Atheist activists and educators

Walter block-teaching












A. Philip Randolph 1963 NYWTS


Other activists and educators

People who are/were activists or educators in other areas (social reform, feminism etc), but who were also atheists.

Kropotkin Nadar




David Suzuki (arms crossed)


Notes and references

  1. "In college, after reading material from American Atheists, he became, in his words, 'a pretty hard core atheist.'" Clark Adams: 1969-2007, American Humanist Association News Flash, May 24, 2007 (Accessed April 14, 2008)
  2. Ian Buruma (2005-08-05). "Sacred freedom". Financial Times. Retrieved 2006-12-22. "Too much reason can reform a faith away, which would be fine with Hirsi Ali, who regards herself as an atheist." 
  3. My God Problem
  4. Minister Turned Atheist
  5. Block, Walter. "Open Letter to Ron Paul by Walter Block." 28 December 2007. [1]
  6. "He was an old-fashioned rationalist and radical. He detested modern politics and despised Blairite froth, spin-doctoring and cloned MPs and betrayal of principles. I share Peter's doubts about the milk-and-water term "humanism." He and I called ourselves atheists." Karl Heath, 'Obituary Letter: Peter Brearey', The Guardian, May 30, 1998, Pg. 21.
  7. "An ecclesiastical court [...] sitting at Cleveland, Ohio, yesterday, found Dr. William Montgomery Brown, retired Bishop of Arkansas, a self-styled "Christian Atheist", guilty of heresy." 'U.S. Heresy Trial. A "Christian Atheist."' The Times, Monday, June 02, 1924; p. 13; Issue 43667; col C.
  8. Biography of Richard Carrier
  9. "Cohen was a witty, courteous, and effective public speaker and debater, and a prolific writer with over fifty titles to his credit. Typical of his writings are A Grammar of Freethought (1921), Theism or Atheism (1921), Materialism Restated (1927), and four series of Essays in Freethinking (1923–38), culled from occasional pieces in the Freethinker. His achievement was to transform Victorian freethought from an emphasis on anti-biblical argument to the positive advocacy of materialism [...]". Edward Royle, 'Cohen, Chapman (1868–1954)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 (accessed May 2, 2008). Note that there were actually five series of Essays.
  10. National and International Contacts, Atheist Alliance International website, 2008 (Accessed April 14, 2008)
  11. Edamaruku dead: A staunch campaigner of rationalism, The Hindu, 2006 (Accessed March 31, 2008)
  12. Honorary Associates of Rationalist International: Joseph Edamaruku (India), profile at the website of Rationalist International (Accessed March 31, 2008)
  13. On March 3, 2008, Edamaruku challenged a tantrik on TV to kill him using only magic. After two hours of failure, "[t]he tantrik, unwilling to admit defeat, tried the excuse that a very strong god whom Sanal might be worshipping obviously protected him. "No, I am an atheist", said Sanal Edamaruku." The Great Tantra Challenge, Rationalist International article (Accessed March 31, 2008)
  14. "Mr. Finley is a lifetime educational activist, humanist and atheist. He dedicates over 80 hrs a week producing his programs that challenge himself and those that listen." The Infidel Guy Show FAQ (accessed April 14, 2008).
  15. "Atheism and Religion"
  16. "Air America... last Saturday aired its first Freethought show, hosted by [Dan] Barker and his wife, Annie Laurie Gaylor, who co-chair an atheist activist group called the Freedom of [sic] Religion Foundation." Atheist Radio Show Goes National on Air America, With Ron Reagan as Guest, by Catherine Donaldson-Evans,, October 12, 2007 (Accessed April 14, 2008)
  17. Emma Goldman (February 1916). "The Philosophy of Atheism". Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 The Atheist Centre (official website).
  19. "Inspector Elphick said the defendant [John William Gott] was considered to be a Socialist and Atheist of the worst type, and had been convicted many times." 'Blasphemer Sent To Prison', The Times, 10 Dec 1921; p. 7; Issue 42900; col B.
  20. "Ernesto "Che" Guevara, an atheist, has been reborn a saint in the desolate Bolivian village where he was captured and executed nearly 37 years ago."
  21. The Militant Agnostic. Haldeman-Julius, E. Prometheus Books. 1995.
  22. Erkki Hartikainen's profile, hosted at the website of the Atheist Association of Finland (Accessed April 15, 2008)
