atheism (ā´thē-Ĭz´əm), denial of the existence of God or gods and of any supernatural existence, to be distinguished from agnosticism, which holds that the existence cannot be proved. The term atheism has been used as an accusation against all who attack established orthodoxy, as in the trial of Socrates. There were few avowed atheists from classical times until the 19th cent., when popular belief in a conflict between religion and science brought forth preachers of the gospel of atheism, such as Robert G. Ingersoll. There are today many individuals and groups professing atheism. The 20th cent. has seen many individuals and groups professing atheism, including Bertrand Russell and Madalyn Murry O'Hair.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Atheism: Selected full-text books and articles

Atheism: A Reader
S. T. Joshi.
Prometheus Books, 2000
Atheism: A Philosophical Justification
Michael Martin.
Temple University Press, 1990
Philosophy & Atheism: In Defense of Atheism
Kai Nielsen.
Prometheus Books, 1985
Why Atheism?
George H. Smith.
Prometheus Books, 2000
Voices of Unbelief: Documents from Atheists and Agnostics
Dale McGowan.
Greenwood, 2012
The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Bryan F. Le Beau; Madaíyn Murray O'Hair.
New York University Press, 2003
Critiques of God: Making the Case against Belief in God
Peter A. Angeles.
Prometheus Books, 1997
Against the Faith: Essays on Deists, Skeptics, and Atheists
Jim Herrick.
Prometheus Books, 1985
Naturalism without Foundations
Kai Nielsen.
Prometheus Books, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Part Four "Toward a Nonscientistic Atheism"
The Human Enterprise: An Attempt to Relate Philosophy to Daily Life
M. C. Otto.
Crofts, 1940
Librarian’s tip: Chap. X "The Two Atheisms"
American Freethought, 1860-1914
Sidney Warren.
Columbia University Press, 1943
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "Atheism: The Left-Wing of the Freethought Movement"
Religion without God
Ray Billington.
Routledge, 2002
The Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur
Lewis Edwin Hahn.
Open Court, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 20 "Ricoeur on Atheism: A Critique"
Secular Utilitarianism: Social Science and the Critique of Religion in the Thought of Jeremy Bentham
James E. Crimmins.
Clarendon Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Conclusion: Atheism and the Secular Utilitarian Society" begins on p. 271
The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism
Nishitani Keiji; Graham Parkes; Setsuko Aihara.
State University of New York Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "The Problem of Atheism" begins on p. 183
God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist
William Lane Craig; Walter Sinnott-Armstrong.
Oxford University Press, 2004
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.