Famous Atheists

Being an atheist in a world obsessed with God and religions is surely something that sets one apart! To the layman, an atheist is simply someone who lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. But did you know that atheists are also often very rational, practical and have a scientific approach towards the happenings in the world? One such famous rational atheist is Stephen Hawking, the famed theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. Ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins is another prominent scientist known for his atheism. While atheism is a serious issue for many, comedian Woody Allen often jokes about God and calls himself a “Jewish-Atheist!” Richard Branson, another well-known atheist states that a belief in God is not necessary to be a good human; it’s the humanitarian values that count. With more and more people choosing to denounce religion, atheism is surely gaining in prominence! Read on for more information about the life and works of famous atheists.
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 1 
Bertrand Russell
(Philosopher)
Bertrand Russell
35
Birthdate: May 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: February 2, 1970

Bertrand Russell was a British polymath and Nobel laureate. His work, which is spread across various fields, has had a considerable influence on philosophy, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, linguistics, and logic. Russell is also credited with leading the revolt against idealism in Britain and is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.

 2 
Jack London
(Novelist & Journalist)
Jack London
20
Birthdate: January 12, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: November 22, 1916

Jack London was an American novelist, social activist, and journalist. A pioneer of American magazines and commercial fiction, London was one of the first authors from the US to become an international celebrity. His life and work inspired several films, such as the 1943 movie Jack London and 1980 film Klondike Fever. He was also portrayed in several TV series.

 3 
Eddie Izzard
(Comedian, Voice actor, Stage actor, Film actor)
Eddie Izzard
30
Birthdate: February 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aden, Yemen

Although best known for her surreal and digressive stand-up comedies, Eddie Izzard is also a popular film and television actor. Born as Edward John Izzard, she began her career as a street performer, eventually making her first stage appearance at the age of twenty-five, quickly drawing larger and larger audience with her stream-of-consciousness delivery, achieving fame both home and abroad.

 4 
Brian Eno
(Musician, Record producer)
Brian Eno
10
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: May 15, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Melton, Suffolk, England
Brian Eno created "The Microsoft Sound" for Windows 95 and co-developed the card-based creativity-improving technique Oblique Strategies. His ambient music album Reflection was nominated for a Grammy, and his visual installations have been projected on structures such as the Sydney Opera House. He also co-founded the Long Now Foundation.
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 5 
Björn Ulvaeus
(Composer, Pop Singer and a Member of the Musical Group 'Abba')
Björn Ulvaeus
22
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: April 25, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gothenburg, Sweden

Singer and songwriter Björn Ulvaeus is perhaps best known as a member of the ABBA, one of the most successful musical groups of all time. Equally famous as a co-composer and co-producer of several films and musicals, he is currently serving as the President of CISAC, trying to ensure that creators are fairly compensated and properly credited for their works.

 6 
Robert Smith
(Singer, Guitarist, Lyricist)
Robert Smith
20
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: April 21, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Blackpool, England

English singer-songwriter and musician Robert Smith gained fame as a co-founder and member of the rock band, The Cure. He was also the lead guitarist for the band, Siouxsie and the Banshees, for a few years. He became an influential figure in the goth subculture in the 1980s and was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 7 
Ivan Pavlov
(Physiologist)
Ivan Pavlov
9
Birthdate: September 26, 1849
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ryazan, Russia
Died: February 27, 1936
Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov is best remembered for his research in classical conditioning. He became the first Russian Nobel laureate after winning the 1904 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his study of the physiology of digestion. His experiment on conditioned reflex using dogs is still studied in colleges.
 8 
Jeremy Bentham
(British Philosopher, Social Activist and One of the Founders of 'Modern Utilitarianism')
Jeremy Bentham
9
Birthdate: February 15, 1748
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 6, 1832
Philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham is remembered as the pioneer of modern utilitarianism. He believed in economic freedoms, women’s rights, animal rights, the separation of the church and the state, and freedom of expression. Bentham wished for his body to be dissected and then to be displayed as an auto-icon.
 9 
Tom Wolfe
(American author)
Tom Wolfe
8
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Died: March 14, 2018
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 10 
Jim Jefferies
(Known for His Comedy Central Show ‘The Jim Jefferies Show')
Jim Jefferies
14
Birthdate: February 14, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Jim Jefferies is an Australian-American stand-up comedian, actor, and writer best known as the creator of the FX sitcom Legit and the Comedy Central late-night show The Jim Jefferies Show. He trained at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts before beginning his career. Besides his TV shows, he has also appeared in films and performed at festivals. 

 11 
Nigella Lawson
(English Food Writer, Television Cook, and Television Presenter)
Nigella Lawson
30
Birthdate: January 6, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wandsworth, London, United Kingdom
Daughter of Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigella Lawson has written several bestselling cookbooks and hosted many culinary shows. Winner of the British Book Award and the Guild of Food Writers Award, Nigella has previously worked as an editor and freelance journalist and also owns a cookware range.
 12 
Alex Lifeson
(Guitarist and Backing Vocalist of the Progressive Rock Band 'Rush')
Alex Lifeson
2
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: August 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fernie, Canada

Alex Lifeson is a Canadian songwriter, musician, and record producer. He co-founded the progressive rock band Rush and serves as its guitarist. He plays electric and acoustic guitars and can also play other string instruments, such as mandola, mandolin, and bouzouki. Besides music, he is a licensed aircraft pilot and an actor. He has appeared in some TV shows. 

 13 
Wallace Shawn
(American Actor, Playwright, Essayist and Screenwriter)
Wallace Shawn
10
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 12, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Height: 5'2" (157 cm)
 14 
Joyce Carol Oates
4
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
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 15 
Todd McFarlane
(Canadian Comic-Book-Creator, Artist, Writer, Best Known as the Creator of the Popular Spawn Comics)
Todd McFarlane
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 16, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Calgary, Canada

Todd McFarlane is a Canadian writer, artist, comic book creator, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. Renowned for his artistic work on The Amazing Spider-Man, Todd became a comic book superstar during the 1980s and 1990s for his work on the Spider-Man franchise. As an entrepreneur, Todd McFarlane is credited with founding Todd McFarlane Productions and its subsidiary McFarlane Toys.

 16 
Terry Pratchett
(Humorist)
Terry Pratchett
4
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: April 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaconsfield, England
Died: March 12, 2015
 17 
Fran Lebowitz
(Writer Known for Her Sardonic Social Commentary on American Life and Her Defiant Grouchiness and Wit)
Fran Lebowitz
13
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 27, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Morristown, New Jersey, United States

Author and public speaker Fran Lebowitz is best known for her book The Fran Lebowitz Reader, which combined the two books Metropolitan Life and Social Studies. She also gained fame with her 2021 Netflix docuseries Pretend It's a City. Openly lesbian, she has often spoken about feminism, politics, and AIDS.

 18 
Jamie Hyneman
(American Television Host and Special Effects Expert)
Jamie Hyneman
10
Birthdate: September 25, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Marshall

Jamie Hyneman is an American television host and special effects expert. He achieved popularity as the co-host of the popular TV series MythBusters. He is also credited with inventing an unmanned firefighting robotic vehicle called Sentry. Jamie Hyneman also co-designed Wavecam, an aerial cable robotic camera system used in entertainment and sports events.

 19 
Henri Cartier-Bresson
(Photographer and Painter)
Henri Cartier-Bresson
3
Listed In: Photographers
Birthdate: August 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chanteloup-en-Brie, France
Died: August 3, 2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French humanist photographer. Considered a master of candid photography, he pioneered the genre of street photography. He was among the earliest users of the 35 mm film. In 1947, he became one of the founding members of Magnum Photos, an international photographic cooperative. In his later years, he explored drawing and painting. 

 20 
Nick Frost
(Actor Known for His Work in the Film 'The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy')
Nick Frost
11
Birthdate: March 28, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hornchurch, London, England

Nick Frost is a British actor, screenwriter, author, comedian, producer, and painter. He is credited with co-creating a comedy horror streaming TV series titled Truth Seekers in which he played Gus Roberts. Frost is known for his frequent collaboration with his friend Simon Pegg; the two have co-written films like Paul (2011). Frost also supports charitable organizations like Humanists UK.

 21 
Iris Murdoch
(Irish & British Novelist Best Known for Her Novels: 'Under the Net', 'The Sea, the Sea' and 'The Bell')
Iris Murdoch
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 8, 1999

One of the most popular Irish-born British novelists, Iris Murdoch is remembered for her psychological novels, which had a good dose of sexuality, philosophy, morality, and comic elements. While she won the Booker Prize for The Sea, the Sea, the Oxford alumnus had also worked for the HM Treasury and the UN.

 22 
Till Lindemann
(Lead Vocalist and Lyricist of 'Neue Deutsche Härte' Band 'Rammstein')
Till Lindemann
20
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany

German singer-songwriter and poet Till Lindemann is best-recognised as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the German heavy-metal band Rammstein and for the musical project Lindemann that he fronted. Roadrunner Records listed him among "50 Greatest Metal Frontmen of All Time". He has also published two books of poetry, In stillen Nächten and Messer, and featured in minor roles in movies.

