The History of atheism spans several millennia, although the term atheism originated in the 16th century, based on Ancient Greekαθεος "godless, denying the gods, ungodly" and open admission to positive atheism in modern times was not made earlier than in the late 18th century.
The spontaneous proposition that there may be no gods after all is likely as old as theism itself (and the proposition that there may be no God as old as the beginnings of monotheism or henotheism). Psalm 14:1, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God" is one reference to the sentiment, expressed in the mid 1st millennium BC. Philosophical atheist thought appears from the 6th or 5th century BC, both in Europe and in Asia. (Read more...)
Margaret Higgins Sanger (September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966) was an Americanbirth control activist, an advocate of eugenics, and the founder of the American Birth Control League (which eventually became Planned Parenthood). Initially meeting with fierce opposition to her ideas, Sanger gradually won the support of the public and the courts for a woman's choice to decide how and when she will bear children. Though her tentative support of eugenics was less well received, Margaret Sanger was instrumental in opening the way to universal access to birth control.
Sanger remains a controversial figure. While she is widely credited as a leader of the modern birth control movement, and remains an iconic figure for the American reproductive rights movements, she also is reviled by some who condemn her as "an abortion advocate" (perhaps unfairly so: abortion was illegal during Sanger's lifetime and Planned Parenthood did not then support the procedure or lobby for its legalization). Groups opposed to Planned Parenthood and/or legalized abortion have frequently targeted Sanger for her views, attributing her efforts to promote birth control to a desire to "purify" the human race through eugenics, and even to eliminate minority races by placing birth control clinics in minority neighborhoods. For this reason, Sanger is often quoted selectively or out of context by detractors, and her history and involvement with socialism and eugenics have often been rationalized or even ignored by her defenders and biographers. Despite the allegations of racism, Sanger's work with minorities earned the respect of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.(Read more...)
Shown here is the percentage in each country which responded that "they believe there is a god".
While it is difficult to quantify the prevalence of nontheism in the world, it is clear that the percentage of people in Europe who believe in god is significantly lower than most of the rest of the world. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, former and present Communist states, and to a lesser extent, the United States also show higher levels of atheism and nontheism. A 1995 survey attributed to the Encyclopædia Britannica indicates that the non-religious make up about 14.7% of the world's population, and atheists around 3.8%. (Read more...)