I’ve paid attention to this before, and I know I will again. From the top of my head here are some more famous atheists to show what a disproportionate effect we have. We are everywhere in academia. Take a look at this list and be surprised at how many celebrities you didn’t know are atheists.
George R. R. Martin (Fantasy author of Game of Thrones) is an atheist:
“I suppose I’m a lapsed Catholic. You would consider me an atheist or agnostic. I find religion and spirituality fascinating. I would like to believe this isn’t the end and there’s something more, but I can’t convince the rational part of me that that makes any sense whatsoever. That’s what Tolkien left out — there’s no priesthood, there’s no temples; nobody is worshiping anything in Rings.”
Fantasy authors are more likely to be religious, science-fiction ones have overwhelmingly been atheist or non-theist.
Science fiction writers:
Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)
Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone)
H.G. Wells (The Time Machine)
Isaac Asimov (The Foundation)
Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
Frank Herbert (Dune)
Douglas Adams (The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)…
Philip K Dick (A Scanner Darkly)
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey)
Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials)
K.A. Applegate (Animorphs)
Ursula Le Guin (The Earthsea Cycle)
Matt Groening (The Simpsons)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park)
Seth Macfarlane (Family Guy, the Orville)
Larry David (Producer of Seinfeld)
Woody Allen (“What’s Up, Tiger Lily?”)
Bill Murray (Groundhog Day)
Mangaka (all speculation though):
Yasuhiro Nightow (Trigun) – not confirmed, but he said he is no longer a Catholic, but a “great person.”
Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) – said he is agnostic, but spiritualism is closest to his beliefs, and he is a vegan. I’ll treat it as speculation.
Kinoko Nasu and Gen Urobuchi (Fate/Stay Night) – More speculation, but I seriously think he is an atheist. Gen’s characters just scream, “BE A SKEPTIC! I think like a fedora!” (Rider actually tells his master not to trust things written in books when you don’t know the author, and of course he loves writing themes about getting your freedom by recognizing there’s dogma, and then killing totalitarian gods. And here is Kinoko Nasu’s character talking about how villagers invented the devil.”
The trouble with Japan is it’s notoriously hard to get solid answers on whether they are atheist, although if you ask them how important religion is to their lives, they score very low relative to countries. I’ve read many biographies that said they were atheists, but I’ve gotten so used to it that who said what has passed through my head before I wrote anything down. By any case, they’re willing to be much more skeptical and blasphemous towards their own religions and others. Final Fantasy and other RPGs especially loved how cool it was to kill God.
Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka)
“I’m going to tell you what my religion is,” Wilder told an interviewer in 2005. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Period. Terminato. Finito… I have no other religion. I feel very Jewish and I feel very grateful to be Jewish. But I don’t believe in God or anything to do with the Jewish religion.”
Rip Willy Wonka actor. Btw, Roald Dahl was one too.
William Shatner (Captain Kirk of Star Trek)
Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard. Star Trek tended to get atheist actors, or perhaps their work on that series “turned” them. )
George Takei (Sulu of Star Trek)
Robert Williams (speculation)
Morgan Freeman (Who was ironically God in Bruce Almighty)
ENTREPRENEURS (Often also PHILANTHROPHISTS)
Bill Gates (agnostic)
Warren Buffet (agnostic)
Mark Zuckerman (was atheist but converted to Buddhism-I think for opportunistic reasons
Linus Torvalds and Larry Ellison
Steve Jobs (he left church at 13, though he chased mysticism in India and was open to an afterlife.)
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Nebraska (He sued God.)
Most top Communist party leaders
Arguably many Deists of the enlightenment would have in their pursuit of reason been atheists today. Thomas Jefferson, Madison, and Thomas Paine are all good examples.
Philosophy departments today are overwhelmingly likely to be headed by an atheist.
Mark Twain (Tom Sawyer)
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
George Orwell (1984)
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Earnest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls), who also said, “All thinking men are atheists.”
In conclusion, if you want to do great things, you’d be better off to remove the obstacle to clear thinking that is religion.