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© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Atheism: Selected full-text books and articles

Atheism: A Reader By S. T. Joshi Prometheus Books, 2000
Atheism: A Philosophical Justification By Michael Martin Temple University Press, 1990
Why Atheism? By George H. Smith Prometheus Books, 2000
The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair By Bryan F. Le Beau; Madaíyn Murray O'Hair New York University Press, 2003
Naturalism without Foundations By 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 By M. C. Otto Crofts, 1940
Librarian’s tip: Chap. X "The Two Atheisms"
American Freethought, 1860-1914 By Sidney Warren Columbia University Press, 1943
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "Atheism: The Left-Wing of the Freethought Movement"
Religion without God By Ray Billington Routledge, 2002
The Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur By 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 By 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 By 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 By William Lane Craig; Walter Sinnott-Armstrong Oxford University Press, 2004
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