HOW or WHY Should Atheism Be Taught?

HOW or WHY Should Atheism Be Taught?
The Atlantic is a well-known, well-read and respected American magazine. It was founded in 1857 and for over a century and a half has published articles on a varied range of topics including politics, religion, culture, and life. Created as a literary and cultural commentary magazine, it has a reputation in the 21st century for a politically moderate viewpoint in its reporting. ( The Atlantic Monthly. Encyclopædia Britannica. )

This introductory paragraph was written to supply the stage setting and background for the publication wherein a detailed lengthy article appeared which asks an interesting question:

How Should Atheism Be Taught?

This article was published in The Atlantic and that means ignore the words at your own peril. ♦

I find the question intriguing. Do you?

My question would have been: WHY Should Atheism Be Taught?

I also found this article disappointing on a number of levels. The arguments presented did not inspire a call to action or demand for change or offer any suggestions to make the world a better place. It sounded a tad bit whiny.

Obviously, this is my smug self-righteous opinion. (LOL.) Someone else might read the same material, grab a picket sign, and head straight to the steps of the US capital in Washington, D.C. ♦

Louis J. Appignani is a wealthy octogenarian living in Florida, who told the article writer, Isabel Fattal, the story of his conversion to atheism. By his definition or understanding, atheists are people who are secularists, critical thinkers with humanistic values who believe in rational scientific reasoning and none of that hog washed faith mumbo jumbo that is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

Here is an argument presented / statement by him to prove that atheists are ostracized in America.

If [someone said] ‘I’m an atheist and I’m running for Congress,’ they wouldn’t get elected today.

Appignani indicated that as of 2016, about half the American citizenry said that if a political candidate indicated that he or she was an atheist, they would likely not vote for them to serve in a political office.

Hmmm? Well! I guess that's proof of being ostracized. ♦

Appignani seems to think people just don't understand atheists or atheism, and his remedy or solution to this problem is to legitimize the word ‘atheism’ in the public sphere. Because people are confused about the definition and if you're going to level the playing field, the first thing you need to do is establish the foundation you intend to build on and get everybody UNconfused. HOW? (Hence the title of the article: How Should Atheism Be Taught?)

This is HOW. In 2016, Appignani gave a $2.2 million gift to an institution of higher learning which marked a first time in American history that a faculty position has been endowed specifically for the study of atheism.

Hmmm? Well! That should stop the ostracism. ♦

You don't have to be American to answer.

  • If your country held elections and one of the candidates declared that he or she was an atheist, would you vote for them?
Yes or No. ~ Agree or Disagree.



It should be taught, but..

I think atheism should be taught along with the other major beliefs. However, though, in public schools, there is no ethical or legal reason to favor it. Anyway, as you'd expect, this would run into problems with culture warriors.
Posted by jyy on 02-23-2018

all sides should be presented

I grew up being taught only religion and I feel it would have been helpful to have been presented the other side of the argument so I could have made a more educated decision earlier on. I think it's much better for kids to be taught the truth or the idea of seeking out the truth for themselves rather than being taught just one side's version of the truth. I also don't think religion should be a requirement like in the school where I was entered in but overall if atheism would be taught as well as religion then I feel like I would be more okay with it.
Posted by Wubwub on 02-24-2018
I agree with you, I used to think that atheist are bad people because they don't believe in the God that I used to believe, not knowing that in the near future I'll turn to one.

Teach and Let Them Choose

There's more to the world than one certain point of view. There's different languages, cultures and histories. The world is not a one size fits all thing. People should have the power of choice in what they want to believe in. As to teaching, it should be an all inclusive thing, all perspectives taught and not just ONE point of view. If a class is going to brush on religion or lack there of, then all sides have to be equally presented to be fair. Especially in the States where schools are considered government entities, hence can't uphold one religion over others cause that violates our 1st Amendment rights as citizens. Hence no official government sanctioned religion. Our Constitution doesn't allow it. People forget that fact. The reason why is because during the time of the founding of the nation there were already varying Christian sects that were at each other's throats and the 'Founding Fathers' themselves came from varying religious backgrounds themselves as well. (Plus there was a sizeable Jewish population in the States then as well...and the first nation to recognize the US as a nation was Morocco- an Muslim dominated nation.) Christianity may be the most 'popular' religion in the nation, it is not a State Sanctioned or Recognized one.

