Talk:Atheism/Archive 52

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Demographics.. and up-to-date world dynamics of atheism

I had edited the Atheism article in order to include the new (august 22, 2012) world survey on people self-statements of being "religious", "no religion", or "declared atheists", produced by an undisputably reliable source, Gallup-International.
This was meant to complete the Demography section dedicated to "how many atheists are there in the world now".
In fact, this section, as it stands up today,
1) revolves mostly about "how many atheists are there in the States --and Canada--, and eventually in Western Europe ;
2) don't rely on studies... more recent than 2004-2005 ! ! !
Not only the Gallup study (conducted on 51,927 men and women from 57 countries) concerns the entire world, but it offers, for the first time as far as it seems, the invaluable possibility to see the evolution of the percentages, from 2005 up to 2012 !
IRWolfie, without coming on this talk page to expose why he disagreed about the adding of that world study, erased it only minutes after i posted it.
It seems (a posteriori) that his argument is that this adding must be included inside the "Demographics of atheism" article. The problem is that this said-article deals more 1) with the difficulties to get precise figures about deep-thinkings of faith followers and/or "shy" atheists ; 2) the second part merely distributes the informations... country by country...
Which is not at all the aim of the Gallup study, as it mainly shows ---not the static repartition of atheists in the world today (which is the legitimate purpose of the other article), but the global dynamics on these topics, objectively observed during the last 7 years !
That's why i really think it has more it's place in "Atheism".
That's why i reverted the previous --and abrupt-- blanking. (I abandoned the idea to do a whole new section out of it, and included it in the existing one).
I invite IRWolfie to come to this talk page and discuss the point, before erasing these paragraphs again.
--Mezzkal (talk) 01:42, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Support inclusion of the material you tried to add on the survey. I checked the BBC and the press release sources and they appear to be legit. I would like to suggest to other editors here that they refrain from revert warring when someone tries to improve this article by adding content. There is no requirement for editors to "first obtain consensus" before adding properly sourced, new material to an article. There is, however, a prohibition on revert-warring. Cla68 (talk) 04:03, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Per WP:BRD it is fully normal to revert bold changes to an article pending consensus; it is not ok to restore it without discussion. Atheism is a featured article and the material needs to be trimmed down and some work and needs to be done on it to integrate it in. We need to reach a consensus on what should be included first. Much of the information added should be presented in a table in the Demographics of atheism article, with a short summary of the main findings in this article. IRWolfie- (talk) 12:16, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
[Thanx for your support, Cla68...]
[to IRWolfie] : What do you mean... "bold changes" ? First, you didn't even mention this argument as an "explanation" for you deletion, when you did it.. I'm amazed that you bring it up here for the first time (i.e.: after the discussion started on this talk page..) ; second : to transcribe new statistical figures concerning the main topic of an article isn't really what one would call "a bold change", is it ? We're not talking, here, about a dramatic new concept which would revolutionize atheism, aren't we ??? And anyway, no one had the slightest objection about the content of these new paragraphs... not even you, AFAIK ??
Also : in case you didn't know, the "WP:BRD" to which you refer, claiming that, according to it, "it is fully normal to revert bold changes"... is just an essay... In no way, it is part of an "official" WP guideline. It even starts by saying : "BRD is not a policy. This means it is not a process that you can require other editors to follow."
By the way ---as you refer to that BRD---, I attract your attention to the fact that it says : "BRD is not a valid excuse for reverting good-faith efforts to improve a page simply because you don't like the changes. Don't invoke BRD as your reason for reverting someone else's work or for edit warring: instead, provide a reason that is based on policies, guidelines, or common sense".
So... eventhough "your" BRD required it, you didn't even begin to answer my argumentation about why this abstract of the Gallup study has more its place in the Demographics section of Atheism, with a short résumé in the other article, rather than the way 'round, as you keep saying without bringing any new support to your point...
--Mezzkal (talk) 18:25, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I want to comment on two parts of the editing that has gone on here.
    • About the issues raised by Mezzkal, I don't see any compelling reasons to argue, in this case, about where BRD does or does not apply. I accept that Mezzkal has found some material that is reliably sourced, and is potentially appropriate to add to the article. However, I also find quite reasonable the concerns that I think led IRWolfie to revert. First, the amount of text was very long, relative to the amount of text this page devotes to other demographic studies. Consequently, I think that concerns about WP:UNDUE, completely separate from any issues of "is it true?" or "is it reliably sourced?", are valid. That would mean that this is a matter of stating the material more concisely, and I'm sure we can do that with some discussion. Also, the material began by saying, in Wikipedia's voice, that this new study showed that the author of a previous study was wrong. Unless we can point to somewhere in the new source that says that their major finding was that Schwadel was wrong, this would violate WP:SYNTH, as well as being needlessly polemic. So I see nothing wrong with sorting these problems out in talk.
    • Subsequently, there has been some back-and-forth about the sentence on Schwadel's study. I've restored the sentence, because the RfC cited as a basis for its removal, here, was actually about different material, if you look at it closely, and that material already was removed. The sentence in question now has recently been discussed just above, here, and I'm not aware of any discussion favoring its deletion.
  • --Tryptofish (talk) 18:54, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Too much emphasis was given to the recent study. It should not refute in Wikipedia's voice any previous study. It should not say anything about irreligion—that's a different article. It should give a brief summary of numbers of declared atheists per country, and over time where that data is available. Binksternet (talk) 19:31, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
In my opinion, when an editor makes a good faith attempt to add new information to an article, reverting it in its entirety is unhelpful and hostile. The two editors who reverted Mezzkal didn't even bother to start a discussion thread about it here on the talk page, they just made drive-by reverts. Not good. Instead, if an editor disagrees with the addition, they should start a discussion and say, like Tryptofish and Binksternet did above, what they agree with and what they don't agree with in the new addition, then the interested parties can work from there. I think that's a much more productive approach. Cla68 (talk) 03:26, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
And in my opinion, it's not a big deal whether we discuss it with the material on the page, or with the material temporarily reverted, pending discussion. Anyway, it's really time to move on, to how to rewrite it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:23, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
To Tryptofish : Thanks for your intervention. Now... What do we do about this ?
You're talking about "we should do this with the "material...", or "the "material" shouldn't state that..." etc.
Unfortunately ---thanx to the sense of "ethical behaviour" of IRWolfie, then of DVobisdu---, we're merely talking about Godot, as... the aforementioned "material" isn't available, anyway, to any good-willing contributor to examine it !
My question is : what do you propose, concretely ?
--Mezzkal (talk) 17:55, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
You are very welcome! I guess what I'm proposing is that someone, anyone, take a stab at writing, here in talk, a shorter version that reflects what I and Binksternet said. (It's easy to find the previous version in the edit history.) And then we can take it from there. I was hoping that someone else, not me, would take the time to draft it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:23, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Cla68, I left Mezzkal a personal message on his user talkpage when I reverted explaining why I did it. I hardly think that is inappropriate. IRWolfie- (talk) 16:01, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Error in the article

The article includes this line: "In the US, in states with the highest percentages of atheists, the murder rate is lower than average. In the most religious US states, the murder rate is higher than average." However, the linked article states, "the states with the highest murder rates tend to be highly religious, such as Louisiana and Alabama, but the states with the lowest murder rates tend to be among the least religious in the country, such as Vermont and Oregon". A state being more or less religious is different than a state having more or less Atheists percentage. Additionally, the difference in percentages may not be statistically significant, depending upon the standard deviations amongst the various states. As such, until more accurate information is located and referenced, the statement should probably be removed. Xuinkrbin. (talk) 00:00, 29 August 2012 (UTC) xuinkrbin.

Maybe we should indeed change "percentages of atheists" to wording based instead on high or low religiousity, if that's all the source says (I didn't look). But as for statistical significance, it would be WP:OR for us to conclude that, unless the source actually says something about statistics. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:14, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
If the data tracks the lack of religiosity then the proper article for it is irreligion. The only way we can include it here is if it charts atheism. Binksternet (talk) 22:41, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point; we should probably go through the statements in the Demographics section with that consideration in mind. The particular sentence discussed here is in Atheism#Association with world views and social behaviors, and is sourced to a long source by Phil Zuckermann. I'm not going to read the whole thing now, but the study, overall, is specifically about atheism, so I think we would have to make sure that Zuckermann really was only talking about irreligion in this instance. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:03, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
It does have some relevance to this article as well considering that atheism is a subset of irreligion. We just need to be careful that we don't say they are exactly the same thing, or equate a rise in irreligion with a rise in atheism. IRWolfie- (talk) 11:14, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 9 October 2012

I looked at the page and I immediately thought of the most atheistic region in the world, Scandinavia.

I therefore tried to find a reliable source of how many atheists there really are.

There are huge spans here in which I think the most problem is the difference between atheist and agnostic, but I think Scandinavia is at least worth mentioning because of its high concentration of atheists in the industrialized world.,even if you don't find this source reliable enough.

Interestedman (talk) 00:54, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Not done Sort of already included in the article in the Demographics section. If you have a specific statement you want included you need to indicate where you wish it included, the precise statement, and appropriate sourcing. Sailsbystars (talk) 06:19, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Inline citations in the lead

There is an excessive number of inline citations in the lead, contrary to the rules set out in WP:Lead. I can do some editing myself at a later date but is anyone available to take on this work? Thanks --Titanis Walleri (talk) 21:10, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Please read WP:LEADCITE carefully:
"The lead must conform to verifiability and other policies. The verifiability policy advises that material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, and quotations, should be supported by an inline citation. Because the lead will usually repeat information that is in the body, editors should balance the desire to avoid redundant citations in the lead with the desire to aid readers in locating sources for challengeable material. Leads are usually written at a greater level of generality than the body, and information in the lead section of non-controversial subjects is less likely to be challenged and less likely to require a source; there is not, however, an exception to citation requirements specific to leads. The necessity for citations in a lead should be determined on a case-by-case basis by editorial consensus. Complex, current, or controversial subjects may require many citations; others, few or none. The presence of citations in the introduction is neither required in every article nor prohibited in any article."
--JimWae (talk) 21:58, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I certainly agree there should be some inline citation in this lead, I just think its use is excessive here. Also, the last two paragraphs of the lead should be dropped, in my opinion, as one deals with religion/irreligion (very seperate topics from atheism/theism) and the other quotes 'atheist percentages' of a random half a dozen countries out of a possible 250! Also, the source for these percentages is misrepresented in this article. Titanis Walleri (talk) 22:54, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
We could omnibus the multiple footnotes into single footnotes naming multiple sources. ~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 15:00, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Religiosity/ intelligence/ Bell/ Dawkins' quote

I have removed the Paul Bell (as quoted by Dawkins) quote. It has been previously discussed here and, at length with no clear consensus, here and also over at the Religiosity and intelligence talk page here. Despite numerous discussions, it seems that, consistently, no- one in any of those discussions has actually seen the article. It is not a peer reviewed article, so the methodology might be quite shonky. (It appears suspiciously similar in is conclusions to this work, which has multiple issues.) There are better citations in the article already, serving this purpose in a better way.WotherspoonSmith (talk) 00:49, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Needs definition revision

The word deity throughout the article should be switched to something like Creator. None of the deities/Buddhas in Buddhism can be considered Creators. Thus I consider myself an atheist. Merigar (talk) 04:22, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Buddhism can sometimes be compatible with atheism. See God in Buddhism. The word "creator" is not a NPOV term we can use in this article.   — Jess· Δ 04:37, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Also, this article discusses Buddhism many times.   — Jess· Δ 04:39, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Let me make my point more clear. The article uses the word deity. But when I go into the citations, the actual meaning is something more like Creator. So its the western definition of deity you all are using. Merigar (talk) 05:08, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Can you point to a specific sentence where this is a problem, or a specific source that backs up what you're saying about the term 'creator'? Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 05:35, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

First sentence links to a Wikipedia article called "Existence of God", with a capital 'G'. So we should clarify that we are using the Creator definition of deity. Merigar (talk) 22:55, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

None of our sources use the word "Creator" in place of deities or gods. And, as I mentioned before, some religions who believe in a god don't believe in a "creator". Without new sources, these nuances really aren't appropriate to be inserting into our first sentence. If you have sources which discuss it in more depth (specifically with relation to atheism), we might be able to add some text later in the article.   — Jess· Δ 23:06, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Your linkage to the "Existence of God" article is incorrect. It should be a linkage to "Existence of Deities" as per the majority of your own sources. Merigar (talk) 00:10, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Presently we do have existence of deities linked to the Existence of God article. I would prefer replacing this link with the link to the Deity article, for it is its first of many occurrences of the word and that article is inclusive of monotheism. The Existence of God link can then be moved down to "one deity exists". Modocc (talk) 00:35, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
This is fine with me. Merigar (talk) 18:42, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Or you rename the "Existence of God" article to "Existence of Deities". Then everything makes sense. Merigar (talk) 17:55, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

This is the wrong place to discuss about changing the name of another article. Discuss it on that talk page. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:24, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Or stop linking to "Existence of God" on this page. Merigar (talk) 18:41, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I fail to see the issue with what we currently have, IRWolfie- (talk) 18:59, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Aphrodite and Poseidon are not creator deities. But atheists don't believe in them either. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 16:18, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Ok point taken.Merigar (talk) 22:53, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Why linkage to "Existence of God" article in first sentence?

According to the current article, atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. Not specifically a monotheistic God. So why the linkage to "Existence of God" article in first sentence?Merigar (talk) 03:03, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I changed the links per my earlier post. --Modocc (talk) 17:21, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
Looks good, IRWolfie- (talk) 22:57, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree, if anything it should link to the Gods article.

Also, how did we get to "rejection of beliefs" ? That is a positive thing, an atheist is a person who "lacks" beliefs. To reject a belief you have to consider it, to be an atheist you don't.

Tsingi (talk) 19:24, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

We have the rejection of beliefs prominent in the lede as we do from the referenced sources given in the listed citations per WP:RS and WP:DUE. There are different conceptions of what atheism is per the sources and we present them in accordance with their prominence in the relevant literature which is usually written from a rejection of belief perspective. There has been huge amounts of ink, now in this talkpage's archives, spilled over this too. -Modocc (talk) 19:36, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

How do our atheism references define deities?

One man's deity, is another man's impermanent sentient being. Therefore the definition of deities should be explained in accordance with the sources cited. Merigar (talk) 03:56, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm detecting a theme in your posts here. But I don't get what your point is: can you identify what should change, according to you, and why? --Dannyno (talk) 07:54, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Add a definition for deities, as demonstrated by our atheism references.Merigar (talk) 23:32, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Anyone unfamiliar with the word deity can click on the link and find: "A deity is a being, natural, supernatural or preternatural, with superhuman powers or qualities, and who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred.". I'm fairly sure the word is common enough to be used here, and it's not specialized technical language which needs to be either avoided or introduced. Modocc (talk) 14:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
The interesting thing about the definition of atheism is that it applies regardless of how one defines "deity". =) Powers T 16:28, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Modocc, how do we know the linked definition in another article is the same as what our atheism references mean in THIS article?Merigar (talk) 18:52, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

I see no reason to get too pedantic about the meaning of deity. The references generally encompass its use to mean any god or god (and there are differing opinions about what constitutes a god) and dictionary definitions such as this one includes any divinity too. William Rowe, in our third reference writes, " atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God of traditional Western theology." -Modocc (talk) 21:33, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
The definition of deity you weblinked to made me more confused than ever on what a deity is. Are devas who die and are reborn as something else considered deities?Merigar (talk) 21:36, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Two funny ones from Terry Pratchett's Men at Arms - how a true atheist might swear after hitting their thumb with a hammer "It takes a very special and strong-minded kind of atheist to jump up and down with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout, "Oh, random-fluctuations-in-the-space-time-continuum!" or "Aaargh, primitive-and-outmoded-concept on a crutch!”" (primary source though ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 16:26, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
:o) "Jumping-up-and-down-with-my-thumb-in-my-armpit" is something I've experienced, but I don't recall what I shouted. -Modocc (talk) 18:46, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes. See the entry on god and goddess. -Modocc (talk) 18:46, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
It may be correct to observe that the concept of atheism becomes [even more] problematic in the context of non-monotheistic religions (although, it was used of those who rejected the Greek and Roman gods, who were also not creator deities), but we are required to source our information to the literature. Personal difficulties are irrelevant: it may just be that atheism is indeed problematic in that respect, and we cannot improvise resolutions of such problems for ourselves here. Of course, it is not unreasonable to construe atheism as referring to the rejection of the existence of any and all supernatural beings, whether creators or not. But what matters is what the literature says. --Dannyno (talk) 18:56, 6 January 2013 (UTC)


"...therefore the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of God, but on the theist.." Should it not say existence of god/s as in any god and not just the Christian/Muslim god? VPac (talk) 21:09, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Could you point to where, on the page, it says that? The answer might depend on the context. For example, it might matter whether the specific context is an argument for atheism within the Western thought traditions. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:54, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
The text is a recent addition from the third paragraph and the reference is not online, thus perhaps someone can post an excerpt from it here. I'd like to know to what extent the text is paraphrasing the source. -Modocc (talk) 21:39, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Oh, how did I miss that! Thanks. I looked at the page we have on Stenger, and his books seem to consistently use the capitalized form, so capitalization may perhaps be correct. However, I don't know about the paraphrasing point. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:50, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't no how it is in the book, I just thought that English grammar dictates that proper noun, a name in this case, should be capitalized, yet the text seems to talk about theism in general, so I would write it in lower case.VPac (talk) 00:21, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
I suppose one of us could go spelunking in the MoS. KillerChihuahua 19:27, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! I just went spelunking into pages 17–18, which are the pages cited in the footnote. There's no close paraphrasing, and it's clearly capitalized. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:44, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Input requested

Please offer your view on an Rfc here to decide whether of all the "List of atheist (profession)" lists, the philosophy list should be expanded to include agnostics as well, as "List of atheist and agnostic philosophers" instead of "List of atheist philosophers". The discussion may be found at Talk:List_of_atheist_philosophers#This_list. KillerChihuahua 19:19, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

2005 maps

I removed outdated and misleading maps. They are in information violation with the article Demographics of Atheism. They won't be re-installed until there is a WP:consensus.--Free ottoman (talk) 11:40, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

What does "in information violation" mean? ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 12:28, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I recognize that there are reasonable things to discuss about the currency and accuracy of the data, but I've restored the two images, pending further discussion. I do not really understand what the reasoning is for the opening post in this talk thread. Can anyone identify what, specifically, is being challenged about those two figures? --Tryptofish (talk) 19:54, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't know what the issue is with the images, but the WP:BOLD removal by Ottoman needs consensus. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:25, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
It was a sockpuppet, nvm, IRWolfie- (talk) 00:00, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I reverted it earlier, and now it's a moot point not requiring any further discussion. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:20, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Kazimierz Łyszczyński

Polish atheist and philosopher, killed for his atheist views — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:17, 15 March 2013 (UTC)


The header for this topic warns that a written war has broken out trying to define "atheist" and cautions the reader to be civil and not to do anything drastic to the text. That appears to be exactly the case, but unless I missed something, the reader is not directed to the Archive to witness the long, protracted food-fight first hand. I think that would be a helpful addition. And I was just going to add a mild, "atheism may also mean that a person sees no reason at present to believe in a deity". How minor league of me. Dehughes (talk) 17:12, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Hello, and happy April 1! Further information: Flying Spaghetti Monster. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:47, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Our first sentence's "rejection of belief" includes those who reject it because they see no reason to believe, so that's already covered. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 13:34, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Nietzsche on morality and atheism quoted out of context, distorting the meaning

The "Divine Command vs. Ethics" section of the article currently includes the following passage:

    However, many atheists argue that treating morality legalistically 
    involves a false analogy, and that morality does not depend on a 
    lawmaker in the same way that laws do.[90] Other atheists, such as 
    Friedrich Nietzsche, have disagreed with this view and have stated 
    that morality "has truth only if God is truth—it stands or falls 
    with faith in God."[91][92][93]

The final sentence implies that Nietzche's quoted words (in [1]) apply to *all* morality. In fact, Nietzsche is speaking only of Christian divine-command-based [deontological] morality. The passage in question, in Walter Kauffmann's translation (The Portable Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Walter Kauffmann, 1954, p. 516</ref>), reads

    Christian morality is a command; its origin in transcendent; it is
    beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if
    God is the truth--it stands and falls with faith in God.

