History of atheism

This paper is a brief overview of the history of atheism, from antiquity up to present time. Important personalities and groups are hereafter discussed, and many extracts from their works shown for the pleasure of the reader. This paper is divided in 5 periods : Ancient times, the Dark Ages, the Age of Enlightement, the 19th century, and the 20th century.

ANCIENT TIMES Everyone is born atheist : it is indeed as old as mankind. Some men have always disbelived in gods or supreme powers. The only problem is that the phenomenon of atheism could not be easily described early on, as primitive languages had no way to symbolize negation, or existence. Hence saying "gods don't exist" would be a daunting task indeed. The arrival of phonetic language changes that. Atheistic views started to emerge in India, then Greece. India : Probably the first sign of sceptic thought comes from the Rig-Veda, a text which is thought to have been written around 1000 BC. The philosophy promoted in it could be said to be atheistic by omission, as shows us this creation hymn : "Who knows for certain? Who shall here declare it? Whence was it born and whence came this creation? The gods were born after this world's creation. Then, who can know from whence it has arisen? None know whence creation has arisen and whether he has or has not produced it. He who surveys it in the highest heaven, he only knows, or happily, he may know not". Around 500 BC, Buddhism, inspired by the Rig-Veda, became a theistic philosophy. Jainism, an atheistic religion, also began around that time.

Greece : The theory of materialism is developed (around 420 BC), which promotes atoms as the basic unit of matter. Of course gods have no place in a purely materialistic universe. Democritus pushed this theory very far, and distinguished between reality and perception. He is said to be one of the originators of many sciences, including epistemology, mathematics, philosophy. Epicurus (341-270 BC) was a materialist and probably the first philosopher to develop the argument from evil : "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" He could be considered to be the first atheist, although our records of the time are not conclusive. We know of Epicurus' teaching mostly through the writings of Lucretius. Epicurians had no belief in the afterlife, and adopted a fairly deistic view of gods. Another current of thought that lasted for a long period of history was Stoicism, which preached an early form of panthenism. The universe was considered as a living thing, gods and souls considered as material objects part of the universe.

In these days, and for a long time, atheism was considered as anything that was astray from the mainstream religious movement. Indeed the early Christians were considered as atheists because they worshipped other gods.

DARK AGES After the dawn of atheism, we now assist to its violent dampening. Indeed atheistic views are not exposed as much as they were in the Antiquity or will be during the Enlightement, for understandable reasons. It is thought that the death of Hypatia of Alexandria at the hands of Christian monks marks the end of Greek rationalism. Hypatia was a great female philosopher, mathematician, and inventor, and has become a symbol of rationalism in modern times. The Magna Carta, signed in 1215, is said to have contributed more then any other text to the end of the divine rights of kings. There was very little recorded sign of atheism throughout this period.

RENAISSANCE The Renaissance did not bring a revival of atheism, but its seeds. The Arab World, having preserved Greek writings through the centuries, inspired the humanist movement in Europe. Humanism was the inspiration for atheism, which would come later. Amongst important humanists, we can cite : Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), the celebrated inventor, who was also painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, and scientist. Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), one of the greatest scholars of all time, who lived through the last years of Christian unity. Known for his work in humanism and in critique of religion. Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), the greatest philosopher of Italy of the era. Atheist, he was burned as a heretic for his pantheistic and anti-geocentric views. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), renowned astronomer, phsyicist and philosopher. Regarded as the father of modern science, he was the inventor of the telescope. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), the founder of modern astronomy and modern optics. Giordano Bruno is reported to have written : "Everything, however men may deem it assured and evident, proves, when it is brought under discussion to be no less doubtful than are extravagant and absurd beliefs". In "De la Causa, principio et uno", he wrote of an infinite universe in which God had no place, and indeed conceived that God was part of the universe, in a panthenistic worldview.

