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78 Atheist, Agnostic & Freethought
Peacemakers Throughout History

Click here for Wikipedia's lists of famous nontheists.
Click here for "Monuments for Freethought (Atheists, Agnostics, Nonbelievers, Nontheists, Rationalists, Secularists, Humanists, Unitarians, Universalists, etc.)."

1907 = Median birth year + 50 years

341-270 BCE - Epicurus - Philosopher. Founder of Epicureanism. "His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition & divine intervention."

c99-c55 BCE - Lucretius - Poet & philosopher. Only known work is "De rerum natura"/"On the Nature of Things" about the philosophy of Epicureanism.

c370-415 AD - Hypatia - First notable female mathematician. Assassinated by Christian mob in Alexandria (Egypt). A symbol of martryed Reason, feminism & Classical paganism.

1126-1198 - Averroes - Andalusian Muslim polymath. "Father of secularism." His school of philosophy is known as Averroism.

1304-1374 - Petrarch - Scholar & lyrical poet. Often called "Father of humanism." First to develop the concept of the "Dark Ages."

1548-1600 - Giordano Bruno - Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet & astrologer. Burned at stake for denying Catholic doctrines. Now considered a pioneer of freethought & science.


1603-1683 - Roger Williams - Theologian. First American proponent of religious freedom & separation of church & state. "Arguably the first abolitionist in North America."

1632-1677 - Baruch Spinoza - Rationalist. Laid groundwork for 18th century Enlightenment & modern biblical criticism.


1713-1784 - Denis Diderot - Philosopher, art critic, writer & atheist. Prominent during the Enlightenment. Edited the Encyclopédie with Jean le Rond d'Alembert.

1736-1809 - Thomas Paine - Political activist, philosopher, political theorist & revolutionary. Wrote "Common Sense" (1776) & "Rights of Man" (1791).

1743-1826 - Thomas Jefferson - Wrote the US Declaration of Independence in 1776. 3rd US president 1801-09.

1774-1844 - Abner Kneeland - Evangelist & theologian. Advocated birth control & other views considered extremely radical for his day. Last man jailed in the USA for blasphemy.

1783-1835 - Obadiah Dogberry - Born Abner Cole. Newspaper editor & freethinker. Criticised the Book of Mormon even before it was published in 1830 by Joseph Smith.

1795-1852 - Frances (Fanny) Wright - Freethinker & abolitionist. Lover of LaFayette. Founded interracial commune of Nashoba in Tennessee (USA) in 1825.

1797-1874 - Gerrit Smith - Social reformer, staunch abolitionist, temperance campaigner, politician & philanthropist. Supported John Brown.


1801-1877 - Robert Dale Owen - Helped his father Robert Owen (qv) found New Harmony, Indiana. Editted the Free Enquirer (a socialistic & anti-Christian weekly) with Frances Wright (qv) 1828-32.

1802-1889 - Amy Post - Hicksite Quaker, freethinker & spiritualist. Active in abolition, woman suffrage & other causes. Co-founded Western NY Anti-Slavery Society in 1842.

1809-1882 - Charles Darwin - Naturalist. Famous for "theory" of evolution." Published "On the Origin of Species" in 1859.

1810-1875 - Carl Procopius Strehly - Freidenker & "48er." From Prague? Published Licht-Freund & Hermanner Volksblatt w/ Eduard Mühl [1800-1854] in Hermann, MO. His house is now a museum.
1810-1892 - Ernestine Louise Polowsky Rose - Feminist, freethinker & atheist. Intellectual force behind women's rights movement. 1811-1888 - Eduard Schroeter - Liberal. Helped found Free Congregation of Sauk County, Wisconsin, in 1852 & became its first Speaker (leader & teacher).

1813-1887 - Johannes Ronge - Defrocked priest. Opposed antisemitism. Founded Freireligiöse / Freethinkers.

1818-1882 - DeRobigne Mortimer Bennett - A Shaker for 13 years before evolving into a "freethinker." Founded Truth Seeker (a radical freethought & newspaper) in 1873.
1818-1894 - Amelia Bloomer - Women's rights & temperance advocate. Her name became associated with bloomers ("emancipation dress") because of her early & strong advocacy.
1818-1906 - Lucy N. Colman - Embraced abolition & woman's rights. Arrested for selling a birth control tract. Renounced Christianity in 1852. Taught in a "colored school."

