Atheists I admire

The common thread in all of my choices here is intellectual bravery. All of these people are not afraid to speak their mind, come what may. All of these people are highly intelligent and witty in their own right.

JULIA SWEENEY

Ms. Sweeney is an American actress and comedian, best known for her work on Saturday Night Live. She is also a very brave woman, as a cancer survivor and outspoken atheist. She is one of those atheists who has read the bible, cover to cover. The way she is able to relate her experiences with humour and humanity is inspiring. Below is a clip from her must see special, Letting go of God where she talks about her reaction to the Bible chapter, Revelations.

EDDIE IZZARD

A British actor and comedian, Mr. Izzard is also famous for being a transvestite (an action transvestite), which, in my book makes him even more courageous. Another outspoken atheist, his comedy, or the best history lesson ever, as I like to call it, often touches on the nonsensical parts of religion, as illustrated in the clip below.

RICKY GERVAIS

Yet, another actor and comedian from Britain, Mr. Gervais is not afraid to defend his lack of belief in any forum. As one of his Twitter followers, I’ve seen him seemingly revel in putting religious fanatics in their place. His comedy is not only hilarious, but manages to make you look at things in a way you never would have without his perspective. Here he talks about Noah’s Ark.

Before you think this is all about comedians, here come the scientists…

SAM HARRIS

American author, neuroscientist, and founder/CEO of Project Reason, Sam Harris is and incredibly well spoken atheist. Logic is his art form and he is a master. It may be seen by some as less courageous for a scientist to openly proclaim his disbelief in religion. In Mr. Harris’s case, he lives in the United States, home of Christian zealotry and death threats and fearlessly speaks on morally controversial topics like this one in the clip below.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

American astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium, Mr. Tyson is also a very outspoken atheist. He is brilliant at explaining otherwise mind boggling scientific  theories so even the layperson can instantly grasp them. Here he talks about what he calls Stupid Design.

RICHARD DAWKINS

A British author and evolutionary biologist. Arguably his most famous book is The God Delusion, which contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion. An extraordinary mind, Mr. Dawkins is quite possibly the world’s most famous atheist. Here he eloquently talks about creationism, evolution and religion.

These are all living human beings who have much to teach us, whether it’s through laughter or science. For those of you thinking that I missed George Carlin or Charles Darwin, I didn’t. I just wanted to include people who are currently contributing to the conversation. I acknowledge that these people are standing on the shoulders of the atheists who came before them, just as future atheists will stand on the shoulders of these people and so on until we reach heaven 😉

10 responses to “Atheists I admire

  1. I wasn’t aware that Neil deGrasse Tyson had “come out” as an atheist, although I had long suspected that he was. His “Cosmic perspective” was a life changer for me. http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/read/2007/04/02/the-cosmic-perspective

    I note on his Facebook page that he is commenting on the current GOP primary fiasco also.

    I think I saw somewhere that you are in Canada. I’ll be over that way later in the year for our son’s wedding.

  2. Seeing Julia Sweeney (and Harris, but he’s an obvious choice) on this list made me smile. She’s so hilarious, brilliant, and charming.

  3. Although not feminist-friendly, Adam Carolla is great atheist spokesperson. He’s particularly adept at point out the myriad ways in which religion the demand that we respect religious belief damage our society.

  4. While I am a fan of Richard Dawkins, I don’t believe “The God Delusion” is among his best work.

    I found that book to be beating a dead horse and a real chore to wade through. I found myself constantly saying “I get the point, move on already!”.

    @xWarriorPoetx

  5. “Letting Go of God” was one of the principle instruments in my own gradual de-conversion to atheism. Julia’s story mirrored my own in many ways: Of growing up Christian but having what seemed like too many questions; trying several different ways of getting to god; and eventually realizing that I had to believe what was true over what I wished were true.

    Terrific post!

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