  23. Meek, James (2000-02-02). "Free fall". Religion in the UK: special report (The Guardian).,2763,190660,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  24. Feldman, Noah (2005). Divided by God. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pg. 113
  25. Ellen Johnson (2006). "Welcome from the president of American Atheists". American Atheists. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  26. American Atheists: Kentucky (Accessed April 30, 2008)
  27. American Atheists: California (Accessed April 15, 2008)
  28. "It's not that these atheists [Julia Sweeney, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Paul Boyer, Paul Kurtz] expect to rid America of religion." The New Atheists, Betty Rollin (reporting), Bob Abernethy (anchor), Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (, January 5, 2007 Episode no. 1019, (Accessed April 14, 2008)
  29. Lewis wrote extensively on atheism, including Atheism (1930), An Atheist Manifesto (1954) and The Philosophy of Atheism (1960). From Atheism: "I came to accept Atheism as the result of independent thought and self-study."
  30. 'I Sold My Soul on eBay': Interview with Atheist Hemant Mehta
  31. blog
  32. "In Binghamton, people always thought Moore was peculiar. He was a pacifist and an atheist, who even objected to the words 'In God We Trust' on U.S. coins." In Bill Moore's Footsteps, Friday, May 10, 1963, TIME Magazine (Accessed 18 November 2008)
  33. Tom Curry (2004-03-24). "Atheist pleads with justices to stop recitation of pledge". MSNBC. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  34. Conrad F. Goeringer (June 2000). "The Murray O’Hair Family". American Atheists. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  35. "I have been an atheist all my life and I have been the executive director of the National Secular Society for six years." Minutes of Evidence, House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences in England and Wales, July 18, 2002 (accessed April 18, 2002).
  36. "The real message is equal treatment under the law, and religious neutrality. That's the purpose of why I did it. It has nothing to do with me being an atheist. The fact is, the Constitution calls for no preference and that's why every judge ruled for me." Philip K. Paulson, quoted in Kelly Thornton, 'Vietnam veteran dies of liver cancer', The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 26, 2006 (accessed August 1, 2008).
  37. Randi wrote: "...I am a concerned, forthright, declared, atheist." Our Stance on Atheism, Swift: Online Newsletter of the JREF, August 5, 2005. (Accessed June 1, 2007)
  38. "Although greatly influenced by his father's political and racial attitudes, Randolph resisted pressure to enter the ministry and later became an atheist." Paula F. Pfeffer: "Randolph, Asa Philip", American National Biography Online Feb. 2000 (accessed April 28, 2008) [2].
  39. "In that year he came under the influence of the radical freethinker Charles Bradlaugh and, after being active in the Edinburgh Secular Society, accepted Bradlaugh's invitation to join him in London as assistant editor of the National Reformer. When Bradlaugh died, Robertson became editor until the publication failed in 1893, when he founded the Free Review, which he edited until 1895. [...] During the late 1880s and the 1890s Robertson extended his interests beyond atheism, free thought, and neo-Malthusianism and became increasingly involved with radical and ethical causes [...]." Michael Freeden, 'Robertson, John Mackinnon (1856–1933)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006 (accessed May 6, 2008).
  40. "Many members of the NSS are, of course, also atheists. Some, including myself, have come to the conclusion that belief in the supernatural is fallacious, and they don't hesitate to say so. The fact that adherents to the supernatural explanation of life apparently cannot bear to hear any opposition, and rush to label atheists as "fundamentalist", is a measure of where we are." Terry Sanderson, 'All at sea over faith and secularism', The Guardian, February 28, 2007, Reply Letters and emails, Pg. 35.
  41. "The Rediff Interview: Bipan Chandra". Rediff India Abroad. 2003-03-03. Retrieved 2006-12-13. "Savarkar was an atheist. When he was the Hindu Mahasabha president he used to give lectures on why there is no god." 