AGE OF ENLIGHTEMENT The seeds that humanism planted during the Renaissance began to sprout during the Age of Enlightement. Martin Luther caused a major schism in Christianity, and the Protestant Reformation introduced the personal reading of the Bible. This has caused the contradictions and absurdities of the Holy Book to surface and be recorded. Rene Descartes (1595-1650), although religious, revived the idea of atoms, called corpuscules. His materialist ideas, although compounded by the belief in souls, were influential to many atheists. Julien Offray De LaMettrie (1709-1751) wrote in his book "Man A Machine" an atheistic depiction of life, explaning souls in purely material terms. Some of the views of that period greatly inspired the later popularity of deism. The beginning of the 18th century was a great springboard for materialistic views. Deists started to change society and called to democracy, free enterprise, freedom. John Toland (1670-1722), an englishman, wrote the first purely deist book, "Christianity Not Mysterious", which was openly critical of Christianity. He barely managed to escape prosecution for blasphemy.

David Hume David Hume (1711-1776), a Scottish philosopher and historian, had definite panthenistic views. He also influenced philosophy, more precisely the movements of skepticism and empiricism. In his book "Of Miracles", Hume says about accounts of miracles : "When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened." He elaborates on the same thesis in "An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding" : "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless the testimony be of such kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish. Our uniform experience of the laws of nature are a direct and full proof against the existence of any miracle. There is not to be found, in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned goodness, education, and learning as to secure us against all delusion in themselves; of such undoubted integrity as to place them beyond all suspicion of any design to decieve others; of such credit and reputation in the eyes of mankind as to have a great deal to lose in case of their being detected in any falsehood; and at the same time attesting facts, performed in such a public manner, and in so celebrated a part of the world, as to render the detection unavoidable: all which circumstances are requisite to give us a full assurance in the testimony of men".

In the United States, the Constitution is written. It includes the 6th Article which says that "no religious tests" are allowed to be used on candidates for public posts, and the 1st Amendment which states that : "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was a deist and wrote the first anti-slavery law of the United States. He wrote the book "The Age of Reason", which is considered as the single most influential atheistic book ever written. He writes : "One would think that a system loaded with such gross and vulgar absurdities as scripture religion is, could never have obtained credit ; yet we have seen what priestcraft and fanaticism could do, and credulity believe". In the introduction to his famed book, he discusses about his beliefs : "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. He takes up the trade of a priest for the sake of gain, and, in order to qualify himself for that trade, he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive anything more destructive to morality than this ? " Paine is still a symbol of American atheism even today.

In France, the Encyclopedists, a group of deists and atheists, assembled to write a secular Encyclopédie. The leader of the movement, Denis Diderot (1713-1784), was imprisoned for writing atheistic books. Also in this group were Jean D'Alembert (one of the founders of Positivism), and the Baron d'Holbach, who wrote books with titles such as "Christianity Unveiled" and "The Holy Disease". To justify his use of pseudonyms of dead atheists he is reported to have said : "If the ministers of the Church have often permitted nations to revolt for Heaven's cause, they never allowed them to revolt against real evils or known violences. It is from Heaven that the chains have come to fetter the minds of mortals". Other deists were imprisoned for their heretic writings, like Voltaire who was incarcerated at the Bastille. The Marquis de Sade, besides his sex novels, also wrote atheistic essays. In 1782 he wrote "Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man" : "The cause and explanation of what you do not understand may perhaps be the simplest thing in the world. Perfect your physics and you will understand Nature better, refine your reason, banish your prejudices and you'll have no further need of your god".

Also in 1782, we find what many scholars call the first instance of avowed atheism, in Matthew Turner, a physician from Liverpool. He published the book "Answer to Dr. Priestley's Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever".

19th CENTURY The French Revolution (1789-1799) shocked the world in its violence and marked the end of another era. Religion began to reform and tried to blame the deists and other movements for the social turmoil that resulted. This reform is evident in the image of God, which is now shown as a loving, humanist deity. Rationalism, and later on Freethinking, organizes itself and starts to bring about social reform. In 1841, Ludwig Feuerbach wrote a book called "The Essence of Christianity", which was one of the first German atheistic influences. The book theorized that God was man's projection of himself. A year later, George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906) was arrested for blasphemy. An English freethought organizer, he coined the term "secular". In 1859, Charles Darwin publishes his famous book "Origin of Species", which gave atheists their first natural explanation of animal and human life.