 23 
Valentina Nappi
(Italian Pornographic Actress and Model)
Valentina Nappi
14
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 6, 1990
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scafati, Campania, Italy

Valentina Nappi is an Italian adult model and pornographic film actress. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like AVN Award and XBIZ Award. Widely recognized as an intellectual pornstar, Nappi contributes as a columnist for MicroMega. She has also been featured in magazines like Playboy and Penthouse. In November 2013, Nappi was named Pet of the Month by Penthouse.

 24 
Harvey Fierstein
(Actor Best Known for His Work in the 'Torch Song Trilogy' and 'Hairspray')
Harvey Fierstein
5
Birthdate: June 6, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Tony-winning Harvey Fierstein is best known for his stage performances in plays such as the Torch Song Trilogy and Hairspray, and for his roles in movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire and Independence Day. He has also voiced Yao in Mulan and Mulan II. He is an LGBT rights activist, too.

 25 
Stanisław Lem
(Polish Novelist Best Known for His Novel 'Solaris')
Stanisław Lem
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: September 12, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: March 27, 2006

Stanisław Lem was a Polish writer who specialized in the science fiction genre. He was also a noted essayist who wrote on varied subjects, including philosophy, futurology, and literary criticism. His books, which have been translated into over 50 languages, have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. 

 26 
Clive James
(Australian Critic, Journalist and Broadcaster)
Clive James
3
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kogarah, Australia
Died: November 24, 2019

Clive James was an Australian critic, journalist, and writer who worked mainly in the United Kingdom. He had a difficult life as a young man and faced many challenges on his way to building a successful career. He began his career as a TV critic and proceeded to establish himself as a writer and poet as well. 

 27 
Butterfly McQueen
(Actress)
Butterfly McQueen
5
Birthdate: January 7, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tampa, Florida, United States
Died: December 22, 1995
Height: 5'1" (155 cm)
 28 
Richard Stallman
(Free Software Movement Activist and Programmer)
Richard Stallman
1
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: March 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Computer programmer and free-software activist Richard Stallman established the Free Software Foundation. The Harvard and MIT alumnus led the free GNU project, aimed at creating a UNIX-like operating system. He was later dragged into a controversy when he dismissed a sexual assault victim’s allegation against Jeffrey Epstein.

 29 
Kari Byron
(Television presenter, Artist)
Kari Byron
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 18, 1974
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: California
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 30 
Louis de Broglie
(Physicist)
Louis de Broglie
5
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: August 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dieppe
Died: March 19, 1987

Louis de Broglie was a French aristocrat and physicist who made important contributions to quantum theory. His de Broglie hypothesis, which suggests that all matter has wave properties, is one of the most important features in the theory of quantum mechanics. In 1929, de Broglie was honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work.

 31 
Mao Zedong
(Communist Leader of China)
Mao Zedong
114
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shaoshan, Xiangtan, China
Died: September 9, 1976

One of the most significant and controversial leaders of the 20th century, Mao Zedong was a communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People's Republic of China which he governed as the chairman of Chinese Communist Party. He is appreciated for numerous development work but is criticised for his authoritarian regime and policies which resulted in millions of deaths .

 32 
Annika Sörenstam
(One the Best Female Golfers of All Time)
Annika Sörenstam
8
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: October 9, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bro, Sweden

Annika Sörenstam is a Swedish professional golfer who is often counted among the best female golfers of all time. She has won six Vare Trophies and eight Player of the Year awards. In 2003, Annika Sörenstam was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 2021, she was honored by Donald Trump with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 33 
Jim Cornette
(American Author and Podcaster Known for His Work in the World of Professional Wrestling)
Jim Cornette
6
Birthdate: September 17, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 34 
Tim Heidecker
(Comedians)
Tim Heidecker
4
Birthdate: February 3, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 35 
Alan Davies
(Comedian)
Alan Davies
6
Birthdate: March 6, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Loughton
Stand-up comedian Alan Davies is known for playing the titular role in the series Jonathan Creek. He has also been a panelist on the BBC panel show QI. Named Time Out's Best Young Comic in 1991, he has also been part of radio shows such as Alan's Big One.
 36 
Georges Bataille
(French Philosopher and Intellectual)
Georges Bataille
2
Birthdate: September 10, 1897
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Billom, France
Died: July 9, 1962

Georges Bataille was a French intellectual and philosopher best remembered for his work in various fields, such as philosophy, sociology, history of art, anthropology, literature, and consumerism. His work would later have a huge impact on subsequent schools of social theory and philosophy. Also a prolific writer, Georges Bataille wrote on subjects like mysticism, erotism, transgression, and surrealism.

