Atheist organizations

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Annie Laurie Gaylor is an atheist feminist. She is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Gaylor’s husband, Dan Barker, who heads the organization along with her, is usually the person invited to speaking engagements, despite her longer tenure as the organization’s leader and her many books on atheism.[1]

According to an international study done by William Bainbridge, atheism is frequent among people whose interpersonal social obligations are weak and is also linked to lower fertility rates in advanced industrial nations (See also: Atheism and fertility rates).[2] Most atheists do not join atheist organizations or attend atheist conferences/meetings due to the fact atheism is common among people who have weak interpersonal social obligations (see: Atheism and social skills).

Various schisms occurring within the atheism movement and widespread infighting, has had an adverse effect on various atheist organizations (See: Atheist factions).

Divisions within the atheist movement have caused a marked decline in the movement (see: Decline of the atheist movement). For example, atheist organizations have experienced large drops in donations to their organizations (see: Atheist organizations and fundraising).

Numerous atheists have declared that the "atheist movement is dead" or that it is dying (see: Decline of the atheist movement)[3] In 2019, a writer at Freethought Blogs wrote: "Last month I looked at some postmortems of the atheist movement...".[4]

Most atheist organizations are relatively small in terms of active participants as most atheists are apathetic about organized atheism (see: Atheism and apathy). An exception is the Communist Party of China which requires its members be atheists (see: Atheism and China and Atheism and communism). At the same time, due to the explosive growth of Christianity in China, there are now more Christians in China than Chinese who belong to the Communist Party of China (see also: East Asia and global desecularization).[5]

However, there are atheist organizations that are focusing on creating atheist groups on colleges and high schools.[6]

List of atheist/nontheist organizations

Below is a list of atheist/nontheist organizations.

Leading American atheist organizations lean to the left politically

According to Republican Atheists' President Lauren Ell, the leading atheist organizations such as American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation and Secular Student Alliance lean left politically.[7]

Atheist leaders and misogyny

See also: Atheism and leadership and Atheism and sexism

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.[8]

Token efforts to extend racial minorities leadership positions in atheist organizations

See also: Western atheism and race and Atheism and leadership

On October 9, 2014, the atheist Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson declared:

Despite frequent tokenistic calls for “diversity” within the “movement,” there are virtually no people of color in executive management positions in any of the major secular, atheist, or Humanist organizations —notable exceptions being Debbie Goddard of Center for Inquiry and Maggie Ardiente of American Humanist Association. People of color are constantly bombarded with claims of separatism, reverse discrimination, and “self-segregation” when they point to the absence of social justice, anti-racist community organizing, coalition-building, and visibility among secular organizations. After the Washington Post article, the vitriol and denialism among the “We are All Africans” white atheists was off the chain. This illustrates yet again that sticking a few of us on conference panels or secular boards is nothing but cheap appeasement.[9]

Sikivu Hutchinson's criticism of RDF and Center for Inquiry merger

See also: Center for Inquiry

Atheist Sikivu Hutchinson wrote:

The recent merger of the secular organization Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the Richard Dawkins Foundation (RDF) has been dubbed atheism's supergroup moment. Acknowledging the two organizations' outsized presence in the atheist world, Religion News Service acidly declared it a "royal wedding". The partnership, which gives Richard Dawkins a seat on the CFI board, smacks of a vindication of Dawkins' toxic, reactionary brand of damn-all-them-culturally-backward-Western-values-hating- Muslims New Atheism. As one of the most prominent global secular organizations, CFI's all-white board looks right at home with RDF's lily white board and staff.[10]

The secular humanist document Human Manifesto II, which was written in 1973 by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, decried racism and it declared:

The beginnings of police states, even in democratic societies, widespread government espionage, and other abuses of power by military, political, and industrial elites, and the continuance of unyielding racism, all present a different and difficult social outlook. In various societies, the demands of women and minority groups for equal rights effectively challenge our generation.[11]

Poor international cooperation of atheist organizations

See also: Atheism and international cooperation among atheists

Relative to Christian organizations, the results produced by international cooperation between atheist organizations (or between atheist organizations and individual atheists in other countries) is far less substantial in terms of the results achieved (see: Atheism and international cooperation among atheists).

