The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






List of atheists

The people in this list have been included because they are/were atheists, that is, they do not or did not believe in gods, and this disbelief can be asserted because they themselves have expressed it openly (on the record), or in their works, personal corresponce, diaries, etc. Presumed atheists are not included here.

Given the different possible qualifications of the word atheist and its varied uses through time, some people listed here would be called agnostics or anti-religionists rather than simply atheists, but the list attempts to be inclusive on this matter. The reader should consult the relevant biographical articles for details.

The list has two sections. The first one is for atheists who are or were notable defenders of the cause of atheism, or who advocated views of the human condition, society, economy, etc., that were compatible with atheism. In short, these people are or were important for other atheists, since they contribute(d) to its popularization, understanding and acceptance in society, either through their works or through their deeds, directly or indirectly.

The other section is for famous people who just happen/happened to be atheists, and whose unbelief is/was relevant in their life, but do not/did not actively fight for its cause.

There might not be a consensus on whether a given person belongs in the second section, since obviously there is no way of listing all famous people who just happen to be atheists (there is no point, either). Many of these profess their atheism as just a peripheral issue in their lives, or simply keep quiet about it, and they will not be listed here.

Notable atheists




  • Anaxagoras (500?-428? BCE) - Greek philosopher, freethinker, regarded the conventional gods as mythic abstractions endowed with anthropomorphic attributes.
  • Diagoras (called Diagoras the Atheist of Melos) (5th cent. BCE) - Greek poet and sophist.
  • Protagoras (481?-411 BCE) - Greek philosopher.
  • Democritus (460?-357 BCE) - Greek philosopher, father of materialism, viewed everything as matter composed of indestructible particles ("atoms").
  • Epicurus (341-270 BCE) - Greek materialist philosopher.
  • Lucretius (96?-55 BCE) - Roman philosopher and poet, Epicurean atomist, wrote On the Nature of Things.
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca "the Younger" (4-65 CE) - Roman stoic philosopher, writer and politician.

Other atheists



See also

External links

Last updated: 05-21-2005 01:25:50