The phenomenon of atheism is quite distinct from both the
argument against the existence of gods or the simple living without gods, just as
the playing of football is different from the study of the sport -- its
history, its development, significant players, its role in society, etc.. These pages are
an attempt at collecting some of the widely diverse writings regarding the
phenomenon of atheism. Up until recently the phenomenalism of atheism has been
written almost exclusively by non-atheists, primarily Christians, in efforts to
dissuade fellow believers from falling into such a 'trap' of disbelief.
Anti-atheistic writings have also been used as apologetics, explaining the
'superiority' and 'rationality' of Christian faith.
For the most part the citations included herein are commentaries on the
phenomenon of atheism alone, going beyond the argument against theism itself. The
purpose of this collection is not to argue the case for atheism but to offer the
reader a glimpse at the breadth of thought devoted to understanding the
varieties of atheistic experience.
Writings by atheists themselves can be classified into three main areas:
(1) evidential atheism, or anti-theism, from confirmed
anti-religionists like Voltaire and Baron d'Holbach, both of the 18th
(2) the atheism of suspicion, founded in the critique of religion from the
social sciences of economics and psychology promoted by the 19th century
luminaries Marx and Freud; and
(3) religious atheism, as old as daoism and buddhism, places atheism
within the sphere of the secular world and religious relativism.
Friends have remarked that introductions to the material would benefit the
reading. At this time i am not able to provide introductions to all of the
sources, and am actually quite content that they stand by themselves as untouched
primary sources without the editor's first remarks. The selection of these texts
is totally subjective, chosen from what varied sources i could find. I have tried
to include citations from all sources presenting a different slant on atheism.
tpkunesh 1988 / 1996 / 1998