Atheist leaders and arrogance

See also: Atheism and arrogance and Atheist movement

The atheist PZ Myers wrote: "But see, this is why the atheist movement can’t have leaders. The ones we’ve got, informally, all seem to think they’re like gods and popes, infallible and unquestionable, and that normal, healthy, productive criticism within the movement is all a conspiracy to dethrone them."[12]

John W. Loftus, one of the more prominent atheists in the atheist community, cites John Draper (a Canadian atheist blogger), saying about prominent atheist PZ Myers: "According to PZ you either agree with him or you are the scum of the earth. If anyone is giving atheists a bad reputation it's PZ - he shows no tolerance or respect for anyone other than himself."[13]

Atheist activist Lee Moore: Donations to atheist organizations are down due to in-fighting within the atheist movement

See also: Atheist organizations and fundraising and Atheist factions and Atheism and social skills

In 2017, the atheist activist Lee Moore declared:

If you look at the major atheist groups right now, like the national groups, the ones that are doing the real activist work... They are not bringing in the kind of donations they used to. Most of them are starved for cash. They're downsizing left and right. Because people aren't just giving like they used to. And I talked to a lot of the major donors out there and they said, "Well, we're kind of tired of seeing the atheist community just fight amongst itself and not really get anything done. We'd rather not give money if we don't think it's going to go somewhere."[14]

Atheist organizations and fundraising

See also: Atheist fundraising vs. religious fundraising and Atheist organizations and fundraising

Religious organizations are far outpacing atheist organizations when it comes to fundraising (see: Atheist fundraising vs. religious fundraising and Atheism and charity),

Atheist movement

See also: Atheist movement and Atheist factions

Blair Scott about atheist infighting with the atheist movement

See also: Atheist movement and Atheist factions and Atheism and sociability

David Silverman is a former president of the American Atheists organization.

Blair Scott served on the American Atheists board of directors. 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 Atheist 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[16]

Sunday Assembly atheist church movement

See also: Atheists and church attendance

The Sunday Assembly atheist church movement was founded in 2013 by the secular humanists and comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones.[17] In 2014, it was reported that there was a schism in the movement as far as whether or not they should use the word "atheist" in their movement and/or whether they should just cater to atheists.[18]

Atheist organizations, lawsuits and restrictions on religious freedom

See: Atheist organizations, lawsuits and restrictions to religious freedom

Atheist organizations: Church-state/creationism issues - poor largely ignored

See also: Atheism and uncharitableness and Atheism, social justice and hypocrisy

A child in Thailand where the nontheistic form of Buddhism called the Theravada school of Buddhism is prevalent.

A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts.[19]

In the United States, per capita atheists and agnostics in America give significantly less to charity than theists even when church giving is not counted for theists. See: Atheism and uncharitableness

In June 2014, 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.[20] Hutchinson also mentioned that church organizations do offer significant help to poor African-Americans.[21] Much of the focus on church/state separation and creationism issues relative to atheist organizations involves initiating and litigating lawsuits (see: Atheist lawsuits).

Also, according to a video posted at Freethought Blogs storefront churches provide assistance to local residents including women, and this partly explains the dearth of Hispanic and African-American women atheists in America (Atheists give less to charity than Christians. See: Atheism and uncharitableness).[22]

In 2014, the atheist Chris Hall wrote in an article which was published by Salon magazine and Alternet:

Direct challenges to racism and sexism haven’t traditionally been the domain of the large organizations like American Atheists or the Secular Coalition for America. It’s been far more typical to fight incursions against separation of church and state or educate against pseudoscience like homeopathy.[23]

Lack of significant global outreach by atheist organizations

See also: Lack of significant global outreach by atheist organizations and Global atheism and Global Christianity and Christian evangelism and Atheism and apathy