1821-1900 - Charles De Berard Mills - Abolitionist. Wrote on Oriental thought including Buddhism. Father of Harriet May Mills (qv).

1822-1811 - Elizabeth Smith Miller - Activist & financial supporter of woman's rights. Dress reformer. Invented skirt over pantaloons known as "bloomers." Daughter of Gerrit Smith (qv).

1824-1899 - Ludwig Büchner - Philosopher, physiologist & physician. Founded Deutsche Freidenkerbund / German Freethinkers League in 1881.

1826-1891 - Friedrich Schünemann-Pott - Speaker of Freie Gemeinde in Philadelphia 1854-71. Then called to San Francisco. Also editted Blätter fiir freies religioses Leben 1856-72.
1826-1898 - Matilda Joslyn Gage - Suffragist, Native American activist, abolitionist, freethinker & prolific author. "Born with a hatred of oppression."

1832-1896 - Charles B. Reynolds - Minister turned freethought lecturer. Best known being defended by Robert Green Ingersoll in an 1887 New Jersey blasphemy case.
1832-1907 - Moncure Daniel Conway - Abolitionist & author. Minister of South Place Ethical Society in London (England).

1833-1899 - Robert Green Ingersoll - Orator during "Golden Age of Freethought." Noted for broad range of culture & defense of agnosticism.

1835-1910 - Mark Twain. Born Samuel Clemens. Humorist. Author, orator & political satirist. "Father of American literature."


1855-1909 - Eugene M. MacDonald - Journalist & freethinker. Editted Truth Seeker (a radical freethought & newspaper) 1882-1909. See D.M. Bennett & his brother George E. MacDonald.
1855-1926 - Eugene V. Debs - Union leader & radical politician. Founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World. Five time Socialist Party candidate for US president. Jailed during WW-I. P

1856-1919 - L. Frank Baum - Children's books author known for "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Son-in-law of Matilda Joslyn Gage (qv).

1857 = Median birth year

1857-1936 - Harriet May Mills - Led suffrage campaigns in California, Michigan, Ohio, etc. Daughter of Charles De Berard Mills (qv) & Harriett Smith Mills. Never married.
1857-1937 - George E. MacDonald - Journalist & freethinker. Editted Truth Seeker (a radical freethought & newspaper) 1909-1937. See D.M. Bennett & his brother Eugene M. MacDonald.
1857-1938 - Clarence Darrow - Lawyer. Leader of American Civil Liberties Union. Defended Leopold & Loeb in 1924 & John Scopes in 1925.

1859-1952 - John Dewey - Philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer & atheist. Influenced education & social reform.

1870-1942 - Norbert Fabian Capek - Founder of the modern Unitarian Church in the Czech Republic. Worked in USA 1914-21. Gased at Dachau (Germany).

1872-1970 - Bertrand Russell - Philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian & social critic. P 1950

1877-1968 - Oscar Riddle - Biologist. Devout atheist. Convinced that religion is a serious threat to scientific advancement. 1958

1889-1951 - Emanuel Haldeman-Julius - Socialist writer & atheist thinker. Head of Haldeman-Julius Publications. Published "Little Blue Books," total sales of which ran into the hundreds of millions of copies.
1889-1968 - Joseph L. Lewis - Conspicuous public atheist, publisher & litigator. Headed The Freethinkers of America. Erected Thomas Paine statues in England, Paris, NJ & NY. Restored Ingersoll's birthplace.

1897-1972 - Narsingh Narain - Civil Servant. Founded Society for the Promotion of Freedom of Thought in 1954 (forerunner of Indian Humanist Union).

1898-1993 - Edwin H. Wilson - Unitarian minister. Helped write both the Humanist Manifesto I of 1933 & the Humanist Manifesto II of 1973. 1979


1900-1970 - John Thomas Scopes - Teacher in Dayton, Tennessee. Charged in 1925 for teaching evolution, resulting in the famous Scopes Trial (aka Monkey Trial).