That being said- lots of people are stupid to the fact that the US has a high minority population that comprises close to about a third of the total nation's population overall. My family background is Buddhist. My aunt is Christian. My music teacher is Japanese and follows Shinto. I have a friend from India that follows Hinduism. Another who's from an Islamic background. I personally don't follow anything but that's my right and choice. The world is 6+ Billion people strong. China's population is mostly secular, Buddhist, Islamic, or Wu/Daoist. India has varying Hindu beliefs and a Muslim population as well...Two of the world's highest populated nations aren't Christian dominant.

Posted by Rhodolite on 03-09-2018
I agree with you, majority of the people beliefs are base on their families beliefs and they don't have much opportunity to explore and learn other beliefs that are not tackle in class or family. It made them follow a belief that might not fit them.


Children should learn that they have a choice in which religion they would want to adopt and that it is also possible to not believe in a god. Teaching all these possible options can lead to a better understanding among people and respect each other's belief system.
Posted by treecko142 on 03-06-2018



Give It Five Minutes Only.

Perhaps it could be informed to learners that some people are non-believers and help them to understand what the word 'atheist' actually means.

However, atheism is not a religion so how can it be taught? There is no God, no set path, no guidance. In a sense, it is already taught in every religion. Every religious book talks about non-believers.

Posted by JMS on 02-26-2018

Not good for society

Atheism leads to too much liberal approach. And that leads to collapse of family system, gender roles, hierarchy and cultures. Any culture that thrives on atheism ends up falling eventually. So it's worth for atheism to be kept in check and limit it's approach to science only and not society based on it.
Posted by overcast on 02-25-2018
You are right. Athesim is nothing. Too much liberation leads to utter collapse. Religions are there to keep things in an order. Just think without religion a man would want another person's spouse without a reason. Because he would have no fear of GOD. All the rights and wrongs are diminished if there is no fear of the Almighty.


I am a believer of my religion and to me atheism is illogical and counter productive , but still have their beliefs so let them teach whoever wants to learn, that's their right. But to impose it on students is ludicrous. Answer this question what is better having faith in a religion and a God or simply not believing in God nor religion and just having faith in yourself? If your answer is the latter then you end up being materialistic because you don't believe in an after life, and materialism decays values, and a society without values is an evil society.
Posted by Kakashi2020 on 05-04-2018


I think atheism should be given a footnote in school or philosophical discussions but even if people don't "go to church" so to speak most people benefit from faith in a higher power. I thinnk no curriculum needs to be based on aetheism. This is my opinion., others may differ with it.
Posted by kgord on 02-23-2018
If religion is being taught, why should not be Atheism be taught? By teaching Atheism and religion at the same time, you will be giving choices for people to follow the path that they think is better. Teaching atheism does not mean you are teaching immorality. You can teach about virtues and values without being religious.
Posted by vinaya on 02-24-2018
Religion is the opium of the masses because we need it. As what a philosopher said we have to invent God because we need God in our life. The same with religion it is taught in some schools because it helps the children develop their minds positively. What if the teachings would be about atheism then the positive aspect of religion will be lost and it will put the children in a disadvantage. I can’t imagine myself attending class of atheism as the subject. That is plainly foolish.
Posted by Corzhens on 12-13-2018
Athiesm is something someone decides to follow, I don't think it needs to be taught at all. It's when people reject things for their own reasons. It's a belief, it's not knowledge, therefore what place does it have in school?
Posted by Alexa on 02-23-2018
If you tag atheism as" a belief and not knowledge", do you mean to say religion is knowledge? Religion is a belief, there are no questions to be asked, religion cannot be proved by logic. You will be religious only by believing something. You will have to believe in something that you don't know. I se atheism more scientific.
Posted by vinaya on 02-25-2018
I don't see why atheism needs to be taught. It is the ability to think logically, and would like proof of something before believing in it. It is very science based. I don't understand the unquestioning aspect of religious belief. I realize that it helps many people to feel a sense of purpose, to feel they aren't alone, etc. but to me, that just doesn't work. I have too many questions, that nobody has answers to. Not adequate answers to. I have spoken honestly to missionaries who have come to my door, and they have been very passionate in their beliefs, which is great for them, but when I have questioned them about whatever topic they had been speaking about, the answers I get are always ones that only lead to more questions. To me, that doesn't work. Yes, there are answers to questions that I don't understand scientifically, but I know that the answers have been proven numerous times by different scientists around the globe. To be led in a circular conversation where answers are just questions, or lead back to my initial question, are not sufficient for a belief in the topic.
Posted by Rmarsh1984 on 03-03-2018
Do we need to teach atheism I don't think so,one might just want to believe them and it continues that way but for teaching well, nothing should be discriminated if a person needs to know more about it then it can be taught to the person but teaching it in school is an idea I personally wouldn't like,it can be mentioned or talked about but not taking it up as a subject especially in high school.
Posted by lovely on 02-23-2018
I think you should give a choice to choose between religion on atheism. Humans are intelligent animals and they should be free to choose religion or atheism. Generally speaking religion teaches you supernatural things, where as atheism teaches you logic. Being atheist does not mean you do not have virtue or morality.
Posted by vinaya on 02-25-2018
I totally agree with you,having a religions and sticking to it should be totally an individual prerogative and no body should interfering with that same with atheism nobody should be coerced nor preach to ,to take a stand let one decide to go that way without compulsion and there will be better coexistence.
Posted by lovely on 03-07-2018
I am in the Philippines and I think our current president is an atheist. During the presidential campaign, he was very vocal with his views about how he hates our priest. How Ironic since majority of our citizen belongs to the Catholic belief but yet he still win. I think more and more people in our country is now adopting the critical thinkers view in life which is good in my own opinion but I just don't want to believe that god is not true. I was raised with the belief that there's a mighty creature above who's always watching us wherever and to whatever we are doing and I would like to raise my kinds the same way.
Posted by gavinci13 on 02-24-2018
It is good to be religious because religion teaches people about virtue, morality, respect, love, and compassion. There is no religion that teaches hate and intolerance. However, this does not mean atheist people are immoral, do not love, or are intolerant. The problem with religious people is they have one sided view. This is really bad.
Posted by vinaya on 02-25-2018
Pardon me if you are an atheist but I think religion is the better choice for teaching to children. Religion is founded on righteousness, kindness and generosity which we need in the society. And it is usually seen in religious people the good trait of helping those in need. I don’t know what atheism can do for the society that’s why I am saying that religion should be it and not atheism in schools.
Posted by Corzhens on 02-24-2018
It is true that religion is founded on righteousness, kindness and generosity, however, this does not mean atheism is based on unrighteousness, unkindness and stinginess. Atheism is a believe that negates God, however, it is not an idea that rejects morality and ethics. Atheism is based on proofs.
Posted by vinaya on 03-01-2018
Atheism is not better than religion and certainly not worse either, because no set of beliefs is better than the other.

That said, I do believe that atheism should be taught in schools, because every single child should be allowed to know there are options out there, that their set of beliefs are not set in stone by the people that are raising them, and they should pick whatever suits their tastes once they're old enough to have a reasonable handle of how the world works. The teaching of morality and ethically-acceptable principles shouldn't be left to religion only, therefore atheism should be more accepted in mainstream.

That said, I wouldn't particularly care if a candidate is atheist or not, my main focus is regarding their policies and their beliefs, no matter where they come from.
Posted by VintageRose on 02-24-2018
A Christain teaches a child about Jesus. A Muslim will teach a child about Allah. A Buddhist will teach about the Buddha. A Hindu will teach about Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. How do you teach which religion is true. Hindu worship idols, Muslims do not believe in idol worship. How will you explain a child which is true. religion confuses a man.
Posted by vinaya on 03-01-2018
Public schools in my country respects all religious faith. They are not supposed to favor one over another. We have a subject that covers a general discussion of the different sets of beliefs so we have an idea of the major points of each religion, including atheism. Religious faith is mostly taught at home by parents who believe that their children are better off following and living within a set of norms. In many cases, they pass on the same religion that they have chosen for themselves. I'm a Christian and we have the ten commandments as our major guide for our personal relationship with God and other people. If everyone else follows these commandments, what a loving and lovely world it would be. Don't kill, don't still, don't lie, don't covet. Love God above all and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself - that is the Christian faith. And therein lies the problem for teaching atheism. There is no basis for loving other people or doing good. Atheists have no unifying beliefs other than their lack of faith in a God.

Of course, religion will play a role in my choice of candidate. I wouldn't want to vote for someone whose actions will be largely influenced by the religious group he belongs to. I am more likely to vote for a Christian regardless of the denomination. I don't rule out voting for an atheist though specially if he has been more Christian-like than other candidates. If it's down to choosing between an atheist and a person with an opposite set of religious beliefs, I'll probably go with the atheist or not vote at all.
Posted by chatbox on 02-25-2018
In my opinion, religion is a personal belief. Which religion you follow should entirely be based on your opinion. sadly, in our society, we choose the religion that was followed by our parents. If your parents are Christians, you are by default a Christain, and if your parents are Muslims, you are also Muslims. Due to this set up of the society, we do not have a choice. Most of us follow the same religion for our entire life.
Posted by vinaya on 03-01-2018
Atheism has managed to damage a lot of society. You can see that the collapse of the sweden's family system and other things have shown the way things went wrong for atheism. Now sweden is too much liberal and they are facing more of the issues in the world. And that means there would be lack of the culture in near future for that country.
Posted by overcast on 02-25-2018
I think the main problem of our world is there are too many religions and these religions are hostile to each other. There is a fight between Muslims and Christians, between Muslims and Jewish people, between Muslims and Hindus. Countries and cultures have fought for gods. Religion is the primary divisional force.
Posted by vinaya on 02-26-2018
Atheism means someone that do not believe in the existence of God. It doesnt make any sense to teach atheism since it is not something that is right and for whether to vote for an atheist or not, i think it will depend on what the person intends to do because there is nobody God cannot use to do his will.
Posted by babyright on 02-25-2018
The United States is a secular country, there is no law that stops people from certain religion getting a key position in the government or mentions the President as the Protector of Christianity. The United Kingdom is a religious country. According to the law, Queen is the head of the Church. However, a research has concluded that more Americans go to church than the British. This implies that people have conscience to choose what is right for them/
Posted by vinaya on 02-26-2018
I think that religions are important as through the different religious books we are taught about vital things like values, morals, and ethics. These are important as they guide us to do the righteous deeds. There was a time when I was fighting depression and my life was meaningless. I started praying to God sincerely. After some months I started feeling better. I felt as if God answered my prayers. I can't start my day without praying. God and religion have a special place in my heart. So, I am a bit against atheism and don't think that this must be taught. Religion just guides us to become a better person. Unfortunately, we have some people who misunderstand the message of God and they start killing in the name of religion.
Posted by Pixie on 02-25-2018
One of the drawbacks of being too religious is you become intolerant to other religions. For instance, if you are a devoted Muslim, you are likely to hate Christians, if you are devoted Hindu, you are likely to dislike Christianity. I see religion as a dividing force. Since ages, people have fought in the name of religions. People are still fighting for religion.
Posted by vinaya on 03-01-2018
There is no reason to teach atheism. We are the evidence of the existence of God because we are fearfully and wonderfully made into His image as well as the living things around us so there is no reason to teach or believe in Atheism.
Posted by Scarlet on 02-27-2018
Yup, I will vote for them. It's about the government, and not the religion. Much better for me to run the nation by atheist and not by the church. Like in our country, The church using their power to influence the people, they always dis agree to the government plan, and the result. over populated, no progress.
Posted by ion on 02-28-2018
I like your point, the government should not be ruled by the church or any religious institutions. The major problem in Muslim nations like Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan is religious in nature. They want to rule the country in the name of religion. Politics should always be separated from religion. Interestingly, religion evolved as a political system and God was referred as the "King."
Posted by vinaya on 03-01-2018
I think if people want to learn about Atheism or further explore it, there should be a place where they can do so safely. Without being judged or attacked for their interests. I don't feel however that it should be a mandatory class or course anywhere.
Posted by NickJ on 03-03-2018
Well this looks like a quite interesting topic. Of course if you would ask me I'd tell you that it should be taught in schools. I have absolutely nothing against the atheist school of thought even though I do not subscribe to it in personal life. People should be given the opportunity to explore various ideas and conceptualizations of reality without being restricted to one. It is just a really funny thing that this question has to be asked simply because we live in a religious society overall whether we admit it or not. Cultures define their identity, social structure and sustenance based on/along the lines of creed.

I will also like to make it clear that whilst some people think religion subscribes to righteousness; much of which i agree to depending on whether religious people understand what religion truly is, atheism on the other hand does not by its own philosophical structure subscribe to unrighteousness. As far as I am concerned, the "religious" person is a believer and the atheist is a thinker. Both operate on slightly varied modalities of lower syllogistic and Cartesian reasoning; two sides of the same coin. They both think of God as a reality that is completely removed from their being, they both see themselves as human. This makes them the same from a bigger picture point of view.

So I subscribe to all approaches that will "enlighten" individuals so if its about atheism being taught, I do not see a problem with that.
Posted by Anonymous on 03-06-2018
If I were asked if I will vote for an elected atheist, I would not. We all know that if you're an atheist, you don't believe that God exist in any forms. Yes we have a lot of religion around the world. They have their own views, opinion, and doctrines. Each one will say they have the right way in life, but I would have to say that Jesus is the only way, truth, and life. Our intelligence and strength on our hard work comes not on our own, but from God, and all praises will only be for Him. Atheist will rely on their judgment on how they will walk in life, but it is scary to place the credit on oneself. We are just men made by the supreme God. In Matthew 12:30a, Jesus said, "Whoever is not with me is against me". If a christian elected official asks guidance from God, where does an atheist seeks advise?
Posted by trendjing on 03-09-2018
Let people choose, if they want atheism to be taught then only those specific people or people who are willing. For those who are not then let them be. You don't have to force anyone to know atheism because for other religion they pay so much attention to their obligation to their religion that they don't have interests in knowing about atheism, I am talking about those who are close minded people. But of course not all religious people are like that. There are religious people who are willing to listen and respect the other teaching, who are open minded who listens to everyone's opinion.
Posted by nekonieden on 03-14-2018
Other than the historical influence of religion, or atheism, on the cultural changes in our species over time, why would we worry about teaching atheism or religion in schools? How about we teach math, grammar, computer skills, social skills, etc. Why can't we leave all of this out of the curriculum altogether. Discuss your atheism or religion outside of school--you are perfectly able to respectfully do that. People need to come to their own positions on their feelings about this issue, and young kids, especially, should NEVER have an ideology shoved down their throats while they are young and still way too impressionable.
Posted by JoeMilford on 03-14-2018
Well i think its a choice, we all have a choice and whether we like it or not it's a privilege and freedom. Although i don't believe in atheism i respect them as human being. I have faith in what i know and what i believe and i think people should respect that.
Posted by fishbate on 04-01-2018
I have the same stand on beliefs that we should respect other people’s beliefs that run counter to our own belief. With religion, I understand that there is a wide range of religion to choose from, so varied, in fact, that sometimes I think none of them are true. Maybe that is the idea of an atheist that a religion cannot prove anything particularly with the so called life after death or eternal life. There is no concrete proof to the claims and religious leaders are only feeding us with sweet words and nothing more.
Posted by Corzhens on 04-20-2018
Atheism is garbage and shouldn't be taught, if you think about it being an Atheist is like being a minimalist, it has pessimistic principles and relies on limited logic.

Most atheist don't believe in God because their reason is if there's a God then there shouldn't be any problems in life and thetr should not be any suffering everything should be just perfect.

What's funny is they dont believe in God or in a higher power because there's pain and suffering so what they did was to believe in themselves well, guess what after believing in yourselves it didn't free you from pain and suffering right, it still exist. If a commune of 1000 atheist existed, away from non atheist, misunderstandings, fights and crimes would still happen within their ranks because it is the nature of man.
Posted by Kakashi2020 on 05-25-2018
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in teaching atheism. It is just like teaching other religions. We should respect each other's beliefs. By teaching atheism, people will have a better understanding of it. Everyone should know what each religion is about so they can choose which one they think is better for them.
Posted by mdayrit on 07-02-2018
I am from the Philippines and our country is considered as a Christian country. There are a lot of Catholic schools in here, and religious subjects are also included in the curriculum. Though there are some atheist groups in the Philippines, I think it will be hard to formally introduce atheism here in the Philippines. Especially since there are hundreds of christian religions existing in our country.
Posted by RhealaineS on 07-13-2018
If one of the candidate for my country's future leader turned out to be an atheist, I would NOT definitely vote for him/her. Though I also respect people who call themselves to be an atheist, but I would disagree if he/she will become my country's future leader. I believe that if the candidate has a strong faith with God then he/she will likely do lesser bad things in the government. I know there's such no perfect government but I would rather choose the lesser evil than who would easily get into the wrong path. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against atheist people. I have so much respect with their beliefs as long as they respect other people as well, either fellow atheist or a believer.
Posted by mitan143 on 09-17-2018
This is a misconception you have their, being an atheist doesn't make a person a bad guy. There are a lot of "religious" people who do a lot f crimes in their life. It doesn't really matter what you believe or who your God is, if you are a wonderful person, you are a wonderful person even if you believe in God or not.
Posted by nrnlss on 10-31-2018
I fond people who choose atheism is because they have been taught religion and they find it doesn't sit well with them. In that respect how can you teach something that people come to a conclusion to after they have been taught something else? I believe religion is a choice and shouldn't be taught be people should be aware of it an then choose if they wish to learn more. I don't think you can teach something that doesn't actually exist.
Posted by Alexa on 10-26-2018
It is a good idea to teach young adults about other major beliefs and religions, it will open more options to them of what they will believe.
Posted by nrnlss on 10-31-2018
This. Not just Atheism but all other beliefs should be introduced to everyone. Give them choices and freedom to choose their beliefs. After all, it is very important to respect their decisions as well as allow them to change their minds.
Posted by nongnurix on 12-17-2018
Well, I don't think that Atheism is something that can be taught in the schools or colleges as a subject. People become atheists when they are not able to get any solace in the organized religions and the concept of God which is different in every religion. However, giving information about the concept of Atheism is necessary along with the information that is taught about the different religion. In the end, everyone will choose according to his own views in this regard.
Posted by jpk0007 on 12-15-2018
Many people also have huge misconceptions about atheism... they think it makes a truth claim by default when it doesn't. If you're agnostic/strong atheist you make a truth claim, if you're an agnostic/weak atheist you don't. I've spent far too much time here and on other places trying to explain it to people that I just don't really bother anymore lol.
Posted by Caguioa747 on 12-18-2018