The former Soviet Union had a worldwide expansionist policy as far as spreading atheistic communism.[24] The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a spike in religious affiliation, both in Russia and in Eastern Europe.[25]

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia primarily among whites.[26] See: Global atheism and Western atheism and race

The atheists in the Western World and East Asia have not had significant outreaches to spread atheism throughout the world. Historically, Christians have made great evangelism efforts to reach every people group across the earth. In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[27] Doing overseas evangelism/outreaches, often requires significant hardships/persecution and Western atheists and East Asian atheists have been unwilling to endure such hardships in order to spread atheistic ideology (see: Atheism and hedonism).

In the United States, atheists are in the minority (See: Atheist Population). And in the United States and Canada, the general population looks very unfavorably on atheists (see: Views on atheists). In the United States/Canada, atheists are generally white.

The Christian relief organization Feed My Starving Children has a distribution partner in Malawi, Africa. In recent years, Christianity has seen a rapid growth in Africa.[28]

In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[29]

Western World atheists and East Asian atheists have not engaged in a significant amount of global outreach.

Atheist leaders and polyamory

On June 14, 2012, an article entitled Atheist leaders and immoral relationships published by an advocate of the Question evolution! campaign declared:

The website Submitted to a Candid World is written by an agnostic and the website was praised by the prominent atheist PZ Myers in the past.

On April 20, 2012 an article appeared in Submitted to a Candid World which declared:

'Several of my close friends — coincidentally, all extremely intelligent, math/science oriented, and leaders in the freethought/rationality/atheist communities — find themselves practicing and promoting an arrangement they term “polyamory.” Essentially, this describes a post-jealousy, highly rationalized state where participants date each other, and several others simultaneously...

In the ideal polyamorous relationship, one man is seriously “dating” several women, each of whom is in turn dating several men.'[30]

The article Atheist leaders and immoral relationships further declares:

Several leaders of the "freethought"/atheist community are practicing and promoting polyamory. This is not going to help the poor reputation that atheism already has among the public. The Mormons promoted bigamy for a while and later retracted their position due to the public outrage.

Of course, atheist leaders engaging in and promoting practices such as polyamory is one of the many reasons why atheism has such a bad reputation in the world.[31]

For more information please see: Atheist leaders and immoral relationships

Amanda Metskas, August Brunsman and polyamory

Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Norway designed specifically for the children of atheists/agnostics/secular humanists and others who hold a naturalistic worldview.

Richard Carrier reported in 2016 that Amanda Metskas, the national Executive Director of Camp Quest, are dating and "she and her husband, August Brunsman, are publicly polyamorous."[32][33]

August Brunsman her polyamorous husband is the Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance. Carrier was a speaker for the Secular Student Alliance when he was accused of sexual harassment.[34][35]

Atheist organizations and scandals

See also: Atheist organizations and scandals and Atheist organizations and financial mismanagement

In a 2018 YouTube video entitled David Silverman Ousted as President of American Atheists, the atheist YouTube channel Utah Outcasts said in a video about David Silverman and atheist organizations: "Many other people were also like maybe he was embezzling funds because we know people in atheist activist communities where that kind of sh*t happens. Yes, it was kind of common."[36]

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.[37]

In addition, David Gorski at Scienceblogs indicated that many atheist/skeptic organizations are poorly run from a financial standpoint.[38]

For more information, please see: Atheist organizations and scandals

Communist Party of China

See also: China and atheism and Atheism and communism and Asian atheism and Atheism and politics and Growth of Christianity in China

Flag of the Communist Party of China

In 2014, the Communist Party of China reaffirmed that members of their party must be atheists.[39]

In 1955, Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai declared, "We Communists are atheists".[40]

In 2016, the International Business Times reported:

A senior Chinese advisor on religious affairs has said the country should promote atheism throughout society, in remarks that appear to reflect a deepening campaign to reinforce traditional Marxist values in China — and could add to concern about official attitudes among believers in the country’s five officially recognized religions.[41]

