Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Famous Atheists

Found this interesting website, which lists famous atheists, agnostics, and those who are "apparently skeptical of theism or religion -- need more info"

Under the atheist list, some names that you may know:

Woody Allen, Lance Armstrong, Issac Asimov, Dave Barry, Bjork, Marlon Brando, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, George Carlin, Fidel Castro, Rodney Dangerfield, Phil Donahue, Roger Ebert, (Dr.) Dean Edell, Albert Einstein, Larry Flynt, Jodie Foster, Janeane Garofalo, Bill Gates, Katharine Hepburn, Billy Joel, Angelina Jolie, Diane Keaton, Bruce Lee, Julianne Moore, Ron Reagan Jr., Keanu Reeves, Andy Rooney, Salman Rushdie, George Soros, Howard Stern, Annika Sörenstam...

Just to name a few.

Some surprises, some not.


Paul said...

Albert Einstein an atheist??

Of course since he was a scientist, most of his writings are about that subject. But I've run into plenty of Einstein quotes in which he refers to God, e.g, "God does not play dice with the universe."

I think a big if not central part of his motivation for doing science and wanting a unified field theory was his belief that the Creator created something that's intelligible and makes sense. Maybe you could even say that so far as the bigger picture goes, he was a proponent of a version of "intelligent design."

Preachrboy said...

According to the same website:

Quotes from the German-born American physicist at http://www.wonderfulatheistsofcfl.org/Quotes.htm#lincoln.

"I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religion than it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism."

"I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it."

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."

Paul said...

Sounds like Einstein believed in God, but not a personal God or human-like God.

Because one person conceives of God differently than another does not make the person an atheist. There are plenty of other quotes where Einstein uses the word God in a positive context. Your quote concentrates on the idea of God he did not hold to.

Theolgian Paul Tillich conceived of God as "the ground of being" - closer to Einstein's version, I think, than that of conservative Christians. This could lead one to call him a "theologian-atheist," I suppose. But I think it's better to just recognize that people have different ideas of what God may be like.

Preachrboy said...


This link gives a little more info on where the site is coming from, Paul. I think it squares with what you are saying.

I have an atheist friend with whom I often go round-and-round. One of the issues we often discuss is how terms are defined.

For my part, I don't like being called a fundamentalist, but that's how he would see me.

I just posted the site for general interest, not to posit a one-size-fits-all definiton.

Paul said...

Thanks, PB. I know what you mean. I think some people would label me atheist, which I'd consider as far removed from my position as "fundamentalist."

I think the labels, if they're good for anything, probably best designate the extremes.