The freethinking movement definitely began to take root with the incredible action of two men, Charles Bradlaugh, and most importantly, Robert Ingersoll.

Charles Bradlaugh Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891) was the first militant atheist of Western civilization. He was elected to the British parliament six times, and each time he could not seat there. The reson was because he was an atheist, and therefore would not swear on the allegiance (which included a reference to God). Everyone in England knew Bradlaugh and his fight, thus he raised the issue of atheism to the general public. Interestingly, a debate that has taken place on 1876, called "Is the Bible divine ?", is still available. This long and heated debate, which included tight questioning sessions for both debaters, has taken place on six consecutive days. The biblical topic discussed were indeed very intricate and complex. Here is an extract of the first questioning session, with Roberts being the questioner and Bradlaugh answering. "Q: Mr. Bradlaugh, do you believe that there ever existed such a man as Jesus Christ ? A: I do not believe that there ever existed such a man as Jesus Christ, with the history recorded of him in the Four Gospels. It is quite possible that a man named Jesus, not having such history, may have existed. Q: Then, do I understand you to say that the Christ, who is the subject of the Four Gospels and of Paul's letters, is a historical myth ?

A: I say that that which is represented as the history of Jesus in the Four Gospels and the Epistles is not the history of a real man". Bradlaugh wrote many essays and dialogues, especially between 1860 and 1864. From one of Bradlaugh's essays, "What did Jesus teach ?" (approx. 1860). "Jesus substitutes "I believe" for "I think," and puts "watch and pray" instead of "think, then act." Belief is the prominent doctrine which pervades and governs all Christianity. It is represented that, at the judgment, the world will be reproved "Of sin, because they believe not." This teaching is most disastrous; man should be incited to active thought: Christian belief would bind him to the teachings of a stagnant past". In a very scholarly and pertinent essay called "A plea for atheism", Bradlaugh argues for atheism with many arguments that are still raised today against theism, and also discusses the origin of religion. For example, he writes, in regard to the "first cause" argument : "Another Theistic proposition is thus stated "Every effect must have a cause; the first cause universal must be eternal: ergo, the first cause universal must be God." This is equivalent to saying that "God" is "first cause." But what is to be understood by cause? Defined in the absolute the word has no real value. "Cause," therefore, cannot be eternal. What can be understood by "first cause"? To us the two words convey no meaning greater than would be conveyed by the phrase "round triangle." Cause and effect are correlative terms -- each cause is the effect of some precedent; each effect the cause of its consequent. It is impossible to conceive existence terminated by a primal or initial cause. The "beginning," as it is phrased, of the universe is not thought out by the Theist, but conceded without thought. To adopt the language of Montaigne: "Men make themselves believe that they believe." The so-called belief in Creation is nothing more than the prostration of the intellect on the threshold of the unknown". He named his daughter Hypatia Bradlaugh, after the Dark Ages philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria, who we have talked about earlier.

Robert Ingersoll Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) is the most important historical figure of freethought. Criticizing religion's history and promoting rationalism, his lectures attracted large crowds and were widely published. His works are large in number and varied in topic. He also took part in many debates on the Christian religion. This is an extract from one of his interviews, which is about the Bible (Ingersoll answers) : "Q: If I asked for proofs for your theory, what would you furnish ? A: The experience of every man who is honest with himself, every fact that has been discovered in nature. In addition to these, the utter and total failure of all religionists in all countries to produce one particle of evidence showing the existence of any supernatural power whatever, and the further fact that the people are not satisfied with their religion. They are continually asking for evidence. They are asking it in every imaginable way. The sects are continually dividing. There is no real religious serenity

