Symbols of Disbelief (Atheism/Freethought Symbols)

Atheism throughout history has, understandably, been a pretty private affair. In recent years, however, the rise of the atheist/agnostic “freethought” movement has brought active disbelief into the public arena, creating not just a camaraderie of unbelievers, but a sometimes actively anti-religious movement.

A number of atheist, pro-science, and related emblems have been proffered as symbols for nonbelievers, but none have any real consensus so far. I’ve compiled a brief, by no means exclusive list of some of the more popular emblems below.

Early symbols

atheism symbolOne of the earliest symbols is not a symbol of disbelief per se. The Humanist movement’s “happy human,” designed by Denis Barrington in 1965 for the International Humanist and Ethical Union. The little figure symbolized the humanist philosophy of people over religious dogma, and while popular with atheists, is not an explicitly atheist symbol.

atheism symbolThe earliest explicitly atheist symbol I’m aware of is the open-atom logo of the American Atheists, designed in the early sixties to place an emphasis on scientific curiosity and empirical thinking. While adopted early, it is not popular overall as it is trademarked by the organization.

The “evolve fish,” aka, the “Darwin fish,” a satirical jab at the ubiquitous “Jesus fish,” is one of several popular recent symbols:

atheism symbol

The “invisible pink unicorn” symbol was intentionally designed as an atheist identification symbol. The image alludes to a common argument against belief, contained within the mathematical symbol for an ‘empty set.’  The first mention of the IPU appeared in the mid-nineties on Usenet, from author Steve Eley:


atheism symbol“Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorn is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can’t see them.”


atheism symbolSo far, the real contender has been the “flying spaghetti monster,” which began as a variation of the “IPU” argument, but proved irresistible once reports of “miraculous appearances” of the parody deity began to roll in. FSM merchandise is abundant, and includes car medallions, t-shirts, posters, and more.

Other noteworthy images include the atheist ” Scarlet A” symbol, designed by Richard Dawkins for the “OUT” campaign, which encourages Atheists to be more outspoken:

atheism symbol

The circle/A emblem, somewhat resembling the Anarchist “A” symbol:

atheism symbol

The empty set (circle/slash) with or without cross (aka the “Bad Religion” logo), ghost, or other object representing religion:

atheism symbol

I any case, the issue is far from settled, at least as far as consensus goes.


Some of the recent debates:

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Atheists symbols | Greengovtv
September 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm


Catherine April 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm

what does that mean? My comment is awaiting moderation?
I haven’t seen a comment past the year 1016..confusion the bane
of my exsistence.

Catherine April 18, 2018 at 2:06 pm

I am not sure of many things..for one is this site still functioning? 2. What the heck!
I am just looking to learn about enlightenment without believeing in all the warmed over Greek mythology. God/Zeus, Christ/Hercules…which in fact I do believe there was a Christ man that was fishes/loves stuff but a person with love and insight to help the people of those troubled times..History tho written by persons before and after the times with so much personal input and not necessarily fact is in the bible etc. If one was to or needed to worship anything then worship research and learning. That is the what I believe is the only way out of this deep deep shite. I don’t like religion as it is a way for whomever to sway you this way and that..If we must have something to believe in because we are feeling there HAS to be more than our being then why can’t we worship the care and feeding of our bodies/the dear Mother Earth/and our minds with research and learning..? I myself don’t believe in Gods as I have no need to but I understand the need for groups as humans, I think, are a herd animal, then have at it..My sadness is that everyone in groups think they have the right to demand you believe. It’s fear/control and not wanting to be in the cave alone, I think, that makes them this way..if you are not in the group than you are out of the group and therefore a threat. Such a waste of energy.. But it is so strong and living in a small religious town I know that if I were to say out loud that I didn’t believe in God/bible I could wake up outcast..honestly..shunned. 2018!
I am just wanting to know if you can work on enlightenment without believing in a god. Or is necessary to believe in a god to achieve enlightment..that that is based on the premise of enlightenment is the final seeing of god etc. Anybody out there? with an educated answer…>? Cat sorry for the spelling errors(?)

Kris October 20, 2018 at 1:25 am

Hi Cat,
I don’y know whether you’ll ever see this – it’s 19 Oct ’18 as I type this, having just found this site by accident.

I was curious about your question regarding whether belief in a deity was necessary to seek ‘enlightenment’. To some extent, I suppose the answer depends upon how you are defining, not only ‘enlightenment’, but also, ‘God’.

