This is a collection of quotations by people correctly defining or characterizing atheists and atheism. Sorting order is by name (including a title if applicable), and sources are included where they are known.
- "The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve."
- -- Albert Einstein
- "Everyone starts out being an atheist. No one is born with belief in anything. Infants are atheists until they are indoctrinated."
- -- Andy Rooney
- "The reason I am called an atheist is because I don't believe in god, or in Allah."
- -- Apostate Prophet (July 16, 2019)
- "It is the mark of an enlightened mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
- -- Aristotle (Aristoteles)
- "Simply put, atheism is a lack of belief in any gods."
- -- Armin Navabi (Atheist Republic)
- "... Some even say, 'just because I don't believe in God doesn't make me atheist,' but yeah, it definitely does. That is actually the only criteria. It doesn't matter whether you also have a belief that there is no god, because that still means you don't believe there is one."
- -- Aron Ra (June 21, 2019)
Source: Is an Agnostic also Atheist? (11th paragraph)
- "The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more."
- -- Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2007)
Source: Book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali published in 2006 entitled "Infdel: My Life" that was translated to English in 2007
- "An 'atheist' is literally one who does not believe in a divine being. That is, s/he does not believe in God and so is 'without God' (the literal meaning of the term). An 'agnostic' is one who says s/he does 'not know' if there is a God (the literal meaning of that term; it's about knowledge, not faith). And so they are dealing with two incommensurate entities: faith (atheism) and knowledge (agnosticism)."
- -- Dr. Bart Ehrman (July 4, 2017)
Source: Blog entry entitled "Why Would I Call Myself Both an Agnostic [and] an Atheist? A Blast From the Past"
- "I like to compare it to being a non-smoker. Not smoking is the only thing that group of people definitely has in common. That group can also have ex-smokers and people who are actively against smoking/smokers."
- -- Bikini Atroll (comparing atheism to not smoking)
Source: Twitter posting on April 22, 2018
- "... not only is atheism not a religion, it's not even my hobby -- and that's the best thing about being an atheist; it requires so little of your time."
- -- Bill Maher
- "... the preferred definition [of atheism] is simply one that describes the state of having no belief in any gods, and it can include those ignorant of the concept, those who just don't care, and those who've made an exhaustive study of the matter."
- -- BionicDance (August 22, 2016)
- "I developed a deep irritation with the intellectual vacuity of those who actively seek to deny the reality of evolution and the science of biology in general. So empty is such a position, in the face of evidence collected over centuries, that it can only be politically motivated; there is not a hint of reason in it. And more than that, taking such a position closes the mind to the most wonderful story, and this is the tragedy for those who choose it, or worse, are forced into it through deficient teaching."
- -- Brian Cox
- "No, I do not believe in any god. Everything I have today I received from myself and my loved ones, and when I am gone it will be gone; and I cherish everything I have because of that fact."
- -- Bruce Lee (1940-1973)
- "Every child starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then [society] beats it out of them; a few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact."
- -- Carl Sagan
- "Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science, or a dose of common sense."
- -- Chapman Cohen
- "Being an atheist is only to say that one doesn't believe there is a supernatural dimension to the cosmos or to human existence, it doesn't commit you to any one moral or political or ethical or ideological idea, it just says let's suppose, what seems like this, there isn't a supernatural intervening power. It does involve, one of the reasons I think it may have a very slight moral edge however, is it does involve accepting conclusions that may be unwelcome ... I don't particularly want my own death to be succeeded by [the] annihilation and my return to atoms, it's not what I wish for myself, but I'm not going to say I don't believe it because I don't like it because that would be babyish wouldn't it? Nobody argues like that. There's such a thing as evidence as well, and if the evidence is that there is a sky full of divinity over Auschwitz, as Douglas [Wilson] believes, then I think it's legitimate to ask what is that sky thinking when looking down on Auschwitz?"
- -- Christopher Hitchens (2009 panel debate with Dr. William Lane Craig, Douglas Wilson, Lee Strobel, and Jim Dennison)
- "We don't say on non-truth claims or faith claims that we know when we don't ... atheists do not say that we know there is no god, we say to the contrary, no argument and no evidence has ever been educed that we consider to be persuasive; there's no reason to believe in evidence or argument, ontology or science. The same with the afterlife, of course we don't say that we know there isn't one, we say that we don't know anyone who can bring any reason to think that there is."
- -- Christopher Hitchens
- "So, for me, I just look at the root of the word. So we have 'theist' which comes from the Greek 'theos' for god, and 'a-' which simply means 'without'; now the 'a-' in 'atheist' doesn't stand for 'actively against' right, so I refer to myself as an atheist, and by that I don't mean that I actively believe there is no god - this is an important distinction: I don't believe there is no god; I just don't believe that there is a god (okay? ...and it's a subtle distinction) - so basically, I'm not actively saying that here is no god - that would be arrogant, and that would be unsubstantiated, and unfalsifiable - but to say that 'I don't believe that there is a god' is what I think atheism is: without god; without the influence of a god. I'm not against god, but just living my life without the influence of any kind of deity or religious doctrine."
