BORN ATHEIST
the Born Atheist footed fish
The rise of the “A.”

Because “atheist” starts with the letter
“A” in many languages, some have
suggested the letter “A” as an atheist
symbol. Atheist author Richard Dawkins
has promoted the scarlet letter A.
Dawkins claims no copyright to the
symbol which has aided its spread,
particularly on the Internet.






The Atheist Alliance International had a
competition and selected a stylized “A”
as their symbol as well. There are a
number of variations on the “A” design,
including ones that look like a symbol for
the Star Trek television and movie
shows.







But there are some limitations to using
the letter "A" as an atheist symbol.  First,
the word "atheist" is not the same in all
languages.  For example, in Iceland it is
"Trúleysingi."

Second, besides invoking unpleasant
memories of reading The Scarlet Letter
in school, people may confuse it with the
symbol for anarchy, which similarly uses
a red letter "A."




But most important, recognition of the
“A” symbol is limited to mostly
organizational atheists.  If you want to
inform the general public of your non-
belief, you will want a more widely
recognized symbol.

The "O" alternative: Empty symbolism.

Perhaps focusing on the non-belief of
atheists, several people have suggested
symbols of a lack of belief. One
suggestion is a mathematical “null set”
symbol, something like this: { } or a zero
with a line through it. Variations on this
theme include more artistic empty
circles. The accompanying figure
contains a variation on the empty circle
theme with the circle constructed of the
words “AGNOSTIC, HUMANIST,
RATIONALIST, FREETHINKER,
SECULAR, INFIDEL, NONBELIEVER,
ATHEIST, HERETIC, and GODLESS”
suggested by Adrian Barnett.




The circle or "O" is an interesting
symbol. I saw a lot of circles appearing
on cars and was impressed by the
number of atheists, until I learned that
the State of Oregon is using “O” for
itself, as is the popular sunglass
company Oakley. Unfortunately, few of
the O’s I saw were atheist symbols. The
empty circle has limited recognition and
too much competition.

Simply atheist.

I believe the most easily recognized
symbol of atheism is simply the full word
“ATHEIST.” It may not be very artistic,
but it gets the message across to the
largest number of people in the easiest
manner.


A slightly more interesting choice is the
born atheist variation of the Darwin fish
shown. It creates a bit of humor, is
visually interesting and clearly
communicates that the person
displaying the symbol is without religion.
Between the two, I favor slightly the
atheist fish.
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(permissions)
A's, O's and spelling it out
the Richard Dawkins scarlet A
the Atheist Alliance International A
a circle of term describing atheists
the simple term