Nietzsche does *not* disagree, in broad terms, with the thinkers quoted just previously in the entry that it is possible for morality to exist without belief in God. In the quoted passage he only points out that Christian morality, which depends on obedience to divine commands, necessarily "stands and falls" with belief in the deity who is supposed to have issued the commands.

It would not be a sufficient revision simply to insert the word "Christian" in front of "morality," because the sentence would still imply that Nietzsche disagreed with the concept of morality independent of a deity, whereas in fact the necessity of such a morality was one of his major themes. (talk) 07:22, 11 April 2013 (UTC)Greg Foster <>

I've made an edit to try to correct this issue. Please check to see if I got it right. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:30, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  1. ^ Twilight of the Idols, section 5


Instead of "rejection of belief in the existence of deities", how's "disbelief in the existence of deities"?--Seonookim (What I've done so far) (I'm busy here) (Tell me your requests) 09:38, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree, definitely. I'd say even "lack of belief" in deities better covers the incredibly wide spectrum of atheism as a whole. Many don't reject it, as that conjures up the image of distaste towards the concept, but it's arguably universally accepted that every atheist lacks belief in deities to some degree. --Ryonne (talk) 14:36, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Also agree that "lack of belief" is the best formulation. "Disbelief" is too strong, and rejection is way too strong. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 14:53, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely not. The "lack of belief" formulation is addressed in the third part of the description. Please go back and read the (very extensive) archived discussions, where the definition was very carefully worked out to make sure it covered everything and reflected what sources said. -- Scjessey (talk) 15:20, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
(ec)Hi guys. I'm busy so I'll make this brief, but as a long time watcher and contributor to this page I'll point out some things that can be found out from the extensive archives above (if you have the time to read it :-)). Disbelief is very ambiguous, for it can mean different things to different people (lack of belief, rejection of belief or, more commonly, to believe something to be false). Nielson and Edwards do define atheism as a rejection of belief which is far better than saying atheism is a belief in something false! "Absence of belief" might be better iff its understood as a default, but atheism still means different things to different people and the lack of belief definition is not as prominent within the wp:reliable sources that we can cite. The absence of belief definition is notable though thus we include it in the first paragraph with the other two definitions. This lead as written is a result of much debate regarding how to best present these different definitions of atheism to the reader that is also compliant with Wikipedia policies: wp:NPOV, wp:DUE and wp:NOR. --Modocc (talk) 15:50, 18 April 2013 (UTC)


I see several unreferenced paragraphs and an unreliable source tag. This should be cleaned up if the article is to remain featured. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 05:44, 20 April 2013 (UTC)


Atheism is a religion or a view on religion. – Billybob2002 (talk) 23:12, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Talk pages are not for general discussion about the topic. they are here to improve the article. this type of discussion has happened before as well. so please look in the archives of the talk pages. After you have done so and still want to improve the article. Then please come with concrete and backed by reliable sources content. Also I moved your topic downward as new topics go on the bottom of the page NathanWubs (talk) 15:51, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
Is "off" a television station? "A view of religion" is as different from a religon as a view of a car is different from a car. They just aren't the same things. (talk) 17:09, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

-- Atheism is the lack of theistic belief or faith. It is not itself a belief system. It is not a denial of the existence of God or god(s). It is not a synonym to antitheism or theistic rejectionism. Atheism can be best understood through comprehension of linguistics. Theism is the belief in a god. The prefix A signifies 'without'. [1] [2] [3]

ivckins Ivckins (talk) 22:17, 17 May 2013 (UTC) 5.13.13

Why atheists? And not facts but assertions are at issue

   At the risk of talking some inside baseball, i'd like to make two comments on Againme's recent edit (with effect "... while Stalin and Mao happened to be were atheists ..."), and on its thoro summary reading

I know that this is a common phrasing in English, but Stalin and Mao did not just happened to be atheists, they were so BECAUSE they were Marxists, and they perpetrated mass murder for the same reason


  1. The issue in this edit should be not whether "were" is better NPOV of the facts abt them, but whether it captures Dawkins's and Harris's nuance; if it doesn't, the edit should be reverted or the language be changed, probably adding complexity.
  2. The summary is a bad one, pt. 1 aside, bcz it depends on the PoV (or at best, tenuously establishable fact) that (in each case) they would not have been atheists if the had not been Marxists. To dramatize the problem, would Marx still have been an atheist if he had not made an intellectual commitment to dialectical materialism, or whatever we regard as the core of "Marxism"? Anti-clericalism, and probably atheism, was a strong strain in the French Revolution, but he was nearly 20 years away from being born when we say it ended.

   I'm in no rush to revert, but i'll be stunned if we don't come up better wording, and a better rationale.
--Jerzyt 23:35, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps change it to "while Stalin and Mao were atheists, they did not do their deeds in the name of atheism" to "while Stalin and Mao were atheists, they did not do their deeds because of atheism but because of their communist beliefs". IRWolfie- (talk) 11:01, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
That is a little questionable - any assertions regarding the motivations of Mao or Stalin are likely to be controversial, and best cited to specialists in Mao or Stalin, rather than to people writing about atheism. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:50, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
I think it was perfectly alright to change "happened to be" to "were", because it's simpler wording for the same thing – the sentence still makes clear the view that atheism was not the reason for the things that happened. That being the case, it really doesn't matter if there are problems with the reasoning in the edit summary. The context is what critics like Harris and Dawkins think, not what Wikipedia is saying in its own voice, so as long as the revised sentence continues to accurately reflect the source material, and I think that it does, we have no need to go further into what the actual motivations were – it's just what Harris and Dawkins say the motivations were not (ie, the motivations were not atheism). --Tryptofish (talk) 23:00, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Definition at head of lede

Noting that as most positive Atheists define it, rejection of "god, gods, deities' etc. is insufficient. "Spirits", "spiritual not religious", etc. are rejected as well as is any kind of thinking which makes assertions about the objective world or supposed worlds on other than a rational, scientific basis. Since this article is not irreligion a redaction is in order. (talk) 17:23, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Not all atheists reject the concept of spirits. Frex, some Buddhists are atheists in that they believe in no deities, yet nevertheless believe in reincarnation. An atheist is a nonbeliever in gods, not a nonbeliever in the supernatural (which some call a bright). ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 20:35, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
That is what I'm explicitly saying is not the case. It's part of the general confusion that comes from the other side of the spectrum, that conflates "atheist" and "agnostic" that assumes "atheist" is narrowly about "god" or "gods", that assumes all of the earth's people have these absurd primitive beliefs, etc. Atheism as posited since d'Holbach is in fact an explicit rejection of all irreason/made up belief as I stated, it's easy enough to source, not bothering to here. There is a place for a religion, a relation of beings on this world to each other and others in Universe that is consistent with science and reason, but so far as I know none such exists. Look at the Brights article you linked, in the lede it expressly rejects the idea you just stated. A person claiming to be an atheist who believes in "spirits" or the "supernatural" is either poorly informed or attempting consciously or not to perpetrate some fraud. The core thing atheism is about is belief. It rejects made-up, primitive/baseless, beliefs en masse, in toto. At base it's an incomprehension of the rejection of the mind style of the overwhelming masses and the natural tendency of the common level of humanity to make stuff up from whole cloth rather do the hard work of finding out, learn maths and stuff. Nonetheless the uncompromisingly rational mind is fairly well established at this point, as are the science and technology based world culture which is it's main product. There's enough support on this in other articles and from others for you to climb down from your belief that "atheists", properly designated, could believe in spirits. (talk) 13:20, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
It would probably help if you posted a couple sources here that draw those specific distinctions, i.e., that atheism is not just rejection of god, gods, and any deities, but also a rejection of anything involving spiritual beliefs, spirits, supernatural ideas like reincarnation, etc. AzureCitizen (talk) 13:17, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Two are already linked above, the brights article and d'Holbach (System of Nature). (talk) 13:22, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Wherein inside the Brights movement article and the Holbach System of Nature article subsection do sources contend that the definition of atheism is not just rejection of gods/deities, but also rejection of anything involving spirits, supernatural ideas, reincarnation, etc? AzureCitizen (talk) 13:30, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Baron d’Holbach, who famously wrote “All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God”, is a rather poor name to drop if you wish to limit the definition to explicit atheism.
I personally know an atheist who believes in psychic woo-woo. I don’t think she’s fraudulent for being a supernaturalist, just unskeptical. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 13:28, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Part of what defines atheism is the fact that people have differing ideas of what it means. The lede has been very carefully worked out during exhaustive (and often excruciating) debate (all of which can be found in the archive) to make sure it covers these ideas in the appropriate manner. I'm an atheist, insofar as I think the concept of a deity or deities is just ridiculous; however, I "believe" in the likely existence of aliens, despite having no scientific proof. According to's definition, my belief in the likely existence of aliens without scientific proof effectively disqualifies me as an atheist. This article is not meant to apply a value judgement, but rather it is meant to explore all aspects of atheism in the appropriate weight.'s proposal appears to be to exclude some aspects of atheism based on a narrower view of what atheism is. That's not acceptable. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:31, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
To add to the calumny, idiocy, the current text defines atheism as "broadly' something, when in fact the definition it gives is 'narrowly'. The broad sense is the one I've given. (talk) 13:33, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Broad definitions of X include more instances/members (as qualifying as X) than do narrow ones. Defining atheism as rejection of belief in anything "supernatural" or as anyhting "spiritual" or as "anything not proven by science" excludes people, it does not include more people. The more that is included as a qualification for someone to be considered an atheist, the narrower will be the application of the term. Also, the great majority of scholarly sources do not agree with your propsal as being a definition at all. --JimWae (talk) 19:36, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

───────────────────────── It seems to be an article of faith that the opening paragraph here is some kind of work of excellence. But arriving here and reading it for the first time it strikes me as poor writing in itself. Most particularly the progression "in a broad sense ... in a narrower sense ... most inclusively" just smells bad. It is much more logical to move from the general ("most inclusive") to more particular definitions. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 06:24, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

The "quality" of writing must take into account the variety of definitions. What one considers stinky often depends on which definition one favours. The most inclusive definition is the most controversial & the one against which objections are included in the article. It is too inclusive - allowing infants, foetuses, brain-dead humans, and even ants & rocks as atheists -- & mathematics as atheistic. The rejection definition includes all self-professed atheists.--JimWae (talk) 11:01, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Leaving aside the controversies for now, "in a broad sense" is not encyclopedic, or even precise, writing. It sound like a parody of Prince Charles! The implication may be there is a number of "broad senses" of which this is just one. So does it mean "Broadly defined ..."? or "One broad definition (of many) is ..."? Is is the "breadth" of definition something between the narrow one that follows and the very broadest one after that? What is the source for this tripartite definition and the relation between them? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 11:17, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
There are 3 main definitions (all of which are sourced in article) & WP guidelines require us to not restrict the article to our favourite. Were it MY essay I could & would stress one & attack the others. But, unlike certain vague complaints about being "smelly" & "not precise" & "non-encyclopedic", it is clear that an essay would not be encyclopedic. Not everything can be explained in one paragraph. The rest of the article expands the issue.--JimWae (talk) 18:49, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
And the source for this "[a] broad", "narrow", "most inclusive" framework is .... ? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 18:59, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Each definition mentioned is discussed and presented by different sources, and during this article's early infancy, there were frequent discussion and disputes over which are most notable, acceptable or best defined the topic. Given the burden of wp:NPOV to present different POVs we have had a consensus since the article was featured to include the most notable (a few editors wanted to include Dawkin's ideas about probability in the lede just prior to this article being featured, but you will need to look in the archives for those discussions from a number of years back). The important point is that we follow the spirit of wp:NPOV (which the various sources do not need to do), especially wp:DUE. As to the precise wording of the framework for all of these, there isn't because we are a tertiary source. If its not obvious, the sources cited do distinguish between them. --Modocc (talk) 21:22, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Alexbrn, I can see how you would feel that there is "an article of faith that the opening paragraph here is some kind of work of excellence". (Irony of "article of faith" duly noted, by the way.) But, appearances notwithstanding, I doubt that any long-time editors here actually see it that way. I certainly don't. It has all the flaws of writing-by-committee. But the reason for resistance to changing it comes from extensive past experience that gazillions of alternatives have been proposed, and every single one of them has been shot down. The odds that anyone coming here new will come up with an improvement that will gain consensus are miniscule; the odds that some editor will find an objection to it, and that it will prove to have been a waste of time to have discussed it, are very large. We have the worst possible lead paragraph, except for every other possible lead paragraph. But if you are a glutton for punishment, spend a couple of hours reading all of the talk page archives, and then come up with a new proposal that has never been suggested before, and then be prepared to have someone tell you why they hate it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:53, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Both Nielsen & Martin (in the articles cited for the first paragraph) characterize definitions as narrow, broad, wide, narrower, broader, wider. Martin says, "I owe the distinction between the broad and narrow senses of atheism to William L. Rowe, "The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism," American Philosophical Quarterly, 16, 1979, pp. 335-341." Since these are comparative terms, simple reasoning available to any rational person can figure out how to rank the 3 defs in terms of narrow/broad. For statements not directly sourced, such reasoning is all that is needed to overcome claims of WP:OR. Just presenting the 3 defs with no context does not serve the reader well. If you have what you think is a better 1st paragraph, propose it for examination here.--JimWae (talk) 00:20, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Guys, thanks for your responses. I am trying to work out how these sentences in the lede are sourced. Taking the second one in particular "In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities", I don't see this supported by the three sources given. Two of the sources refer to a (singular) "God", the other (Rowe) states that "an atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity" (my bold) — so 180° from the "narrower" label given here. In general, I am uneasy about what JimWae refers to as the "rank" WP gives (in its own voice) to these arguments essayed by various academics: isn't that risking OR/synthesis? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 08:34, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
No, it's simply using ordinary language to show how different definitions relate to each other: i.e. that there are broader ones and narrower ones. --Dannyno (talk) 21:12, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

How about we just make is as simple as can be: "disbelief, lack of belief, or denial in the existence of God or gods."Oxford DictionaryAmerican Heritage DictionaryWar (talk) 05:31, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

That is not an improvement. Actually, it is seriously deficient, for reasons already presented numerous times in previous discussions. How about we leave what's there, there.--JimWae (talk) 06:21, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. Having the first phrase match well with what any layman will find is the dictionary is definitely an improvement. Next, add some words to expand and clarify. War (talk) 05:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
You disagree, but you're still incorrect. The American Heritage Dictionary (which is "a" dictionary, not "the" dictionary) defines all those three things as atheism. The trouble is that not every reliable source, or indeed every dictionary, defines all those three things as atheism. And some add other things. That's why the current lede still stands. --Dannyno (talk) 21:12, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Expanding on this thought a bit... I think many here have forgotten who the audience of this article (or at least the first section) actually is. The heading of the article will be ready primarily by ordinary people without specific education in philosophy or rhetoric. Therefore, the heading is best if it reflects the cultural norms as expressed in dictionary definitions. It may not be something a philosopher would appreciate, but so what? Make it accessible and digestible by the layman. Then, and only, then, should the nit-picky academic sounding slicing and dicing of every word (with copious academic references) be employed.War (talk) 08:37, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Whose "cultural norms"? Which dictionaries? And why dictionaries and not the literature of the subject? --Dannyno (talk) 21:12, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I've looked over the references cited for the first sentence of the article. I consider them superior to the dictionary references I cited. I withdraw my suggestion.War (talk) 09:04, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Noted (but late, hence other edites): --Dannyno (talk) 21:12, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Just responding to the conflation of the ET issue addressed to me above. '[you] "believe" in the likely existence of aliens, despite having no scientific proof" is both a distortion, misrepresentation, and a evincing of simplicity. First, it poses "belief", in a dual role, as a reasonable supposition and as something the rejection of which is what this article is about and is thus an equivocation, purposeful or otherwise. Second it misrepresents and portrays science as a kind of bizzaro negation of the religious mind with no middle ground between established fact and rational forward movement of the understanding. Third it implicitly misrepresents the situation wrt to this matter of fact in mainstream science, where, in fact, based on the facts known it is assumed that in fact there are some ETs somewhere in Universe, possibly many. This non counter-argument conflates a well supported *hypothetical* with the (baseless) assertion of fact kind of belief, the negation of which, is the subject of this article. True Believers don't allow that their beliefs can be false nor do they form such beliefs based on reason, although they often claim to since the good of belief is truth and all beliefs claim it. (talk) 08:21, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

This is a good example violations of the WP:NOTFORUM and NOT#ESSAY policies. Please stay on topic and provide construction suggestions backed by citations.War (talk) 08:58, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Probably the best solution is simply remove the current 1st ¶ Guess that's too easy for people playing games with rules. The talk pages are indeed a forum. Your pettifogging doesn't serve the goal of improving the article, War. (talk) 14:55, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Page deletion