There is growing persecution of Christians by the Chinese government.[42]

China and atheism

China has the largest atheist population in the world.[43]

See also: China and atheism

China has the world's largest atheist population and practices state atheism.[44][45]

East Asia contains about 25 percent of the world’s population. China’s population represents 20 percent of the people on earth.[46]

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."[47] See: Asian atheism and Global atheism

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

See: Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Atheism and communism

See also


  1. Bekiempis, Victoria (Summer 2011). "Why the New Atheism is a boys' club". Bitch Magazine, no. 51. Retrieved from September 26, 2011 edition of The Guardian/CommentaryIsFree.
  2. Bainbridge, William (2005). "Atheism" (PDF). Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 1 (Article 2): 1–26.
  3. The ghost of atheist past, Freethought Blogs
  4. In Xi we trust - Is China cracking down on Christianity?, DW News
  5. Where does the Secular movement go from here?: Panel Discussion at Reason in the Rock 2013, YouTube video
  6. Atheist and humanist organizations are prioritizing left-leaning political views above all else
  7. Myers, P. Z. (March 31, 2014). "When will this situation improve?".
  8. Atheism and social justice: Sikivu Hutchinson on the first People of Color Beyond Faith conference, Chris Stedman, Religious Service News, Oct 9, 2014
  9. #AtheismSoWhite: Atheists of Color Rock Social Justice by Sikivu Hutchinson
  10. Humanist Manifesto II
  11. The delicate ego of Mr Michael Shermer by PZ Myers, 16 January 2013
  12. Can PZ Myers Change His Ways? Should He? By John W. Loftus at 7/30/2012
  13. Lee Moore and Steve Shives Talk About the Future of the Atheist Movement, - video quote comes 21 minutes and 13 seconds into the video
  14. Former 2012 web page at website entitled "An Open Letter from Blair Scott"
  15. Former 2012 web page at website entitled "An Open Letter from Blair Scott"
  16. Atheist Church Split: Sunday Assembly And Godless Revival's 'Denominational Chasm', Huffington Post, 2014
  17. Atheist Church Split: Sunday Assembly And Godless Revival's 'Denominational Chasm', Huffington Post, 2014
  18. Multiple references:
  19. Atheism has a big race problem that no one’s talking about by Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, Washington Post June 16, 2014
  20. Atheism has a big race problem that no one’s talking about by Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, Washington Post June 16, 2014
  21. Sikivu, Ophelia, and Rebecca — who says atheism lacks women stars?
  22. Forget Christopher Hitchens: Atheism in America is undergoing a radical change by Chris Hall, Salon magazine, Thursday, Jun 5, 2014 12:25 PM UTC (originally published in Alternet)
  23. America Coming to Terms: The Vietnam Legacy By Nguyen Anh Tuan, page 82
  24. [Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020] by Michael W. Chapman, CNS News, July 24, 2013 - 2:18 PM
  25. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, May 23, 2013
  26. Is Christianity taking over the planet?
  27. The African apostles: How Christianity exploded in 20th-century Africa
  28. Is Christianity taking over the planet?
  29. Atheist leaders and immoral relationships
  30. Atheist leaders and immoral relationships
  31. Polyamory and Camp Quest
  32. Richard Carrier quote
  33. Popularizer of social-justice atheism can’t believe he’s accused of sexually harassing students
  34. Polyamory and Camp Quest
  35. David Silverman Ousted as President of American Atheists, Utah Atheists, Go to the 3 minute mark in the video
  36. Richard Dawkins Drops His Lawsuit Against Former Employee
  37. Richard Dawkins sues Josh Timonen, Posted by David Gorski on October 24, 2010
  38. Noebel, David, The Battle for Truth, Harvest House, 2001.
  39. Senior Chinese Religious Advisor Calls For Promotion Of Atheism In Society, International Business Times
  40. Martyr killed by bulldozer becomes symbol of growing persecution of Christians in China
  41. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  42. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  43. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  44. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine