Atheism is the philosophical position that either affirms no deities exist or rejects belief in the existence of a deity. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists. Atheism is also generally contrasted with agnosticism, which claims that it is impossible to be certain that deities either do or do not exist (regardless of belief). In its broadest definition, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Although atheists are commonly assumed to be irreligious, some religions, such as Buddhism, have been characterized as atheistic. Many self-described atheists share common skeptical concerns regarding supernatural claims, citing a lack of empirical evidence for the existence of deities. Arguments for atheism can be philosophical, social, empirical and historical. Although many self-described atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as Humanism, rationalism, and naturalism, there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere. The term atheism originated as a pejorativeepithet applied to any person or belief in conflict with established religion. With the spread of freethought, scientific skepticism, and criticism of religion, the term began to gather a more specific meaning and was sometimes used as a self-description by atheists.
He was involved in several prominent trials as an attorney, notably the Star Route trials, a major political scandal in which his clients were acquitted. He also defended a New Jersey man for blasphemy. Although he did not win acquittal, his vigorous defense is considered to have discredited blasphemy laws and few other prosecutions followed.
Ingersoll was most noted as an orator, the most popular of the age, when oratory was public entertainment. He spoke on every subject, from Shakespeare to Reconstruction, but his most popular subjects were agnosticism and the sanctity and refuge of the family. He committed his speeches to memory although they were sometimes more than three hours long. His audiences were said never to be restless.
I maintain that the opprobrium cast upon the word Atheism is a lie. I believe Atheists as a body to be men deserving respect... I do not care what kind of character religious men may put round the word Atheist, I would fight until men respect it.