Is Atheism really a topic, or should the word simply remain as a dictionary definition? I am certain that atheism, as a subject, is an illusion. For example, to say that atheism is growing within a population is an illusion created by that population's decline in belief in gods. Atheism, as a dictionary definition, is fine (as set out in the lede of this page), all the rest is nonsense. Subjects about peoples, persons, populations, etc should be about those that 'do', not those that 'don't'. Titanis Walleri (talk) 22:48, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Have always though that the page that is linked in bold below best explains this. Pls dont take offense to the books title.Moxy (talk) 23:10, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Kerry Walters (1 April 2010). Atheism: A Guide for the Perplexed. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8264-2493-8.
Also, per the policy that governs page deletion, as long as we have sources that treat "atheism" as a subject, then it's a subject for our purposes. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:46, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, a person either believes in a god/gods or they don't. You see my point about atheism as a subject,Tryptofish, I trust? Imagaine labelling persons and creating a subject for those that don't believe in Bigfoot! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Titanis Walleri (talkcontribs) 06:12, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I understand what you meant. I don't, however, think that it affects whether or not Wikipedia should include this page. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:03, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
It is a topic that can be studied, researched and has had an impact on society as a whole throughout time ...just as the belief in God(s) has shaped the world we live in... You can readup on this topic from the few books that are linked in the Atheism#Further reading section - Or search Google Books on atheism ... if you believe the article here is not clear or is faulty or simply because you wish to read more on the topic.Moxy (talk) 14:46, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I understand why people think atheism is a subject, I was asserting that the subject is an illusion created by the fact that less than 100% of the population believe in any gods. Titanis Walleri (talk) 22:00, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Seems to me that if less than 100% of the population believes in any gods, that must mean atheism actually exists, and would not be an illusion. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 03:16, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
"...that must mean atheism actually exists..." No, that's absolute rubish. If fewer than 100% of the population believe in any gods, it means there are atheists, not atheism! Titanis Walleri (talk) 08:19, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think your point is coming across clearly. Atheism clearly exists, and the sources all discuss it. I'll put it like this; if you put this article up for deletion it would be speedy kept within hours or minutes because it so obviously exists as a topic, IRWolfie- (talk) 08:36, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
"Atheism clearly exists..." Atheists clearly exist, not atheism. Because you have fallen for it, it's difficult for you to understand. I believe Tryptofish understands based on a reply above. Just think about it for a while then maybe you'll see. Titanis Walleri (talk) 09:08, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Now this discussion has become a tap-dance around what the meaning of "is" is? Atheism exists just as much as the empty space exists in the dish on the table beside me. Yesterday evening it held chocolates; now it holds air. You may say it is a mistake to reify the space, that it exists only as an absence of contents, but that does not further the purpose of this page, which is to discuss improvements to the associated article. As mentioned earlier, an attempt to delete the article will meet a snowball's fate in a furnace. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 12:00, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I still do not think I get your point, Titanis. Are you objecting to having an article about an absence of something else? So would you then object to our having an article about vacuum? ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 14:48, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
[edit conflict] It seems that Titanis Walleri is of the opinion that the word atheism ending in "ism" should be an active majority point of view (because of it "ism" ending). However, we also use socialism and fundamentalism (for minority point of views) so I don't agree. In any case, the discussion seems to be a semantic one and not the content. So if the whole point has any value at all (which is seriously doubt) it should be about renaming the article, not its deletion. Arnoutf (talk) 14:50, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
If Titanis is correct that I understand what the issue is, then I would suggest that this talk thread has outlived its usefulness, and it's time to close it. There's a philosophical discussion to be had somewhere off-Wiki about whether the absence of belief can exist. But there is zero – I repeat: zero – chance that there would ever be consensus to delete this article from Wikipedia. And, given the existing source material, there is also zero reason to revise what we say on the page about the existence of atheism. So there's really nothing more to discuss about improving this page, and that's the sole purpose of this talk page. So if anyone wants to have a philosophical discussion unrelated to improving the page, please find somewhere else on the Internet to have it. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:21, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm late to this. I see the OP as in a venerable repressive tradition, and also as silly. But that aside, it doesn't actually matter to Wikpedia whether atheism *really* exists or not. All that matters is that the existence of atheism is attested to in reliable sources, which it is. If reliable sources existed arguing that "atheism" was illusory, then perhaps note could be made of them, but otherwise Titanis' opinion remains merely their opinion, and Wikpedia is not interested. --Dannyno (talk) 21:02, 16 June 2013 (UTC)


I think it is wrong that the lede includes the paragraph below, because it is giving WP:UNDUE to one single poll (in regard to how common atheism is in the countries cited). There have been numerous studies on the prevalence of atheism, with varying results; and the poll is also from the past, so it may be outdated information. Simply explaining that atheism is more common in Western countries then in other parts of the world would do fine; there's no need for these figures.

"According to another, rates of self-reported atheism are among the highest in Western nations, again to varying degrees: United States (4%), Italy (7%), Spain (11%), Great Britain (17%), Germany (20%), and France (32%)."

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 2a02:2f0a:506f:ffff::bc19:9f3a (talkcontribs) 22:15, June 21, 2013‎

I partly agree with you, to the extent that the lead is a little heavy on demographic numbers – but on the other hand, that paragraph actually cites multiple polls, not just one, and some information on the prevalence of atheism does seem to me to be important for the lead. --Tryptofish (talk) 14:31, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I have found (OR) that many seem to believe there are few atheists. So, demographics would seem pertinent for the lede. Jim1138 (talk) 16:43, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 20 July 2013

You should add "The Ethics of the Faith: Right, Wrong, and the God of Abraham" by Ean W. Burchell to the list of "Books about this ... " on the Wikipedia Facebook link. It's a new book that will be an important contribution to this area. You can see a preview on Amazon.

(Sales page link removed)

Erikmentz69 (talk) 14:41, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, but we aren't here to promote new books, especially from that kind of publisher. Vsmith (talk) 14:50, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

How about the new Atheist Church movement, I see no reference to this and there have been a upswing in Atheist Churches in the United States and overseas. Both brick and mortar and online. All one has to do is Google Atheist Church and you will find several. Ranleewright (talk) 04:43, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

We don't need to find 'Atheist Churches'. We need evidence from third-party sources that they are in any way significant to the topic of atheism in general. Without that, there is no reason to include them in this article. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:48, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I do remember seeing some recent secondary sources. If you do a Google News search for "Community Mission Chapel" (exact phrase, needs to be in quotes), such sources come up. I'm not sure, however, how to cover that on this page without giving it undue weight. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:06, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
Considering the long history, and the in depth extent of sources on atheism which do not mention these chapels, newspaper articles alone would not indicate the material has enough weight to be here. IRWolfie- (talk)
Community Mission Chapel might be a good subject for a Wikinews article, but I agree with Wolfie that it yet lacks sufficient weight to warrant a mention in this article. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 17:59, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:48, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Antony Flew and this article on Atheism

Antony Flew is mentioned in this article on Atheism in the paragraph titled - Positive v's Negative. One might consider that in mentioning Flew in an article on Atheism one should also mention that Flew was an atheist for most of his life but chose in the end to be a theist and believe that God does exist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

According to his bio page here, that's true, but the place on this page where I see him mentioned doesn't really deal with that issue, just some distinctions between different classifications of atheism, as opposed to Flew's personal belief system. Therefore, I think that pointing it out would be sort of off-topic within that particular section of the page, and could be a distraction. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:26, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Tryptofish--JimWae (talk) 22:57, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Ditto. Flew's conversion to vague deism in his dotage may be germane in Anthony Flew, but not here. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 03:06, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Robin Lionheart above me. Flew hold in a version of vague Deism, not Thesim, and i would be surprised if there exists a reference of Flew calling himself a "Theist". Ben-Natan (talk) 02:32, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
He's mentioned because of his contribution to the clarification of the meaning of atheism. Clearly he changed his philosophical views later in life, but that's not relevant to the section --Dannyno (talk) 20:27, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Opening the definition box in case any hope might be left therein

I'm very clear that 1) the current first ¶ of the lede asserts a definition of atheism and that 2) it comes up short of what that thing is in the world big time. It therefore will need to be addressed sooner or later. The deficiency is that it fails to make clear that Atheism is the failure to found belief on faith and the insistence that it instead be grounded in reason. I'm sure this is very contentious and has been the result of much milling nonetheless, this isn't going to go away just because the notice above is redboxed. However this is to be addressed, I want to join efforts with others that I'm sure have tried to say something like that. It's certainly extremely well backed by many sources. Neither is it elsewhere in the lede or evident in the TOC. Lycurgus (talk) 02:15, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

I don't see any sources for your claim that there is a "deficiency" in our definition along the lines you suggest. Please cite sources from the literature to support your claim, so that we can discuss them. --Dannyno (talk) 21:36, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
"Atheism is the failure to found belief on faith and the insistence that it instead be grounded in reason"? Weasel-worded sophistry, and nothing more... AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:31, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Yello ATG, I purposely didn't try to make a statement that I propose go into the lede in my words. I take it others will be able to get the point. (talk) 04:12, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
From my point of view, founding belief on reason not faith is no "failure". Quite the opposite — like Matt Dillahunty is wont to say, faith is an excuse people give themselves to believe things for no good reason. But atheism has naught to do with where your beliefs are grounded. It's simply a nonbelief in gods; you can still believe all sorts of other nonsense yet be an atheist. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 07:42, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
The box at the top of this talk page isn't really intended to prevent discussion, just to avoid having the same conversations over and over again without getting anywhere. If someone can come up with an idea that is genuinely a new one, and genuinely an improvement to the page, then great. But, please be forewarned. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:07, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
(adjusted indentation). i.e. a Failure to do what most do in fact. Failure is an objective term here not a qualitative one. Are you already getting balled up in petty semantics and missing the fundamental semantic point? See System of Nature and many, many other sources for the larger picture. (talk) 03:05, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
"Failure" as it appears in your original post indicates a non-neutral viewpoint. Nobody here is going to change the definition to include non-neutral wording. Binksternet (talk) 03:26, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

───────────────────────── The point is that the Atheist has a rational life stance and the narrow definition in terms of deities is both false and evasive of that essential point. Stop pettifogging on wording when I've made clear that I'm not proposing any specific wording. (talk) 14:48, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

"Atheist has a rational life stance" looks like wishful thinking, or self-flattery. An atheist may easily hold irrational views on a variety of topics, including (lack of) belief in a deity or deities. Rationality is not a prerequisite to atheism (nor is organization, in case that's where this is headed.) Do you have reliable sourcing for "that essential point" that says otherwise? __ Just plain Bill (talk) 15:40, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. I personally know one atheist who believes in psychics, and another atheist who is a libertarian. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 19:05, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
I know lots of atheists who believe the universe created itself. - Thomas Lachowsky — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:20, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The term "atheism" means different things to different people, and as long as those differing views are given coverage by reliable sources, this article must reflect those views. Trying to pigeon hole atheists won't work. Attempts to narrow the focus of the article will not be viewed favorably. -- Scjessey (talk) 15:42, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Also, many theists would claim that their belief in the existence of god is rational. Whether it is or not is the main (but not the only) subject of the dialectic between theists and atheists. --Dannyno (talk) 21:34, 6 October 2013 (UTC)


Anyone else here also watching and editing the agnosticism article? Do you believe the two articles to be in sync? Alatari (talk) 18:19, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

Work needed

Hi everyone - Unfortunately, this article has not kept up with featured article standards in the years since it's promotion. If it is to remain a featured article, some rather significant work is needed. The major issues that caught my eye include:

  • References needed banner in Early modern period section.
  • Citation needed and unreliable source tags in Positive vs. negative section.
  • Original research tag in History section
  • Reference formatting needs quite a bit of work. Web references need publishers, access dates, etc. (see, for example, refs 194 through 201). Identical refs should be combined (see, for example, refs 168 and 169). Books need page numbers (see, for example, refs 161 through 167). These are just examples, and the refs need a full check for completeness, consistency and reliability.
  • Three dead links, see the report.
  • Association with world views and social behaviors section is completely US-oriented, and the information would be better provided as prose, rather than in bullet points.

If, at the very least, the major issues are not addressed, this article will need to go to WP:FAR. Dana boomer (talk) 14:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Some very interesting and very important statistics

Dont you think that in section Demographics must be also statistics about people's Church attendance. I think it is necessary as long as it's shows the real rate of people's religiousness.

Or statistics about religion's importance by country, provided here- Importance of religion by country. It's also shows the real rate of people's religiousness.

And finally the last suggestion: another very intersting study by Gallup. According that, Religiosity Highest in World's Poorest Nations. The link is here That's really interesting statistics: how mush is given country poor, the rate of religiousness in that country is higher. Really interesting thing. And given the USA alone, situation is the same: more pure is a given State, the higher is religiousness rate. I think this information is very exciting. I wonder why till today there is no any information I mentioned above.

So, I have made 3 suggestions to put in the article this 3 statistical informations. Guys, please your opinions to any of this sugestion one by one, and please-please your comments must be reasonable. Thanks in advance. (talk) 22:54, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

I am not exactly sure what you are suggesting. Can you show the reliable secondary sources that are informing your viewpoint? IRWolfie- (talk) 23:50, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Is not it obvious: I suggest to put all above mentioned statistics in the article's section called Demographics. As of sources, first 2 of them in mentioned articles (about Church attendance and Importance of religion by country) and the last one in the link I mentioned above (I mean Gallup's study). In my opinion this figures are important for the topic.So what you think? (talk) 00:06, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Church attendance statistics seem irrelevant, especially to an article on atheism. Nor do rates of church attendance indicate a “real rate” of religiousness. (Some of American Atheists' ad campaigns specifically target atheists who go to church, and there are devoutly religious people who don’t attend church at all.) ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 04:28, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
There is actually a Wikipedia article on Wealth and religion. Have a look there. Arnoutf (talk) 08:03, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Well, OK, what about Gallup is reserch about comparision of poor condition of coutries and their religiousness? I think it's necessary in this article. And if even there is a same information in another article, it is not a reason to not include this figures here. (talk) 11:08, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

And second, you did not respond about figures of Importance of religion by country. Why? Please also your comments about it. And please don't pretend that such statistics are not concern to this article. Thanks in advance. (talk) 11:21, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

You will find that you are more likely to get a reasonable response to your comments if you show some manners... AndyTheGrump (talk) 12:52, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
And in answer to your suggestions, the correct place for further demographic information is generally in the Demographics of atheism article, though as far as I can see it is already covered there. Regarding the 'Importance of religion by country' data, one needs to be careful about making assumptions not actually borne out directly by the source (and incidentally, our article on the subject seems to contain some unsourced data). AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:13, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Excuse me, what does it mean to show some manners ?? I have very normal manners and dont try to change the subject of the issue just because you dont like it! I just asked to make reasonable responds, and there is nothing bad in it ! Wikipedia is not your ownership and if you disagree with some suggestions, it must be reasonable, you can't just refuse them without reasons. Thats the Rules of Wikipedia. And never again try to teach me the manners !!

And second, I am disagree with your comments: if there is an article about Demographics of atheism, thats not a reason to not show some figures here. We have section Demographics here, so why not it can be added there?

I am asking to some other User, who are not prejudice, to join to this discussion to make any normal solution according to the Wikipedia Rules. Thanks in advance. (talk) 16:42, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Much of manners is about tone of voice. Just the phrase "you can't just refuse them without reasons. Thats the Rules of Wikipedia. And never again try to teach me the manners !!" show extremely poor manners. A more polite way to phrase the same line would be "I do not fully understand why you object. Could you please clarify a bit more".
More on the content. I think from the above that there are 2 types of argument.
The first being that this data is infamously difficult to collect as every religion, country and ethnic group differently defines church attendance. Even though Gallop is generally ok, it would probably be preferable to have additional sources, especially those that were not involved in data collection (ie secondary sources).
The second argument relates to the question whether we should include this information even if it can be reliable sources. The tendency seems to be that there are several articles on Wikipedia that cover this. So is it necessary to add this at this top level article. Over anything else we want to keep articles as concise as possible to support easy reading. Arnoutf (talk) 17:10, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Dear User Arnoutf, OK, thats good we want to keep articles as concise as possible to support easy reading. But I have 2 questions to you: first: in the section Demographics we have many figures. Why cant we add just 2 more sentences about Gallup's reserch? (btw now I am talking only about reserch where there is comparision of poor condition of coutries and their religiousness). Don't you think that mentioned statistics are also interesting for the people who read this article? And second question: you said there are several articles on Wikipedia that cover this. Can you show at least one artilce in Wiki, where this topic is covered.(Again, I mean only Gallup's reserch where there is comparision of poor condition of coutries and their religiousness). Thanks in advance. (talk) 17:33, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
IP 46, since you asked, I am an "not prejudice" other user, and I concur that your approach and manners here have been suboptimal. You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar...
Nevertheless, to answer your main point, no, I don't think the inclusion of those statistics are relevant, or appropriate here, mainly for the reasons elucidated by Robin Lionheart, and Andy gave you some good advice in his second post too. Thanks. Begoontalk 17:46, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Robin Lionheart responded only about one suggestion (Church attendance). The 2 others are not responded yet. I still dont get an answer about another question: is there any article where this topic (Gallup's reserch)is covered. And I dont expect respond now. Nevertheless, I just wanted to make article better. (talk) 18:23, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I fully accept that 46. is here to try to make the article better. My take on the content is:
  1. I think that church attendance belongs in articles about religion, instead of about atheism, because it is WP:SYNTH to conclude from non-attendance that people are atheists (as opposed to agnostics or seculars, etc.)
  2. About religiousity by country, it may fit better in Demographics of atheism, but again, any article about atheism cannot confound agnostics, etc., with atheists.
  3. About wealth, that information clearly fits best at Wealth and religion.
--Tryptofish (talk) 21:48, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think this stuff belongs here, it belongs at the articles about religion etc as mentioned by Tryptofish. Dbrodbeck (talk) 23:28, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand how including more statistics about other subjects will improve an article about atheism. Could that be clarified by the OP? --Dannyno (talk) 20:24, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Seconded. TheNuszAbides (talk) 05:08, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

I would like to suggest the inclusion of a session on Discrimination and Prejudice against atheists. The Gallup poll ( published in June 2012 shows that 43 per cent of Americans would not be willing to vote for an atheist to the White House. Atheism is the characteristic with the highest rejection among those polled, closely followed by being a Muslim (40%) and far more rejected than being gay or lesbian (30%). Agaponto (talk) 05:56, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

We have a whole nother article on discrimination against atheists. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 22:01, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

The Marquis De Sade

He should be mentioned as atheism's most famous philosopher.Ordessa (talk) 03:23, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

You can, of course, provide reliable sources to support this assertion. Right? TechBear | Talk | Contributions 03:41, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
 : Yes, Mr. smug atheist number 9,000,000. Unfortunately I am unable to do so because my laptop is on the verge of a break down. Like most atheists when they have this info added to their circlejerk page I guess.Ordessa (talk) 15:25, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
No personal attacks please. de Bivort 17:14, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
I know of nothing famous he wrote about atheism. The only related quote on Wikiquote is "I think that if there were a God, there would be less evil on this earth. I believe that if evil exists here below, then either it was willed by God or it was beyond His powers to prevent it. Now I cannot bring myself to fear a God who is either spiteful or weak. I defy Him without fear and care not a fig for his thunderbolts." But I don't know if he ever philosophized about the problem of evil to greater depth. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 18:55, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
He did write "Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man", written in 1782 but not published until the 1920s, but it's not exactly well known or key to atheist history. De Sade may be a famous atheist, but hardly "atheism's most famous philosopher", which sounds like the kind of thing someone keen to discredit atheism might think it amusing to say, given what else De Sade is famous for. --Dannyno (talk) 21:14, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Dannyno, lets not confuse philosopher who happen to be atheist, with philopsophers who actively advocate the philosophy of atheism / an atheist philosophy (Russell and Dennett would rank for the latter). Arnoutf (talk) 10:53, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Atheism as form of belief?

