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List of Atheist Activists and Educators
Wikipedia list article
There have been many atheists who have been active in advocacy or education. This is a list of atheist activists and educators. Living persons in this list are people whose atheism is relevant to their notable activities or public life, and who have publicly identified themselves as atheists.
Reginald Vaughn Finley, Sr. (born 1974): ("The Infidel Guy"): Internet radio host and Pioneering Podcaster based in Atlanta, Georgia, co-founder of the Atheist Network and founder of FreethoughtMedia.com. Mr. Finley is a lifetime educational activist, critical thinker, humanist and atheist. During his show's tenure (1999-2010), he produced over 500 media programs that challenged his listeners as well as himself. He's also well known for his appearance on ABC's Wifeswap (2005) when his spouse (Amber Finley) swapped places with a fundamentalist pastor's wife, Kelly Stonerock.
Erkki Hartikainen (born 1942): Finnish atheist activist. He is the chairman of the Atheist Association of Finland (Suomen Ateistiyhdistys) and former chairman of the Union of Freethinkers of Finland (Vapaa-ajattelijoiden liitto), the biggest atheistic association in Finland.
Joseph Lewis (1889-1968): American freethinker and atheist, president of Freethinkers of America 1920-1968.
Barry McGowan (born 1961): Author of How to Separate Church & State. Long-time atheist activist and former President and Vice-President of Freethought organizations, he is the creator and webmaster of AtheistActivist.org before the domain was sold to the Rational Response Squad in 2014.
William L. Moore (1927-1963): Postal worker and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) member who staged lone protests against racial segregation. He was murdered on his final protest.
Maryam Namazie (born 1963): human rights activist, commentator and broadcaster. Namazie has served as the executive director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees. She is spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain.
Ariane Sherine (born 1980): English comedy writer and journalist. She created the UK version of the Atheist Bus Campaign, which ran in January 2009. She lives in London.
Charles Lee Smith (1887-1964): an atheist activist in the United States and an editor of the Truth Seeker until his death. He also founded the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism. Smith was arrested twice in 1928 for selling atheist literature and for blasphemy. Since he refused to swear an oath to God on the Bible, he was not allowed to testify in his own defense.
Barbara Smoker (1923-2020): British humanist activist and freethought advocate. Wrote the book Freethoughts: Atheism, Secularism, Humanism - Selected Egotistically from The Freethinker.
Nicolas Walter (1934-2000): British anarchist and atheist writer, speaker and activist."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
Richard Dawkins (born 1941): British biologist, author of The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil's Chaplain, The Ancestor's Tale, The Blind Watchmaker, The Extended Phenotype, River Out of Eden, and The Selfish Gene. Founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, a non-profit charitable organization that promotes critical thinking, science-based education, and evidence-based understanding of the world. Richard Dawkins has produced several documentaries, including Root of all Evil? and Enemies of Reason.
Robert Ettinger (1918-2011): American academic, known as "the father of cryonics" because of the impact of his 1962 book The Prospect of Immortality.
Gustav Landauer (1870-1919): German anarchist and activist. He was one of the leading theorists on anarchism in Germany in the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. He was an advocate of social anarchism and an avowed pacifist.
Henry Stephens Salt (1851-1939): English writer and campaigner for social reform in the fields of prisons, schools, economic institutions and the treatment of animals, a noted anti-vivisectionist and pacifist, and a literary critic, biographer, classical scholar and naturalist, and the man who introduced Mahatma Gandhi to the influential works of Henry David Thoreau.
David Suzuki (born 1936): Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist.
Aaron Swartz (1986-2012): American computer programmer, writer, political organizer and Internet activist. Swartz was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS, the organization Creative Commons, the website framework web.py and the social news site Reddit, in which he was an equal partner after its merger with his Infogami company.
Marita ?upe (1988-): intersectional activist and educator based in EU ( Croatia and France). She's active in several fields: human rights, secularism, LGBTIQ+ issues and rights, educations, atheism, disability issues and rights, etc.
^"In college, after reading material from American Atheists, he became, in his words, 'a pretty hard core atheist.'" Clark Adams: 1969-2007Archived 2008-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, American Humanist Association News Flash, May 24, 2007 (Accessed April 14, 2008)
^Ian Buruma (2005-08-05). "Sacred freedom". Financial Times. Retrieved 2006. Too much reason can reform a faith away, which would be fine with Hirsi Ali, who regards herself as an atheist.
^"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.
^"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.
^Willem B. Drees (2003). Willem B. Drees (ed.). Is Nature Ever Evil?: Religion, Science, and Value. Routledge. p. 159. ISBN9780415290609. The issue was baldly expressed by the nineteenth-century atheist Richard Carlile in a critique of natural theology...
^"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, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/47685 '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.
^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 ChallengeArchived 2008-03-18 at the Wayback Machine, Rationalist International article (Accessed March 31, 2008)
^"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.
^"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." "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-11-21. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
^The Militant Agnostic. Haldeman-Julius, E. Prometheus Books. 1995.
^"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 (pbs.org), January 5, 2007 Episode no. 1019, (Accessed April 14, 2008)
^"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)
^"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 cancerArchived 2009-08-17 at the Wayback Machine', The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 26, 2006 (accessed August 1, 2008).
^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)
^"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) .
^"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).
^"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.
^"The Rediff Interview: Bipan Chandra". Rediff India Abroad. 2003-03-03. Retrieved 2006. Savarkar was an atheist. When he was the Hindu Mahasabha president he used to give lectures on why there is no god.
^"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 non-humanist 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.
^"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?Archived 2008-09-27 at the Wayback Machine April 11, 2008 (Accessed April 15, 2008)
^Smoker, Barbara (2002). Freethoughts: Atheism, Humanism, Secularism. Foote (G.W.) & Co Ltd. ISBN0-9508243-5-6.
^"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).
^David Burns (2013). The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus. Oxford University Press. p. 97. ISBN9780199929504. Alexander Berkman was a self-declared atheist attempting to lift the stultifying fog of the gods from the mind of humankind.
^"The son of Russian immigrants of Jewish stock, Robert Chester Wilson Ettinger was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on December 4, 1918. The family later moved to Detroit and young Robert was educated locally and at Wayne State University where he studied Physics and Maths. Despite his Jewish roots, he grew up a determined atheist." Robert Ettinger, The Telegraph, 24 Jul 2011.
^Friedman wrote "I'm also an atheist" in his blog article titled Atheism and Religion. This blog is linked from his personal web site,  which is in turn linked from his Santa Clara Law site.
^Marty Jezer (1993). Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel. Rutgers University Press. p. 16. ISBN978-0-8135-2017-9. According to Abbie, the teacher took issue with his defense of atheism.
^Joanna Paraszczuk (2011-04-28). "A revisionist's history". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2013. Even religious Zionist settlers in the West Bank have adopted Jabotinsky as a symbol - although he was an atheist who believed that the Arab minority would share equal rights with Jews in a future Jewish state, famously declaring: "In every cabinet where the prime minister is a Jew, the vice-premiership shall be offered to an Arab, and vice versa."
^Michael Stanislawski (2001). "Jabotinsky's Road to Zionism". Zionism and the Fin de Siècle: Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism from Nordau to Jabotinsky. University of California Press. p. 158. ISBN9780520935754. In sum, just as his turn to Symbolism and Decadence in the late 1890s was typical rather than idiosyncratic, Jabotinsky's abandonment of Symbolism and Decadence was also typical rather than idiosyncratic. A thoroughgoing atheist and rationalist, he could not, to the end of his days, comprehend any mystical or religious sensibility or even any metaphysical philosophical stance, idealist or not.
^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[permanent dead link], Washington Examiner (USA), 9 March 2009 (accessed 9 March 2009).
^"[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.
^Studies in Contemporary Jewry : Volume VII: Jews and Messianism in the Modern Era: Metaphor and Meaning: Volume VII: Jews and Messianism in the Modern Era: Metaphor and Meaning. Oxford University Press. 1991. p. 353. ISBN9780195361988.
^"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.
^"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 clipArchived 2008-06-11 at the Wayback Machine.
^"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.
^Gennady Gorelik; Antonina W. Bouis (2005). The World of Andrei Sakharov: A Russian Physicist's Path to Freedom. Oxford University Press. p. 356. ISBN9780195156201. Apparently Sakharov did not need to delve any deeper into it for a long time, remaining a totally nonmilitant atheist with an open heart.
^Gennadi? Efimovich Gorelik; Antonina W. Bouis (2005). The World of Andrei Sakharov: A Russian Physicist's Path to Freedom. Oxford University Press. p. 158. ISBN9780195156201. Sakharov was not invited to this seminar. Like most of the physicists of his generation, he was an atheist.
^Todd K. Shackelford; Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford, eds. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide, and War. Oxford University Press. p. 465. ISBN9780199738403. The Soviet dissident most responsible for defeating communism, Andrei Sakharov, was an atheist.
^Haught, James A. (1996). 2,000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt. Prometheus Books. pp. 261-262. ISBN1-57392-067-3.
^" 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 historyArchived 2008-08-21 at the Wayback Machine', May 27, 2008 (accessed May 29, 2008).
^"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).
^There is no god, there is no god at all. He who invented god is a fool. He who propagates god is a scoundrel. He who worships god is a barbarian. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-15. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).