reasonable universal negative claim.[147]

Atheists have also given themselves pretentious monikers such as freethinker, rationalist and "bright". See also: Brights Movement and Atheism and intelligence

In addition, historically militant atheists have commonly endeavored to limit the religious freedom of others while imposing their errant, atheistic ideology on others. See also: Atheism and intolerance

Study: Arrogance of New Atheists

See: Study relating the arrogance of New Atheists

Atheists/agnostics and ultimate purpose

See also: Atheism and purpose and Atheism, agnosticism and pessimism and Atheism and beliefs

One of the most popular arguments for God's existence is the teleological argument. Derived from the Greek word telos, which refers to purpose or end, this argument hinges on the idea that the world gives evidence of being designed, and concludes that a divine designer must be posited to account for the orderly world we encounter.

Academic research and historical data indicate that a significant portion of atheists/agnostics often see their lives and the world as being the product of purposeful design (see: Atheism and purpose).[149]

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the leading proponents of atheism of the 20th Century.

Yet Jean-Paul Sartre made this candid confession:

As for me, I don’t see myself as so much dust that has appeared in the world but as a being that was expected, prefigured, called forth. In short, as a being that could, it seems, come only from a creator; and this idea of a creating hand that created me refers me back to God. Naturally this is not a clear, exact idea that I set in motion every time I think of myself. It contradicts many of my other ideas; but it is there, floating vaguely. And when I think of myself I often think rather in this way, for want of being able to think otherwise [emphasis added].[150]

Furthermore, late in his life, the agnostic/weak atheist and evolutionist Charles Darwin often had overwhelming thoughts that the world was designed.[151]

See also:

Atheism and religion and philosophy topics

Atheism is a religion

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

The British atheist Sanderson Jones is a founder of the Sunday Assembly atheist church movement.[152] See: Atheism is a religion

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

In addition, although many atheists deny that atheism is a worldview, atheists commonly share a number of beliefs such as naturalism, belief in evolution and abiogenesis.[153]

Roderick Ninian Smart, a Scottish writer and professor, defined a seven-part scheme of understanding both religious and secular worldviews[154] 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.[155] However, it can be argued that all seven are present in the case of atheism.[156]

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.[157]

See also:

Atheist cults

See also: Atheist cults

Within the atheist religion, there have been a number of atheist cults and atheistic groups which have had a cultish following. Some of these atheist cults/groups still exist today. In 2015, FtBCon which is an online conference organized by the Freethought Blogs network, recognized that nonreligious/secular cults exist (for example, the atheist cult of objectivism).[158]

An example of an atheist cult in history is the Cult of Reason during the French Revolution. The French atheist Pierre Gaspard Chaumette encouraged the "worship of Reason".[159]

The atheist cults or atheist groups which have had a cultish following which have formed in history or exist today are often a result of factors such as: utopian thinking, fanatical devolution to various atheistic ideologies, a poor understanding of science/technology (or a penchant for materialist pseudoscientific thinking) and wishful thinking.

For a more complete listing and description of atheist cults or atheistic groups which have a cultish following, please see: Atheist cults.

See also: Atheist indoctrination

Atheism and spirituality

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."[160]

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

In September 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.[160]

According to Pew Forum, evangelical Protestant churches in America grew by 2 million from 2007 to 2014.[161] See: Atheism vs. Christianity

For more information please see: Irreligion and superstition

Atheism vs. Abrahamic religions and religion

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.[162] 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.[163] 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.[164]

The Christian Post reporter Stoyan Zaimov wrote: "Double-blind prayer experiments: where people pray for others with terminal illness. Habermas admitted that most such experiments have not worked, but the three that he knows of that have indeed worked were cases of orthodox-Christians praying for the sick."[165]

Atheists who believe in life after death

See also: Atheism and the supernatural

A survey involving 15,738 individuals found that 32 percent of Americans who identified themselves as agnostics and atheists believe in an afterlife of some kind.[166][167]

Atheism and science

See also: Atheism and science

Atheism and the suppression of science

See: Atheism and the suppression of science

Atheism and the social sciences

See: Atheism and the social sciences

Atheism and the foundation of modern science

See also: Christianity and science

The birth of modern science occurred in Christianized Europe.[168]

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,[169] 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.[169]

Sir Francis Bacon, sometimes referred to as "the Father of Modern Science", wrote in his essay entitled Of Atheism: "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."[170]

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.[171] See also: Atheism and the origin of the universe

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/agnosticism.[172] Creation scientists assert that the theory of evolution is an inadequate explanation for the variety of life forms on earth.[173] The theory of evolution has had a number of negative social effects.