This thread no longer about improving the article, so closed per WP:FORUM
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Atheism is a form of belief, not believing is the same as believing (believing by not believing). So this mutter, should be corrected. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

This has been argued to death. The usual rhetoric is to respond with "Baldness is not a type of haircut", "not believing in Unicorns isn't a form of belief", "not eating isn't a type of meal" or some such, IRWolfie- (talk) 22:53, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Beautiful senselessness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:17, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Baldness can be a type of haircut, Wolfie. I think you were going for "Bald is not a hair color". But obviously, not believing ≠ believing. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 18:22, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Atheism need not be a belief; it may be a simple lack of interest. See Pragmatic atheism, or apatheism. "[A]an apatheist is someone who considers the question of the existence of gods as neither meaningful nor relevant..." __ Just plain Bill (talk) 18:40, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Or, for example, agnostic atheism which is for people who do "not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact". IRWolfie- (talk) 00:21, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
The definition of atheism is contested. Disappointingly, this article's opening hierarchy of definitions appears to be OR which misrepresents the sources used (as I wrote above, with no response). Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 06:34, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
Misrepresents the sources, how so? Rowe, "in the broader sense of the term" is referring to the kinds of deities rejected, as does Nielsen who writes for the Britannica "Atheism, in general, the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings.[1] [bold mine]. Our opening sentence essentially paraphrases this definition of rejection. Rowe points out the commonly understood narrowest definition, is the positive atheism belief that there is no God, but since there are, in fact, many conceptions of God, Blackburn correctly refers to "a god" and not "God" when he states that atheism can be "...the belief that there exists none." --Modocc (talk) 14:13, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
In other word, pure WP:SYN. Rowe calls his definition "broader", WP somehow turns it into a "narrower" one. The tripartite interrelated definition WP gives is found in no source. There are further problems: a lead should summarize the article body ... this one starts by expounding a novel theory. In general, my impression is this article attempts to engage in the atheism debate rather than observing it disinterestedly, and some past editors have perhaps become a bit too attached to the ingenious OR they opened the article with. It would be much better to open with a statement that the definition is contested (easily sourced), rather than attempting to nail atheism down with a synthesized bit of thinking. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 07:15, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Rowe calls a "disbelief in every form of deity" definition a "broader sense" than merely "disbelief in God". Which is true, though using "atheist" for disbelief in a specific god includes believers in competing gods, and is a rather uncommon usage. Both of those senses are, indeed, narrower than the other two senses in our lede. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 07:49, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
... which is a broad/narrow distinction that differs from the one in the article, and is OR. The very fact the opening sentences need this kind of exegesis should be ringing alarm bells (along with the other problems I raised.) Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 09:06, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Rowe's definitions seem to confuse more than enlighten thus we can remove/replace it. Someone may have inserted it when another editor objected to using the term "position" instead of "belief"; we once had a philosophy text to source that usage, but I don't know what became of it (alas, perfectionists abound... ;). There are plenty of other sources available for the definition that atheism is a position/belief asserting that no deity exists. Yet Nielsen states (and Edwards supports) that although atheists affirm nonexistence of some deities that this is inadequate (thus too narrow) and it is the broader sense of rejection that is adequate. Dictionary definitions and our sources actually DO give us the broader senses of disbelief and lack of belief, as well as the narrower senses of belief and doctrine. That some people (often with agendas to push) have problems with one or more of these is better left in the body of the article where such navel-gazing gets its due weight and no more than that. -Modocc (talk) 13:53, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
I think this article should be locked even from wikipedian insiders, so that no one can ever correct the horrendously poor grammer and syntax. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
"Grammar", I think you mean. --Dannyno (talk) 20:48, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

There are only two options. Either a) Athe-ism = a belief that there are no Gods, and is a philosophy. Athe-ist = someone who believes there are no Gods. Or, b) A-theism = no god belief, is not a philosophy, and can describe every sentient and non-sentient thing in existence, except Theists. A-theist = not a God believer, and could describe anything but Theists. Athe-ist defines a person, A-theist doesn't. Nothinheavy (talk) 07:41, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

And yet historically the word "atheist" has been used probably more often of believers in gods than in nonbelievers in gods. In any case, your comment is not based on the literature. --Dannyno (talk) 20:30, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
I would define an atheist as “one who has no belief in deities” not “something which has no belief in deities”. In general, any sort of -ist is a person, not an inanimate object. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 11:11, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Incorrect. "atheist" can be an adjective: an "atheist" book is an inanimate object, but a perfectly reasonable use of the word. See also -ist words which can be used in an adjectival sense: abolitionist, royalist, fascist, Baptist, anarchist, racist, etc. But you went wrong when you said "I would define..." It doesn't matter, in Wikipedia, what you would do. --Dannyno (talk) 21:25, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Calling a pencil or a book atheist is a reasonable use of the word as an adjective where by whom, when? Is there a scholar that has been using it in this manner? Has it been used in a national news story in any country in this manner? I have never witnessed this usage of atheist as an adjective for an inanimate object except in a few atheist discussion groups as an extreme case of set theory. It is NOT common practice and would be laughed at by most people. Alatari (talk) 21:42, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
The Oxford English Dictionary lists "atheist" is both noun and adjective. And, as I pointed out, there are lots of -ist words which can be used adjectivally, as in "atheist book". Nobody laughs when people call The God Delusion an atheist book. And if my pencil says "Atheism is cool", nobody will laugh if I call it an "atheist pencil". They might laugh if it doesn't carry any atheist message and I call it an atheist pencil on the grounds that it isn't specifically a theistic pencil, but unfortunately we are in the position where some definitions of atheism would suggest that possibility. My point is that we should not rush to rule out adjectival use of "atheist" just because we don't like what we consider excessively generalised conceptualisations of the atheistic.--Dannyno (talk) 23:01, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
If it helps, see: "Reward: $1,500 for arrest in case of stolen atheist banner" --Dannyno (talk) 23:07, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
When I hear “atheist book”, I think of books like The God Delusion or Why I Am Not a Christian, and not like The Purpose-Driven Life. Seems like I interpret that phrase to mean “books written from an atheistic perspective”. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 22:28, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, yeah, that's what the adjectival form means in the English language. An "atheist perspective" is also adjectival, of course :-), and nobody laughs at that --Dannyno (talk) 23:01, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Sure. You can have socialist ideals, but ideals aren't socialists. You can subscribe to a racist ideology, but ideologies aren't racists. You can read an anarchist manifesto, but manifestos aren't anarchists. In general, -ists are people. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 04:08, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

The idea that Atheism as defined simply as a "lack of belief in any god(s)", and can thus include "any non sentient or sentient thing in existence", is easily remedied by defining atheist as a person, thereby making it impossible for any non-sentient thing to be called an atheist. So please, stop using that ridiculous line of reasoning to try and pigeon-hole the meaning of atheism as just the belief their is no god, it's not going to work. (talk) 16:38, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but it is not Wikipedia's job to "easily remedy" problems caused by the difficulties in defining atheism. Like it or not, "atheism" can be used as a noun or an adjective. We may think it unfortunate that the way atheism is sometimes defined means you could end up talking about "atheist pencils" even if the pencil sports no obvious atheist message or symbol, but Wikipedia cannot unilaterally remedy that. But nor should we use this problem, if it is a problem (and that's not for us to say), to try to impose a particular definition on this article. --Dannyno (talk) 21:25, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Surely you meant “atheist” (not “atheism”) can be used as a noun or an adjective. Personally, I don‘t find it confusing that an inanimate object can be X-ist without being an X-ist. Though you may well confuse your readers talking about “atheist staplers”, “atheist diamonds”, and suchlike that have no semantic connection to atheism. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 04:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

My argument wasn't that atheist will always and everywhere imply "a person", (that's not how language works) but that the argument that atheism, as defined by "a lack of belief", necessarily implies "atheist pencils", is false, as long as the word "atheist" can mean JUST a person. In other words, it doesn't matter that a pencil "lacks" belief in god, what matters is whether "atheist" is understood as a person, or "sentient thing", because IF it is then a pencil cannot be an atheist. I'd say in most cases (though I don't have a citation), it'd be a safe bet to say atheist is understood as a person. Honestly this seems rather obvious to me, the only reason there has been any argument about this at all is because theists want atheist to carry the same burden of proof as they do, i.e. "belief there is no god." (talk) 10:15, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not define a word, just reports other's definitions. Get a wp:rs of what you want to use and discuss it here; if it already has not been discussed ad nausium. I suspect part of the problem is that atheist and atheism have many meanings. From its "parse-the-word" definition and "dictionary definition" to various groups' definitions. The definitions are irresolute.
As far as requiring proof of one's "belief there is no god", it would seem to open up the requirement one having to prove an infinite number of things they don't believe in. There are many claims of different gods, see: List of deities. You might be able to ask for proving one's claim for only one god, but not the 20,000 or more gods that have been documented by anthropologists. Generally, the burden of proof is on the claimant, not the denier. Jim1138 (talk) 03:11, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
This is an age-old argument. I personally think that people who grow up within a religious-structured environment become used to thinking of others in terms of belief, due to environmental recognition, which is there is the presupposition among religious people that atheism is a belief, or why people who have abandoned a heavily faith-based environment may embrace the concept of disbelief in a 'religious-like' manner, but that's all rather irrelevant to wikipedia because that's my own original research. What I would point out, though, is that there is a large amount of confusion between the boundaries of atheism and secular humanism. Whilst many atheists are secular humanists, and vice verse, it is not universally true for all and because it can be more readily argued that secular humanism is a belief system, there is bound to be a bleed-over between the two for those who aren't experts on the subject. Maybe worth highlighting the two? I dunno. Just running my mouth off here. Justin.Parallax (talk) 10:35, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Funnily enough, my own experience, far from suggesting that "there is the presupposition among religious people that atheism is a belief", suggests that among religious people there is a presupposition that atheism is a lack of belief, and in many cases a strong resistance to the view that an atheist actually has belief. But there you are, that simply confirms the need for reliable sources, since two Wikipedia editors' good faith impressions can be diametrically opposite. JamesBWatson (talk) 12:17, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm frequently troubled by a widespread lack of understanding in communication (not to mention the seemingly insurmountable, general, global deficiencies in communication itself), but in this particular arena I'm astonished that anyone is so insistent on a core definition more exacting or exclusive than "individual or collective rejection of theism". I would expect someone adhering to said insistence to be implicitly obligated to construct new words for each 'subset' of atheism (though i suspect they would prefer to lump every non-'specificist' in with [all varieties of] agnostics, based on the word choice of 'strong' for absolute and 'weak' for nuanced positions; but aside from all that, it should be clear to anyone who notices that more than one dictionary (and more than one thesaurus) exist... that there is no such thing as The [Exclusive, Singular] Dictionary Definition of a great many concepts, including atheism.
The only productive thread I see from the [also curiously/overly exacting] "atheism is a form of belief" assertion is that, not unlike the oversimplification of 'anarchist', being pedantic with roots (if one making said assertion is even going to such lengths) isn't particularly constructive once extensive usage of terms that have been claimed (not to mention articulated in depth) by ideologues, observers, or anyone 'in between' is acknowledged. Perhaps a flimsy excuse to coin the surely-non-essential "atheos" (as English) word family? (atheosm, atheosism, atheosist, direct appropriation of atheos as adjective, etc.) If nothing else, it would be an exercise in (a) awkward humor or (b) bolstering the "why-do-we-even-need-a-label-for-it" position of (e.g.) Sam Harris or NonStampCollector[2]. TheNuszAbides (talk) 05:02, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I pick brevity over grandiloquence any day, both in this talk page and in the article.War (talk) 05:36, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
How to know if you are a fundie atheist: 1. you argue that rocks, trees and children are all atheists, and you think this makes your beliefs look respectable.

2. you spend hours arguing that atheism is a lack of belief in God rather than believing God does not exist, as if these two definitions are meaningfully different from each other in the real world.Ordessa (talk) 13:59, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Elected atheists

Do any of our articles cover where open atheists are able to get elected to govt? I just saw that the new pres of Chile identifies as an agnostic. It would be interesting to have a world map incl. subnational divisions. %ages of supposed atheists vary widely in different estimations, but the ability to get elected is a concrete indicator. — kwami (talk) 23:46, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

We have an article Discrimination against atheists. In terms of legality, I think it is everywhere where atheism is legal. In the US, barring atheists from public office has been ruled unconstitutional at the federal level, but a number of state constitutions still purport to do this. As to where atheists are able to get elected to government - that's a slightly different question. I'd say it's anywhere, so long as they pretend to believe in God. Formerip (talk) 00:03, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Never saw the article Discrimination against fact had no clue that not believing in God(s) or religion could prevent someone from gaining a political position in today's modern western world. We should have mention of this here ...trim the section "Irreligion under fascism" and add info on this topic would be a good idea.-- Moxy (talk) 00:33, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
It's getting better, but every elected US official of any visibility still has to say "God bless America" and swear on a bible. At least atheists can now serve openly in the military w/o getting sent to the front lines. — kwami (talk) 00:44, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
That's what I meant by "open". If you publicly acknowledge that you're atheist (whether you call it agnostic or nonreligious or whatever), and still get elected, that's interesting IMO. Then I suppose we have people who are elected and then come out. That's also interesting, as it means they believe the opposition won't be so great they can't do their job. — kwami (talk) 00:41, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
It might be worth having content about "out" atheists who have been elected to public office. But, for the love of so-called God, please, not a bullet-list. A starting-point: Julia Gillard, Nick Clegg, François Hollande, Jawaharlal Nehru, Yitzhak Rabin. Formerip (talk) 01:29, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
I was talking about a map. Like the ones we have for %age of the population. I can foresee two colors, one for out before being elected, and one for out while in office. I doubt we could meaningfully distinguish "agnostic" etc., and I'm sure some cases would be difficult to decide, so I think the burden of proof would need to be on inclusion. — kwami (talk) 08:19, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Something like:
File:Elected atheist leaders and representatives.svg
kwami (talk) 08:48, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure I can picture a useful map. Are you taking into account that countries that have had any atheists in high office are likely to have had a number? I get the impression that you think there would be one per country, but I don't think that will work out. I also think it would be difficult to find sourcing in a lot of cases, so you would have a lot of counties in the "don't know" category. Formerip (talk) 23:38, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Found List of atheists in politics and law.
Doesn't matter if it's more than one, any more than in the maps of countries with female heads of state/govt does it matter if there's been more than one: One shows that it's possible to get elected despite voters knowing a candidate is irreligious. And if we can't figure out if they are or not, then they're not being very open about it; in that regard, it wouldn't be any different than a map of countries with openly gay leaders. We should, of course, add a warning that other countries are likely to have had atheist leaders who either hid their lack of religion or, for whatever other reason, the issue never came up. — kwami (talk) 01:03, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

It would be nice to add the states that bar atheists from office. — kwami (talk) 20:46, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

I don't see how the map is worth very much, though, if it does not include information about countries that have not had atheists in senior positions. At the moment, it gives the impression that this is all the countries in light grey, but that's misleading. Formerip (talk) 20:51, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Misleading how? What would you change? I'm asking for input here. — kwami (talk) 23:34, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
(1) States and countries seem to be confused. The US and Canada are represented by state, Australia, India, China, Russia etc as country. There may be many countries where provinces, states etc have had atheist leaders that cannot feature this way. This gives an Americanocentric view of the world, which should be avoided.
(2) You have to make sure this list is exhaustive. For example in the Netherlands nobody is bothered by religion or lack thereof of the leaders, so it might be possible that an atheist leader is never known as such. How can you guarantee this has not happened elsewhere?
(3) I am not sure this actually adds much to the article even when this is all realized. Interesting, nice to have trivia is not a reason in itself, especially for an already lengthy top level article. Arnoutf (talk) 17:54, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Individual states in any federation would be fine. Of the ones you list, only Russia would be relevant.
Making sure maps like this are exhaustive is always a problem. Even when we have supposedly exhaustive sources, we need to confirm. That's my main reason for asking for help.
The whole point is that the atheism is known. In the case of states like the Netherlands, there will have been a transitional perioud where it was notable.
I disagree that it's trivia, any more than the map of %ages is trivia. — kwami (talk) 21:49, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Why make state/province/region/municipality unit of division rather than country? Arnoutf (talk) 22:27, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
I also noticed that it was sometimes states, and sometimes countries, and that is a bit unclear. Perhaps it could be clarified in the image caption, when used? --Tryptofish (talk) 22:55, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

What exactly does "since WWII" mean? And why that exact cut off point? And where have you gotten your information about the religious viewpoints of the various leaders from? --Saddhiyama (talk) 23:54, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