  42. "I am a strong supporter of the Secular Coalition for America. Whatever We are as skeptics, as freethinkers, as humanists, as atheists, as naturalists, as methodological materialists--I embrace it all. But I try to understand anti-humanist and nonhumanist perspectives. [...] I shied away from the word "atheist" most of my life, partly I think because of [American Atheists' founder] Madalyn Murray O'Hair's stridency, perhaps because of the general opprobrium that is attached to atheists. [...] About a decade ago, I began to wonder why I wasn't an atheist. I knew I was a humanist, even during the many years I wasn't a member of any church, nor of the several humanist associations in existence. [...] I do accept that a god-belief is very real for many people, but never having found any evidence in the natural world for gods, ghosts, gurus, astrologers, Atlanteans, homoeopathists, and the whole ocean of non-natural beliefs, I decided that I could join the community of nonbelievers and skeptics who call themselves atheists." Ellery Schempp, 'The Humanist Interview: Ellery Schempp', Humanist, Jan/Feb 2008, Vol. 68, Issue 1.
  43. Lawmaker Apologizes For Comments Against Atheist Website of WBBM Newsradio 780, April 10, 2008 (Accessed April 17, 2008)
  44. "Closer to home, in Arkansas, atheist activist Charles Lee Smith was twice arrested in 1928, first for selling atheist literature and then for blasphemy. Moreover, since he couldn't as an atheist swear an oath to God on the Bible, he wasn't permitted to testify in his own defense!" American Humanist Association Executive (AHA) Director Roy Speckhardt, as quoted in an AHA press release: Did Politician Really Apologize for Anti-Atheist Rant? April 11, 2008 (Accessed April 15, 2008)
  45. Smoker, Barbara (2002). Freethoughts: Atheism, Humanism, Secularism. Foote (G.W.) & Co Ltd. ISBN 0-9508243-5-6. 
  46. Polly Toynbee (2006-04-14). "This is a clash of civilisations - between reason and superstition". The Guardian.,,1753745,00.html. Retrieved 2006-12-13. "Even an old atheist like me sees no good in this ignorance of basic Christian myths." 
  47. "Mr Walter is a third-generation atheist, very proud that his grandparents, on both sides, shrugged off various forms of Protestantism. His father was W Grey Walter, the eminent neurologist, who often appeared on The Brains Trust. "He was a left-wing humanist and believed that science could solve everything." " Hunter Davies interviewing Walter, 'O come all ye faithless: Nicolas Walter, a militant atheist, sees no reason to celebrate Christmas. But he'll still be singing a carol or two', The Independent (London), December 20, 1994, Life, Pg. 19.
  48. Vizetelly, Ernest Alfred (1911), Barcelona Outrages - The Empress Elizabeth and Luccheni, The Anarchists: Their Faith and Their Record, Turnbull and Spears Printers, Edinburgh. Retrieved March 19, 2007.
  49. John Carlin (2005-08-05). "Zackie's story: The man who took on Mbeki - and won". The Independent. Retrieved 2007-08-27. "A homosexual, an atheist, and a militant anti-apartheid campaigner whose political ideas were forged on an intense reading of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky... Having scored triumphs in the toughest Aids battlefield of them all - South Africa - his atheist's faith tells him that, for all the suffering, it can be done." 
  50. "Atheist though he was..." Obituary: Baba Amte, The Economist March 1, 2008: 93. (Retrieved March 21, 2008)
  51. "He's a proud atheist..." The nexus, by Orit Arfa, The Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2007 (Accessed April 16, 2008)
  52. "Mother Teresa of Calcutta told the handicapped son of China's leader, Deng Xiaoping, yesterday that his efforts for the disabled showed he loved God. 'But I am an atheist,' said Deng Pufang, whose legs were paralysed when fellow students forced him out of a window during the Cultural Revolution." John Gittings, 'How a Maoist mob hunted down descendants of Peng Pai, Communist Party's first peasant organiser', The Guardian (London), January 23, 1985.
  53. Friedman wrote "I'm also an atheist" in his blog article titled Atheism and Religion. This blog is linked from his personal web site,[3] which is in turn linked from his Santa Clara Law site.[4]
  54. In The Meaning Of Atheism, Haldeman-Julius wrote: "We advocate the atheistic philosophy because it is the only clear, consistent position which seems possible to us. As atheists, we simply deny the assumptions of theism; we declare that the God idea, in all its features, is unreasonable and unprovable; we add, more vitally, that the God idea is an interference with the interests of human happiness and progress." (Accessed April 23, 2008.)