In addition, the current naturalistic explanations for the origin of life are inadequate.[174]

Atheism and scientific community

Atheism and deception

For more information please see: Atheism and deception and Atheism and truth 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.[175] On the other hand, there is also evidence that Charles Darwin was an agnostic (see: Religious views of Charles Darwin).

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.[175]

German scientist Ernst Haeckel was a very influential proponent of the evolutionary position and Haeckel was an advocate of atheism.[176] Ernst Haeckel attempted to portray himself as an ethical proponent of atheism, however, history shows he was a deceitful individual.[177] The March 9, 1907 edition of the New York Times refers to Ernst Haeckel as the "celebrated Darwinian and founder of the Association for the Propagation of Ethical Atheism."[176]

For more information please see: Atheism and deception and Atheism and truth

Atheism and mental and physical health

See also: Atheism and health and Atheism and alcoholism and Atheism and negative emotions/thoughts

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 [178] For more information please see: Atheism and health

Mayo Clinic and other studies

The prestigious Mayo Clinic found that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better physical health and mental health outcomes.[179] See: Atheism and health

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.[179]

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%.[180]

Atheism and suicide

See also: Atheism and suicide and Atheism and depression and Hopelessness of atheism and Atheism, agnosticism and pessimism

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.[181] In 1894, the New York 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.[182]
Atheists have higher suicide rates. See: Atheism and suicide

The website Adherents.com reported the following in respect to atheism and suicide:

Pitzer College sociologist Phil Zuckerman compiled country-by-country survey, polling and census numbers relating to atheism, agnosticism, disbelief in God and people who state they are non-religious or have no religious preference...In examining various indicators of societal health, Zuckerman concludes about suicide:

"...According to the 2003 World Health Organization's report on international male suicides rates (which compared 100 countries), of the top ten nations with the highest male suicide rates, all but one (Sri Lanka) are strongly irreligious nations with high levels of atheism."[183]

For more information please see:

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Europe, "The WHO European Region has the highest proportion in the world of total ill health and premature death due to alcohol.[184]

Atheism and alcoholism

See also: Atheism and alcoholism

At least 100 studies suggests religion has a positive effect on preventing alcohol-related problems, researchers Christopher Ellison, Jennifer Barrett and Benjamin Moulton noted in an article in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion on “Gender, Marital Status, and Alcohol Behavior: The Neglected Role of Religion.”[185]

Atheists and atheistic cultures often have significant problems with excess alcohol usage (For more information please see: Atheism and alcoholism).

For example, as far as secular Europe, according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Europe, "The WHO European Region has the highest proportion in the world of total ill health and premature death due to alcohol.[184]

Atheism and illegal drug use and drug addition

See also: Atheism and drug addiction

Studies indicate that religious individuals are less likely to engage in illegal drug use than atheists/nonreligious.[186][187][188]

According to Science Daily: "Young Swiss men who say that they believe in God are less likely to smoke cigarettes or pot or take ecstasy pills than Swiss men of the same age group who describe themselves as atheists. Belief is a protective factor against addictive behaviour. This is the conclusion reached by a study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.[189]

Atheism and loneliness

Secular societies commonly have significant levels of loneliness. See: Atheism and loneliness

See also: Atheism and loneliness

Loneliness has been linked to many physical and mental health problems.[190]

Compared to deeply religious cultures where an extended family and a sense of community often exists, secular countries are often lonelier societies. In addition, numerous studies and other data indicate that atheists often have lower emotional intelligence and lower social skills (see: Atheism and emotional intelligence and Atheism and social skills).

For more information, please see:

Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

See also: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism and Irreligion and unsportsmanlike conduct 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.[191] 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.[191]
See also: Atheism and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence

Atheism and obesity

The atheist Stephen Fry.

See also: Atheism and obesity and Atheism and the fat acceptance movement

According to the Gallup Organization, "Very religious Americans are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are moderately religious or nonreligious."[192] 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."[192]

Atheistic China and obesity

See also: China and obesity

China has the world's largest atheist population.[193] In 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that atheistic China has 300 million overweight individuals and it has the second highest obesity rate in the world.[194]

According to a 2012 report by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese children in China has reached 120 million.[195] A recent study published in the Obesity Reviews journal, found that Chinese teenagers' rate of diabetes was four times that of their American peers.[196] Due to their past one-child policy, which had some exceptions, China now has a lot of over-pampered and over-fed children.[197]

A recent study published in the Obesity Reviews journal, found that Chinese teenagers' rate of diabetes was four times that of their American peers.[198]

Secular Europe and obesity

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported: "Based on the latest estimates in European Union countries, overweight affects 30-70% and obesity affects 10-30% of adults."[199]

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported:

Based on the latest estimates in European Union countries, overweight affects 30-70% and obesity affects 10-30% of adults.

Estimates of the number of overweight infants and children in the WHO European Region rose steadily from 1990 to 2008. Over 60% of children who are overweight before puberty will be overweight in early adulthood.[199]

Various generations and rates of irreligion/obesity

New Atheism leaders and unhealthy lifestyles

A significant number of the founders of the New Atheism movement have engaged in unhealthy behaviors which have upon occasion caused them significant health problems (see: New Atheism leaders and unhealthy lifestyles).

Despite his esophageal cancer, when asked by interviewer Charlie Rose if in retrospect he would have engaged in heavy drinking and smoking knowing his present cancer condition, the late new atheist Christopher Hitchens said he think he would have done things the same.[200]

Atheism and intelligence

Brain researchers have conducted a number of studies focusing on the differences between atheists and the religious. See: Atheism and the brain

See also: Atheism and intelligence and Atheism and Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and Causes of atheism

Within various countries, standardized intelligence test (IQ) scores related to the issue of atheists/agnostics vs. theists intelligence scores yield conflicting results.[201] Part of the problem is that social scientists use variant definitions of atheism.[202] See also: Atheism, intelligence and the General Social Survey

However, within individuals, families and societies irreligion/religion can have an effect on intelligence - especially over time (See: Atheism and intelligence).

For more information, please see:

Study on emotional intelligence and religiosity

See also: Atheism and emotional intelligence and Atheism and social intelligence

A 2004 study by Ellen Paek examined the extent to which religious orientation/behavior and found significant positive correlations were found between level of religious commitment and an individual's perceived emotional intelligence.[203] See also: Atheism and emotional intelligence

According to the prominent brain researcher Antonio Damasio and other brain researchers, emotions play a critical role in high-level cognition and allow individuals to make better decisions.[204]

Brain studies of atheists

See also: Atheism and the brain and Religiosity and larger frontal lobes

Brain researchers have conducted a number of studies focusing on the differences between atheists and the religious (see: Atheism and the brain and Religiosity and larger frontal lobes).

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 indicate that women tend to be more religious than men (See: Atheism and women).

Recent studies

Atheist Alliance International analysis

In 2016, Atheist Alliance International (AAI) conducted an annually recurring atheist census project and found: "At the time of writing, the Atheist Census Project recorded that on average worldwide 73.2% of respondents were male. The result is consistent with other research... As such, the focus of many scholarly papers has been on seeking to explain this persistent observation."[205]

Surveys by country

In November 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 with men outnumbering women within the atheist population.[206] See also: Atheism and women

United States surveys

In 2015, BloombergView reported concerning the United States: "According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, ...women are 52 percent of the U.S. population but only 36 percent of atheists and agnostics.[207]

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.[208] In 2007, the Pew Research Center found that American women were more religious than American men.[208]

Survey: Freedom From Religion Foundation

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.[209]

For more information, please see:

Sam Harris on atheism/women

In 2014, the prominent new atheist Sam Harris said that atheist activism lacks an “estrogen vibe” and was “to some degree intrinsically male”.[210] Due feminist atheist backlash, Harris wrote a long blog post indicating that his comments were taken out of context.[211]

Atheism and sexism

Most atheists are politically on the left (see: Atheism and politics and Secular left). Part of leftist ideology is feminism. However, there is a significant amount of misogyny among atheists (see: Atheism and women).

Atheist women currently experience a considerable amount of sexism and harassment from atheist men. For example, in 2014, the prominent atheist PZ Myers said of fellow new atheist Richard Dawkins' attitude towards women: "At a time when our movement needs to expand its reach, it’s a tragedy that our most eminent spokesman has so enthusiastically expressed such a regressive attitude.”[210]

For more information please see:

Atheist feminism

See: Atheist feminism

Atheism and marriage/relationships

See also: Atheism and marriage and Atheism and illegitimate births

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."[52]

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."[52]

For more information please see: Atheism and marriageability

Atheist marriages

See: Atheist marriages

Atheism and interfaith marriages

Atheism and its inability to explain love

See also: Atheism and love and Atheism and forgiveness

From a metaphysical, moral and spiritual perspective, atheists have an inability to satisfactorily explain the existence of love.[83] See: Atheism and love

Atheism and sexuality

See also: Atheism and sexuality and Atheism and romance and Atheism and fertility rates

Research shows that religious women (especially evangelical/low-church Protestant women) are more sexually satisfied than irreligious women.[212][213][214]

A social science study also reports that Hispanic men are more sexually satisfied than other ethnic groups in the United States.[215] Hispanics are known for their religiosity (See also: Western atheism and race).

In addition, the atheist and agnostic populations have sub-replacement levels of fertility (see: Atheism and sexuality and Atheism and romance).

Western atheism and race

Atheist Sikivu Hutchinson says that white atheists organizations generally focus on church/state separation and creationism issues and not on the concerns the less affluent African-American population faces.[216] Hutchinson also mentioned that church organizations significantly help poor African-Americans.[216] See also: Atheism and uncharitableness

See also: Western atheism and race and Black atheism and Atheism and diversity

Atheism and race: United States and Europe

In 2015, BloombergView reported:

According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, only 3 percent of U.S. atheists and agnostics are black, 6 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are Asian. Some 82 percent are white. (The relevant figures for the population at large at the time of the survey were 66 percent white, 11 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian.)

...Craig Keener, in his huge review of claims of miracles in a wide variety of cultures, concludes that routine rejection of the possibility of the supernatural represents an impulse that is deeply Eurocentric.[207]

At the same time, due to immigration, Europe is expected to become more desecularized in the 21st century (See also: Global atheism and Atheist population).

NY Times: Atheism and race in the United States

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..."[217] 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.[218] 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 the New Atheism movement are significantly more appealing to white males.

Atheism and education

See also: Religion and education and Atheistic indoctrination and education and Atheism and intelligence and Atheism and academia and Atheism and academic performance

In the United States, religious belief is positively correlated to education; a 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."[219]

One of the reasons education is positively correlated with belief in God in the United States is that the demographics of people attending higher education has shifted due to more women and southerners attending higher education (these two groups are more likely to be theists. See: Atheism and women).[220]

Although atheistic indoctrination in school systems can have an effect on individuals (See: Atheist indoctrination), research indicates that social/economic insecurity often has a more significant impact.[221]

For more information, please see:

Atheism in academia

See also: Atheism and academia

In 2001, the 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."[222]

In 2004, Professor Alister McGrath, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University declared, "The golden age of atheism is over."[223]

For more information please see:

Atheism statistics and atheist population

Atheist movement and leadership

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.[224]

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

Global atheism and trends

Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, using a wealth of demographic studies, argues that there will be a significant decline of global atheism in the 21st century which will impact the Western World.[225] See: Desecularization

See also: Global atheism and Desecularization and Atheist movement and Atheist Population

Global atheism: Predominant geographic areas

See also: Atheism and diversity and Atheism and culture

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia primarily among whites.[226] See: Global atheism and Secular Europe and Western atheism and race

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[227] See: Asian atheism

As far as the issue of diversity within the global atheist population, compared to Christianity, atheism has a significantly less degree of geographic/cultural, racial, gender and personal wealth diversity (see: Atheism and diversity).

