Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week 20 - "Prominent Men: Atheists, Agnostics, & Anti-Theists"

This week's topic is similar to the topic I made two weeks back, titled "Prominent Men: Atheists, Agnostics, & Anti-Theists," men of "no faith" who are part of popular culture in any way, be that actors, musicians, authors, journalists, philosophers, scientists, Nobel Prize winners, activists, etc.

 "I was brought up a Christian, low church, and I like the community of churchgoing. That's rather been replaced for me by the community of people I work with. I like a sense of family, of people working together. But I'm an atheist. So God, if She exists, isn't really a part of my life."
Sir Ian McKellen - English actor, best known for the Lord Of The Rings Series (Gandalf) & the X-Men Series (Magneto)

"I also particularly like him (Sigmund Freud) because he was an atheist, and I grew tired of religion some time not long after birth. I believe in people, I believe in humans, I believe in a car, but I don't believe something I can't have absolutely no evidence of for millenniums. And it's funny - people think analysis or psychiatry is mad, and THEY go to CHURCH."
John Malkovich - American Actor, Producer, Director and Fashion Designer 

"I'm not a religious man. At the same time, if I am religious, it's about my writing ability."
Quentin Tarantino - American Film Director, Screenwriter, Producer, Cinematographer and Actor

 "I have to recognize that I am agnostic. I don't believe in any kind of fundamentalism. I prefer to take life in a different way, with a sense of humor. I try to teach my kids to be open. Whatever they believe is fine with me. "
Antonio Banderas - Spanish Film Actor, Film Director, Film Producer and Singer

"Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, "But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven." If so, I was going to reply, "You know what? You're right. Fine."

Lance Armstrong
- American Former Professional Road Racing Cyclist

"I don't believe in Heaven and Hell, I don't know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won't allow this life - the only thing I know to exist - to be wasted."
George Clooney - American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter

 "I've always believed that everything that is said from authority is either the authority of one's own heart, one's own brain, one's own reading, one's own trust, but not the authority of someone who claims it because they're speaking for God and they know the truth because it's written in a book. That, essentially, is where I come from. In a sense, tolerance is my religion. Reason is my religion."
Stephen Fry - English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club

 "Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I'll show you a hundred retrogressions."
Frank Sinatra - American singer and film actor 1915 to 1998

 "By simple common sense I don't believe in God, in none."
Charlie Chaplin -  English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era 1889 to 1977

 "Organized religions in general, in my opinion, are dying forms," he says. "They were all very important when we didn't know why the sun moved, why weather changed, why hurricanes occurred, or volcanoes happened," he continues. "Modern religion is the end trail of modern mythology. But there are people who interpret the Bible literally. Literally!" he says incredulously. "I choose not to believe that's the way. And that's what makes America cool, you know?"
Bruce Willis - American actor, producer, and musician

 "My dad believes in God, I think. I’m not sure if my mom does. I don’t. I have a problem with religion or anything that says, “We have all the answers,” because there’s no such thing as “the answers.” We’re complex. We change our minds on issues all the time. Religion leaves no room for human complexity."
Daniel Radcliffe - English film and stage actor "Harry

"The problem with faith, is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason, why you do not have to give reasons, for what you believe."

Sam Harris - American author, philosopher, neuroscientist, as well as the co-founder and CEO of Project Reason

 "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock and roll or Christianity."
John Lennon - English musician and singer-songwriter 1940 to 1980

"God is, to me, pretty much an idea. God is, to me, pretty much a myth created over time to deny the idea that we're all responsible for our own actions."
Seth Green - American actor, comedian, voice actor, and television producer

"I've sworn off agnosticism, which I now call cowardly atheism."
James Cameron - Canadian film director, film producer, screenwriter, visual artist, editor, environmentalist and inventor

If the people of this religion [Islam] are asked about the proof for the soundness of their religion, they flare up, get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with this question. They forbid rational speculation, and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and concealed.
Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Razi -
Persian physician, alchemist, chemist, philosopher, and scholar 865 to 925 AD

"Although the time of death is approaching me, I am not afraid of dying and going to Hell or (what would be considerably worse) going to the popularized version of Heaven. I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism."
Isaac Asimov 1920 - 1992 - American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University

"The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected."
H. L. Mencken - American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a scholar of American English 1880 to 1956

 "I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous - if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men."
Robert G. Ingersoll - Civil War veteran, American political leader, and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought 1833 to 1899

"We have the same job we always had. To say that there are no final solutions; there is no absolute truth; there is no supreme leader; there is no totalitarian solution that says if you would just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you would simply abandon your critical faculties, the world of idiotic bliss can be yours."
Christopher Hitchens -  English American author, essayist & journalist, whose books, essays, & journalistic career spanned more than four decades. Columnist & literary critic for The Atlantic, Free Inquiry, The Nation, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, World Affairs. Media fellow at the Hoover Institution. Staple of talk shows 7 lecture circuits. In 2005, was voted the world's fifth top public intellectual in a Prospect/Foreign Policy poll. 1949 to 2011

 "The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight -- that God is, like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether"
Daniel Dennett - American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science & philosophy of biology

 "Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them… We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant."
Karl Popper - Austro-British philosopher and professor at the London School of Economics. He is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century 1902 to 1994

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible."
Salman Rushdie - British Indian novelist and essayist

"Isn’t it sad how some people’s grip on their lives is so precarious that they’ll embrace any preposterous delusion rather than face an occasional bleak truth?" 
Bill Watterson - American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes

"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes."
Gene Roddenberry - American television screenwriter, producer and futurist, best known for creating the American science fiction series Star Trek 1921 to 1991

"All thinking men are atheists."
Ernest Hemingway - American author and journalist 1899 to 1961
 "I stand up for your right to be religious but please know that you're wrong, please know that you're living in a fantasy land and that after you die nothing happens, stop being a fucking child."
Jim Jeffries - Australian stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and comedian

“Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.”

Jesse Ventura - American politician, actor, author, and former professional wrestler who served as the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003
 "The only excuse for god is that he doesn't exist."
Friedrich Nietzsche - 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist 1844 to 1900

"What astonished me, however, was the realization that the arguments in favor of religious ideas were so feeble and silly next to the robust arguments of something as interpretative and opinionated as history. In fact they were embarrassingly childish. They were never subject to the kind of outright challenge which was the normal stock in trade of any other area of intellectual endeavor whatsoever. Why not? Because they wouldn't stand up to it. So I became an Agnostic. And I thought and thought and thought. But I just did not have enough to go on, so I didn't really come to any resolution. I was extremely doubtful about the idea of god, but I just didn't know enough about anything to have a good working model of any other explanation for, well, life, the universe and everything to put in its place. But I kept at it, and I kept reading and I kept thinking. Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology, particularly in the form of Richard Dawkins books The Selfish Gene and then The Blind Watchmaker and suddenly (on, I think the second reading of The Selfish Gene) it all fell into place. It was a concept of such stunning simplicity, but it gave rise, naturally, to all of the infinite and baffling complexity of life. The awe it inspired in me made the awe that people talk about in respect of religious experience seem, frankly, silly beside it. I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day."
Douglas Adams - English writer and dramatist,  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 1952 to 2001

What do you believe happens after death?
"I haven't a clue. I'm always struck by the people who think they do have a clue. It's perfectly clear to me that religion is a myth. It's something we have invented to explain the inexplicable."

Hugh Hefner - American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises

"Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future."

Penn Jillette - American magician, comedian, illusionist, juggler, bassist and a best-selling author known for his work with fellow illusionist Teller in the team Penn & Teller, and advocacy of atheism, libertarian philosophy, free-market economics, and scientific skepticism

Chris Carter, creator of the X-Files said something in this article I'd like you to respond to: I asked Penn & Teller if they believed in God, and they said no. And I asked: Do any scientists believe in God? And they said: 'None of the important ones.' I just found that somehow, I don't know, very disturbing. I think that the need to believe is, in fact, even with the most hardened atheist. I think that there must be at some point in their lives a need to at least search for some kind of personal answers for existence itself. I thought that was very interesting, as if atheists aren't looking for some kind of personal answers for existence itself.
"Atheists do look for answers to existence itself. They just don't make them up."

Teller - American magician, illusionist, comedian, writer, and the frequently silent half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, along with Penn Jillette

 "Every single religion that has ever been on the face of the Earth, ever, is a cult. That’s all they are. Just a cult with millions of people in them. Meanwhile, they have a bunch of really bad stories that require more belief than an episode of, I Dream of Jeannie."
Joe Rogan - American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and martial artist

 "Man must learn to rely upon himself. Reading bibles will not protect him from the blasts of winter, but houses, fires, and clothing will. To prevent famine, one plow is worth a million sermons, and even patent medicines will cure more diseases than all the prayers uttered since the beginning of the world."
A. A. Milne - English author, Winnie-the-Pooh 1882 to 1956

"One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion. So now people assume that religion and morality have a necessary connection. But the basis of morality is really very simple and doesn't require religion at all. It's this: "Don't do unto anybody else what you wouldn't like to be done to you." It seems to me that that's all there is to it."
Arthur C. Clarke - British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey 1917 to 2008

 "Religion and science have a common ancestor - ignorance."
A. C. Grayling - British philosopher

 "It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible"
George William Foote - British secularist and journal editor
1850 to 1915

“The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one”
David Hume - Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist 1711 to 1776

“More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, my friends, that is true perversion.”
Harvey Milk - American politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California 1930 to 1978

"Religion has ever filled the mind of man with darkness, and kept him in ignorance of his real duties and true interests. It is only by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of Religion, that we shall discover Truth, Reason, and Morality. Religion diverts us from the causes of evils, and from the remedies which nature prescribes; far from curing, it only aggravates, multiplies, and perpetuates them."
Baron d'Holbach - French-German author, philosopher, encyclopedist and a prominent figure in the French Enlightenment 1723 to 1789

“People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.”
Dave Barry - Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and columnist

"I have no regrets about being an atheist."
Jeremy Clarkson - English broadcaster, journalist and writer

"Religion is the venereal disease of mankind."

Henry de Montherlant - French essayist, novelist and one of the leading French dramatists of the twentieth century 1895 to 1972

 “If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion.”
Edmond de Goncourt - French writer, literary critic, art critic, book publisher and the founder of the Académie Goncourt 1822 to 1896

 "I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition and that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s). Further, devils, demons, angels and saints are myths; there is no life after death, no heaven or hell; the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place - not to mention the 'ethnic cleansing' presently being performed by Christians in our world - and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women."
James Randi - Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic

"It was proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."

Giordano Bruno (burned at the stake as a heretic by the Catholic Church)
1548 to 1600

 "Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything."
Robert A. Heinlein - American science fiction writer 1907 to 1988

“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.”
Democritus - Ancient Greek philosopher 460 to 370 BC

"Such are the heights of wickedness to which men are driven by religion."

Lucretius - Roman poet and philosopher 99 to 55 BC

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

Epicurus - Ancient Greek philosopher 341 to 270 BC

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
Seneca the Younger - Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist 4 BC to 65 AD

"It is fear that first brought Gods into the world."

Gaius Petronius - 2nd and then 4th prefect of Roman Aegyptus 75 BC to 20 BC 

Other Notable Atheists, Agnostics, Anti-theists not listed above...

Johnny Depp - American actor, producer and musician. The Christian Coalition, has also pronounced judgment on Depp, saying “he will burn in hell for his filth.” (his new song, Jesus Stag Night Club)
Ray Romano -
American actor, writer and stand-up comedian
Jack Nicholson - American actor, film director, producer and writer
Wes Craven -
American film director and writer, best known as the creator of many horror films, including A Nightmare on Elm Street, the Scream films, The Hills Have Eyes, etc
Marlon Brando -
American movie star and political activist 1924 to 2004
Woody Allen - American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright
Matt Groening - American cartoonist, screenwriter, and producer
Kevin Bacon - American film and theater actor
John Carpenter - American film director, screenwriter, producer, editor, composer, and occasional actor
Sean Penn - American humanitarian, actor, screenwriter and film director, also known for his political and social activism
Adam Carolla - American radio personality, television host, comedian, and actor
Danny Elfman -
American composer, The Simpsons main title theme
Alan Cumming - Scottish stage, television and film actor, singer, writer, director, producer and author
Guillermo del Toro - Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist & designer, Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy
Bret Easton Ellis - American novelist and short story writer
Bob Hawke - 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991
Jamie Hyneman - American special effects expert, best known for being the co-host of MythBusters
Frank Zappa - American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director 1940 to 1993
Kinky Friedman - American Texas Country singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly
Socrates - Classical Greek Athenian philosopher 469 to 399 BC
Billy Joel - American musician and pianist, performer, singer-songwriter, and classical composer
Bill Nye - Popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science educator, comedian, television host, actor, mechanical engineer, and scientist
Billie Joe Armstrong - American rock musician and occasional actor, Green Day
Strato of Lampsacus -
Peripatetic philosopher 335 to 269 BC
Richard Dawkins -
British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author
Joaquin Phoenix - American film actor
Rafael Nadal - Spanish professional tennis player and a former World No. 1
Simon Pegg - English actor, comedian, writer, film producer, and director
Alan Alda - American actor, director, screenwriter, and author
Charles Chilton Moore - American atheist, and the editor of the Blue Grass Blade, one of the United States' first newspapers promoting atheism 1837 to 1906
Burt Lancaster - American film actor 1913 to 1994
David Duchovny - American actor, writer and director, The X-Files
Fernando Alonso - Spanish Formula One racing driver and a two-time World Champion
Adam Savage - American industrial design & special effects designer/fabricator, actor, educator, MythBusters
Andy Richter -
American actor, writer, comedian, and late night talk show announcer
Donald Sutherland - Canadian actor
Eddie Izzard - English stand-up comedian and actor
William Shatner - Canadian actor, musician, recording artist, and author
David Bowie - English musician, actor, record producer and arranger
A J Ayer - British philosopher 1910 to 1989
George Klein - Biologist who has specialized in studying certain types of tumors
Gene Wilder - American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, and author
Keanu Reeves - Canadian actor
Nikola Tesla - Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer. He was an important contributor to the birth of commercial electricity 1856 to 1943
Stan Lee - American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics
Bill Gates - American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author
Bruce Lee - Chinese American, Hong Kong actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts movement 1940 to 1973
Philodemus - Epicurean philosopher and poet 110 BC to 40 or 35 BC
Pete Stark - First openly atheist member of Congress
Protagoras -
Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher 490 to 420 BC
Anaxagoras - Was sentenced to death around 450 years before the start of modern era when he had claimed that gods are just mystical abstractions. He really can be seen as the first person to have publicly renounced gods, or of whom we know of at least. He also had the courage to claim that the sun is only a fiery rock and was also the first to explain that the moon shines due to reflected light from the sun. 500 to 428 BC Nick Frost - English actor, comedian and screenwriter
Charles Darwin - English naturalist, established Evolution, On the Origin of Species 1809 to 1882
George Carlin - American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, actor and writer/author 1937 to 2008
Edward Teller - Hungarian-American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb" 1908 to 2003
Darren Aronofsky - American film director, screenwriter and film producer
Leucippus - One of the earliest Greeks to develop the theory of atomism — the idea that everything is composed entirely of various imperishable, indivisible elements called atoms 5th Century BC
Bill Maher - American stand-up comedian, television host, political commentator, author and actor
Heracletus - Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher 535 to 475 BC
Clarence Darrow - American lawyer & leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union 1857 to 1938
Jimmy Carr - English-Irish comedian and humourist
Rodney Dangerfield - American comedian, and actor 1921 to 2004
Paul Giamatti - American actor
Hugh Laurie - English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director
Louis Theroux - English broadcaster
Alan Davies - English comedian, writer and actor
Brad Pitt - American actor and film producer
Billy Connolly - British comedian, musician, presenter and actor
Ricky Gervais - English comedian, actor, director, radio presenter, producer, musician, and writer
Graham Greene - English author, playwright and literary critic 1094 to 1991
Marilyn Manson - American musician, artist and former music journalist
Carl Sagan - American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy & natural sciences 1934 to 1996
Thomas Mann - German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate 1875 to 1955
John Stuart Mill - British philosopher, political economist and civil servant 1806 to 1873
George Orwell - English novelist and journalist 1903 to 1950
Butch Hancock - Country/folk music recording artist and song writer
Bertrand Russell - British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic 1872 to 1970
Frederick Douglass - American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman 1818 to 1895
Morgan Freeman - American actor, film director, aviator and narrator
Sir David Attenborough - British broadcaster and naturalist
Larry David - American actor, writer, comedian and producer
George Bernard Shaw - Irish playwright, a co-founder of the London School of Economics 1856 to 1990
Eddie Vedder - American musician and singer-songwriter, Pearl Jam
Paul Bettany - English actor
Diagoras of Melos - Greek poet and sophist, 5th Century BC
Aristophanes - Comic playwright 446 to 386 BC
Hippocrates -
Ancient Greek physician 460 to 370 BC

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