Most Western religions insist that God is a Being of infinite knowledge, and the power to create a universe with features ranging from the size of subatomic particles, to the size of supermassive blue giant stars thousands of times the size of our sun, in an infinite variety of combinations……who nevertheless behaves like some sort of emotionally-infantile sadistic half-wit.

That does not make any sense, which means that the actual question is not so much whether one does or does not believe in some sort of Ultimate Creator, but whether one is willing to put one’s own mind in enough bondage so as to make it small enough to believe that such an absurdly ridiculous contradiction actually *could* be “God”.

I think part of enlightenment is realizing that one is both an individual, *and* part of a larger “whole” – and one of the things I’ve taken away from my own education, and personal inquiry, into the various Sciences is that there is far more which connects humans to all other living Beings, and in turn, connects us to the Universe.

You also asked whether enlightenment consists of “seeing God” – but again, I think the answer depends upon how you define both. And I don’t mean the dictionary definition, but rather, what meaning they have for you, and how those meanings affect your own journey through life.

In the end, I think that maybe enlightenment lies in the search itself, that meaning is in the questioning, rather than in any particular end-point or answer.

I hope that’s of some help…

Wolfgang January 14, 2019 at 9:23 am

Hello Catherine, if you speak french or english look for ‘Nathalie Delay’ or ‘Rupert Spira’. You could also look for the englihs speaking indian ‘sadhguru jaggi vasudev’. If you live in Germany look for ‘Daniel Herbst’ or “Sascha A. Jaksic”.
Blessed Be, Wolfgang

Wolfgang January 14, 2019 at 1:57 pm

sorry Catherine, I forgot to mention the well known Eckart Tolle :-)

The Occultist April 21, 2016 at 11:16 pm

Solipsism and Moral Relativism are 2 of the most dangerous ideologies there are. I am seeing a lot of both from Atheists and Religionists alike. I find it odd that Atheists reject religion yet I’ll bet you follow the religions of Money and Man’s Authority. And yes they are both religions. Neither is inherent in nature and both are man made. There is no authority other than that of Truth!

Maks December 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Perfectly said bro tho is there or what is the symbol that represents the “Truth” or is it the Eye of Providence? representing the union of duality (two hemispheres in our brain to create the true vision) into singularity. As separation is a human concept (separating our self’s from the everything we perceive as not a part of our body) and the universe is mental so still working under singularity…?

Cas June 17, 2015 at 4:26 am

Good Gallifrey, I will never stop laughing over the hypocrisy of militant atheists.
Yes, as atheists we do see a fair share of bigotry from theists. But you bitch about how the militant theists try to convert you and treat you like shit, and then what do you do? You turn around and treat all religious people the exact same way, regardless of whether they’re bigoted towards atheism or not.
And then you wonder why there’s such negative opinions about atheism amongst religious people. Here’s a hint: being bigoted and rude towards people who haven’t done anything to you is a great way to make them bigoted towards you really quickly.
I understand that religious people tend to have negative opinions about atheism more often than not. But being bigoted towards all theists doesn’t prove anything other than you’re just as much of a douche as the militant theists you bitch about.
Seriously, grow up.

Nathan knight October 3, 2015 at 8:07 pm

No. I never have believed in any religion. Nor have I ever opposed theism on anyone or told them what they should and shouldn’t believe in. Heck. My whole family is Christians lol, I just really wanted to laugh at your “doctor who” reference and saythay I am going to begin to say that from now on. Haha

Andy Stout February 15, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Attention Christians and “believers”: You can’t have it both ways. Belief without evidence, i.e., faith, is anti-science. What makes religions so dangerous is that they endorse—indeed celebrate—faith. But there is nothing noble or wonderful about believing in unicorns, trolls and gods. Doing so is the essence of irrationality for it flies in the face of reason.

So when I hear god-believers gleefully announce that there is no contradiction involved in supporting irrational beliefs and science, I want to scream. Indeed, science and religion can coexist, but so do pests and pesticide, right and wrong, good and bad.

Michael February 27, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Andy Stout, can you scientifically prove your mother ever loved you?

“Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we do not see. ” to quote someone of great faith. And by that definition, surely you can find faith in something. Faith in the scientific method, faith this is real and not a dream, faith in what your college professor told you, faith in a moral code that says it’s wrong to kill babies nursing at their mother’s breast, faith there was a bang and something came from nothing. Even the most brilliant scientist cannot scientifically prove everything from nothing, he must cross that line of faith.