I see now that you have used List of atheists in politics and law as the primary source. I have added some Danish primeministers to the list, but as far as I can see that article is very rudimentary and lacks information about most countries, meaning that your map, by automatically translating missing information about a particular country into meaning that that country hasn't had an atheistic leader, is most likely conveying wrong information regarding a large number of countries. As such I wouldn't recommend its usage in Wikipedia. Making a distinction betwen "lack of data" and "absolute knowledge of no atheistic leaders in the given timeframe" would help a bit, though. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:39, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
In any case, Wikipedia articles are not reliable sources. Use of hat particular list is rather problematic for several reasons (1) Referencing is rather sketchy and it seems many of the references is based on interpretation of interviews where it is unclear how much the context matters (2) The list itself is incomplete as these primary listings happen to be, however using it as input for derivate works like a map implies it is at least somewhat complete. (This is one of the reasons why we prefer secondary over primary sources). (3) Definition of elected to government differs per country, e.g. in the Netherlands the government is appointed and ministers need not be elected by the population at all; in other countries there are no free elections. If you go away from elected and go to high government post than another issues comes in, what is high. If you do not want to go there and accept any government posting you allow all civil servants in.
All in all I think this is a nice idea, but in doing it too many problems are encountered. In my view these should either be solved (we probably need several academic publication to provide the source we need that is how complex and sensitive this is) or we should agree that the complexity is too much an leave it at that. Arnoutf (talk) 11:05, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
I believe something useful could be done with the following criteria
1) there are 206 generally recocgnised sovereign countries
2) If we look at only the political leader that makes the determination reasonably singular.
3) If we limit the time period to something like since WWII or since 1850 that again applies a limitation.
So we would have a finite number of political leaders to review, (33,578 if every country changed its leader every year). Finding a reliable source on any one leader who was openly atheist is enough to colour the country as Has Had Atheist Leader(s). Finding either a reliable source that no leader has been atheist or reliable sources for every leader in the last 68 or 163 years showing they professed religion would be sufficient to colour the country as No Atheist Leaders. And all other countries remain greyed out for Insufficient Data. I'm happy to start a table of references somewhere for people to look into. (talk) 16:18, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
That would be useful. But I'm not really interested in whether we can dig up that s.o. was a closet atheist from their posthumous publications. The point of the map is to show where atheism is acceptable enough that you can get elected to national office even if your atheism is public knowledge. Case in point: Barney Frank acknowledged that he was gay while running for office. But he did not admit to being an atheist until after he retired. That suggests that, at least in his estimation, voters will elect gays but not atheists. In other countries, however, most voters could care less about their leaders' religion. — kwami (talk) 20:12, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Euhm yes, but we would first need to establish in an unbiased non original research way who is exactly the leader of each of country. For the US this is fairly simple as the president is the head of state, and the most important person in the government. However in many other countries this is less obvious. The head of state is often ceremonial and can be called president as in Israel and Germany or the monarchs in UK, Netherlands etc. These are not leaders, in those countries prime ministers tend to be the leaders. In communist countries (eg USSR) other functions where the leading function (general secretary of the communist party like Stalin) while both presidents and prime ministers are not the main leaders. So this needs to be figured out for all countries, and only then can we begin. I still think it is all too much effort for a map that is mainly a lot of trivia. Arnoutf (talk) 18:11, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Thus the word "elected" in the section title and the restriction to democracies. — kwami (talk) 20:05, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Sounds somewhat arbitrary to limit to elected leaders in any case; what to do with e.g. Singapore and Malaysia? And you would exclude China out of hand, as well as pre 1990 Russia? That makes the whole overview fairly limited in scope. And beyond that German presidents are elected but are ceremonial heads of state (Merkel is not the German president), and the communist parties and many dictatorial regimes claim election of their functionaries as well. This all looks a lot like synthesis which is just a form of original research. I think this is just no good idea Arnoutf (talk) 20:46, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Of course it's limited, that's the whole point. For democratically elected leaders, you need to limit yourself to democratic elections. There are plenty of RS's as to which countries have democratic elections, so that's not a problem. Whether a post is ceremonial is irrelevant: The question is whether people are willing to elect them. — kwami (talk) 06:59, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Oh but then it is simple, you can strike all monarchies from the list as these ceremonial leaders are not elected. Or do you mean we put in the Dutch prime minister (but no the king) and the elected ceremonial German president (with less political power than the Dutch king) but not the bundeskansler (Merkel)? In any case, I think it all not worth the effort and I have seen nothing so far to convince me otherwise. I will stop commenting. If you manage to get majority consensus, I am happy with that discussion, but so far I don't see any added value and a lot of potential POV forks up ahead. Arnoutf (talk) 12:43, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

This line of argument is very common...",,if your data doesn't tell us everything, it tells us nothing". It not really an argument, it's a tactic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:40, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

My point of view can be summarized as "Even if this data is complete it hardly tells us anything of relevance, if it is incomplete it tells us too little of relevance". My problems with this inclusion lies with criteria as outlined in WP:TRIVIA WP:UNDUE WP:OR/WP:SYNTH. If the majority disagrees with me fine, but I am not in favour.Arnoutf (talk) 18:24, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I've noticed that the people saying the article is of no interest seem to be from countries like the Netherlands. Perhaps for you it is trivial. However, I'm from the US, and here electing an atheist would be a huge deal. The fact that an open atheist can get elected in your country is as remarkable to us as the fact you can go to your doctor and get a prescription for heroin. I suspect that in a decade an admitted atheist might be able to get elected in the most liberal districts of the most liberal states, but for right now it's like looking at same-sex marriage in 2001. — kwami (talk) 19:14, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I can see that from the US point of view, no problem there. But the difference in positions will make it very difficult to get neutral data on this sensitive issue. I don't think I have much to add beyond this so I will no longer respond on this topic I have made my statement, but if majority deems this relevant, please go ahead. (PS you cannot get a heroin prescription in the Netherlands; and to be honest, the new Colorado Marihuana rules are more liberal than the Dutch rules ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 19:57, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Hm. You used to be able to get heroin. People would shoot up in the parks, and studies showed that the average age of the addicts increased at almost a year per year, supporting the belief that seeing public heroin use discouraged young people from picking up the habit, even if people complained about it being an eyesore. At least I think it was the Netherlands. Has the law changed? — kwami (talk) 20:19, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Nope Heroin dealing is illegal, but possession of small quantities (for personal use) is treated as a misdemeanor, and the actual use is not illegal. Marihuana/Hashiesh is a grey area, large quantity dealing is illegal, small quantity dealing through an official coffee shop is ignored, and possession of small quantities and use is not illegal. The idea of making actual use not illegal is that you can talk to users, make sure they can get medical attention where needed etc. But anyway all of that is off topic for the discussion here0 Arnoutf (talk) 20:41, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Adding a list of elected atheists? What a brilliant idea! We could start with Adolph Hitler and Mao Tse-Tung!Ordessa (talk) 16:57, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Hitler never stood for election as an atheist, and Mao was never democratically elected at all. — kwami (talk) 19:17, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Godwin's law ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 19:19, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Criticism section?

Most philosophies or ideologies ("isms") generally have various criticisms. JDiala (talk) 00:52, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Indeed. A whole page in this case: Criticism of atheism. :) --— Rhododendrites talk |  01:15, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Long, Uneven History Section

There is another encyclopedia entry (as noted in the article) specifically on the history of atheism, yet the history section here is stunningly lengthy. It is also unbalanced between historical epochs and subtropics, with unnecessarily extensive space given over to the state atheism (which also has it's own article) and religious persecutions of Communist states in the 20th century. While this is useful information, the depth and detail seem inappropriate to this specific entry. Indeed a lot of the ground is covered in other wiki entries. This section also suffers from over-reliance on a single source, Geoffrey Blainey's Short History of Christianity. This is a legitimate source, but brings bias vis-a-vis atheism both because it is a history of a movement that deplores it and the work of an author who is quite critical of it. Blarney should be balanced out with a wider assortment of scholarly voices to ensure more neutral POV. Indeed it is odd that this recent work on Christianity should be such a heavy source when the last few years has seen a plethora of highly-regarded histories of atheism published.TheCormac (talk) 17:06, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, and I would encourage you to indulge yourself as you see fit. -- Scjessey (talk) 18:24, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Article Quoting Religious views of Famous (Currently Popular) People

Someone might want to look at the quotes in: to see if there is anything new. In addition to some Hollywood people, there are some company-founding billionaires. I found these quotes to be as succinct and specific as you could want. I don't know how we view a source such as this per WP standards. Frank Layden (talk) 13:40, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Dewey Not an Athiest

This article boldly asserts at that John Dewey was an atheist. This is a false assertion, or at least highly contested. See Knight, Philip J., "John Dewey and the Reality of God", (talk) 21:21, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

I tried to look at that link, but it appears to be a faulty link, so that makes it difficult to evaluate whether we should change what this page says. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:28, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Dewey is described as an atheist on his Wikipedia page: John Dewey. Suggest taking the issue up there in the first instance. --Dannyno (talk) 15:50, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 April 2014

Dear Sirs,

I would like to access this page and edit the definition of the word Atheism, as it is not precise enough in given state.

The word Atheism is based on interpretation of existing data and is not referring to a future possibilities. It is in fact a position based on a conclusion. In contrast, Agnosticism is a word which can be describes as "pending decision", which means it is not limited in a time range. This is the reason two words are compatible. Every Agnostic is an Atheist when disregarding future possibilities, but it also follows every Atheist is an Agnostic as well because the word Atheism is not referring to future states at all.

I think this edit would be important since a lot of people are not understanding the difference between these two words on a level of TIME RANGE (or a state vs. potential) but rather at the level of CERTAINTY (which is not a determining factor for this distinction and is actually a set of different judgement criteria).

Best regards,


Markomanius (talk) 11:53, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: If you want to suggest a change, please request this in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
Please also cite reliable sources to back up your request, not your opinion, point of view, original research or synthesis.
In particular, please read and understand the very top line of this page - you would need consensus before making any change to the definition - Arjayay (talk) 11:59, 23 April 2014 (UTC)


The first sentence seems potentially ambiguous to me; using the plural of the word "deity" could be read as the rejection of polytheism. Perhaps "rejection of belief in the existence of a deity or deities" would be better? Joefromrandb (talk) 02:24, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Like everything in the lead, it is a kludge, and it really has been discussed (a lot!) before. First, we will run into the question of whether we should change it only in that one sentence, or throughout the lead paragraph, and then there will be objections based on wordiness. There have also been very lengthy discussions somewhere in the archives about the philosophical implications of singular-versus-plural. I'm not saying you shouldn't discuss this now if you want to, but please just be aware of all the archived talk, and be aware that you may encounter pushback. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:22, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Atheism rejects the concept of "divine" itself, thus it really doesn't matter singular or plural. (talk) 09:39, 1 April 2014 (UTC) Agreed, also, Atheism is the rejection of the concept of a deity/ies, not the rejection of the belief in a deity/ies.Jjujje (talk) 19:04, 11 May 2014 (UTC) [4]

That's a difficult distinction. Atheists have addressed themselves to both concept and belief. Rejection of "the concept" implies there is such a thing as "the concept". --Dannyno (talk) 19:26, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

The Opening Definition

I find the opening definition completely inadequate. It nowhere refers to reason or empirical evidence. To offer a definition of Atheism as "the position that there are no deities" is disingenuous. On an intellectual level it surely must be proceeded with the caveat that this proposition is based on lack of evidence and not from ignorance. I would strongly suggest reference to empirical evidence and reason be included in the opening definition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:01, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

I couldn't disagree more. There is no need to present evidence for the lack or nonbelief of something. The burden of proof falls upon those who believe or insist something exists. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:35, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood what this person was saying: I think what he/she was trying to say was that "the position that there are no deities" as it is currently worded implies knowledge, and thus a claim which should be proven. They were saying that it should be made clearer that this lack of belief is based on a lack of credible evidence for the existence of any gods.-- (talk) 18:38, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
(ec) I don't think that one can take a position from ignorance. I.m.o. a position is—by nature—based on knowing something, like for instance that there is lack of evidence, or that alleged evidence is not trustworthy, or that something is impossible, or etc. So that part of the opening sentence of the lead leaves ample space for everything but ignorance, and seems just fine in that respect. And of course, the statement is quite properly sourced. - DVdm (talk) 16:36, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Atheism is not a 'belief': it is a position that, due to a lack of evidence about the existence of any deities, sees no reason to confirm or deny that any deities exist. In other words, atheists do not accept affirmations (about any gods) without proof, and in absence of this, do not even consider the question (about the existence of any gods) valid or worth considering. THEPROMENADER 18:28, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
The above is pure atheism. The term 'gnostic' is used to provide variations on this theme: a 'gnostic atheist' is one who affirms that there are no gods (and this is arguably a belief); an agnostic atheist is one who, dispite the fact that he sees no evidence for any god(s), considers the question of there being (a) god(s), but won't (or thinks he "can't") make an affirmation either way. Hope that clears things up, cheers. THEPROMENADER 18:38, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Your characterisation of "agnostic atheism" is not the same as Wikipedia's. Anyway, it's not for us to "clear up" something which remains contested in the literature. Who bears the burden of proof is not a settled question even among atheist philosophers. Whether atheism claims knowledge is not a settled question either. Whether atheism is a "belief" is likewise not settled in the literature. --Dannyno (talk) 19:33, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, after further research I see that my statement, although well-intentioned, was misguided. One person's definition of a term cannot be presented as 'true' if it differs from the mainstream definition; most people will 'understand' the latter version first. THEPROMENADER 06:34, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

This Article compared to its FA-award version

Comparing the present version of this article to the version the day it was awarded FA status (granted, not yesterday: April 2007) did shed some light on its present state, which I find to be quite erratic (similar topics repeated/spread through different sections) and even confusing at times (and overall).

FA-award version diff with this version

Good points in the FA version:

  • Its lede is much more clear and succinct, and leaves out 'variations on (and reasons for) atheism' explanations for later in the article.
  • It doesn't have any of the 'suppression of religion' events that this article has (events that are not necessarily, or not at all, attributed to atheism per se, rather another ideology), especially the 'dangers to religion' section (which should be named as the main 'criticism of religion' article linked to, a topic that need not be here at all, IMHO).
  • The logic and context of its section organisation is much clearer than today's version.

In all, I think this article could be much shorter; atheism is indeed an absence of belief in (any) god(s), but we can't very well attribute the blame/merit of every event and figure not following religion (or suppressing it) to 'atheism' - not only is this idea ludicrous, but it makes the article (impossibly) longer than it should be. IMHO, only the leading organisations/figures actually promoting atheism as their central ideology should be presented here.

These are just my own thoughts as I reviewed the article, but its many contributors should be better placed to opine on this than I. Thanks, and cheers. THEPROMENADER 20:22, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

PS: Perhaps it would be best to ignore this until above issues are resolved. Sorry for my bad timing. THEPROMENADER 20:30, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
That's OK, but I would prefer, myself, to postpone this discussion. In particular, there has been a ton of discussion about the lead section after the time of the FA review, and I neither want to undo all of that, nor to go through it all again (see the talk archives, lots and lots and lots of them.) --Tryptofish (talk) 20:34, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, if the result of that 'ton of discussion' is the present lede... but yes, let's save it for later, that was the entire point of my comment. There's nothing wrong with thinking about possible changes as we work on (re-examine) the article, though... Cheers. THEPROMENADER 04:04, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Hitler was not an atheist.

Your very own article is far more balanced:

Sources citing Hitlers religion can be found in various places.

This articles representation of Hitler as an atheist is untrue.

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” - Adolf Hitler. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes, all of the Hitler/Mussolini/Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot/etc. references have to go. 'Kicking out the (religion) competition' does not make them 'atheists'; they do not represent atheism in any way, and atheism was not at all at the center of their ideology, so they can't be presented as such. This POV is strangely similar to some news stories I've seen on the preachings of a few of the 'religious right' recently, and I don't think that's a coincidence. I'm putting up a 'POV' tag until the problem is resolved. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:14, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Added - Much of the rest of the article sounds like a 'debate' for or against atheism (often with Christianity presented as 'the other side')... there are actually a lot of POV issues to fix here. This article is ~far~ from its ~2007 FA state; it had no Hitler/etc. references then, so go figure. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:24, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I completely agree with you. At the very least, these sections (on fascism in particular) are grossly violating WP:WEIGHT. -- Scjessey (talk) 11:40, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad you agree. In fact, I think "Emergence of state atheism under Communism" and "Irreligion under fascism" should be simply removed. Compared to its 2007 FA state, this entire article seems to have been rewritten from a theistic point of view; at least it reads like that. Thanks, and cheers. THEPROMENADER 12:02, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Both of these additions seem to be from a single Catholic-interest(ed) contributor, but they have been edited since by others (and other sections as well, mainly reorganisation, links and sources), so I can't suggest simply reverting. I'm still looking into this, though. THEPROMENADER 13:41, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
To be clear, I think both sections are quite well written and sourced; however, I think they have too narrow a focus for this article. I think a heavy handed reduction is in order, and I would not object to their complete removal. -- Scjessey (talk) 15:40, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I do agree that the contributor did work very hard to make his argument seem credible. Alright then - I just put the 'POV' tag up this morning, so I'll let it rest a few days before getting to work. Will you be able to help out? THEPROMENADER 18:04, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I'll do more than that. Per WP:BRD, I'll just remove the sections immediately. If someone thinks they should return, they can make their case on this talk page. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:20, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
So far there seems to be sufficient consensus here for doing that. Good idea. - DVdm (talk) 20:27, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Okay, great, thanks! I'll be back tomorrow morning to look at the rest, then ; ) THEPROMENADER 20:29, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I was one of the editors who revised those sections after they were first added. At the time, I was uncomfortable with them for the same reasons that have been raised here. I think, after seeing the discussion here, that I agree that the lengthy sections were WP:UNDUE. At the same time, I wonder if we shouldn't have some coverage of those topics. What do editors think about bringing back some of the content, but maybe at approximately one-tenth the amount of length? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:59, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd be okay with that. -- Scjessey (talk) 01:09, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Sure, I was going 'review and recuperate' from what had been removed today. But the recoverable material will probably be even shorter than that, and it certainly will not have the form it had before; neither of those additions were representive of this article's topic, neither merited a title/section of its own. THEPROMENADER 03:33, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
User:Tryptofish and User:ThePromenader, I agree with your proposal to reintroduce at least some of the information that was removed. Including the summary about state atheism would definitely be appropriate for this article. Perhaps we should inform the editor who originally wrote the information, User:Ozhistory, to be involved in this as well? I hope this helps. With regards, AnupamTalk 03:38, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I made no proposal, and no, I do not at all agree to bringing back any of the information that was removed as a section of its own. THEPROMENADER 03:53, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It seemed that you had had agreed with User:Tryptofish above, but I apologize for stating that it was your proposal. In my opinion, there should be at least some information about state atheism in this article. Thanks, AnupamTalk 04:03, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
My intention was to begin work on this article today; I'll have a more in-depth look at what was removed later on. It's still 6am here ; ) THEPROMENADER 04:09, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
But in the meantime, Anupam, start a new 'state atheism' talk-page section to describe your propos; if atheism was not the central ideology of any regime, I have difficulty seeing how it merits a section of its own. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 04:22, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to wait for User:Tryptofish to delineate his proposal in detail. I do feel that much of the content written by User:Ozhistory was acceptable. Whether you or I regard atheism as the central ideology of those regimes is not of much relevance. The fact is that historically, some nations have made atheism the official doctrine of the state and for some of these states, such as China, this continues to influence public policy there (see Exhibit One & Exhibit Two). Since it is 6 am where you're at, maybe you can get some more rest till User:Tryptofish and hopefully User:Ozhistory respond! I hope this helps, AnupamTalk 05:10, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what anyone thinks (Wiki is not a pedestal for opinion), if atheism is not the central ideology of a regime than it can't be presented as such - as I said earlier, many of those 'eliminating the (politico-religious) competition' didn't even consider the belief system they were eliminating, they just wanted themselves at the centre of things. Now that I'm reading, that's one of my biggest issues with this article thus far: it presents all 'suppression/criticisms of religion' as 'atheism', and that is just plain wrong. THEPROMENADER 05:38, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Um, no sorry, it is not acceptable to delete the section on state atheism entirely from this article. How ridiculous. This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology. Ozhistory (talk) 09:45, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I have trimmed both sections. My sense is that the Fascism section can be greatly reduced (maybe even only alluded to), and the Communist section currently focuses too much on persecution and can venture more into philosophy of Communist state atheism Ozhistory (talk) 10:20, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
The above consensus is clearly for removing them, so please do not replace anything until we can work out a new format.THEPROMENADER 10:25, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
"This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology" - if you can find a citation expressing exactly that, I'd be surprised. THEPROMENADER 10:27, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I can't see that there is consensus for removing them in their entirety at all. A number of comments above express the view that there was well sourced, relevant content. I agree that both sections were too long, given the scope of the article, and do not oppose modification, trimming, but cannot agree with your apparent suggestion that Communist state atheism and its leading proponents are irrelevant. Ozhistory (talk) 10:40, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
There is clearly consensus. Yes, individual citations were well-sourced, but the central propos they created together (arguably WP:OR) was both overweighted and unsupported by fact ('kicking out the (political and religious) competition' != 'atheism'). Again, you're going to have to find a citation for "This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology". Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:51, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Also, it would be extremely helpful to provide references to atheists who cite these figures as models of their ideology, as that is the message that their prominent presence here seems to convey. Cheers Again. THEPROMENADER 11:13, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
With respect, Promenader, I don't think that is a valid concern. We are writing about an historical period and whether or not contemporary atheists look to this period for inspiration is neither here nor there. That said, there are in fact still millions of Marxists, Maoists etc who of course cite these figures as "models of their ideology" as you put it. Ozhistory (talk) 11:45, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
What is it not a valid concern? If you are talking about the citations I requested, of course they are of 'valid concern' - they are central to the message you are trying to convey. Please provide these, or it is the context of your content (and perhaps the content itself) that is invalid. Thanks. THEPROMENADER 12:04, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I was referring to your comment "it would be extremely helpful to provide references to atheists who cite these figures as models of their ideology". As for your request for citations they are valid -- if a little perplexing. Ozhistory (talk) 12:13, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Ah, my bad for phrasing (I do that sometimes). By "provide references to atheists" I meant "provide examples of atheists that cite these people as examples of the atheist ideology." If this is not possible, then your context is invalid and has no place in this article. THEPROMENADER 12:32, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
On the idea that there is "consensus" not to restore anything of the original text, I would point out the following: I have said I want some restored, user:Tryptofish has said there should be some coverage; user:Scjessey says he ok with that and user:anupam agrees some should be restored. Where is this "clear consensus" you speak of to restore none of it?? The deleted text was too long, but state atheism and its proponents must be covered in the history section dealing with the 20th century. That seems to me to be the consensus. Ozhistory (talk) 12:25, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
There was consensus, so please don't attempt to deconstruct. Rather than waste time doing that, why not provide the references I asked for? Is that so hard to do? - they're for your claims. THEPROMENADER 12:32, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, no time (or access to usual library) tonight -- but in the meantime, you could start with the neat intro summary in Marxist—Leninist atheism and take a look at links like Polish anti-religious campaign, Religious persecution in Communist Romania, League of Militant Atheists and that sort of thing to get a sense of the topic. Sorry to leave mid-argument -- 'I'll be back as Arnie would say. Ozhistory (talk) 12:43, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It's okay, this page isn't going anywhere. I'll read those for sure. Night! ; ) THEPROMENADER 12:46, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Since my username has been invoked to support both sides of the above argument, I'd like to clarify my position:
  • In my opinion, the sections I removed were well written and sourced; however, I think they were grossly violating WP:WEIGHT.
  • I would not support the restoration of those sections to the article in any form.
  • I might be persuaded to support some material from the deleted sections making its way back into the article, but I would envisage this as merely supporting text for links to articles where these issues can be given proper coverage.
Finally, and because of the sensitivity of this material, I would expect any proposals to be introduced on this talk page and a consensus for inclusion to be reached before being incorporated into the article. The last thing I want is for there to be any edit warring. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:04, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I think it is absolutely vital to maintain neutrality in any connection of state or political atheism with any atrocities under those movements. The causality is too difficult to establish (and is false) and should not be the subject of this general atheism article.Johnnyp 76 (talk) 13:16, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