American atheism

Desecularization and the 21st century

See also: Desecularization

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.[68]

Atheists as a percentage of the world's population have declined since 1970 and global atheism is expected to face long term decline.[228] See: Desecularization

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."[229]

Desecularization is the process by which religion reasserts its societal influence though religious values, institutions, sectors of society and symbols in reaction to previous and/or co-occurring secularization processes.[71]

The 21st century is expected to be a time of the decline of atheism in terms of its global market share and religious conservatism/fundamentalism is expected to grow in both the developing world and in the developed world (see: Desecularization). There are a number of causes of desecularization in the developed world (and the world at large), but two of the primary causes are the higher fertility rate of religious conservatives and immigration of the religious into developed countries.

Failure of the secularization thesis

See also: Atheists and the endurance of religion

Pew Research Center declared: "There is a long history of people predicting the demise of religion, but religion has proven more resilient than many people anticipated."[230]

Dr. Rodney Stark, an agnostic, wrote in his book The Triumph of Faith:

Secularists have been predicting the imminent demise of religion for centuries. They have always been wrong—and their claims today are no different. It is their unshakable faith in secularization that may be the most "irrational" of all beliefs.(p. 212).[231]

Pew Research Center and Stark are alluding to the failure of the secularization thesis.

Causes of global desecularization

See: Causes of desecularization

Atheists and sub-replacement levels of fertility

See also: Atheism and fertility rates and Atheism and marriage

On December 23, 2012, the agnostic professor Eric Kaufmann, who teaches at Birbeck College, University of London, wrote: "I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious."[232]

Michael Blume, a researcher at the University of Jena in Germany, wrote about the sub-replacement level of fertility among atheistic populations: "Most societies or communities that have espoused atheistic beliefs have not survived more than a century."[233] Blume also indicated concerning concerning his research on this matter: "What I found was the complete lack of a single case of a secular population, community or movement that would just manage to retain replacement level."[233]

In 2014, the Pew Research Forum indicated that Europe will go from 11% of the world's population to 7% of the world's population by 2050.[234] See: Growth of global desecularization

Global atheism and aging populations

Global atheism is facing significant challenges in terms of aging populations in East Asia and Europe and this will be a significant cause of desecularization in the 21st century (see: Global atheism and aging populations).

Growth of global desecularization

Future European religious demographic changes

In a 2006 essay, the prominent European philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote: “secular citizens in Europe must learn to live, the sooner the better, in a post-secular society and in so doing they will be following the example of religious citizens, who have already come to terms with the ethical expectations of democratic citizenship. So far secular citizens have not been expected to make a similar effort.”[235]

See:

Decline of Asian atheism

Growth of evangelical Christianity in secular regions

Additional causes of the global decline of atheism

Historical trends/events and dampened atheist movement expectations

See also: Atheists and the endurance of religion and Atheist pessimism about the atheist movement

In 2011, atheist Jacques Berlinerblau declared: "The Golden Age of Secularism has passed."[236]

The atheist movement saw a number of setbacks during the latter portion of the 20th century and beyond in terms of historical events/trends. As a result, it has lost a considerable amount of confidence (see: Atheists and the endurance of religion).

The agnostic Eric Kaufmann wrote in 2010:

Worldwide, the march of religion can probably only be reversed by a renewed, self-aware secularism. Today, it appears exhausted and lacking in confidence... Secularism's greatest triumphs owe less to science than to popular social movements like nationalism, socialism and 1960s anarchist-liberalism. Ironically, secularism's demographic deficit means that it will probably only succeed in the twenty-first century if it can create a secular form of 'religious' enthusiasm." [237]

In 2011, atheist Jacques Berlinerblau indicated: "The Golden Age of Secularism has passed."[236]

In 2015, the atheist author Joshua Kelly wrote:

...since the death of Hitchens: angry atheism lost its most charismatic champion. Call it what you like: New Atheism, fire-brand atheism, etc., had a surge with the Four Horsemen in the middle of the last decade and in the last four years has generally petered out to a kind that is more docile, politically correct, and even apologetic.[238]
See also: Decline of militant atheism in the West

Christian websites and other resources with a large focus on the topic of atheism

True Freethinker is a Christian apologetics website run by Ken Ammi which offers many refutations of atheism.

See also: Atheism vs. Christianity and Internet atheism

Five of the more notable Christian apologetics websites/blogs which have a large focus on the topic of atheism are: the Shadow To Light blog, the True Freethinker website, the Creation Ministries International resources on atheism and the Fixed Point Foundation website.

