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...)
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...)