20th century state atheism and its leading proponents

Here is a base suggestion for a compressed state atheism section. It still needs expansion on the underlying philosophy of Marxist-Lennist, Maoist atheism.

Mao Zedong with Joseph Stalin in 1945. Both leaders repressed religion and established state atheism throughout their respective Communist spheres.

In the 20th century, Communist governments sought the political advancement of atheism. Spurred on by interpretation of the works of Marx and Engels, they sought to implement state atheism, often through coercion. Marxist states were 'godless' by definition, wrote Alan Bullock.[1] The Soviet Union's founding leader Vladimir Lenin believed every religious idea and every idea of God to be "unutterable vileness... of the most dangerous kind, contagion of the most abominable kind".[2] His successor Stalin mocked religious belief and, Bullock wrote, his assault on the Russian peasantry "had been as much an attack on their traditional religion as on their individual holdings, and the defence of it had played a major part in arousing peasant resistance... ".[1]

The Russian Orthodox Church, for centuries the strongest of all Orthodox Churches, was suppressed.[3] Many priests were killed and imprisoned. Thousands of churches were closed, some turned into temples of atheism. In 1925 the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the persecution.[3] Following the Second World War, the Soviet Union promoted coercive state atheism throughout Eastern Europe. Religion was suppressed in Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria elsewhere.[3] Churches lost their formally prominent roles in public life, children were taught atheism, and clergy were imprisoned by the thousands.[4]

Further post-war communist victories in the East saw the implementation of state atheism across China, North Korea and much of Indo-China.[4] In 1949, China became a Communist state under Mao Zedong's Communist Party. Religious schools and social institutions were closed, foreign missionaries expelled, and local religious practices discouraged.[4] During the Cultural Revolution, Mao instigated "struggles" against the Four Olds: "old ideas, customs, culture, and habits of mind".[5] The Communist Party launched a three-year drive to promote atheism in Tibet as recently as 1999, saying that intensifying propaganda on atheism is "especially important for Tibet because atheism plays an extremely important role in promoting economic construction, social advancement and socialist spiritual civilization in the region".[6] In Cambodia, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge also instigated a purge of religion during their 1975-1979 rule in Cambodia. Until 1975, Buddhism had been officially recognized as the state religion. Under Pol Pot, all religious practices were forbidden and Buddhist monasteries were closed. Influenced by Mao Cultural Revolution, and Stalin's collectivization experiments, Pol Pot instigated a rapid radical social transformation, resulting in the Cambodian genocide.[7][8]

  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Stalin pp.412 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.; p.30-31
  3. ^ a b c Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.494
  4. ^ a b c Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.508
  5. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Online - China - History: Cultural Revolution; accessed 10 November 2013
  6. ^ China announces "civilizing" atheism drive in Tibet; BBC; January 12, 1999
  7. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Online - Cambodia History; accessed 10 November 2013
  8. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Online - Cambodia: Religion; accessed 10 November 2013

Perhaps some of this can be said more efficiently, and there are other leading proponents of state atheism yet to be mentioned, and more of the underlying philosophy of Mao, Stalin etc can perhaps be discussed? Ozhistory (talk) 11:29, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes, again, the entire premise of the content is wrong. The leaders of the regimes you cite got rid of all competition, regardless if they were religious or not, as they wanted themselves to be the sole centre of its power. Yet your text suggests (shouts, even) that atheism was central to their ideology, and you stated as much in this page above, yet I have yet to see any citations supporting this claim. So, again, please provide references for your "This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology" claim, and references to atheists who cite these regimes and their figures as models for the atheist ideology, otherwise this text has no place in this article. I am not saying that nothing can be said about it, just not in that context. Sorry for insisting, but you seem to be evading. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 12:39, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Not all authoritarianisms have sought to eradicate religion. Many have sought to co-opt or accommodate it. Communists had an ideological opposition to religion (based on Marxist-Leninist atheism and similar variants) which said that religious belief, like private property had to be eradicated. I have already addressed your request that I provide "references to atheists who cite these regimes and their figures as models for the atheist ideology" and said that I fail to see how it is relevant? Ozhistory (talk) 13:09, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Hitler is a very good example, he actually made a pledge to preserve the Catholic church, so it is even sillier that he figure prominently here. Sorry, I missed those 'references to athiests' references (will read again), but for the 'atheism was central to x regime ideology' rest, looking forward to your references tomorrow. THEPROMENADER 13:18, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
No, I'm sorry, I couldn't find any of the references you mentioned. Marxists referring to Marx as their ideological figurehead is of course valid for Marxism, but I asked for examples of prominent (or a large movement of) atheists citing someone like Marx, Hitler or Stalin as an ideological example (as this article is, after all, about atheism). Anyhow, for the time being, your text reads like "bad things Lenin, Stalin, etc. did to religion", and it fails to provide any valid evidence that all that was in the name of atheism, yet in its context, it makes this (invalid) connection all the same. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 14:01, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Fwiw, I have struck two off-topic statements. Perhaps more should be removed, but these were the most obvious, and sourced by a mere wp:tertiary source. - DVdm (talk) 16:24, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, but proposing to remove a couple sentences won't help when it's the premise of the entire section that is at fault here. The principle goal of Communist governments was not to promote atheism, as it would have us believe; this erroneous affirmation (without proof) is found even in the first sentence. THEPROMENADER 16:51, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't see where or how it says that the principal goal of Communist governments was to promote atheism, but I struck another (unsourced) part. I also remove the "wrote Bullock" specifications, as this article is not about Bullock, and either these are notable facts, in which case they can stay, or if they are not notable, the sentences should be removed. - DVdm (talk) 17:05, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree with User:Ozhistory's comment that it was inappropriate to remove the section regarding state atheism in the article. The proposed revision above is well referenced and does a good job of summarizing the topic. I support its inclusion in the article. To address User:ThePromenader's suggestion, Communist governments had a few different principal goals--the promotion of atheism was one of them. Marx's assertion was that "religion is the opium of the people." This tenet was a large reason why Communists sought to rid their states of religion and replace it with atheism. I hope this helps. With regards, AnupamTalk 17:00, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Just my $0.50 on this issue, I think this section should be kept under a more broad category of Atheism and Politics instead, with a little re-writing. This article overall does have lots of social science material that is well beyond the mere concepts of atheism (since it touches on other issues like sociology, ethics, and history), so there is room here to insert another dimension. After all, atheism is often seen as some political force even today with active organizations in the political arena in some countries like the US. In terms of history, there were some atheist groups which probably cannot be denied their fusions of their atheism with their own politics such as League of Militant Atheists and their usage by governments to promote their agendas. Other examples of such activity is Mexico and the attempt to remove religion in the last century too. So since atheism does get involved in politics, I don't see any issues with the premise of this section at all.--Mayan1990 (talk) 17:36, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

So we agree that the elimination of religion was but one facet (task, rather) of the communist ideology, yet the above text does not at all reflect that: it puts atheism, through its context, as a foremost reason for the suppression of religion (amongst other abominations). Furthermore, after further examination, the most of the 'well sourced' citations use a single source (#3 & #4, 'A Short History of Christianity' - which is an odd place to look for references for an 'atheism' article?), namely in the middle paragraph that is simply a list of events that, again, fails to mention that they were not committed in the name of atheism. In fact, why go on in detail because ~all~ of the events listed here, although each individually are fact, were commited in favour of the communist ideology, not atheism, and this section goes out of its way to omit that fact. THEPROMENADER 18:01, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Promenader my friend, if it is your belief that Marx, Lenin, or Mao have no contemporary admirers, and that their thoughts on the necessity of atheism are not still supported by many millions, then you are sorely mistaken. These are some of the most influential proponents of atheism of all time. To seek to censor them from this article on the basis that you believe that their overall ideologies have been discredited (which by the way is a very Anglosphere assumption) is not going to stand. The A short history of Christianity to which you refer deals extensively with that religion's rivals - from early Paganism to modern atheism and as such is entirely relevant and useful. At any rate, multiple sources are available for the points made by Blainey. But when you say that the actions of atheists like Lenin, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot in employing coercion to ban religious practices, enforce the teaching of atheism, and eliminate the influence of religion on society was "not done in the name of atheism" you seem to be quoting Richard Dawkins, would that be right? Can you provide superior sources for this assertion (Dawkins if not an historian)? Ozhistory (talk) 08:57, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you're the one making the "This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology" claim, so the burden of proof is on you, sir. THEPROMENADER 09:49, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
You can only be purposely missing the point. These were communists, for sure admired by communists - and where is the reference to the 'atheists' who admired them I asked for? If your claims that 'the communists' principle goal was promoting atheism' were true, this would be easy to prove, yet it is obvious that it is not true at all. After a bit of research, I see that this discredited (and here, WP:OR) fringe point of view/affirmation (without proof) is promoted by only a few, fundamentalist Christians for the most part. So since the context of the above propos is unreferenceable, it has no place here, and without the faulty context, few, if not none, of the events have any place here either. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:44, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Keep it civil please. The claim is not made that the "principle goal" of Communism was promoting atheism. Marxian thought on atheism has been and remains highly influential. Strange of you not to concede such a basic point. Ozhistory (talk) 08:19, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't see any ad hominem in anything I wrote; I was referring to your refusal to address (and provide references to) your "principle goal" claim that is your (section's) "This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology" and resort to deconstructionism instead.
I begin to see the reason for this, as, after some research, I see that the unfounded 'communist/fascist ideology == 'atheism' claim is but an opinionated (and false) correlation promoted only by Christian fundamentalists (and your section neglected to mention this, too). If anything, the suppression of religion undertaken by these regimes is arguably Antireligion (and Marx and Lenin are clearly present in that article). There was no 'Marxian thought on atheism'; communism sought only, as history clearly shows, to eliminate religion and replace it with communist ideology, not atheism. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:26, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Here's some text you've deleted which says precisely the opposite: "the Soviet state under Stalin's policy of state atheism did not consider education a private matter; it outlawed religious instruction and waged campaigns to persuade people, at times violently, to abandon religion: "the Communist Party has never made any secret of the fact, either before or after 1917, that it regards 'militant atheism' as an integral part of its ideology and will regard 'religion as by no means a private matter'. It therefore uses 'the means of ideological influence to educate people in the spirit of scientific materialism and to overcome religious prejudices..' [sic] Thus it is the goal of the C.P.S.U. and thereby also of the Soviet state, for which it is after all the 'guiding cell', gradually to liquidate the religious communities.[1]
I've made that reference easier for you to click through and review.
And here's more for you user:Promenader : In the Soviet Union after the Revolution, teaching religion to the young was criminalised.[1] Thousands of churches were closed, some turned into temples of atheism. In 1925 the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the persecution.[2] Across Eastern Europe following World War Two, "the atheist messages were amplified [in the Soviet Union], and relayed to the new Communist countries of Eastern Europe such as Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria.[3] "Church schools and many churches were closed, and they lost their formally prominent roles in public life. Children were taught atheism, and clergy were imprisoned by the thousands."[4] From the beginning the Bolshevik line in the Soviet Union had been "militant atheism", but it was not only the lynching, show-trials and executions of Russian Orthodox clergy for their links to Tsarism that was state policy, but also the "intention to stamp out private, even individual, worship too ('aiming to replace faith in God with faith in science and the machine')."[5]
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Blainey was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  3. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  4. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.508
  5. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 978-0-09-943802-1;
Now, can you offer any sources for your assertions that these regimes did not promote atheism? Ozhistory (talk) 10:18, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Again, it is you wanting to insert a yet unreferencable " 'communism/fascism' == 'atheism' " claim, so it is for you to provide proof, dear Ozhistory.

Most of what you cite above is, again, suppression of religion in favour of communism and nothing more. The only part that merits further study, IMHO, is the "League of Militant Atheists" if not only for its name: was its role indeed for promoting atheism, or was it just a 'named tool' for suppressing religion? This also isn't mentioned in the text.

The single claim relevant to 'atheism being taught' (and not suppressed), that "Children were taught atheism", seems to be unshared by mainstream media: it is little-found outside of a single citation in a Christian-authour "A Short History of Christianity" book (and it seems that you even created the Wikipedia article for it).

So, if you want to present a fringe POV, you have to be quite clear in the text body about its provenance, otherwise it will misleadingly seem that it is a widely-accepted fact. And one can easily argue that a fringe-view so unimportant not appear at all. THEPROMENADER 10:57, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

A source please for your assertion that Communist regimes did not promote atheism. Ozhistory (talk) 11:00, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
And note the line: '[the Communist Party] regards militant atheism' as an integral part of its ideology. Ozhistory (talk) 11:08, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
'Integral part != 'central role', and if atheism (antitheism, rather) was just one of the communist ideology's many parts, all the atrocities you mention cannot be attributed to atheism.
As per the last three days, you're the one making claims, so the burden of proof is on you, sir. THEPROMENADER 11:27, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
You are making claim, after claim, after claim. And have not produced a solitary source for your fringe POV that Communist regimes did not promote atheism. 'Integral' means 'essential to completeness'. I am happy to use the word integral if you prefer it to the word 'central'. Now can we move on? Ozhistory (talk) 12:03, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
My pointing out your continued lack of proof for your claims is not a claim, and you ~do~ have yet to provide any valid proof (or any at all, for that matter) that communists did their atrocities in the name of atheism. If you agree that 'integral' is the correct term, you also agree that communist regime atrocities cannot be labelled 'because atheism', meaning they cannot appear in this article, and that is fine with me. THEPROMENADER 13:11, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

I wanted to clarify that I support User:Ozhistory's version as I see that it is supported by reliable sources and presents a good summary on the topic of state atheism. An additional source to support User:Ozhistory's assertion comes from Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective (Brill Publishers) on page 289:

For seventy years, from the Bolshevik Revolution to the closing years of the Gorbachev regime, militant atheism was the official religion, one might say, of the Soviet Union, and the Communist Party was, in effect, the established church.

I hope that this reference is helpful. With regards, AnupamTalk 21:10, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Second proposal

I thank the editors above who said that they were waiting to see whether I would offer an alternative proposal, and I agree with much of the above discussion, in that anything we add back should be brief. It also seems to me that we should simply steer clear of saying anything about cause-and-effect between atheism and any given form of politics. So let me propose the following.

