One of the oldest symbols is from
American Atheists. The organization
was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray
O’Hair and adopted an “atomic whirl”
with an A inside.
Surprisingly, the open whirl is supposed
to represent the “A” for atheism, while
the printed “A” inside comes from the
first letter of the country in which the
organization is located, in this case,
“America.” The design of the atomic
whirl seems stuck in the 1960’s, and as
the copyrighted symbol of a group of just
3,000 members, it has not traveled very
far, however, it is a distinct symbol of an
Humanists worldwide have adopted the
“happy humanist” symbol, first designed
in 1965. It is a stylized person standing
with arms up-stretched. It has gained
fairly good recognition among humanists
and atheists, but is not widely
recognized outside of those groups.
Further, although many humanists are
atheists, some are not. The happy
humanist is an effective organizational
symbol, but does not serve as an
effective symbol of atheism.
The Atheist Alliance International uses a
red A, as discussed in the A's and O's
Of the organizational symbols, probably
the American Atheist whirl and red A are
the most recognizable, but none are
widely recognized by the general
population as a symbol of atheism.
Probably the most important step an
atheist can take to change the world is
to live openly and proudly as an atheist.
Putting a widely recognized symbol of
atheism on your car, bike or home is a
good step in that direction.
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