in the world. All religions are opponents of intellectual liberty, I believe in absolute mental freedom. Real religion with me is a thing not of the head, but of the heart; not a theory, not a creed, but a life". In "Why am I an agnostic ?", Ingersoll explains his feelings towards reason : "I believe in the religion of reason -- the gospel of this world; in the development of the mind, in the accumulation of intellectual wealth, to the end that man may free himself from superstitious fear, to the end that he may take advantage of theforces of nature to feed and clothe the world. Let us be honest with ourselves. In the presence of countless mysteries; standing beneath the boundless heaven sown thick with constellations; knowing that each grain of sand, each leaf, each blade of grass, asks of every mind the answerless question; knowing that the simplest thing defies solution; feeling that we deal withthe superficial and the relative, and that we are forever eluded by the real, the absolute, -let is admit the limitations of our minds, and let us have the courage and the candor to say: We do not know".

Another important atheist, Abner Kneeland (1774-1844), was the publisher of the atheistic newspaper "Boston Investigator", and has been prosecuted for blasphemy. Other social movements contained a number of proeminent atheists. The American suffragette movement had many women atheists in its ranks, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) who wrote "The Woman's Bible" and Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898), who wrote "Woman, Church and State". The organisations for sex education and birth control were persecuted also at the time. Charles Knowlton (1800-1850), who wrote "Fruits of Philosophy", a book on birth control, saw his publishers imprisoned for publication of "obscene" material. At the turn of the century, religions began their "doomsday" phase, preaching apocalypse and the end of the world. This tread is still present today. On the other hand, atheist organisations saw the coming of the millenium with optimism and renewed vigor. It was a time of ideas and revolutions. Atheist philosophers formed new movements like socialism (Jeremy Bentham,John Stuart Mill, Robert Owen), communism (Marx and Lenin). They revolutionarised psychiatry (Freud, H. Ellis), literature (Mark Twain, George Eliot, Ambroise Bierce, H.G. Wells). Atheism was now fully established and could stand on its own. After the emergence of humanism during the Renaissance and freethinking in the 19th century, it was now time for atheism to take its place.

20th CENTURY The Scopes Trial, in 1925, started the war against creationism. Clarence Darrow, an agnostic lawyer, fought in court against fundamentalist preacher William Jennings Bryan to maintain the right of a teacher in Tenessee to teach evolution. Darrow lost, but the trial had enormous repercussions on the creationism/evolution debate. Ayn Rand (1905-1982), founder of Objectivism, was a leading atheist philosopher, and constructed a philosophy which survives her to this day.

In the most influential book of the century, "Atlas Shrugged" (a philosophical novel), Ayn Rand writes about mysticism : "They claim that they perceive a mode of being superior to your existence on this earth. The mystics of spirit call it 'another dimension,' which consists of denying dimensions. The mystics of muscle call it 'the future,' which consists of denying the present. To exist is to possess identity. What identity are they able to give to their superior realm? They keep telling you what it is not, but never tell you what it is. All their identifications consist of negating: God is that which no human mind can know, they say — and proceed to demand that you consider it knowledge — God is non-man, heaven is non-earth, soul is non-body, virtue is non-profit, A is non-A, perception is non-sensory, knowledge is non-reason. Their definitions are not acts of defining, but of wiping out". The "Freethinker" newspaper was the most prominent atheist periodical in England as the century began. An active group called the Leicester Secular Society was having meetings and engaging in community activism in their own secular hall which had been built in the latter 1800's.