Freedom from Atheism Foundation

In 2012, the Freedom From Atheism Foundation (FFAF) 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. The groups many admins are all anonymous due to the large amount of hate mail, threats, and stalking the site receives from militant atheists.

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.[239] 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.[240]

Online videos related to atheism

The Militant atheism YouTube channel has a collection of videos on militant atheism.

Atheism and the media

See also: Atheism and the media and Atheism news

The Media Research Center released a study in 2008 reporting pro-atheism bias by major press outlets in the United States.[241] The study found that 80% of mainstream media coverage of atheism was positive and that 71% of Christian-themed stories had an atheist counterpoint or were written from an atheist perspective.[241] The study is not surprising given the liberal bias that commonly exists in the major media outlets.

Post 2010 decline in news stories about atheism

See also: Drop in news stories about atheism

Post 2010, due to the decline of the New Atheism movement and other various events/trends, there has been significantly less news stories about atheism (see: Drop in news stories about atheism).

Post 2010 increase in percentage of negative news stories about atheism

Due to various factors, there has been an increase in the percentage of news stories about atheism which are negative in nature that are reaching the general public (see: Negative news stories about atheism).

Atheism and public relations

See also: Atheism and public relations

Causes of atheism

See main article: Causes of atheism and Atheism and hedonism 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 and Atheism and hedonism.

Atheism and debate

See also: Atheism debates and Rebuttals to atheist arguments and Christianity vs. atheism debates and Atheism and cowardice

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

As far as Christianity vs. atheism public debates, in recent years there have been a number of notable instances of atheists being reluctant to debate and doing poorly in debates (see: Christianity vs. atheism 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).[242]

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.[243]

In The Daily Telegraph article Dr. Daniel Came, 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."[243] Also, atheists tend to dodge creation vs. evolution debates.

For more information see: Atheism debates and Rebuttals to atheist arguments 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.[244] Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers and other prominent atheists refused to debate Creation Ministries International.[244] 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 Distrust of atheists and Atheism and social outcasts and Atheism and public relations and Atheophobia

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.[245]

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.[246] In fact, Harris has said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."[246][247] Due to the stigma of the label of atheist, it is common for atheists to choose to call themselves skeptics, nonbelievers, humanists and freethinkers[248] Individuals of Jewish descent often call themselves secular Jews or simply Jews rather than call themselves atheists.[248]

North Americans 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."[249]

Other topics related to views on atheists

Atheism and culture: Art, architecture, music, poetry and dance

See also: Atheism and culture

Atheism has not produced any outstanding cultural achievements and it has had a negative effect on cultures (see: Atheism and culture).

For additional information, please see:

Atheism and homosexuality

See:

Other well-known proponents of atheism

See: Famous atheists and Famous agnostics

Well-known proponents of skepticism/atheism/agnosticism

Atheist organizations

See: Atheist organizations

Atheism quotes

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

Atheism news

See: Atheism news

Recommended reading

Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

See also

Humor:

External links

see also: Atheism website resources

General articles on atheism:

Prominent atheists:

Other articles on atheism:

Notes

  1. Multiple references:
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Putting the Atheist on the Defensive by Kenneth R. Samples, Christian Research Institute Journal, Fall 1991, and Winter 1992, page 7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Day, Donn R. (2007). "Atheism - etymology".
  4. Definition of atheism by William Lane Craig
  5. Britain is a less religious country than the United States and the online Oxford Dictionaries offers both the narrow/broad definitions of atheism (As noted in a previous footnote the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which is a traditional American dictionary, offers a more narrow definition of atheism similar to the definition that major encyclopedias of philosophy use). Oxford Dictionaries: Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.[2]
    • Discussion on Atheism: Report of a Public Discussion Between the Rev. Brewin Grant, B.A., and C. Bradlaugh, Esq., Held in South Place Chapel, Finsbury, London, on Tuesday Evenings, Commencing June 22, and Ending July 27, 1875, on the Question, "Is Atheism Or is Christianity the True Secular Gospel, as Tending to the Improvement and Happiness of Mankind in this Life by Human Efforts and Material Means.". Brewin Grant Charles Bradlaugh, January 1, 1890, Anti-liberation Society, page 10-12 [3]
  6. Dr. Martin Luther King in his sermon Rediscovering Lost Values spoke of "practical atheism". King, Dr. Martin Luther (1954). "Rediscovering lost values"
  7. Baylor ISR- J. Gordon Melton - End of Religion? (May 5, 2015)
  8. Rousseau, Jacques (July 13, 2011). "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can rip my soul". Daily Maverick [South Africa].
  9. "The atheist community and internet atheism is still a hostile wasteland" (April 7, 2013). Question Evolution Campaign [blog].
  10. "Board of directors" (July 1, 2014). American Atheists
  11. 15.0 15.1 Scott, Blair (December 1, 2012). "An open letter from Blair Scott". American Atheists.
  12. It’s Past Time for Atheism to Grow Up by Neil Carter
  13. Atheists Speak Up - Eddie Tabash - Part 2 of 4
  14. 18.0 18.1 Nazworth, Nap (July 11, 2012). "Study: atheists have lowest 'retention rate' compared to religious groups". christianpost.com.
  15. Multiple references:
  16. Harms, William (April 18, 2012). "Belief in God rises with age, even in atheist nations". UChicagoNews.
  17. Chapter 3: Demographic Profiles of Religious Groups, Pew Forum
  18. Herding Cats: Why Atheism Will Lose by Francois Tremblay
  19. Are there too many atheist meetings? by Jerry Coyne
  20. Amanda (August 10, 2012). "How the atheist movement failed me–part 1: cost". Friendly Atheist blog.
  21. Norris, Chuck (May 21, 2007). "How to outlaw Christianity (steps 2 & 3)". WorldNetDaily. See: Chuck Norris.
  22. Van Til and Self-deception by Dr. Greg Bahnsen
  23. 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.
  24. Multiple references:
  25. Multiple references:
  26. University of Otago [New Zealand] (April 2, 2012). "Death anxiety increases atheists' unconscious belief in God". ScienceDaily.
  27. 31.0 31.1 Heflick, Nathan A. (May 25, 2012). "Atheists, death and belief in God: The effects of death reminders on atheists' supernatural beliefs". Psychology Today website.
  28. Multiple references:
  29. Multiple references:
  30. Survey: 32% of Atheists & Agnostics Believe in an Afterlife
  31. 35.0 35.1 "Peter Hitchens author interview—The rage against God" [interview of Peter Hitchens] (March 22, 2010). Vimeo video, 8:38, posted by Gorilla Poet Productions.
  32. Multiple references:
  33. "Milestones [excerpt]" (October 15, 1945). Time. magazine website
  34. "Tells of religion in army. Chaplain Lawson says there are no atheists in front line" (November 25, 1918). New York Times, p. 13.
  35. Breen, Tom (April 2, 2011)."Army group 'coming out of the atheist closet'" from NBCNews.com
  36. Mulligan, Martin (1959). "Private property and communism" translation of Marx, Karl (1932), Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (Moscow: Progress Publishers).
  37. 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.
  38. Noebel, David, The Battle for Truth, Harvest House, 2001.
  39. 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.”
  40. Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg (2009). On Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Scientific Autobiography. Springer Science+Business Media, 161. Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists.” 
  41. Multiple references:
  42. Multiple references:
    • Hunt, Lynn and Censer, Jack (2001). "War, Terror and Resistence", ch. 7, p. 3. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution website. George Mason University website/Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media website.
    • O'Leary, Margaret R. (June 1, 2012). Forging Freedom: The Life of Cerf Berr of M Delsheim (iUniverse), pp. 1-2.
  43. Multiple references:
    James Adair (2007). Christianity: The eBook. JBE Online Books, 461. 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. G.G. & J. Robinson, 105–6. 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. Ignatius Press, 57. 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.”
     
  44. Multiple references:
  45. Rummel, R. J. (November 1993). "How many did communist regimes murder?" University of Hawaii website; Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War.
  46. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Koukl, Gregory (February 20, 2013). "The real murderers: atheism or Christianity?" Stand to Reason.
  47. 52.0 52.1 52.2 Ammi, Ken (June 11, 2009). "Atheism". Creation Ministries International.
  48. Multiple references:
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