Faith and reason go together. Faith without reason is nonsense, like “Flying Spaghetti Monster”. Reason depends on faith that there are laws of logic, which like love, cannot be observed therefore confidence in them is faith.

When we deconstruct things they stop working.

Jamie March 21, 2015 at 4:42 am

Faith by definition is believing in something based on no evidence, not the belief in something that hasn’t been observed. Nobody has ever directly observed an atom yet there is enough evidence to show that atoms exist. Science can be defined as any inquiry into nature capable of empirically based hypothesis testing, and so faith doesn’t even come into it because it is based on evidence.

The scientific method requires no faith. There is sufficient evidence to show that this is all real (I think therefore I am) You don’t have to believe what your professor told you- if you don’t believe something then test it and if you can prove the current theories to be wrong then well done. A moral code that says it is wrong to kill babies nursing at their mother’s breast isn’t something that is objective and universal. For instance what if time travel was possible and due to the circumstances it was possible to go back in time only once and kill Adolf Hitler but when he was a baby and nursing at his mother’s breast? Would it then be ok to kill that baby? This is an ethical issue that requires discussion and debate to establish what is right or wrong and therefore requires no faith. Everything from nothing is based on the assumption that there was at one point “nothing”. If you’re saying that everything HAD to have a beginning then try applying that logic to a creator. You’ll be left with an infinite regression- who created God, and who created them and so on.

Faith and reason do not go together and there are no “laws” of logic because logic is based on a set of principles. And to conclude, if you think that love cannot be observed then you must either have a very sad life or you live somewhere in North Korea. Hint: look up altruism in the dictionary.

becca April 10, 2015 at 9:12 am
Ian November 22, 2015 at 12:28 am

I disagree with your definition of faith. Speaking from a Christian perspective, my faith is based on evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Now, whether this evidence is actually compelling is probably a discussion well outside the scope of these comments. Still, whether compelling or not, the witnesses to Christ’s ministry based their testimony on what they had experienced, and what they had seen. Modern Christians claim to carry on that heritage by calling back to their stories.

For this reason, I think a better definition of faith is “relational trust.” It’s the idea that God has done something great in the past, is doing something great now, and will do so again. This doesn’t require “belief” in anything that is in conflict with scientific observation. I have heard some counter by saying that Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “the conviction of things not seen,” and that therefore faith is “blind belief.” But the writer of Hebrews is not talking about “faith” in the non-provable things of the past, but in the hope and relational trust in the Being which has promised us a future in Christ.

Personally, I reasonably know that the universe is very old, was begun with the event called the Big Bang, and that life has developed through natural selection along the evolutionary path we see today. My faith, in turn, is based on my estimation of the evidence regarding the historicity of the gospel accounts and what they describe.

Now, I’m not going to go into the details of analyzing that evidence (I do a bit more on my blog, but honestly, there are many others who have done a much more thorough job in their scholarly works) in this limited comment. I only wanted to present the idea that faith does not mean believing in the unprovable, or believing in spite of evidence. Instead, it is the reasonable future hope based on evidence found in prior observation or direct experience.

Soren Colfax November 8, 2017 at 10:32 am

Direct experience is not based on experience with god, it is because of the thought that has been worked and fixed into your mind from a young age. You did not choose your beliefs, they chose you.

Anonymous January 6, 2018 at 2:46 am

“…my faith is based on evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus….” ummm, where is this evidence?

Anonymous April 1, 2016 at 6:01 am

To Andy Stout and aactually everybody.-
Please check out Quantum Physics. I think all of you will find that there is something for everybody. To your question of faith: Every hypothesis starts with a belief. The belief that their plans/ideas will work. Faith is a question of beliefs, beliefs start with ideas. Ideas result from analyzation and philosophical thinking. Besides isn’t the whole idea of Atheism just a flip side of the coin. So in the world of Metaphysics there and Quantum Physics for that matter there is talk of something called the Union of Opposites. This means that if Theism is as faith then so is Atheism. You have faith that there is nothing beyond your perception. You have faith that your mind is omnipotent enough to conceive every possible thing in existence. You have faith that you can see all there is to see. You have faith that humanity must be the only sentient, intelligent superior race of beings there ever was or will be. I could go on but I think you get my point. So lastly, as an Atheist you believe that you are the only correct one. That humanity has all the answers. It sounds like what you BELIEVE, requires FAITH.

RAA December 25, 2016 at 3:38 pm

To Anonymous:

My observation that there is no evidence proving that a deity or deities exist does not require “belief” or “faith”.

Joyce June 30, 2018 at 2:30 pm

As a Non-believer you are bound under the law of Death,if you were to die In your Sins tonight you will be in Hell(Shaoul ) which is talked about 4/500 times in the Bible . The Archeological evidence completely proves that it’s absolutely true ! Unfortunately scholars and Archaeologists have gotten the time lines wrong ,when brought into the correct timeline ,it proves the flood ,exodus,Jesus (Lord God Yeshua ) etc etc . I had an out of body experience at 7 yrs old ,I’ve been to Heaven,have seen and talked with Jesus,have seen Angels and have fought real live battles with demons (The Lucefrian Agenda ) based on all your sins ,what you did to others etc ,is the hierarchical level you’ll be placed in in HELL–demons will pick you up and place you in a cell that smells like rotting flesh and worse with demons ,Now you can think all you want but as someone who from the age of 7 have had to rid my surroundings of the Demonic and have performed the Writ of Exorcism at a much later age ,I’m here to tell you the Bible and Jesus are absoloutely true , do you really want to spend Eternity in HELL( that’s an infinite issue you will never get rid of and you will remember this conversation — I am a warrior for Christ and if I were you I’d be on your hands and knees crying out to the Lord begging for forgiveness repent now for the kingdom of heaven is at hand and if you don’t think the rapture is not going to occur guess again I have visions I have dreams and all of this and more don’t you dare try to dispel or disprove the one and only true and living God you will find no bones in his burial area because he is alive and well in heaven . I am compelled by the Lord God Yeshua to tell you all this repent now before it’s too late in the Old Testament because God had not been sacrificed on the cross yet you had to sacrifice an animal for each and every bad thought or send you did it once Jesus died on the cross it was God himself in the flesh that’s right people in the flash all of that was nailed to the cross and we are no longer under the law but as a non believer you are under the law of the Old Testament– I am a warrior for Christ and I have led many people out of the dark shadows of atheism ,Occuultism,some witchery you name it and one day I’m going to be at the platform and millions are coming to Jesus and I pray tonight that you cry out to the Lord and beg for forgiveness and say Lord take my sins away from me I am so sorry I want you to come into my heart and let him do the rest , it by no means ,means that we are perfect none of us are perfect only the Lord God could ever be holy and without sin but what it does allow is you entering in into the kingdom of heaven and being eternally saved for all time . The Lord lLoves You , The lord said if you don’t believe in me believe on my miracles his miracles alone prove for all time that he exists for all time he is I am that I am he’s always been here he was not born he was not made he simply is and he has amazing things for you . Jeremiah29:11 A hope and a future ,to prosper you not to harm you .

nicky August 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Joyce.. do us all a favor and drink the koolaid already.

Satan September 14, 2018 at 2:06 am

You should be MEDICATED!

NTLS June 22, 2014 at 7:39 am

I still see many references to atheists claiming the ‘science’ throne as their own and condemning those with faith (particularly Christians as they usually dare not take on Islam) as irrational mystics.

I happen to have faith and be a scientist. I do not believe in creationism – many of the Bible stories are, in fact, just stories. The teachings of Jesus are there to remind us to lead good lives and be kind to one another. I acknowledge, by the way that there are many atheists who tolerate those with faith, just as I acknowledge that there are many kooky religion enthusiasts who take their Holy scripture way too literally. We just need to understand each other’s perspective.

The Black Cube March 22, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Atheists should research the black cube aka Saturn to find out how to escape this prison planet. Hint – It has nothing to do with any religion but a certain man who walked this earth 2000 years ago ;)

nobody special January 15, 2014 at 10:46 pm

I feel the need to say that not all christians disregard science, I personally believe in evolution, and the big bang, and all of theese other theories, along with most other christians. Christianity and science can coexist. Also to say that we are motivated to do good by fear of hell is just plain ignorance, yes maby there are a few poeple who are like that but don’t judge a group as a whole by the actions of one, just as I know there are atheists who don’t judge theists as scum and regard themselves as higher beings, which from what i;m reading there seems to be a few of.

Michael February 27, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Friend, you are somebody special and as one of faith you should know that you are created in the image of God.

Disconnecting biblical truth from your worldview will lead you to theories that frankly define you as “nobody special”.

For God so loved you, he gave his only begotten Son.

Anonymous June 19, 2017 at 10:50 pm

How do u know that..who told you know..who wrote it..hiw they know???

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