1912-2006 - Vashti McCollum - Atheist or Humanist. Sued to end religious instruction in public schools. Son is James Terry McCollum [b. c1935].

1919-1995 - Madalyn Murray O'Hair - Atheist activist. Founded American Atheists. Sued to end official Bible-reading in public schools. Murdered.

1925-2012 - Paul Kurtz - Professor of philosophy & skeptic. "The father of secular humanism." Editor of Free Inquiry magazine. See Tom Flynn.

1930-Alive - Rev Joseph Ben-David - Founded the Church of Humanism in New York City in 1973 "in the Humanist spirit of Dr. Norbert F. Capek [qv] & other great minds...."

1931-Alive - Pete Stark - Member of Congress since 1973. Early opponent of Iraq War. First openly atheist member of Congress. 2008

1933-Alive - Louis Appignani - Owned Barbizon Intl Modeling & Computer Education Inc. Funded Appignani Center for Bioethics & Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

1934-1996 - Carl Sagan - Astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer. Broadcast Cosmos: A Personal Voyage in 1980. 1981

c1935-Alive - Edd Doerr - President of American Humanist Association. Executive Director of Americans for Religious Liberty (ARL) since 1982.

1938-Alive - Joyce Carol Oates - Novelist & atheist. Professor of humanities at Princeton University since 1978. 2007

1940-Alive - Barney Frank - US Representatives from Massachusetts 1981-2013. Considered the most prominent gay politician in the USA.

1941-Alive - Richard Dawkins - Ethologist, evolutionary biologist & author. One of the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism." 1996

1942-Alive - Daniel C. Dennett - Philosopher, writer & cognitive scientist. One of the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism." 2004

1944-Alive - Richard Leakey - Paleoanthropologist & conservationist. Son of Louis & Mary Leakey. 2013

1946-2013 - Narendra Dabholkar - Atheist doctor. Exposed religious charlatans, quacks, frauds & purveyors of "miracle cures." Killed by "right-wing Hindu organization" Sanatan Sanstha.
1946-Alive - Ed Buckner - Educational Researcher. President of American Atheists 2008-10. Lives in Atlanta.
1946-Alive - Susan Jacoby - Atheist author. Program director of Center for Inquiry. Wrote best-selling "The Age of American Unreason" (2008).

1948-Alive - Barry W. Lynn - Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church & State. Ordained minister in United Church of Christ.

1949-2011 - Christopher Hitchens - Author, columnist & literary critic. World's 5th top public intellectual. One of the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism."
1949-Alive - Dan Barker - Christian preacher & musician for 19 years but left Christianity in 1984. Now a prominent atheist activist & VP of Freedom From Religion Foundation.


1954-1995 - Jon Garth Murray - Son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair (qv). President of Am Atheists 1986-1995. Murdered with his mother & niece Robin Murray O'Hair by David Waters.
1954-Alive - Steven Pinker - Experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist & popular science author. Husband of Rebecca Goldstein. 2006

1955-Alive - Tom Flynn - Executive Director of Council for Secular Humanism. Editor of Free Inquiry magazine. Created Freethought Trail in Western NY State. See Paul Kurtz.
1955-Alive - Annie Laurie Gaylor - Co-founded Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1978. Editor of "Freethought Today." Married to Dan Barker (qv).

1961-Alive - Greta Christiana - Blogger & author. 2013

1966-Alive - David Silverman - President of American Atheists. Placed first atheist monument on public land in May 2013.

1967-Alive - Sam Harris - Neuroscientist. Co-founded Project Reason. Wrote "The End of Faith" in 2004. One of the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism."

1969-Alive - Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Women's rights & atheist activist. Critical of genital mutilation & Islam. Dutch asylum in 1992. Wrote screenplay with Theo van Gogh.

c1970-Alive - Greg M. Epstein - Humanist Rabbi. Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University. Published "Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe" in 2009.

1975-Alive - Tim Minchin - Musician & comedian.

1995-Alive - Jessica Ahlquist - Student at Cranston High School West. With the ACLU settled Ahlquist v. Cranston in 2012 to remove a religious prayer from her school auditorium.

Please email your comments & questions to geovisual @ Thank you.

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