Joseph McCabe Joseph McCabe (1867-1955), a former catholic priest, converted to atheism. He wrote on absurdities and atrocities of the Catholic Church and authored titles like "The Forgery of the Old Testament", "Religious Lies", "Did Jesus Ever Live?", and "Do We Need Religion ?". McCabe has written more books than any other atheist in history. "The Roman Catholic Church is an anachronism, an imposture, which the world is rapidly finding out . . . It is poor in scholarship and rich in crime. It hates and fears truth. It still prefers the cloak and dagger, the intrigue and the secret bullying". In his book "Is the position of atheism growing stronger", he talks about the historical progression of atheism : "In my 'Rise and Fall of the Gods' (1931) I traced the weird and ever-changing belief in Gods from the days of man's infancy to our own time. I showed that at every period during the 5,000 years of history when men developed a higher culture Atheism appeared. We find it in ancient Egypt in spite of the scantiness of the literary remains and the despotic power of the priests. We see it so widespread in civilization 2,500 years ago that it takes a prominent place in history in the form of the Ionian philosophy of Greece and the ethic of Buddha and Confucius in Asia. Then there is the high cultural development of the Greek-Roman civilization, and from 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. we find the thinly veiled Atheism of the Stoics. Epicureans, and Skeptics accepted by the great majority of the better-educated. Atheism perishes again with the crass ignorance and clerical tyranny of the Iron Age, but it spreads widely in the light of the Arab-Persian civilization, wherever the fanatics are checked, and at the Renaissance it reappears in Christendom. The hardening of the religious attitude after the Reformation again cheeks it, but in the 18th Century it enters upon a development which has, in spite of murderous clerical tyranny in some countries, proceeded steadily ever since".

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was an agnostic, and also a famous mathematician, writer, and philosopher. He wrote many atheistic books like "Why I Am Not a Christian", "Skeptical Essays", and "Religion and Science". His name is still very popular among atheists. His essay "On the value of skepticism" promotes science and common sense. In the introduction he announces :

"I wish to propose a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. I must, of course, admit that if such an opinion became common it would completely transform our social life and our political system; since both are at present faultless, this must weigh against it. I am also aware (what is more serious) that it would tend to diminish the incomes of clairvoyants, bookmakers, bishops, and others who live on the irrational hopes of those who have done nothing to deserve good fortune here or hereafter. In spite of these grave arguments, I maintain that a case can be made out of my paradox, and I shall try to set it forth". 1940 : Gora (1902-1975), an Indian, started the Atheist Centre. He, along with his son Lavanam, worked in India to assemble atheists together and organized World Atheist Meets. The Atheist Centre still continutes his work of social reform to this day. 1941 : the American Humanist Association was founded, soon to be followed by the International Humanist and Ethical Union. 1946 : a man named Robert Harold Scott gave what is considered as the first atheist radio broadcast in the United States. In 1955 a woman, Margaret Knight, did the same thing on the BBC in England. They both drew harsh public protests. 1947 : the United Secularists of America began publishing "Progressive World", a secularist magazine, which lasted 34 years. During the fifties, the Cold War erupted. The United States government exploited the hate against atheism that was triggered by McCarthyism to make "In God We Trust" their national motto, to put it on the money, and to add "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. 1954 : the "American Rationalist" magazine began publication, and is still active today. During the sixties, the courts started giving positive judgments for atheism. In 1963, the Murray v. Curlett and Abington v. Schemp decision held that organized prayer and Bible recitation in the classroom were unconstitutional :

"(T)he Free Exercise Clause . . . has never meant that a majority could use the machinery of the state to practice its beliefs." (Opinion of the Court in Murray v. Curlett). Madalyn Murray O'Hair was a major influence in popularizing atheism.

Madalyn Murray O'Hair Madalyn Murray O'Hair was the founder and president of American Atheists. She successfully challenged school prayer and worked all her life to atheism organisation and the defense of state/church separation. She organized public protests, demonstrations. She also collaborated with Gora to hold the first World Atheist Conference in 1972, which was held in India. In her speech "Atheism", she explains the basic scientific struggle between atheism and religion : "We need to know upon what we base ourselves. Atheism is based upon a materialist philosophy, which holds that nothing exists but natural phenomena. There are no supernatural forces or entities, nor can there be any. Nature simply exists. But there are those who deny this, who assert that only mind or idea or spirit is primary. This question of the relation of the human mind to material being is one of the