 37 
Montel Vontavious Porter
(American Professional Wrestler and Manager)
Montel Vontavious Porter
12
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: October 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 38 
J. Michael Straczynski
(Screenwriter, Film producer, Novelist, Journalist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer)
J. Michael Straczynski
3
Birthdate: July 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paterson

The son of a manual laborer, J. Michael Straczynski grew up to graduate in psychology and sociology. Best known for writing the Marvel Comics series The Amazing Spider-Man, he has written for both TV and films, apart from authoring his own books and creating the sci-fi TV show Babylon 5.

 39 
Douglas Murray
(British Author and Political Commentator)
Douglas Murray
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
 40 
Dave Allen
(Comedian Best Known for His Observational Comedy)
Dave Allen
3
Birthdate: July 6, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: March 10, 2005

Born to a well-known Irish journalist, Dave Allen initially followed in his father’s footsteps but soon switched to doing stand-up comedy in night clubs and strip clubs. He later soared to fame with his iconic The Dave Allen Show. He often used his amputated forefinger as part of his acts.

 41 
Frank Mir
(American Mixed Martial Artist and Former Two-Time UFC Heavyweight Champion)
Frank Mir
14
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 24, 1979
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 42 
Kamal Haasan
(Actor, Director & Producer, Who Primarily Works in Tamil Cinema)
Kamal Haasan
24
Birthdate: November 7, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paramakudi, Tamil Nadu, India

Kamal Haasan is an Indian film actor, director, producer, screenwriter, dancer, lyricist, playback singer, politician, and humanitarian. With 19 Filmfare Awards and four National Film Awards under his belt, Haasan is widely regarded as one of the finest Indian actors of all time. Kamal Haasan is credited with influencing a generation of actors and introducing new technologies to Indian cinema.

 43 
Russell T Davies
(Screenwriter, Television producer, Science fiction writer)
Russell T Davies
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: April 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Swansea

Russell T Davies is a Welsh television producer and screenwriter who contributed immensely to the success of the popular science fiction television show Doctor Who. When Davies was working for the show, Doctor Who received five successive National Television Awards starting from 2005. He has also won prestigious awards, such as the British Academy Craft Award and the Cymru Award.

 44 
Camille Paglia
(Cultural critic)
Camille Paglia
13
Birthdate: April 2, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Endicott
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 45 
Bernardo Bertolucci
(The First Italian filmmaker to Win the Academy Award for Best Director)
Bernardo Bertolucci
2
Birthdate: March 16, 1941
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Parma, Italy
Died: November 26, 2018

Born to a famous Italian poet and writer, Bernardo Bertolucci himself wrote and won many literary prizes in his younger days. He later established himself as one of Italian cinema’s best filmmakers and was the first filmmaker from his country to win an Academy Award, winning it for The Last Emperor.

 46 
Michael Ian Black
(Comedian)
Michael Ian Black
0
Birthdate: August 12, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 47 
Wes Borland
(Guitarist for the Rap Metal Band ‘Limp Bizkit’ & Lead Vocalist of the Industrial Band ‘Black Light Burns’)
Wes Borland
11
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: February 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States

Wes Borland is a rock musician best known for his association with the popular rock band, Limp Bizkit. Borland is also credited with co-founding an experimental metal band named Big Dumb Face. Known for his elaborate visual appearance, Borland often wears a mask while performing. He was named in the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time list by the magazine Total Guitar.

 48 
Alissa White-Gluz
(Known as the Lead Vocalist of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal Band 'Arch Enemy')
Alissa White-Gluz
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: July 31, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The frontwoman of the Swedish death metal band Arch Enemy, Alissa White-Gluz is also known as the co-founder of the metalcore band the Agonist. She was once known for performing in over 250 shows a year across the globe. A true-blue vegan, she has won the Libby Award from PETA.

 49 
Dan Savage
(One of the World's Most Influential Sex Columnists)
Dan Savage
4
Birthdate: October 7, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Dan Savage is an American author, journalist, media pundit, and LGBT community activist. He is credited with founding the It Gets Better Project which aims at preventing suicide amongst LGBT youth. In 2013, he was honored by the American Humanist Association with the prestigious Humanist of the Year award.  

 50 
Robin Cavendish
(British Advocate for Disabled People, Medical Aid Developer, and One of the Longest-Lived Responauts in Britain)
Robin Cavendish
1
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: March 12, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Middleton, Derbyshire, England
Died: August 8, 1994

Robin Cavendish was an English medical aid developer and advocate for disabled people. He is credited with aiding the development of medical devices aimed at providing independence to paralyzed people. One of Britain's longest-lived responauts, Cavendish was given three months to live at the age of 28. He lived for 64 years and his story inspired the 2017 film Breathe.