Atheist Day observed annually on March 23, is a day that focuses on those who do not believe in god. The term ‘atheism’ first emerged in medieval Europe more than 400 years ago and was used to describe those who rejected the thought of a higher power.
In the present day, there are said to be over 4,000 religions in this world, and almost every one of them has associated festivals and observances. Although atheists do not believe in a God, they, too, chose a special day to be set aside, hence the creation of Atheist Day.
History of Atheist Day
The concept of atheism is said to be as old as religion itself. There have been records and writings suggesting that even in Judaism during 550 B.C. Some people did not believe in the existence of Gods. There has also been evidence suggesting the same in Christianity and Islam later on.
Lokayata was a school in India during the sixth century B.C. which was openly atheistic.
However, in those times, being an atheist was frowned upon. Being called an atheist was taken as an insult. Even stories suggest that people with such beliefs were executed and treated as outcasts in societies.
In the Middle Ages, many freethinkers like Al-Ma’arri in Persia and Nicholas of Cusa from ancient Germany further spread the concept of atheism. During the Renaissance, Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli challenged the views of the Church and religion.
With communism rising in Eastern Europe and Asia, the concept of atheism became more acceptable. Though the term atheist was simply used as an umbrella term to refer to someone who didn’t believe in God, there existed different levels of atheism in society.
Some people were skeptical about beliefs in general. Some didn’t believe in a God but felt that it could be tolerated, and then there were some like the ‘New Atheists’ who believed in not just tolerating it but rather opposing it. Agnosticism was a concept that stemmed from this belief.
It suggested that the existence or non-existence of God cannot be proved.
Atheist Day timeline
Atheism is seen in Judaism and the writings of Xenophanes.
Atheism spreads in Christianity and Islam amongst freethinkers.
Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli challenge the beliefs of the Church.
It takes place at the TX State Capitol on March 23 in association with the Atheist Republic's Atheist Day International Initiative and is sponsored by the Atheist Community of Austin.
Atheist Day FAQs
Who are some of the most well-known atheists in the world?
Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Karl Marx, Richard Dawkins, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, and Keira Knightley are some of the well-known atheists in the world.
What do atheists believe?
Atheists believe that the existence of God is false and can’t be proven.
Which country has the most atheists?
According to the WIN-Gallup International Association (WIN/GIA) poll, China and Sweden are the top two countries with the highest percentages of atheists.
How to Observe Atheist Day
Engage in discussions
This day is all about knowing and understanding each other's beliefs. Talk to your religious friends if you are an atheist and understand their perspective on life and the reasons behind their beliefs. On the other hand, if you’re a religious person, engage with your atheist friends to understand their outlook on life.
Share it on social media
Let everyone know that you're celebrating this day. Take pictures of you celebrating Atheist Day and post them on social media. You can share your thoughts in the form of articles and post them online as well.
Learn more about Atheism
Dive deeper into the beliefs. You'll find many interesting facts, stories, and opinions along the way that will be food for thought. If you are an atheist, you could read books on atheism or watch a movie to expand your knowledge.
5 Facts About Atheism That Will Blow Your Mind
Atheists have increased in number
It is estimated that about 7% of the world's population are atheists.
Most atheists are men
About seven in 10 atheists in the U.S. are men.
The Soviet Union was not fully atheist
It is a common misconception that the Soviet Union was a completely atheist state.
Atheists were executed
In Medieval times, atheists were tortured and executed, including Italian philosopher Giulio Vanini.
Atheists were excluded from the S.S.
The Nazi army did not allow atheists into the Schutzstaffel (S.S.).
Why Atheist Day is Important
It makes us appreciate others' beliefs
Atheist Day sheds light on the beliefs of atheists and atheism. There are thousands of religions in this world, and their beliefs are well-known and respected. However, the beliefs of atheists are often ignored and even looked down upon. Atheist Day allows us to recognize and appreciate the beliefs of atheists.
It is a topic for debate
Atheism remains one of the most controversial and sensitive topics for debates. Both sides have strong arguments, and it has never reached a proper conclusion. This day allows us to debate, discuss, and learn.
It gives us a chance to improve our knowledge
It is a day of learning for both atheists and theists. As we discuss, read, and learn more about religion, beliefs, and atheism, we expand our knowledge and understand in-depth things we often ignore.
Atheist Day dates