fundamental questions dealt with by all philosophers, however satisfactorily. The Atheist must slice through all obfuscation to bedrock, to the basic idea that those who regard nature as primary and thought as a property (or function) of matter belong to the camp of materialism, and that those who maintain that spirit or idea or mind existed before nature or created nature or uphold nature belong to the camp of idealism. All conventional religions are based on idealism. Many varieties of idealism exist, but the apologist for idealism and opponents of materialism go under many names; we have, for instance, dualists, objective idealists, subjective idealists, solipsists, positivists, Machians, irrationalists, existentialists, neo-positivists, logical positivists, fideists, revived medieval scholastics, Thomists. And opposed to these stand alone the Atheistic materialists (or perhaps naturalists, Rationalists, freethinkers, etc.) who have no need for intellectual machinations, deceptions, or masquerades". On her discourse called "Fundamentalist", we see her discussing about religious ideas : "There are some inherently crazy subsets of ideas. God was sitting on his ass in Nowhere, since at that time there was not even a universe, for hundreds of millions of years without an idea in his head, picking his nose and farting, when suddenly he became bored one moment in particular and said, in clear Hebrew, "From nothing I will create something," and he created the entire universe (whatever that may be) for the express purpose of creating you in his own image, complete down to the belly button. Of course, if there was nothing, whence came god? But then, why bother with trivialities? And, since man and woman were not to fornicate, why did he create Adam complete with the family jewels, penis and scrotum, and why did he create Eve with a depository for the same, her vagina? Oh well -ask a foolish question . . . Almost all of science in our nation, because of the idea of "created man," came to a nearly complete stop for over sixty years because we have some lunatics on the loose who objected to a book written by Charles Darwin in 1859. The single objection is over the creation story. The Fundamentalists do not care to have humankind identified as primates, a part of the animal kingdom".

1970 : Paul Kurtz established Prometheus Press, which is an important source of freethinking and atheistic books. They have published the popular "Atheism: The Case Against God", by George Smith, and Dr. Gordon Stein's monumental "The Encyclopedia of Unbelief". 1978 : the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) was established by Anne Gaylor in Madison, Wisconsin. They publish a freethought newspaper called "Freethought Today". 1984 : a former evangelist preacher-turned-atheist named Dan Barker joined FFRF and wrote a celebrated book about his conversion, called "Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist". In his book he describes why he converted : "I read Bertrand Russell, Thomas Paine, Ayn Rand, John Dewey and others. At first I laughed at these worldly thinkers, but I eventually started discovering some disturbing facts--facts that discredited Christianity. I tried to ignore these facts because they did not integrate with my religious world view. For years I went through an intense inner conflict. On the one hand I was happy with the direction and fulfillment of my Christian life; on the other hand I had intellectual doubts. Faith and reason began a war within me. And it kept escalating. I would cry out to God for answers, and none would come. Like the battered wife who clings to hope, I kept trusting that God would someday come through. He never did. The only proposed answer was faith, and I gradually grew to dislike the smell of that word. I finally realized that faith is a cop-out, a defeat--an admission that the truths of religion are unknowable through evidence and reason. It is only undemonstrable assertions that require the suspension of reason, and weak ideas that require faith. I just lost faith in faith. Biblical contradictions became more

and more discrepant, apologist arguments more and more absurd and, when I finally discarded faith, things became more and more clear". In the early nineties, several chapters of American Atheists broke from the organization and began working together as separate groups, within what is now called the Atheist Alliance. Since then, other groups have been added. The Alliance publishes a quarterly magazine called "Secular Nation" and has annual national conventions. What will the future bring ? After the growth of atheism, what new movement or extension will come forward to support freedom and freethought ? Such a question will be answered in the next centuries certainly, but until then we can only watch as the millenia unfolds and plays out before our very eyes. Written by Gora, in "We Become Atheists" at the end of the last chapter, "Future of Atheism" : "The future of atheism consists in establishing partyless democracy and achieving one equal humanity through it. National and racial differences vanish as real democracies federate at first for commonweal and then move towards one humanity and one wor1d. The United Nations Organization will have to convert itself into United People's Organization for the purpose. Atheist awakening rouses people all over the world into the feeling of mastership over their institutions and systems of life. The spread of the atheist outlook is hope of humanity to turn from war to peace, from slavery to freedom, from superstition to a sense of reality, from conflict to cooperation".

References : Atheist Express (http://www.hti.net/www/atheism/index.html), Secular Web (www.infidels.org), etc.

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