Please see Atheism#Since 1900. Instead of having a new section, I propose adding the following at the end of the first paragraph of that section, making the paragraph longer:

In addition, state atheism also emerged during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Communist China under Mao Zedong. Lenin described religion as "unutterable vileness... of the most dangerous kind, contagion of the most abominable kind".[1]

  1. ^ Amis, Martin (2003). Koba the Dread. London: Vintage Books. pp. 30–31. ISBN 9780099428021.CS1 maint: Ignored ISBN errors (link)

That's it. Then the second paragraph of that section would continue from there, as it is. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:39, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree with your propos, Tryptofish, but as for the citation: I still don't see what it has to do with atheism, per se (it is a POV/citation from the mouth of a communist leader complaining about 'the competition' to his ideology, not an atheist complaining about... whatever), but I would prefer this by far. I'm still reserved about it, though. THEPROMENADER 20:39, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd be fine with replacing the quote with something else. I simply took it from the proposal above, as a statement about rejecting religion, said by the person whose image is already the illustration of that section of the page. I do think, though, that we should have a second sentence of some sort. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:43, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
You are right Tryptofish to identify Vladimir Lenin as one of the most significant and influential atheist thinkers and activists of the 20th century. It's a start, but such a brief discussion of of such a significant topic simply won't do. Lenin was perhaps the first militant atheist to gain control of the organs of a state in modern times, but of course he wasn't the last. Much more can be said about his philosophy on atheism, his methods of implementation and those who followed his example. Otherwise this article risk becoming Western-centric, of ignoring a great swathe of atheist thought in the wider world. Ozhistory (talk) 08:41, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I think that "much more about Lenin's philosophy on atheism, his methods of implementation and those who followed his example", probably belongs in an article about Lenin, but not in an article about atheism. - DVdm (talk) 08:52, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
No. If they were influential atheist thinkers and proponents then they belong here, in a section about 20th century state atheism. Ozhistory (talk) 09:01, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
No, they were influential communist thinkers. I have yet to see any (promised) references showing that their acts were done in the name of atheism. THEPROMENADER 09:23, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. Sources are needed for claims that Lenin contributed to atheism as a school of thought, etc. — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 14:22, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
A bit more perhaps, but not much more. It all depends on the variation of our mileages. - DVdm (talk) 09:13, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

─────────────────────────In the "real world" (outside of Wikipedia), one of the debates about atheism involves (mostly religious) critics of atheism pointing to tyrants who promoted state atheism as evidence that atheism is bad, followed by atheists responding (some of the New Atheists have written extensively on this) that atheism has nothing to do with what the tyrants did, followed in turn by further polemics back and forth. Per WP:NPOV, our articles must not become part of that debate. I'm saying this to multiple editors, and not pointing at any single individual: if you want to use this page to promote one side of the debate, you've come to the wrong website.

Of course, Lenin was a prominent and notable practitioner of state atheism, and state atheism is part of the subject of this page. It doesn't matter whether or not he was a thinker or philosopher about atheism. Since when does an encyclopedia article about atheism not include important practitioners of atheism? But the "methods" he used as part of his political agenda are not, in themselves, a part of atheism. So I believe that we should cite him as an example, but we should not go into an extended passage about all the bad things he did. We should cover state atheism here, but WP:Summary style applies.

I already said that I'm fine with replacing the second sentence I proposed with something else. I won't quite put this as put up or shut up, but I'll say that I'd rather see a concrete proposal for something else, rather than a wall-of-text arguing about the issues. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:52, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Okay, I'll second your proposition, but I must admit that I was a bit flummoxed at "state atheism" at first, and now I see that it's a quite widely used term, although I would think that a suppression of religion would be something like Antireligion more than anything: none of these figures were promoting or contributing anything to any atheist ideology; they were only promoting their own. THEPROMENADER 19:50, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. As I said, it doesn't matter, here, whether or not they contributed to the ideology per se. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:57, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Tryptofish , those comments above are pretty sensible. And yes Promenader, State Atheism was a big deal. As the deleted material confirms, the Eastern block went further than 'suppressing' one or other religion - they actively promoted atheism as an alternative -- had it taught in schools etc. To that extent we need to discuss "method". Lenin's inclusion is a must as he was first. But Stalin also deserves mention because of his role post-WW2 in spreading state-atheism across Eastern Europe. Then there is Mao, who cannot be ignored because he established state atheism in China and the East. These three are the minimum necessary to point readers towards this phase of the spread of atheism. Ozhistory (talk) 08:51, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I concur with the comments provided by User:Ozhistory, User:Tryptofish, and User:Ramos1990. User:Preomenader, Professor Lee Gilmore has an online introductory lecture you can view about state atheism that might be helpful. With regards, AnupamTalk 09:11, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
"they actively promoted atheism as an alternative -- had it taught in schools etc" - the offending section does not mention anything about 'teaching' atheism for itself, and I would love to see references to this (as here you only refer to the deleted material itself as 'proof'). Again, the Communists suppressed religion and promoted commmunist ideology in its place, so unless you can show that their acts were indeed in the name of atheism and not communism (as you claim you can), and that they did indeed 'promote atheism' as itself, they have no place in an 'atheism' article, which is why I support Tryptofish's proposition. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:46, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
And yes, Anupam, I will read your reference, thanks. THEPROMENADER 09:51, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

User:Ozhistory is actually correct and there are a plethora of references to support the teaching of atheism in the Soviet educational system. For example, The Plot to Kill God: Findings from the Soviet Experiment in Secularization by Professor Paul Froese (University of California Press) states:

The Soviet educational system officially stated that "that bringing up of children in the atheist spirit" was one of its primary missions. University students were also required to actively propogate atheism and were told, "Those who refuse to make such practical application of their study [of scientific atheism] will lose their scholarships and must leave the university. Special pressure was placed on academics and scientists to join the atheist educational organization Znanie, and, b the late 1970s, for example, over 80 percent of all professors and doctors of science in Luthuania became members. The course syllabi from the atheist universities of the Soviet Union indicate how the topic of atheism was presented as a historically logical outcome of scientific development.

User:Promenader, I appreciate you taking the time to view the introductory link. From what I can see as of now, it does seem now that at least four different users have favoured restoring the deleted information in some form. I hope this helps, AnupamTalk 09:57, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

No, Anupam, please don't invent consensus. I support Tryptofish's proposition, nothing more. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:08, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
By four users, I am referring to myself, User:Tryptofish, User:Ozhistory, and User:Ramos1990. I hope this clears things up. With regards, AnupamTalk 10:09, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
They support Tryptofish's version? (!). Methinks not, you might be referring to Ozhistory's version. If you want to revise/promote that version, please make your comments there, not here.
And why are all the citations/links you provide from only Christian apologetics? Any opinions coming from only these sources must indicate this alongside whatever is quoted from these; if it is a fringe view unshared by a majority of historians, it must be presented as such. THEPROMENADER 10:20, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Anupam, stop inventing a "consensus" that supports your preferred version. Other editors disagree.
We've been through a lot of cherrypicking and synthesis in the past, in order to make atheism look evil; let's not go though all that again. bobrayner (talk) 13:22, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Agree with User:ThePromenader and User:Bobrayner. There is clearly nothing close to consensus; and even the quoted 'supporters' of some kind of addition show a much more nuanced view than outright support as suggested by User:Anupam. The information/sources are from Christian apologetics who clearly have a stake making them non-neutral (even if they hold academic positions). Also note that the articles that discuss the topic in some depth (such as State Atheism) are relating to the aim of revolutionary regimes to remove institutionalized religion often because religious leaders had been allies to the overthrown governments - making organized religion (but not necessarily belief in a deity) complicit to atrocities committed before the revolution. So the whole topic appears more subtle than any of the proposals and I think this article is not the place for it. Arnoutf (talk) 14:14, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Somewhere above, I said that I'd like to see editors make specific suggestions about content, and not engage in wall-of-text arguments about ideology. It appears to me that a couple of editors did not get the message. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:17, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

User:ThePromenader, could you clarify why you think that the source I provided above falls into the category of "Christian apologetics"? Dr. Paul Froese is a "professor of sociology and a research fellow for the Institute for Studies of Religion" who has written a book published by a university press on the topic. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks, AnupamTalk 20:53, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Third proposal

I've read all of the comments above. (Really.) I think that it's reasonable to mention Stalin by name in this context. An awful lot of the rest of the discussion strikes me as a waste of time.

Please see Atheism#Since 1900. Instead of having a new section, I propose adding the following at the end of the first paragraph of that section, making the paragraph longer:

In addition, state atheism also emerged during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and in Communist China under Mao Zedong. Lenin described religion as "unutterable vileness... of the most dangerous kind, contagion of the most abominable kind".[1]

  1. ^ Amis, Martin (2003). Koba the Dread. London: Vintage Books. pp. 30–31. ISBN 9780099428021.CS1 maint: Ignored ISBN errors (link)

That's it. Then the second paragraph of that section would continue from there, as it is. Please, everyone, let's not have another wall-of-text. Just focus on specific wording for the page. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:17, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Looks good, but I added one comma and a little preposition. - DVdm (talk) 18:21, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree; that's better, thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:24, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Fine with the first line (In addition.....Mao Zedong.). But do we really need Lenins view on religion - seems out of place as religion is not necessarily the same as belief in a god. In addition the Lenin quote is already at Atheism#Dangers_of_religions where it fits much better in my opinion. Arnoutf (talk) 18:31, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Woops, you are absolutely correct about that quote. Sorry I missed it. I agree with you that there is no good reason to have it twice on the same page. That means that I pretty much withdraw proposals 2 and 3 in their present form, although I still think we can work with the first sentence. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:37, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, sorry for all the blabla, but I felt neutrality risked getting steamrolled. The first sentence sounds good (yet I'm still reading up on 'state atheism'), and Lenin's quote is just a condemnation of religion, anyways. THEPROMENADER 18:47, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Fourth proposal

Please see Atheism#Since 1900. Instead of having a new section, I propose adding the following at the end of the first paragraph of that section, making the paragraph longer:

In addition, state atheism also emerged during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and in Communist China under Mao Zedong. Atheist and anti-religious policies in the Soviet Union included numerous legislative acts, and the emergence of the League of Militant Atheists.[1]


Please consider this in the context of Atheism#Since 1900, and keep WP:Summary style in mind. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:00, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

This one looks fine to me. In my view it is: to the point, short, neutral, well positioned in the Since 1900 section. Arnoutf (talk) 19:04, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, obviously. - DVdm (talk) 19:13, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Okay! THEPROMENADER 20:04, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Fine with me. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:36, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Looks acceptable to me. — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 23:29, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Just one quick point. There's no need for "in addition" and "also" in the same sentence. -- Scjessey (talk) 12:30, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, you are quite right about that, thanks. I've stricken "also". --Tryptofish (talk) 19:23, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Fourth proposal updated

I'm losing track of the numbering here, but this is basically an update of Proposal 4, reflecting subsequent talk. All of this is to go in Atheism#Since 1900.

  • First, put the following hatnote at the top of the section:
1929 cover of the USSR League of Militant Atheists magazine, showing the gods of monotheistic religions being crushed by the Communist 5-year plan
  • Second, add the image shown here (layout to be determined later).
  • Third, add the following at the end of the first paragraph:

In addition, state atheism emerged in Eastern Europe and Asia during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and in Communist China under Mao Zedong. Atheist and anti-religious policies in the Soviet Union included numerous legislative acts, the outlawing of religious instruction and the teaching of atheism in the schools, and the emergence of the League of Militant Atheists.[1][2]

  1. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; The Harvill Press; 1994; pp. 339–340
  2. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p. 494

I've added some language to those two sentences, so please check on that. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:01, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

I prefer your fourth version, Tryptofish: I'm sure you're well intentioned, but I think you're giving way too much credit to 'both sides' of the talk-page arguments here: one of us is making unreferencable insinuations and claims ; ). The claim that atheism was 'taught in schools' is fanciful and unreferenced (its author won't provide the text excerpt 'referenced'), and, again, teaching communist ideology is not 'teaching atheism'. THEPROMENADER 05:50, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it's not very clear what "teaching atheism in schools" means. Did they have double Atheism on Tuesday afternoons? Seems unlikely.
I don't see much else wrong with the paragraph. Maybe we could remove "and the teaching of atheism" (or else clarify). Formerip (talk) 10:59, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I think the "teaching atheism" is problematic too. Without clarification it can be read as "teaching the canon of atheism" (which as far as I know does not exist) or "teaching there is no such thing as God" (which reminds me very much about teaching people not to think about a pink rhinoceros). I think explanation would take too much space and introduce additional POV forks. Do we need the teaching atheism phrase or can we do without? For the rest fine with me Arnoutf (talk) 11:12, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks all, those points seem reasonable to me. (Parenthetically, to The Promenader, there's nothing wrong with trying to see both sides of an argument. You might want to try it sometime. Face-smile.svg ) Anyway, please let me make sure that I have this clear, about the wording: where I added a few words about the geography in the first sentence, that's OK, right? (In my opinion, it's an improvement, and really makes the content more accurate.) And for the part about teaching, are we saying "the outlawing of religious instruction and the teaching of atheism in schools,, or "the outlawing of religious instruction and the teaching of atheism in schools,"? I'm understanding it as the latter. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:05, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
P.S.: If I'm understanding correctly, then I think a better wording for the second sentence would actually be: "the outlawing of religious instruction in the schools". --Tryptofish (talk) 19:11, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I am ok with the suggested alternative "the outlawing of religious instruction in the schools". (ie leaving out the teaching of atheism phrase). Arnoutf (talk) 19:33, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Good, thanks. (By the way, Arnoutf, both times you've edited here, you somehow put some line breaks into the image thumbnail, making it non-displaying.) --Tryptofish (talk) 19:58, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Sorry about the line breaks my internet explorer sometimes does that on its own, don't know why :-( Arnoutf (talk) 20:21, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Just to point out that we have an image of "Allah" on the magazine cover. I'm not sure I see this as a problem but, given that we are not obliged to use this particular image, some might level a charge of gratuitous offence. Formerip (talk) 20:58, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
That hadn't occurred to me, thanks! The file page indicates that this same image is in use at multiple other pages, and also at sister projects in numerous other languages. (I guess I would take that as evidence that there isn't a policy against the image?) I have just looked at some of our pages about Islam, and I cannot really find anything about such images as used on Wikipedia, but although it is about the Prophet and not the Deity, we do have Depictions of Muhammad, which does include numerous literal and even satirical images. I think that, as a matter of policy, we should be guided by the close of Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Muhammad images, extrapolating it to images like this one, since the possibilities for offense are similar. My reading of that close is that such an image is permitted if it has "a clear encyclopedic reason". I'm leaning towards concluding that it is OK to use the image here if the consensus here is to use it, but I'm not strongly committed to including it. There are other somewhat similar images at League of Militant Atheists and Bezbozhnik (magazine), some of them similarly anti-religious (to put it mildly!) without indicating anything about Islam, but they all seem to me to be less applicable to atheism. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:02, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I hadn't thought about it either. I would lean towards thinking it is acceptable here, for much the same reasons Tryptofish gives above. In addition I think this image is probably more illustrative of the extreme antireligiosity of the magazine than being offensive to religions in this specific context. But if consensus goes another way I am not strongly committed to this image either. Arnoutf (talk) 07:13, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I was quite involved in the Muhammad RfC, and I don't think it ended with clear enough guidance for this to be anything other than a matter of judgement. Since we seem to be saying that we think the image is the best one but we wouldn't lay down our lives for it, maybe the thing to do is include it but be ready to take into account any reasoned objection that someone might make. Formerip (talk) 11:43, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree entirely with both of you, thanks. I'll wait another day before editing the page, in case there are any further comments, but absent any subsequent objections, it seems to me that we have consensus to implement this proposal, with (1) the removal of the stricken language, above, and (2) the understanding that the image may subsequently be reverted in the event of reasonable objections. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:03, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

 Done. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:59, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Fifth Proposal

The following addresses some editor's concerns about narrow sourcing, and addresses my concern to cover the topic globally: discussing some leading proponents and their approach to questions of atheism.

State atheism

State atheism emerged during the period. To Marxists religion was a 'primitive belief' and a means of subjecting lower classes.[1] Following the 1917 Revolution, Russia's "aggressively atheist" government[2] opposed both religious belief - which the Bolsheviks believed impeded modernisation - and the institutional power and ideology of Russian Orthodoxy.[3][4] Lenin saw notions of God as 'vile'.[5] While some Revolutionaries favoured the promotion of science and Communism as an alternative to religion, Lenin and Trotsky favoured a more aggressive atheism; and launched "vehement" attacks on religious belief.[6] A League of Militant Atheists was formed.[7] Party members were required to take part in atheist activities and banned from religious rites.[8] Religious instruction was outlawed and replaced with atheistic propaganda in schools.[9][10]

Marxist-Leninist atheism spread under Lenin's successor Joseph Stalin, who followed the rationalist belief that science would destroy all myths.[11] His assault on the Russian peasantry, wrote Alan Bullock, was "as much an attack on their traditional religion as on their individual holdings" and met with resistance.[12] His Soviet regime established Communist states across Eastern Europe following World War Two, where atheist and anti-religious policies were promoted.[13] Further post-war communist victories in the East saw efforts to purge religion by atheist leaders in Mao Zedong's China, North Korea and much of Indo-China.[14][15][16]

  1. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p312.
  2. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p337
  3. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p333.
  4. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.; p.30-31
  5. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.; p.30-31
  6. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p337-339
  7. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p. 494
  8. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  9. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  10. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  11. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  12. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  13. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494 & 508
  14. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.508
  15. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Online - China: Religion; accessed 2013-11-10
  16. ^ China announces "civilizing" atheism drive in Tibet; BBC; January 12, 1999

How does this look? Ozhistory (talk) 11:57, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Too long. Biased. Off topic as this is not an anti communism article. Arnoutf (talk) 17:43, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Carefully written and well-researched, but it reads like an essay with "atheism = communism" as a central thesis. - DVdm (talk) 18:31, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
I concur with the above two comments. THEPROMENADER 19:23, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I, too, agree with the above concerns. Ozhistory, would it work for you if we did Proposal 4, but also added the image that is in Proposal 5? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:04, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes Trytofish, it would help to restore the illustration of Stalin and Mao and two of the key figures relevant to the subject, but it still doesn't address the remaining weaknesses of your alternative, which I would nominate as: 1) Eastern Europe and Asia beyond China are completely ignored; 2) no attempt is made to define Marxist/Lenninist atheism, or its place in Communist ideology; 3) government policy in the promotion of atheism is not adequately described (ie none of the sources cited refer only to "legislative action", but all contain extensive coverage of "aggressive" persecution of religious people and ideas and the active promotion of atheism) 4) the point should be made that atheism was taught, not just preferred; 5) The key movers Lenin, Stalin and Mao are now mentioned but their attitude to atheism is not explained.
These are the factual fundamentals which still need to be incorporated into your text. They can be made in fewer words than my draft -- but it was necessary to be precise, because of the unfamiliarity with the subject matter being demonstrated by some editors.
In a nutshell, Atheism was government policy in Revolutionary Russia and similar societies and Marxist Lenninist atheism opposed both institutional religion and personal religious belief. For key decades, the promotion of atheism was not pursued peaceably or merely by "legislative measures". Acknowledging this does not "equate atheism with communism", as some editors fear - it merely describes what happened. Ozhistory (talk) 10:15, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
By what I can see, your insistence on your "atrocities = communism/fascism = atheism" false correlation is just an attempt to paint atheists in a bad light, and it is a preposterous argument that has only fundamentalist Christians at its origins - who else would even be motivated to invent such a far-flung claim? Again, if atrocities weren't carried out in the name of atheism, you cannot say "because atheism", so, in reality, ~none~ of your list of antitheistic atrocities (in the name of Communism) has any place in this article.
Yet, all the same, a few here have been kind enough to propose including at least some of your argument in the article (even the photo (!)), and I find this to be more than generous: if it were I attempting to impose such a fringe opinion as fact, I would be more than happy and just leave it at that. THEPROMENADER 13:05, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Fully agree with ThePromenader. What you want to add is a biased selection from information already present in a much better way in State_atheism. The unsupported relation between atrocities-communism-atheism is suggested by your section, of course not mentioning any discrimination against atheists which consists of many atrocities against atheists based on religion. As stated above, your text is too long (giving undue attention to the topic), biased because of the implicit and explicit suggestions (in part by bringing in an essay on communism which is not central to atheism). Arnoutf (talk) 14:37, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
@ Tryptofish, I admire your willingness to collaborate on this; but I think that an image of Stalin and Mao would only be relevant if they are presented in some identifiable atheist or at least antireligious context otherwise such an image is not relevant to the larger atheism article in any relevant way. Arnoutf (talk) 14:41, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Arnoutf, would the image work for you if we were to change the caption to: "Mao Zedong with Joseph Stalin in 1945. Both leaders repressed religion and established state atheism."? That would provide the context you are asking for (in, I think, an NPOV way), and is intermediate between the captions of proposals 1 and 5.
  • Everyone, how about adding a "further information" hatnote at the top of the Atheism#Since 1900 section, linking to Marxism and religion?
  • Ozhistory, please note that those two things would help relative to your concerns. That said, I share to some extent the concerns expressed by other editors that the edits you propose would violate WP:NPOV, and I'm pretty sure that you will not get consensus for what you have been proposing. Please also keep in mind WP:Summary style. To take your numbered points individually: (1) There's a limit to how many other countries we can reasonably bring into this without getting into minor points. Also, if you look at Atheism#Since 1900, the existing text of the next paragraph, particularly the quote involving Pol Pot, does go into the subject matter that you are concerned we are leaving out. (2) The proposed link to Marxism and religion would go a long way towards that. (3) and (4) If you follow the link from the words about "numerous legislative acts" to the target page, Soviet anti-religious legislation, the very first sentence of that page makes clear what you are talking about. And the link to the League of Militant Atheists also makes clear that it wasn't just legislative resolutions. (5) The second paragraph of the Since 1900 section already quotes Blainey in a way that covers that, and I think for us to go further really does get us into advocating a POV. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:01, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
1929 USSR Cover of the League of Militant Atheists magazin showing the monotheists Gods being crushed by the communist 5 year plan.
To be honest I would much prefer an image like the one here. The content of such an image is illustrating some of the actual sentiments rather than showing the image of communist leader who (in 1945) were more likely discussing WWII than atheism.
I would be fine with adding "see also" notes. To balance it out I would suggest to add Discrimination_against_atheists#Contemporary_era as well. Arnoutf (talk) 20:18, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you that that image (with some copyediting of the caption) would be much better. As for the link to the discrimination page, we already link to it in the see also section of this page. And it's better not to make the hatnote a battle of point-counterpoint, because WP:NPOV cuts both ways. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Hmmm...for me, I think that emphasizing "atheism and politics" or "atheism in politics" would be more fitting than calling it 'state atheism' the see also links can stay in my view, along with the second paragraph in the proposal since it looks more focused on atheism as influence. Stuff about the League can surely stay since it is relevant here too and the poster from the League is quite fitting as it highlights atheism more rather than mere communism or dictatorship. I can see why some may complain about the possible associations between atheism and communism if we keep the Stalin picture and I am sure that others will bring this up over and over again in the future.--Mayan1990 (talk) 06:56, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I think it makes better sense to refer to state atheism because that, specifically, is what it is. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:21, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
It will be brought up again and again because it is a valid point: communists supplanting religion with their own communist ideology cannot equate to 'atheism'. THEPROMENADER 07:04, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
And, again, the only thing I can see worthy of mention in all this is the League of Militant Atheists, if only to point out that this organisation was 'atheist' in name only: it was a communist antitheist organisation whose goal was to eradicate religion and replace it with communist ideology, as its own article, and the magazine cover pictured here, clearly states. THEPROMENADER 07:19, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
It is difficult to respond to editors using slogans claiming that the proposed text contains "argument" when it does not contain any argument. It merely contains a series of statements of fact, which are not in dispute. The more collaborative editor Tryptofish appears to be concerned that it "violates NPOV" either to define Marxian notions of atheism (?), and more particularly perhaps to record that persecution etc was employed by Marxists at this point in history to promote atheism. This all sounds pretty whiffy to me. Failure to define Marxian notions just detracts from our text to no advantage and failure to acknowledge persecution etc gives an entirely false impression of how these types of atheists went about promoting their beliefs. On your repeated preference for incorporating the text into the 1900 section, I think this might work if we can give it proper sequence. Ozhistory (talk) 09:50, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
"gives an entirely false impression of how these types of atheists went about promoting their beliefs"
This is just the same repeated unreferencable affirmation. Hopefully for the last time: these were communists promoting communist ideology. One cannot make a list of "bad things communists did to religion" (referencable) facts and suggest an (unreferanceable) correlation to atheism by slapping an (unreferencable) "atheism" title on it. Even after asking what must be twenty times, I have yet to see any references to communists promoting and teaching atheism as atheism itself, and this is for a very simple reason: there aren't any. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:00, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Could you please get hold of the referenced works by Richard Pipes (or any other history of the USSR) and read his lengthy chapters on spiritual policy in the USSR. Ozhistory (talk) 10:19, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Again, as you're the one making the claim that these acts were done 'in the name of atheism', it's for you to provide proof and references for it. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:29, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Again you are misquoting me, and offering up a slogan. Indubitably they were Communists of a sort (Soviet, early 20th century), promoting Communist ideology. Indubitably they were atheists of a sort (aggressive, Marxist-Lenninist) promoting atheism. Apply your 'logic' to the collective farming article for a moment. Try proposing to delete their discussion on the Soviet Union on the basis that 'One cannot make a list of "bad things communists did to collective farming" (referencable) facts and suggest an (unreferanceable) correlation to Collective farming by slapping an (unreferencable) "Collective Farming" title on it' and see how far you get. Here (once again!) are the references for my statement that it is inadequate to say that these people promoted atheism only with "legislative measures":
Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; pp 312, 333
Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p337-340
Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.; p.30-31
Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494 & 508
It would be helpful if you could read them - Pipes discusses atheism in revolutionary Russia at length. Thess passages rather contradict some of your assumptions: "militant atheism has been called the element uniting the various groups of the intelligentsia under the tsarist regime. In their tactics for combatting religious belief however, the Bolsheviks were divided. The cruder atheists wanted to attack it by every possible means, especially mockery; the subtler ones... wanted to raise socialism to the status of a surrogate religion[...] Emelian Iaroslavskii... called for a frontal attack on religion on the grounds that it was nothing more than base superstition exploited by the ruling class... [Lenin] preferred the uncompromising atheism of Iaroslavskii."[1] "The confrontation that got underway immediately after the October coup, attaining a climax in 1922, assumed a variety of forms... churches and monasteries were despoiled and converted to utilitarian uses; so too although less frequently were synagogues and mosques. Clergymen were deprived of civil rights and subjected to violent harassment and sham trials, which ended for many in imprisonment and for some in execution. Religious instruction for children was outlawed, and replaced with atheistic propaganda in schools and youth organisations. Religious holidays gave way to Communist festivals. Communist Party members were required to take an active part in atheistic activities and enjoined, under penalty of expulsion, from participating in religious rites, including baptisms and church weddings[2]
As you can see, saying they merely used 'legislative' measures gives a false impression of how these atheists promoted their (non)beliefs. Agreed? Ozhistory (talk) 12:02, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Please stop calling communists 'atheists' (this is only your fringe view), and again, your citation is just a list of methods communists used to erradicate/replace religion with communist ideology.
It is silly to suggest that I go read/buy the book when you could easily include the text you are citing in your reference - as you must for readers, too!
I think I've repeated myself enough on this matter. THEPROMENADER 12:34, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Sillier and sillier. Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. I went to much trouble to type out those notes for you. The least you might have done is offer a respectful reply. Ozhistory (talk) 12:51, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
What is so silly and disrespectful about my request? Providing the text quoted in references should not only be simple for you (it is right in front of you), it is common practice in talk-page discussions such as these. THEPROMENADER 13:10, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
PS: What's more, the fact that you are taking the time to type all that is the very reason I'm answering... I could just ignore you and stick to supporting more acceptable versions, but I really would like you to see why your 'communist antitheism/ideology = atheism' correlation claim just isn't fact. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 15:08, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Ozhistory and The Promenader, you may each want to read WP:The Last Word. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:23, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

6th proposal incorporating text in sequence into existing 1900 section

===Since 1900===

File:Lenin CL.jpg
Vladimir Lenin, the first leader of the Soviet Union. Marxist‒Leninist atheism was influential in the 20th Century.

Atheism in the 20th century, particularly in the form of practical atheism, advanced in many societies. Atheistic thought found recognition in a wide variety of other, broader philosophies, such as existentialism, objectivism, secular humanism, nihilism, anarchism, logical positivism, Marxism, feminism,[3] and the general scientific and rationalist movement.

Blainey wrote that during the twentieth century, atheists in Western societies became more active and even militant, though they often "relied essentially on arguments used by numerous radical Christians since at least the eighteenth century". They rejected the idea of an interventionist God, and said that Christianity promoted war and violence, though "the most ruthless leaders in the Second World War were atheists and secularists who were intensely hostile to both Judaism and Christianity" and "Later massive atrocities were committed in the East by those ardent atheists, Pol Pot and Mao Zedong". Some scientists were meanwhile articulating a view that as the world becomes more educated, religion would be superseded.[4]

Marxist-Leninist atheism emerged from the 1917 Russian Revolution. To Marxists, religion was a 'primitive belief' and a means of subjecting lower classes.[5] Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin opposed both religious belief - which the Bolsheviks believed impeded modernisation - and the institutional power and ideology of Russian Orthodoxy. They aggressively promoted atheism as a matter of government policy, outlawed religious instruction and had atheism taught in schools[6][7][8][9][10] After the Second World War, state atheism was also pursued in Eastern Europe, China, Indo-China and North Korea.[11]

Logical positivism and scientism paved the way for neopositivism, analytical philosophy, structuralism, and naturalism. Neopositivism and analytical philosophy discarded classical rationalism and metaphysics in favor of strict empiricism and epistemological nominalism. Proponents such as Bertrand Russell emphatically rejected belief in God. In his early work, Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to separate metaphysical and supernatural language from rational discourse. A. J. Ayer asserted the unverifiability and meaninglessness of religious statements, citing his adherence to the empirical sciences. Relatedly the applied structuralism of Lévi-Strauss sourced religious language to the human subconscious in denying its transcendental meaning. J. N. Findlay and J. J. C. Smart argued that the existence of God is not logically necessary. Naturalists and materialistic monists such as John Dewey considered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality.[12][13]

  1. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p338-339
  2. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p339-340
  3. ^ Overall, Christine (2006). "Feminism and Atheism". The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. ISBN 978-1-139-82739-3. Retrieved 2011-04-09. in Martin 2006, pp. 233–246
  4. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.543
  5. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p312.
  6. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p333.
  7. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.; p.30-31
  8. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  9. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  10. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  11. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494 & 508
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference stanford was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ Zdybicka 2005, p. 16
Sorry, it is again too lengthy, and presenting a WP:FRINGE POV as widely-accepted fact. Also, your references are unverifiable: It is completely possible to include the text you are citing in your references, yet ~none~ have any cited text at all; why are you not doing this? THEPROMENADER 11:47, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Space for Promenader to provide sources challenging points made

There is nothing fringy about the text in Draft 6. I have provided page citations from reliable sources easily found in libraries. Perhaps you would prefer to see the historians identified, but this conflicts with your insistence that it is "too long". I have already written out some extended quotations above in an earlier section (you perhaps won't have seen them yet) and of course have page references for the points made. Along the following brief sentences, I invite to provide texts of comparable reliability from historians for the points which you wish to challenge, so that don't waste time on you are prepared to accept:

1) Marxist-Leninist atheism emerged from the 1917 Russian Revolution. To Marxists, religion was a 'primitive belief' and a means of subjecting lower classes.[1] 2) Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin opposed both religious belief - which the Bolsheviks believed impeded modernisation - and the institutional power and ideology of Russian Orthodoxy.[2][3][4][5] 3) They aggressively promoted atheism as a matter of government policy, outlawed religious instruction and had atheism taught in schools[6][7][8][9][10] 4) After the Second World War, state atheism was also pursued in Eastern Europe, China, Indo-China and North Korea.[11]

Look forward to seeing a source, at last if any of this is doubted.

Meanwhile here's some extended Pipes quotes: "militant atheism has been called the element uniting the various groups of the intelligentsia under the tsarist regime. In their tactics for combatting religious belief however, the Bolsheviks were divided. The cruder atheists wanted to attack it by every possible means, especially mockery; the subtler ones... wanted to raise socialism to the status of a surrogate religion[...] Emelian Iaroslavskii... called for a frontal attack on religion on the grounds that it was nothing more than base superstition exploited by the ruling class... [Lenin] preferred the uncompromising atheism of Iaroslavskii."[12]... "The confrontation that got underway immediately after the October coup, attaining a climax in 1922, assumed a variety of forms... churches and monasteries were despoiled and converted to utilitarian uses; so too although less frequently were synagogues and mosques. Clergymen were deprived of civil rights and subjected to violent harassment and sham trials, which ended for many in imprisonment and for some in execution. Religious instruction for children was outlawed, and replaced with atheistic propaganda in schools and youth organisations. Religious holidays gave way to Communist festivals. Communist Party members were required to take an active part in atheistic activities and enjoined, under penalty of expulsion, from participating in religious rites, including baptisms and church weddings[13]

Hope that helps. Ozhistory (talk) 12:31, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p312.
  2. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  3. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  4. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p333.
  5. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.; p.30-31
  6. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p333.
  7. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.; p.30-31
  8. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  9. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  10. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  11. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494 & 508
  12. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p338-339
  13. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p339-340
Again, you could just provide the text you are citing in your references as a quote, or show it to us here. Even the text above is just more examples of communism replacing religion... and I'm sure that your references are more of the same. Why all the evasion and obfuscation?
And thanks for not naming me in the heading... that demands that I 'prove' that communists were... communists? How silly! The burden of proof for your claims that these communist acts were commited in the name of atheism is on you, sir. THEPROMENADER 12:42, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Please indicate which points you are disputing? Ozhistory (talk) 13:34, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
All of them: Again, 'suppressing the (religious) competition' != 'atheism'. It would help your argument a lot if, for your list of references (1~13), you add the text you are citing to the reference (or numbered on the side), since none are easily verifiable and you have the text right in front of you. Here's the Wikipedia rationale on that. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 13:55, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I have to agree with ThePromenader. The proposal has a whole host of problems, not the least of which is undue focus on communism, palpable bias and insinuation. The fact that a number of brutal dictators were atheists may or may not be relevant to this article. But it isn't automatically relevant just because the two facts can be placed side by side. Most of them also had moustaches, but so what? Content is needed explaining why and how a link might be made, along with balanced content outlining different perspectives on the issues involved. To put it another way, I think it is unclear why atheism is being blamed for 20th century mass-murder but not thanked for 20th century physics.
On a side note, Ludwig Wittgenstein was not an atheist, but a fairly devout catholic. And a Communist, just to complicate matters further. Formerip (talk) 16:11, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
FormerIP I think you just found it. Moustache wearer are evil mass murderers!! But no kidding. The insinuation is the problem. The photo of a (communist) leaders is not relevant per se. This puts undue attention on the link communism-atheism. If you strip all undue weight and non neutral stuff from this proposal 6 we are basically back at proposal 4, which is the only version that has gathered substantial (if not unopposed) support. Indeed the collaboration within Wikipedia is impressive here, almost all editors (except for one) working together to get proposal 4 very clearly formulated. Arnoutf (talk) 17:55, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
To a tee, Arnoutf. I just noticed that the history of atheism makes exactly the same claims to even greater length, even including Hitler... the work of the same authour(s) as here, I presume. How does stuff like this even get in unnoticed? THEPROMENADER 10:35, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Problems at another article should be discussed there or at Wikipedia:WikiProject Atheism. Let's focus on this article which is already difficult enough. Arnoutf (talk) 11:08, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
0.o I didn't even know that project existed; thanks for the pointer, sir. THEPROMENADER 11:16, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
To those borrowing cliches about moustaches, and slogans about "fascism = atheism" you completely miss the point of this section. It is a history of atheism. These societies are unique in the history of atheism because they used the organs of state to promote atheism. If you can't see the relevance to a section on the history of atheism --- you are not really trying. Meanwhile your efforts to censor any reference to the use of repressive or coercive measures in these specific societies on this specific subject just makes no sense at all. Ozhistory (talk) 09:04, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
That is only your opinion, Ozhistory, and your opinion seems to be shared only by a few fundamentalist Christians... there's no way that such a fringe view deserves that much attention, and there's no way that one can present such POV without inidicating its origins for what they are. Communists suppressed religion in favour of their own communist ideology... 'suppressing religion' != 'atheist ideology'. In fact, one could even argue that the communists/fascists wanted to present themselves as gods, but forwarding this argument as fact would be POV too. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:23, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

LET IT REST (shouting intended). Tryptofish added the broadly supported version 4 (updated). In my view this ends the current discussion as far as I am concerned. It is highly unlikely a new consensus will emerge in the coming time. Arnoutf (talk) 17:18, 2 June 2014 (UTC)


Hello. I'm translating this article to spanish Wikipedia, anyone can cooperate? They want to erase a lot of things. Eg. They deleted Eurobarometer 2010 because "It's not representative" and "It's about biotecnology, not about religion". Also want to change the definitions to the positive atheism to the Christian God because "they are too complicated" and "are english definitions", further "refs 1 and 2 talk about God not deities". They tried to erase "Reductionary accounts of religion" section due to disconnected ideas and now they say the same to "Definition as impossible or impermanent". Can you help, please? I need more refs for the last one (specially deathbed conversions and foxholes) and your participations in the discussion. I can be a translater for you. Regards. --Hiperfelix (talk) 00:35, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

They've fundamentally misunderstood what the Eurobarometer is (and probably didn't even read the freely available pdf). If the people are as stupid as you describe, I'm not sure what someone who doesn't speak Spanish could do really? Perhaps on the Spanish wiki there is some wikiproject or similar that you can ask for input? Second Quantization (talk) 19:58, 16 July 2014 (UTC)


I've tried to remove the polls from ~2007 and older since they are showing their age. There exist numerous polls on this issue, so I see no reason to use these older polls. Second Quantization (talk) 21:30, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

If anyone wanted to update the Eurobarometer graph, that would be cool, Second Quantization (talk) 21:30, 16 July 2014 (UTC)