  55. Asked in interview "Do you consider yourself to be of a specific faith?", Kameny replied: "This depends upon the definition of faith. As a scientist by training, background, and temperament, for the past 68 years I have termed myself "a good pious atheist." I believe in reason and actual, credible, valid, persuasive evidence, wherever they may lead, and those have given me the basis for my approaches to the world generally, to our society and culture specifically, and, more narrowly, to the specific issues in contention at any time." Credo: Franklin Kameny, Washington Examiner (USA), 9 March 2009 (accessed 9 March 2009).
  56. "[T]he noblest man, the one really greatest of them all was Prince Peter Kropotkin, a self-professed atheist and a great man of science."—Ely, Robert Erskine (October 10, 1941), New York World-Telegram.
  57. "I was born in a Muslim family, but I became an atheist." For freedom of expression, Taslima Nasreen, November 12, 1999 - Taslima Nasreen took the floor during Commission V of UNESCO's General Conference, as a delegate of the NGO International Humanist and Ethical Union (Accessed December 23, 2006).
  58. "Newkirk considers herself a feminist and an atheist." Michael Specter interviewing Newkirk, 'Mother Nature', The Observer, June 22, 2003, Observer Magazine Pages, Pg. 24.
  59. "I'm an atheist so... I can't be elected to anything, because polls all say that people won't elect an atheist." Ron Reagan Jr. during an interview on Larry King Live, June 26, 2004. See clip.
  60. "I approached Henry Salt's Life with caution, knowing him to be a "compendium of cranks" (he was an atheist, vegetarian, ex-Eton master, ethical socialist, prison reformer, correspondent of Gandhi, and married a lesbian perhaps without realising it)." Richard North reviewing Life of Henry David Thoreau by Henry S Salt, 'Stubborn, lop-sided hermit with a pinch of salt', The Independent (London), November 24, 1993, Page 19.
  61. Haught, James A. (1996). 2,000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt. Prometheus Books. pp. 261–262. ISBN 1-57392-067-3. 
  62. " Schlotfeldt sent her another letter on Jan. 11, 1927, in which he specifically asked her about a statement she had made to Col. Lee Alexander Stone in September 1925, in which she wrote: "I am an uncompromising pacifist for whom even Jane Addams is not enough of a pacifist. I am an absolute atheist. I have no sense of nationalism, only a cosmic consciousness of belonging to the human family." (Both Schwimmer and Rabe knew Addams, the noted co-founder of Chicago's famed Hull House and the first woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize.) Schwimmer responded to "my dear Mr. Schlotfeldt" in a Jan. 21, 1927, letter that she was "quoted correctly" in her response to Stone. " Ronald K. L. Collins and David L. Hudson Jr., 'Remembering 2 forgotten women in our free-speech history', May 27, 2008 (accessed May 29, 2008).
  63. Singh, Bhagat (2002-06-18). "Why I Am An Atheist". Boloji Media Inc. Retrieved 2007-04-11. "I had become a pronounced atheist." 
  64. "To learn at Les Ruches came Anna (Bamie) Roosevelt, the favourite sister and later adviser of Theodore Roosevelt [...] and Richard Potter—though Beatrice Potter (later Webb), then antipathetic to the Frenchwoman's energetic atheism, declined to follow her sister Rosy. [...] In London, Souvestre became intimate, as well as with the Harrisons and Stracheys, with Leslie Stephen, the Morleys, the Chamberlains, Mrs J. R. Green, and a wider circle of radicals and freethinkers, including the young Beatrice Webb. A convinced humanist, candidly pro-Boer, anti-imperialist, and anti-clerical—though she also frequented and liked the Mandell Creightons—she impressed with her intellect and charmed with her personality." D. A. Steel, 'Souvestre, Marie Claire (1835–1905)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 (accessed May 6, 2008).
  65. Nancy Schiefer (2006-04-28). "Review: Suzuki laments conscience role". The London Free Press. Archived from the original on 2006-09-03. Retrieved 2007-10-29. "As an atheist, Suzuki declares, he has no illusions about life and death, adding that the individual is insignificant in cosmic terms."  Review of book "David Suzuki: The Autobiography", by David Suzuki (Greystone Books, 2006)

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