- -- Cosmic Skeptic (September 29, 2016)
- "My calculations show that even if God dedicated all of his time meeting the dead, you would only get to meet him for half of one second. There are 56 million deaths occurring annually and only 32 million seconds in a year."
- -- Darwin Bedford, Spiritual Reality Therapist
Source: Article "The Pope is Humpty Dumpty"
- "Essentially, the 'lack belief' definition of atheism is simply the larger category of non-theist, and you have to ask more questions to find where they actually might sit in their form of non-belief."
- -- Davidian Joe, co-host of Answers in Reason (February 18, 2021)
- "If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby."
- -- David Eller
Source: Book by David Eller published in 2007 entitled "Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker"
- "A religion without a goddess is halfway to atheism."
- -- Dion Fortune
- "Atheism just means not believing in god."
- -- Drew, the Genetically Modified Skeptic (October 29, 2018)
- "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?"
- -- Epicurus
- "If the all-powerful God controls Satan, he is an accomplice, but if he doesn't then he is not an all-powerful god."
- -- Friedrich Nietzsche
- "Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself."
- -- Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel
- "Freedom is never out of style."
- -- Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel
- "Foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits."
- -- General Sun Zi (a.k.a., Sun Tzu)
- "I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."
- -- Isaac Asimov (Spring of 1982; Free Inquiry)
- "If atheism is a religion, then not playing sports is a sport."
- -- Jamison Potter (September 1, 2016)
- "I was born right the first time, as an atheist."
- -- Jason Steinberger (May 26, 2013)
- "How is atheism, the very lack of religion, a religion?"
- -- Jeanne Douglas (September 18, 2012)
- "Atheism doesn't have teachings and preaching. Atheism is simply the state of not believing in god."
- -- Jimmy Snow (a.k.a., Mr. Atheist; June 12, 2019)
- "An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support."
- -- John Buchan
- "The most dangerous type of atheism is not theoretical atheism, but practical atheism -- that's the most dangerous type. And the world, even the church, is filled up with people who pay lip service to God and not life service. And there is always a danger that we will make it appear externally that we believe in God when internally we don't. We say with our mouths that we believe in him, but we live with our lives like he never existed. That is the ever-present danger confronting religion."
- -- Martin Luther King, Jr. (February 28, 1954)
Source: Sermon he delivered at Detroit's Second Baptist Church, Michigan, USA
- "An atheist [...] is somebody who doesn't believe there's a god. (I am not convinced there's a god; that doesn't necessarily mean I'm convinced there are no gods, although that is a subset of 'hey, I don't believe there's a god' and then there's a subset that is 'I believe there are no gods.')"
- -- Matt Dillahunty (May 4, 2018)
- "Atheism is not a belief system; atheism just means, 'lack of belief in god' that's it."
- -- Michael Shermer (October 10, 2018)
- "We lack belief in gods and goddesses and that's it, that's the only thing atheists have in common."
- -- Mr. Oz Atheist (February 14, 2015)
- "There is no directive in atheism. The concept atheism has no actionables. Whereas ideological notions can have actionables."
- -- MyContext (March 14, 2015)
- "If an omnipotent God did exist, there'd be one holy book that anyone would be able to read regardless of the language they spoke."
- -- Neil Bernstein (December 2018)
- "All children are atheists; they have no idea of God."
- -- Paul-Henri Holbach (1772)
Source: Book by Paul-Henri Holbach published in 1772 entitled "Le Bon-Sens ou Idees Naturelles Opposees aux Idees Surnaturelles"
- "Atheism. There's nothing to it. Literally."
- -- Randolf Richardson 張文道 (February 27, 2012)
- "An atheist, with the prefix 'a-' meaning 'not,' is someone who is not convinced that a god exists; that's it."
- -- Rationality Rules (June 30, 2018)
- "If children understand that beliefs should be substantiated with evidence, as opposed to tradition, authority, revelation, or faith, they will automatically work out for themselves that they are atheists."
- -- Richard Dawkins
- "Saying atheism is a belief system is like saying 'not going skiing is a hobby.' I've never been skiing. It's my biggest hobby. I literally do it all the time."
- -- Ricky Gervais
- "... one of the things I find comforting about being an atheist is knowing that my ethics don't come out of some book, but rather through rational, careful consideration."
- -- Rob Ladd (August 14, 2013)
- "The atheist, by merely being in touch with reality, appears shamefully out of touch with the fantasy life of his neighbours."
- -- Sam Harris
- "I don't believe in god; I'm an atheist. I consider myself a critical thinker, and it fascinates me that in the 21st century many people still believe in, as George Carlin puts it, 'the invisible man living in the sky.'"
- -- Seth MacFarlane
- "To find yourself, think for yourself."
- -- Socrates
- "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
- -- Stephen Roberts
- "History is filled with atrocious persecution of non-believers by religious institutions. The ramifications of this persecution is still felt to this day. It manifests itself in many ways including religions and their sympathizers trying to control the identity of non-believers. Non-theists who refuse to call themselves atheists is evidence of that control. The stigma is manufactured and intentional."
- -- TheDukeistheMan (April 27, 2021)
- "... there is no ideological content in atheism so no encouragement or justification for murder ..."
- -- Thomas "Gudloos" P. (June 10, 2012)
- "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
- -- Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet)
- "All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God."
- -- Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet)